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Any tips/advice to make sure my Vizsla isn't gun shy?

He is 11 months old, and I doubt he will be afraid of the gun noise, but I'm not sure since he's never been around them.

He has been around fireworks (very close & loud), and had no problem. In fact, he wanted to play with them...

I have also popped loud bubble packaging material right by him at random times, and it doesn't scare him. I read that doing these types of random loud noises can help (like a cork gun).

There is one thing he is scared of from the prior owner, like nail clippers & the dremel/grinding tool to grind down his nails. When he sees or hears these types of tools, he gets scared. This concerns me, as I don't want him to associate gun noise with anything bad...like he does with nail clippers.

My plan was to make sure he is having a very fun time, chasing/pointing birds, etc. before I fire a gun fairly far away from him, then give him a treat and congratulations. I'd love to have some real/live birds, but where I go to shoot & hunt, there's no guarantee there will be live birds at a given time.

Any thoughts/tips?
 

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They have a video on how to introduce dog to gunfire.

 

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Duster73.

Nice Internet name. We had a 73 Gold Duster when I was a kid.
I started the same process you're about to start a few months back with my dog, who was pretty much the same age as your pup. I tried to keep it one thread, but it ended up in two threads,
Intro to the gun was a total success!!! and here Some mornings,,,,,

My method has always been slow moving. I don't want anything to really upset them. I probably start 75 to 100 yards away on planted Quail and just move it in closer each week. I actually had to wait until opening day of squirrel season to carry a shotgun and fire it on public access land. If you have any access at all to private land, go all in on that option.I actually used up a bunch of old #71/2 light target loads, but dummies and blanks are also available.
Once the quail are planted, I just let the dog "bump them". I'm not trying to teach whoa, or steady to wing and shot at this time. I want the dog completely focused on the birds. I always fire away from the dog, and into the ground for safety. Once they hit that first bird, and then the second, they should be in all out hunt mode.
If you have anyone at all that can help you, it goes so much easier. Even if all they do is go out and release some pen raised birds for you, so that you can then you come through with the dog. I had been putting quail out in spurts since late May, and some other folks were also doing the same thing, so for a lot of the summer I had birds to work Finn over, until I could introduce the gun.
It probably took me a good 6 weeks of gun work, September 3rd to Oct 17, before I shot the gun over Finn's head on opening day. I also used a dummy launcher, so there is that sound also the dog has to get used to. It is an effective tool, but the gun intro should happen first.
Go slow, watch the dog, Invest in some quail and poultry carriers if that is an option, and just take your time.
I always consider a dogs first season as a "freebie". If they get any birds at all, it's a success and a bonus.
Finn and I are in the process of teaching each other how we both work afield. That's what the first season is all about for me, learning to communicate with the dog.;)
 
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