It's ironic that hunting dogs are paradoxically panic stricken at the sound of a sudden, loud pop....it's that Vizsla sensitivity thing again.
When they're trained to hunt, there's a protocol that's used to acclimate them to the gun shot...one of our hunters could go into detail about it...but it's basically shooting a blank at a distance from them, and then selectively rewarding calmness and ignoring anxiety, and then moving the shot closer to them as they show tolerance. You can try to the same thing by dropping a book to the floor, and training her to tolerate and accept the accompanying noise.
Agreed. It is very ironic. There is a story behind our V. I never was a hunter. Not my cap of tea, you see. Maybe also because I was born and raised in a country where hunting in old days was restricted to selected few. Anyways, when we got our V, I was encouraged to give her a chance to do, what this particular breed was bread to do, hunting.
At 9 months old, we went outside of town with some of my hunting friends. Not only was she not afraid of shooting, she was also investigating what we are shooting at. Wow, I thought, this dog is truly not gun shy. So, went thru proper courses and certifications to become a hunter for her. I got really drawn into hunting, and actively hunt every year since. Our V however, the very next season, when we were ready to start proper training, decided that she DOES NOT want to have anything to do with shooting and any sort of firearms for that mater. It almost broke my heart , when after couple of shots that day, she would not only panic, but also run to the car and hid underneath of the steering column, trembling in fear and ready to die.
After discussing it with people who knew something about gun dogs, I gave it a try couple more tries with small caliber, muzzle break and even subsonic ammo, to keep the noise to minimum. Nothing worked. That was the end for her hunting days as I would not force her and make things worse. Mind you, she is still very happy to go on any sort of expedition into the bush, be that camping, scouting or trail cam checks, as long as no guns are involved, and truth be told, that's fine by me.