Scared dog - gunshots

Discussion in 'Labrador behaviour' started by Helen, Jan 12, 2016.

  1. Helen

    Helen Registered Users

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    Ahhh, I am really frustrated I know I live in the country but I am so over the gunshots that are around at the moment.
    Ever since a firework went off 2 weeks before firework night and in a house right where we were walking Buster has been a nervous wreck with loud noises (understandably), but I just want to walk him and for Buster to be totally relaxed and happy on his walks, but today we were nearly home when there were quite a few gunshots then of course I have a very scared dog who starts panting/yawning trying to drag me home. In this situation I try not to let him pull everytime he does I stop and don't move until the lead has loosened a bit then we set of again for 1 step before we repeat the process again, thankfully as soon as we get in he is all waggy tail and brining me a toy but I just feel for him as I just want him to understand that nothing is going to harm him.
    Sorry just venting really.
     
  2. Diana

    Diana Registered Users

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    I do understand this. Our rescue GR Arthur is terrified of gun shot and living rural too it does happen.
    Last week some folk were target practising the the top field and what a loud noise it made, even indoors with the TV/radio up loud he could still hear the crack.
    He will not venture outside until hours after he knows for sure they are gone.
    Once the poor dog ran away in fright once evening last spring, had let the dogs out to do their widdles not realising then they were shooting, and off he went, he was gone from 7pm to 2am, but he found his way home, no idea to this day where he went or who was most pleased to see whom on his return!

    I always thought target practise had to be carried out on licensed premises but according to the internet it states its okay so long as they have the land owners permission. Next time I see the farmer I will ask him. Folk phone us to ask what's going on as the field is close by...I suggest they ring the farmer!
    So here's me venting off too, but to say I do understand.
     
  3. kateincornwall

    kateincornwall Registered Users

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    A suggestion I usually make is to buy ( Amazon have them ) a desensitizing CD . You play them in the house whilst doing normal things , they start off very quietly indeed , the theory being that the dog will get used to the sounds in a normal and peaceful setting with you around, being very relaxed . The one I bought many years ago for the frightened dog I had then , really worked well and covered all sorts of sounds like thunder , gunshot and fireworks , might be worth a try , good luck .
     
  4. Diana

    Diana Registered Users

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    I will investigate one of those CDs , thank you.
     
  5. MaccieD

    MaccieD Guest

  6. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    I'm having a similar thing, because I would like to be able to take Willow out on a shoot one day, but she is scared of gunshot. I'm struggling a bit, though, with desensitisation, because she doesn't react at all to gun noises played on the phone, my small kitchen speakers or my big Bose system in the living room. I guess it just doesn't sound real to her.

    This doesn't mean the noise CDs won't work for you, especially if your dogs are sensitive to a broad range of noises, so they are worth a try.
    Willow, however, is quite specific in her fear. She's not bothered in the slightest by thunder or fireworks, and we were out this morning with some huge booming avalanche blasts happening nearby, which she didn't even raise her head to.

    Gunshot and starter pistols, however - she gets very, very stressed. Weirdly, she also got similarly stressed a week or so ago with an avalanche blast that was farther away than today's, so there must have been something in the tone of it that she didn't like.

    I've had it suggested to link the sound with something good, like the throw of a ball or some really good treats, but even what I consider to be far away, she won't take a treat if she hears the crack.

    Good luck and let us know how you get on.
     
  7. Helen

    Helen Registered Users

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    Thank you, I have now ordered one of the cd's can at least try it and hope it works.
    I have tried giving treats when he hears it, but he is so stressed all he can focus on is getting home very quickly. I did try talking to him today ( I know I'm mad ) and give him a stroke but didn't get any response from him, they moment he was in the house he was back to normal as if he had no care in the world. I'll let you know how I get on with the cd.
     
  8. Stacia

    Stacia Registered Users

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    I had a rescue GSP who was terrified of shot. So I took hi a distance from the shot and every time one went off I would give him his favourite thing which was his rabbit skin dummy, you could use food. Eventually he could happily hear shot and not react, as he now paired it with something pleasurable.
     
  9. Oberon

    Oberon Moderator Forum Supporter

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    You can get apps for this - just Google or look on the iTunes store under terms like 'desensitising sounds'. If you buy an app you can use it on your phone and then take the sounds 'on the road' to different locations.

    Start playing it really softly in a familiar environment and go slow :)
     
  10. Helen

    Helen Registered Users

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    Well it is fast approaching a year since I posted this.

    A lot has changed, we had to consult a behaviourist in Mar/Apr last year as Buster was reacting to any noise it just wasn't a pleasant experience for him, or us, we worked really hard and Buster has done amazing I am so proud of him (if only he could understand what I say to to him), he doesn't really react now he will look at us if he's unsure so we have carried on giving him a treat, this seems to work with us. Firework season well that is a whole different story he refused to go go in the garden on his own in the evening for at least 6 weeks so we hadn't been taking him for his evening walks until he was going outside on his own, thankfully hi is now.
    I was dreading the shooting season starting but there has been hardly any UNTIL TODAY, my god it wasn't just the odd shot it was consistent, Buster did hear it but he wasn't really reacting, I was undecided whether to come back home but decided to carry on, we got to the cricket pitch he was happy searching for treats that I was throwing when the gunshots were going, I could see that it was starting to bother him more so I clipped him back on the lead, and then he started pulling, but he was responding to me which last year he would'nt at all. Thankfully it was only a 5 min walk or so, but once he got back in doors the panting started it took him about 45 mins to calm down and he's been glued to my side since.
    Only 3 more months of this left, I guess I'll have to time it, if anyone has an idea of roughly what time shooting generally ends I would appreciate if you can let me know so I can take Buster out after then.
    I know Buster was stressed today but compared to last year he has done amazing i am so so proud of him. I don't know if it will continue or if he will go back to last year, just have to be positive and get through these next 3 months.
     
  11. Ski-Patroller

    Ski-Patroller Cooper, Terminally Cute Forum Supporter

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    Tilly doesn't react much to gun shots, but she reacts to firearms, even airguns, if they are close. She jumps up and down excitedly any time she sees them close by. She has never been hunting, and has never had close exposure to firearms being used, but she still goes crazy around them. I took both dogs into a sporting goods store a few months ago, and I forgot about Tilly's obsession. I was looking at a pistol, and had to put it away because she barked so much. (Cooper just sat there and watched) FWIW, she is pretty much the same around Laser devices.

    I took both Cooper and Tilly out to our Skeet and Trap range one time, and neither dog had much reaction, but we were probably 100' away from the shooters.
     
  12. Jes72

    Jes72 Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    We've had a dreadful time with Homer and his fear of bangs and noise. We've had to put him on medication since the start of November but he still reacts to fireworks. His reaction is not as bad as it was but he will still pase about and scratch at the carpet although I am able to distract him to some extent.

    His fear will make him anxious at times of day and places where he's heard bangs even if there aren't any at the time. Luckily we now should be at the end of the firework season.

    It's so horrible to see them scared. My thoughts are with you and Buster. I've written about H's fears an the thread 'Too scared to go outside'
     
  13. Helen

    Helen Registered Users

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    I have been following your thread from the beginning, yes thankfully hopefully at the end of the fireworks, and only 3 months till the end of the shooting season, I'm hoping all our hard work hasn't been undone from today's episode, he's asleep now, but has been glued to my side since we got in, I'll keep my fingers crossed.
     
  14. Jes72

    Jes72 Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Sometimes it's good to know you're not the only one struggling through.
     
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  15. T Reischl

    T Reischl Registered Users

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    I have been following this thread and empathize with you. Murphy (he is the the guy on the left) is not happy with gunshots.

    We are working with him very patiently and he is getting better. It used to be thunder and gunshots. I spent time with him every time we had a T storm, which is quite often during July and August here. He would take off for the bedroom. So I started going with him, sitting on the floor with him, talking softly and petting him. That seemed to work, now, if we are out playing and it starts to thunder he walks to the door to go in and does not hide in the bedroom anymore. I cannot blame him for that, stupid to stand out in a T storm. But he does not go hide anymore.

    Gunshots? Seems a bit trickier. Not easy to predict like the T Storms. But he is getting better. At first, any gunshot, no matter how far away caused him to head into the house, period. I tried the soothing, but it did not work, probably because once inside he no longer hears the gunshots. But, I figured out that he is completely bonkers about plastic bottles. So, I play ball with him, but if we hear a gunshot, I get out the plastic bottle. Takes him a bit but then he starts playing again. Nowadays he just ignores the more distant ones and does not react as badly to the closer ones.

    I was happy to see the info about those CD's! Going to look into them and give them a go. Appreciate that info being posted!

    When it comes to Murphy, it is all about making his life as happy as possible. He sure as heck works hard to make us happy, so we owe him that.
     
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