When puppies are surprised by loud noises, they may become shy for life. Prevent this by teaching yours that violent sounds mean something good is about to happen. Here’s how:

Step 1: Ding the Dinner Dish. This may scare him, but he will immediately overcome his initial fear as he dives into his bowl. Move on to step 2 when he starts wagging his tail at the sound.

Step 2: Make Unexpected Noises (such as slamming a door) while the pup is eating. The pleasure of food will outweigh his surprise.

Step 3: Pump Up the Volume. From a distance, bang a garbage-can top, then bring the dog his dinner. Get closer each day until you can clang the lid at his kennel door without scaring him.

Step 4: Fire a .22 Blank at a range of 50 yards with the muzzle pointed away from the pup, then give him dinner. As the dog learns that the shot means suppertime, gradually shorten the distance until you can pull the trigger within a few yards of him.

Step 5: Shoot a Light 20-Gauge when the pup is some distance away chasing a bird or a dummy. Don’t shoot over him at close range until he has learned to associate the sound with the pleasure of seeing a dummy being thrown for him to retrieve.

Photograph courtesy of Andre Spieker/Unsplash