CapArms Question of the Day: Does Your Dog Freak out at Gunfire?

I’ve never taken my Schnauzers shooting. (Their lack of opposable thumbs makes it problematic.) While Dan’s brace of Labs fetch tennis balls to the point of exhaustion (Dan’s), our Managing Editor’s canines aren’t trained gun dogs. Jon’s biggest problem with his Belgian Malinois Glimmer . . .

she runs up and bites the target (wood, steel, whatever). Before I get to the meat of the matter, I feel obliged to give you this info as a public safety announcement  [via vetpetconnect.com]:

Distance is most important. Some of this noise can be slightly reduced by placing cotton balls or specially designed ear plugs or ear muffs into or around your dog’s ears.

Just make sure your dog doesn’t have an ear infection and don’t forget to take them out at the end of the day!

Got dog? Have you exposed him or her or them to gunfire? How do your example(s) of man’s best friend they deal with it? Never happens, no biggie or run, cower and/or whimper?

comments

  1. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    My dog is afraid of her own shadow. So yes.

    1. avatar Liberal Prepper says:

      My lab runs downrange after the bullet. Loves to hunt.

      But…dogs, like humans, will go deaf around gunfire. So 1) be careful of dog position and proximity to gunfire, and 2) teach your dog some dog sign language for the basics. That way when older and deaf, you can still communicate with your best friend.

    2. avatar Xanderbach says:

      Mine is afraid of wind, loud noises, soft noises, and the computer update noise. Not even going to try.

  2. avatar PewPewPew says:

    I’ve always thought this was one of the best reason for suppressors. Perhaps if they renamed the HPA to the dog ear protection act the lefties would pass it?

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      No. They wouldn’t. Because having a gun dog implies that you kill Beautiful birdies.
      (Pheasant phajetas are the bomb).
      So no, they would doubly hate you.

    2. avatar aircooled says:

      Whoa… Dude, I think your on to something. Animal Harm Reduction Act. AHRA.

  3. avatar Geoff PR says:

    “Got dog? Have you exposed him or her or them to gunfire? How do your example(s) of man’s best friend they deal with it?”

    A woman pilot who liked taking her dog flying invented ear muffs for dogs:

    “This truly was a case of necessity being the mother… My dog Cooper, like most dogs, loves riding in anything that moves. So it was a natural doggy instinct to jump in the plane. I’d made a few short hops with my furry co-pilot, but was always very concerned about the decibel level and his sensitive ears.

    And so the research began. The first prototypes, of course, showed which designs didn’t work.

    And since dogs naturally feel no compunction to be diplomatic, I’m quite sure the translation was “Get away from me with that thing”.”

    http://www.safeandsoundpets.com/index.html

    Hey, TTAG – How about requesting a Lab-sized pair from these folks so Dan can do a T&E?

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      EDIT –

      Hey, RF – I see they have an extra small size (5 to 10 pound) that should fit your attack Schnauzers:

      http://www.safeandsoundpets.com/page/page/3771096.htm

  4. avatar TrappedInCommiefornia says:

    I don’t know about either of my current dogs, but my husky/wolf hybrid loved the sound of gunfire. She’d always come running to see what I killed for her, which meant you usually got 1 chance to shoot a ground squirrel, cause after that they weren’t coming out with her around.
    When I was a kid we had an Australian shephard/Queensland heeler cross and a Rottweiler who would run away at the sight of a gun and you’d find them by the backdoor of the house shaking and cowering. They were never shot at that I know of, but they sure didn’t like guns.

  5. avatar Cliff H says:

    When I was a boy we had a Weimarner named Gretchen who was gun-shy. Fourth of July was traumatic for her and whenever we wanted to keep her out of a particular room all I had to do was lay my Red Ryder in the doorway. She would never even approach the thing, much less jump over it.

    Never did find a solution to this and eventually she wound up at a friend’s farm.

  6. avatar Mr.Savage says:

    have an 80 pound vagina of a dog that leaves the room when I carry any rifle near him, he has grown to accept a pistol on hip, the pup could care less about much of anything, he doesn’t know any better….yet…

  7. avatar Frank says:

    My GSD SD runs and hides from loud noises, like fireworks, or fire crackers. So no I could not take him shooting.

  8. avatar Bruce Lantrip says:

    If you get the guns out with my Vizslas and not take them with you, then you get to spend the day worrying what mischief they are getting into. They take it personally if left behind. You have to introduce them to the sound, can’t just sneak up behind them and scare the crap out of them. I know some labs like this also.

  9. avatar MamaLiberty says:

    I raised and trained AKC Black Labradors for 20 years. Most went to duck and goose hunters. The dogs that evidenced serious fear of gunfire were sold as pets instead. This was more than 40 years ago, and I don’t recall anyone even mentioning hearing protection for dogs. Sure wish it had been available, or even a topic of discussion. To be fair, most hunters didn’t use hearing protection then either.

    Most old hunting dogs then were deaf, by definition. Our big stud dog loved the sound of gunfire and had to be watched carefully as he would run toward it! I suspect it was the only thing he could really hear by then. When he saw the guns come out, he’d run to the truck and fuss until he was lifted up to get into his crate for the trip. Sure do miss those days sometimes.

    Now I have a little Welsh Corgi, a rescue that is fearful of almost everything. I wouldn’t dream of taking him to the range, hearing protection or not. He would not appreciate it. When I shoot off the back deck, my own hearing protection carefully in place, I shut the dog down in the basement so he won’t be bothered or hurt.

  10. avatar strych9 says:

    Oldest dog (Plott) doesn’t care, youngest dog (GSD) doesn’t care. Middle dog (Plott) hides under the truck. He also hides in the basement when there’s thunder.

  11. avatar Son of Alan says:

    Had a friend that from old farm family in central California. He had gun trained cats, no lie. He would shoot birds for them to eat. We would shoot down his driveway in to a wood pile for target practice, the cats would come as if you were ringing the dinner bell

  12. avatar anonymoose says:

    I’ve never shot around my own dog, but my friend’s dog went nuts a couple weeks ago when we were shooting in his field.

  13. avatar Pantera Vazquez says:

    My daughter’s Boston Terrier shivers at thunder. My nephew came over with his AR15. We decided to do primer powered pellets indoors………Bad, Bad move. Dog shook, shivered and shat. Since that afternoon, he has associated firearms with unpleasant noise. He will now leave a room at the sight of ANY gun, be it pistol or carbine, powder or air powered. Shaking as he exits….

    1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

      Same with our dog. She’s got the nose to hunt rabbits but will crap at the sound of fire and shivers with the sight.

  14. avatar Marach says:

    Our salukis run out to the fence line and watch us til we start shooting. As soon as they realize there are no rabbits or food involved, they couldn’t care less. The wander off to sun themselves. Of course, the neighbor does have a range where nondescript black SUVs show up, there is a course of fire, usually involving fully automatic fire, and then the nondescript SUVs drive away.

  15. avatar Eddie in Naw Kerlina says:

    I have a BTCH (bluetick coon hound) who apparently didn’t make the cut for someone’s hunting team (presumably how I ended up with him as he was abandoned (lucky him, many non-performing hunting dogs are shot in the field)). All I have to do is grab a rifle or shotgun and manipulate the action and he starts bawling out of control. When I want to do some target shooting I have to lock him up in a bathroom or closet where the sound of him bawling is at least muffled. If not locked up, he seems to have an uncanny ability to place himself directly down-range of where I intend to shoot.

    By contrast, my gf’s ferocious APBT tucks her tail between her legs and cowers in the corner at the mere sight of a long gun.

    1. avatar American Idiot says:

      We have an English Coonhound that loves gunfire. If he hears gunfire on TV he comes to investigate. My Pop shot 1 of 2 rabbits the other day that had been eating his new berry bushes and when he went for the 2nd that didn’t move he had to he had to pull up as my EC was already on his way. Weird thing was my EC saw the rabbits first (his barking was what alerted my Pop to their being there) but waited till Pop pulled the trigger the first time? He’s never been hunting but damn does he have decent instincts for a novice.

      Some sub-human threw him out of a jacked up pickup near our property when he was 4 months old. He had road rash on his ears and nose. I tried finding a home for him as we already had 4 dogs (2 rescues-English Mastiff, Mini Schnauzer, and two dogs that had belonged to family members that had passed-Danish/Swedish Chicken Dog, and a Pitt Bull) but nobody would take him. He’s one of the smartest sweetest dogs I’ve ever had. I kept him and we lost the Mastiff and Schnauzer over the next 2 years. The only other dog that we had at the time he showed up that wasn’t afraid of booms was the Mastiff, she was the best dog I ever had. Fearless really, like my EC.

      I’m glad I kept him and my Mom likes for him to get rid of rabbits and other vermin for her. She just opens the door when she sees something and he’s on his way. I’ll never get why someone got rid of my Mastiff and Coonhound? They are/were 2 of the smartest, sweetest, and most protective dogs I’ve ever had. I feel blessed that I ended up with them. And neither were gun-shy. Some people are just scum I guess.

      We still talk about my Mastiff, which by the way liked going rabbit hunting with one of my friends. He’d always give her one if he had more than he could eat. She’d wait by his outdoor butcher table for him to make sure that the .22lr bullet was removed then eat the whole thing. His girl would complain “Does she have to crush the skull and eat it too? It sounds horrific!”. His girl is gone and he doesn’t miss her one bit but he still talks about my Mastiff and how much he misses her. Damn I miss her too. Dogs really are the best.

  16. avatar Tater says:

    My dog is a rescue half schnauzer half jack Russell he hates gunfire so much if he even sees me grab my 556r or ar he freaks out and goes hides under the bed… Ha ha he’s a big ole puss…

  17. avatar skoon says:

    My gsd wants to kill fireworks and gunshots hes not afraid but goes crazy barking back at them my beauceron is not phased ny pretty much anything. Though neither have been hunting with me.

  18. avatar FedUp says:

    Actual gundogs I’ve been around tend to be mostly deaf by the time they’re 10, so hearing protection sounds like a good idea.

    My first shorthair went berserk at the sight or sound of a long gun, hunting! hunting! I’m going hunting! Cleaning a gun in front of him would result in MAJOR disappointment.

    My 2nd shorthair was afraid of thunder and gunshots, wanted to hide between your knees if you tried to take her outside while carrying a shotgun or if there was a storm. The gunshy gundog was her nickname.

    My current shorthair (5 year old shelter dog) is a bird chasing fool but doesn’t seem to know what a gun is. Storms make her mildly nervous, gunfire makes her perk up her ears and say ‘what was that’? I test fired a .22 pistol yesterday while she was chasing robins around the yard, she came running to me to investigate when I shot.

    My niece’s rat terrier hides under the bed during storms and does NOT want to be dragged out. But she doesn’t seem to notice if I shoot a .22 in the yard when she’s in the house. I don’t think I’d want to set off a shotgun with her outside, she had a major panic attack when we took her to a city festival with fireworks.

  19. avatar Txgun Gal says:

    A couple of years ago Fredericksburg has fireworks on 4th of July. at the airport. We got there early so we could be almost on the run way.
    When the first big boom went off a guy gun dog went running towards the sound. Poor lab seemed a little embarrassed when he realized that was no duck or other fowl for him to retrieve! He has a very loving owner who gave his dog a “good boy”
    and the front roll gave him a round of applause

  20. avatar Zeke says:

    The absolute BEST story of a hunting trip with a skittish dog was told by Larry Munson:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvJf6hW2ln8

    “…I never saw the rabbit.”

  21. avatar Alan Esworthy says:

    My home and grounds are not dog-suitable, alas, but my cat Slinky fetches thrown sticks for me if they’re not too big. She’s never heard gunfire but seeing the way she reacts to the vacuum cleaner leads me to believe she’d be a big pussy about it.

  22. avatar Alan Esworthy says:

    My home and grounds are not dog-suitable, alas, but my cat Slinky fetches thrown sticks for me if they’re not too big. She’s never heard gunfire but seeing the way she reacts to the vacuum cleaner leads me to believe she’d be a big pцssy about it.

  23. avatar Roymond says:

    Does my fog freak out at gunfire?

    No — he’s trained. It’s as simple as that.

  24. avatar Chris says:

    Nope, our dog has listened to this since she was a pup and every year about this time I start playing it again. She’s OK with fireworks and gunfire. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uTK5VoDcXQ

  25. avatar Stuart K says:

    My coonhound gets way too close to me while shooting unsuppressed. My little mutt is scared of suppressed 22 and goes into meltdown 100 feet from 12g fire.

  26. avatar Jeffro says:

    http://www.willowcreekkennels.net/how-to-cure-the-gun-shy-hunting-dog/

    I’ve use both methods in this link for bird dogs and squirrel dogs. I have friends that have used them for Beagles and Bassets for rabbit hunting. Llewellyn Setters, GSP’s, and English Pointers IME seem to have the least proclivity to be gunshy. Jack Russell’s and Corgi’s while eager to hunt squirrel, have a tendency to be shy of the gun until they are two or three years old. My grandfather wouldn’t have a dog that was gunshy. He was noted for having good coon and fox hounds.

  27. avatar ROFuher says:

    When my father takes a rifle or shotgun outside the ranch yard, the dogs get excited. They have learned a varmint of some description will soon be available for their pleasure.
    When I first took my pistol steel targets to the ranch, they were equally excited, running past the end of our practice bay, eager to retrieve the rewards of all the shooting.
    Now, they observe me with contempt; having long concluded my training efforts are the worst possible marksmanship.

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