Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Exposure to Gunfire

The other day we were outside and heard a loud gunshot from next door - my neighbor sighting in his deer rifle. Winnie didn't react at all to the first shot. The second one got her thinking about going inside, though not in a panic or anything. So I took the opportunity to grab her favorite dummy (no, not Gromit!) and play some fetch. A few more shots, good non-reactions to each, and we called it a day. Good, positive session, especially considering I hadn't planned it.

So tonight I brought the 12 gauge blanks I got recently over to my neighbor's and had him fire some shots while I was playing with Winnie in our yard. Forgive the video, but I was texting my neighbor to signal for the shots, trying to take video, throw the dummy and give her a treat here and there as well. The shots came from the other side of a treeline - actually the first came from the far side of his house, the others just a treeline and maybe 75 yards away.

Because I was using a text message to signal, I didn't know exactly when the shot would come - which I think was good, because it was very random - sometimes while she chased, sometimes on her way back to me, and sometimes when she was sitting and waiting. In the video you'll see three retrieves. No shot on the first one. The shot on the second retrieve she reacts to by looking to her right briefly (the shot came from directly behind me). It was just a curious glance but you can see she didn't slow down or change direction at all. I view this as pretty positive.

On the next one - which was the fifth and last shot of the session - I was maybe pushing my luck but things were going well so I threw this dummy toward the shooter, who is just beyond the treeline you see in the background. Probably fifty yards from the shot, no reaction I could detect. She dropped the dummy early but that's normal after fetching a few too many times in one outing.

So considering my plan was to work on this from a similar distance using .22 blanks, in just two days we've moved up quite a bit in our progress! The 12 gauge was loud and not very distant today. And I am hopeful - optimistic even - that if I continue being patient and get closer in small increments, we'll be able to get through this very important step in our training!


Peg said...

I just love seeing her out here having fun!
I don't see were you and Winnie are going to have any problem with the gun fire-good job-Peg

Ed. said...

Thanks Peg! I'm nervous about it but it seems to be going very well. I'll continue to be careful!