If a dog isn’t exposed to loud noises when still a puppy, it’s not uncommon for it to develop a fear of fireworks and loud bangs as it gets older. This is even more serious with gundogs who should be trained from a young age that the sight of a gun will bring pleasure and not fear of a loud bang.
When training a young gundog, it’s essential they learn that loud bangs are not scary and should be ignored. The best way to do this is to associate something pleasant with the explosions.
A reader wrote to Shooting Times looking for advice on curing their puppy’s firework fear. An expert advised the reader to adopt a careful desensitisation process to cure firework fear in adult gundogs. An example was given of a six-year-old labrador bitch that was terrified of explosions and cured by sound immersion. She was taken to a fireworks display and for an hour she was fed a nugget of food at each bang. Her fear vanished for good!
It’s also worth considering a visit to the vet to make sure there are no health reasons why the dog may shy away from explosions, such as an infection that could make loud noises painful.
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My gundog puppy is too scared to train after attack!