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Soon after the shooting season ended, Talbot asked if I had a young dog ready to shoot over as there were a reasonable amount of rabbits on David's beat. Although Scout was only about nine months old, I thought he was ready for this experience. David Jones was invited along as we were going on his beat. I began to work Scout through some gorse and bramble on the outside of the woods. David and Talbot were shooting for me. I was quite satisfied with the way Scout was hunting for such a young dog. I put Scout in a bank of gorse that was about 20 yards outside the edge of a conifer wood. Soon a rabbit made a dash for the woods. It was rolled over with one shot. Talbot asked where my dog was. I looked in the gorse and Scout was sitting from where the rabbit came. I cast him out of the gorse. He hit the foot scent of the rabbit and made a very straightforward retrieve. It was absolutely ideal for a young dog's first experience of having game shot over it.

"I am a firm believer that any dog that is gun-shy is that way because of training mistakes - rather than anything inherently wrong with the dog."

Then we moved into the conifer woods. There were fallen trees and brush along the bottom of the woods where the pheasants were flushed from when we were shooting. I put Scout into the cover for sitting rabbits. David and Talbot placed themselves strategically along rides cut in the woods so they could get a shot at any rabbits that ran off. It was a bit like driven rabbits. Every now and then, while I was working Scout, a shot would go off. The problem was that the shots were going off randomly and they were startling Scout. The shots were not associated with game in Scouts mind and he was getting worried. He did not pack up, but I knew if I didn't sort this out quickly and carried on as we were, I could have problems with Scout and gunshot.

Some years previous, a similar thing happened with a dog that I was training. I unwisely thought the dog would work through it. Instead, he became totally gun-shy. It took some considerable work to get him over it. Later, he did become a Canadian Field Trial Champion and would actually get fired up by the sound of gunshot. I am a firm believer that any dog that is gun-shy is that way because of training mistakes - rather than anything inherently wrong with the dog. Dogs that are sensitive to gunshot need to associate the shot with game and retrieves.

The next day I decided that I would take Scout out by myself - so I would have total control of when the shot was fired. My plan was to work Scout along the edge of the lake. Usually, somewhere along the pastures that bordered the lake, a hare could be found. I decided I would work Scout until he found a hare and then I would try to shoot it for him as the hare ran across the open pasture. I was not coming back until Scout found a hare - even if it took all morning.

I had been working Scout for 300 or 400 yards along the lake when suddenly he made game and pushed a hare off its seat. As I blew the hup whistle, Scout had already started to hup. I let the hare run about 25 yards and shot. Luckily, the hare rolled over. I kept Scout hupped for 30 seconds or more. His eyes were glued on the hare lying in the pasture. Eventually I sent him for the retrieve. He came back with his first hare - without incident. I put the hare into my game bag and cast Scout off. He was flying. I ran him for another 50 yards or so and quickly fired a shot in the air. Scout

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