You may be in trouble with Buddy if he is freaking out. Its very hard to unring the bell.
We train puppies to ignore the gun through careful introduction and repeated exposure. We have them get excited for the bird and blank far away and work it inward. Eventually, we get to blanking over the pup whenever a bird is flushed. Rather quickly, the dog associates the bang with birds. Now, she looks for the bird when she hears a shot.
My only advice would be to work birds without a bang to build his excitement for the bird. Next, start blanking behind your back when the bird is flushed. Start with small crimp charges and work your way up. If you can get the excitement to exceed the bang you may be able to turn him around. But, I am also no expert on dealing with this issue
Regarding the hunters safety course, I took the internet course last week which consumed about 6 hrs and the classroom course last Saturday which consumed 4 more hours. I highly recommend this combo over 12 hrs in a classroom. Less pain.
The internet course I recommend is:
For the classroom course, I think there is one nearby this Saturday if you can get in. Otherwise, you may need to wait until next year. Call these guys for info ASAP.
Hunter Ed Instructors conducting the course are:
- Gary Buffon - email@example.com
phone daytime 510-236-3862, Eve 510-236-7106
- Kevin Zimmerman – firstname.lastname@example.org