A little shy around guns

The team had a few friends over recently for some wine, food and shooting. We had four guns and two hand throwers for the clay pigeons.

John, "Stringbean" takes aim with his Remmington 870, while Bennie, "Flapjack" mans the thrower.     John, "Stringbean" takes aim with his Remmington 870, while Bennie, "Flapjack" mans the thrower.

John, "Stringbean" takes aim with his Remmington 870, while Bennie, "Flapjack" mans the thrower. John, "Stringbean" takes aim with his Remmington 870, while Bennie, "Flapjack" mans the thrower.

There’s a relaxing excitement in following the graceful arc of a clay with your shotgun and then dusting the target. You get into a rhythm, and hit a streak of targets, and you just feel rooted, zoned in. Christine says there’s almost nothing she finds as exhilarating as shooting clays. (And for all you gun haters, remember there are no cute and fluffy little animals getting killed by these mean guns.)

Unfortunately, our lab CoCo has always been a little gun shy. He was so shy that even when I pulled my shotgun out of the gun safe to clean it he would start barking and whining. Because we moved out to the country and plan to do more shooting, Christine and I decided it was time to train CoCo to get over his shyness.

I did a little bit of research and determined the best plan would be to associate gun shots with something CoCo loves above all else: food. The training regimen  was simple, at every feeding I shot off a gun. I started with my relatively quite air rifle before moving on to my .22 rifle. I was soon able to shoot off a whole 10 round clip from the .22 without CoCo flinching. And instead of freaking out, when he sees a gun now, he wags his tail.

CoCo's thinking, "Hey's where's my grub?"

CoCo's thinking, "Hey where's my grub?"

He’s not completely over his aversion to loud noises, but we’ve seen a remarkable improvement.

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