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environment I think, the way its introduced to the animal. of course other things can ruin him when he is young. i think a brand new pup with the attention it deserves you cant go wrong.
 

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imo, definitely environment. a puppy shouldn't be afraid of anything. if he is, it's because something has gone wrong in a certain situation. a pretty common mistake i have seen that causes gun shyness is people using loud "attention getters" during the discipline stages of training a dog. i.e. loud clap of the hands or smack on the table to get the dogs attention when he is doing something wrong, etc. avoid anything loud like this that will be preceeded by showing the dog your displeasure. i have raised 4 gun dogs. everyone of them were introduced to gun shots before the age of 10 weeks old. all except one only got curious of the noise and after 3 or 4 shots, were fine with it. the 4th, didn't even pay the noise a bit of attention at all. just my experience...
 

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Dogs are like any other animal, genetics play a large role in wether the dog is agressive or shy, as in all other things the environment that the dog is in and situations that it is exposed to impact it's genetic characteristics in different ways. This is no different than with you or any one else or any other animal species. So after saying all that, gun shyness in a dog can be due to a combination of genetics and environmental exposure. Can it be cured? In most cases it can be by conditioning but this can also make it worse if not done correctly. Best to check with a competent trainer/handler on the how tos.

Keep the sport alive, take a kid hunting / fishing.
 
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