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Gun Shy Retriever

My 6 month old female black lab started out fine while shooting a 22 rifle (we first started training her at 5 months) for training. A couple of weeks ago we started trying her with a shot gun. After the sixth shot she got scared (we're not sure if she got hit by shell casing or something) and ran to the house where she stayed. Now when I get out the gun she runs away and hides. Should I give her time or should I get her out again right away and try again.

Gun shyness is generally a man made problem that can be corrected with hard work and patience. The first thing, I notice about your question is that you do not say whether or not your dog was retrieving during the lesson. A young dog needs to associate the gun blast with something positive like a retrieve or dinner time.

My advice is to start all over and by all means do not hunt this dog until the problem is corrected. You are going to need a helper to fire the .22 rifle. You should have them fire the gun from about 100 feet, While you are throwing happy bumpers or birds for your dog. Work on this and over the period of a couple weeks have the helper move closer until they are with you and the dog . When you can shot over the dog with the .22, it's time to start over with the shotgun at about 100 feet away.

Jan Burkholder

For more information on GunShyness, try:
Gunshy dog
Gun Shyness III
Occasional gunshyness

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