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Snake-proofing clinic

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  • Snake-proofing clinic

    For anyone who lives in or regularly visits areas with rattlesnakes, snake-proofing is extremely valuable training!

    FW POST:

    For those of you in Northern California there is a K-9 RATTLESNAKE AVOIDANCE CLINIC
    Date July 10 and 11th,2010
    Location Dixon May Fair Grounds 655 S.First St, Dixon ,CA for info or to make an appointment call 707-678-0785
    This clinic is being sponsored by the No.Calif. Alaskan Malamute Assoc

  • #2
    Just thinking about having to do that gives me the creeps!
    Equine Massage Therapy Classes and Rehab for Horses


    • #3
      I was really interested in them once but then read about a JR that was just wrecked from one of these clinics. Seems like it would be really a great thing if it works. Maybe that one person holding that clinic didn't know what he was doing. Said it made the JR go from a typical JR to wanting to hide from people for months. Years ago I thought about going out west to attend one of these. Have you been to one? What goes on in them? I've also heard that they do a great job. Just don't know anyone who's actually taken part in one.
      Producing horses with gentle minds & brilliant movement!


      • #4
        What are they teaching you? To secure your barn? Or to be safe on the trail? Or both? Why would you need a clinic, or in other words, is it worth attending?

        A fellow boarder had a major rattlesnake incident on the trail a few weeks ago. Horse got bitten in the leg and is only slowly recovering... Very traumatic for all involved, even us who weren't there. So I may need some rattlesnake-proofing ;(


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by Whitfield Farm Hanoverians View Post
          Maybe that one person holding that clinic didn't know what he was doing.
          Apparently so! I've never heard of any adverse result such as your example, and snake-proofing clinics are not unusual. I do know people who've taken part in them (fortunately, no rattlers in my area and I rarely or never travel to areas where they might be found) and would have heard if they knew of trainers or methods to steer clear of, or it would be discussed on the dog lists if it was an issue. My guess is that the person at the JRT's clinic had absolutely no clue and VERY poor timing on corrections!

          What are they teaching you? To secure your barn? Or to be safe on the trail? Or both? Why would you need a clinic, or in other words, is it worth attending?
          Lieselotte - It's posted as a *K-9 RATTLESNAKE AVOIDANCE CLINIC* sponsored by a Malamute club. For dogs. If you trail ride with dogs in areas with rattlers, or if there are rattlers around your barn, it's *definitely* a very worthwhile type of training! The dog is trained to AVOID rattlers, not approach, attack (guarding their owner), or even try to play with one. I believe the dog is generally trained to ALERT YOU to the presence of the snake so you won't ride or walk near it, and you can move your horses --or the snake -- safely away.

          I recently heard of someone who recommends clicker-training for teaching snake-avoidance and a fake snake with a tape-recorded rattle. Reeeeeally NOT the way to do it!!!!

          Most snake-proofing trainers work the dogs on electronic collars and have live snakes safely contained in cages so that the dogs will get the *actual* rattle and scent and learn to avoid snakes even if they aren't in plain sight (many times they aren't, of course!). The dogs learn very quickly yet safely not to tangle with that intriguing, moving, smelly, toy-like *stick*.

          While refresher training every couple of years or so is a good idea, the dog will get the point after one session. Different kinds of snakes have very different scents apparently, so it may be worth doing refresher training with other kinds of poisonous snakes (which, as I understand it, smell quite different from non-poisonous varieties) so the dog learns their scents as well.


          • #6
            Thanks for explaining, Passiton! I totally missed the K-9/Canine thing, read right over that... And I know very little about dog breeds, I'm a horse person!
            For all I know, Malamute is something you take when you don't feel well


            • #7
              We did one of these with our dog when we moved to Snake Central. It was incredibly worthwhile and I'm very grateful. It was put on by the local humane society and conducted by a dog handler working in conjunction with snake experts. Yes, our dog did wear a shock collar for his session and I freaked out about that. But to this day, six years later, he has never once gone after a rattlesnake and to this day, he lets me know when one is in the vicinity (in contrast, he yawns at gopher and king snakes). They told us at the session that rattlesnakes have a unique smell - not entirely sure if that's true or not. Lucky still thinks twice about approaching buckets (each rattlesnake was underneath a bucket).
              R.I.P. Ollie (2007-2010) You were small in stature but huge in spirit. You will never be forgotten.

              Godspeed, Benjamin (1998-2014). A life well-lived. A horse well-loved.


              • #8
                Our local bird dog club has been putting those clinics on every August and over 100 dogs go thru them every year, without any one being stressed or much less traumatized.

                Some people go a second time to be sure it took and the dogs don't even want to get close to any snake, so they do remember very well.

                They put a few rattlers they have taken the venom out under a tree and some bushes and have people in charge of being sure the snakes stay there.
                A handler puts a shock collar on the dog, with a long cord line and lets the dog roam around.

                When the dog sees the snake and goes to approach it, he shocks it and the dog generally just jumps back and keeps looking at the snake like "WHAT WAS THAT!"

                The trick is in the perfect timing of the shock, so the dog relates that to the snake.
                I have never seen the handler miss, not once, it is easy, if you know what you are doing.

                They walk the dog around and some dogs take a couple of shots, before they won't approach a snake, some that first time is enough, they won't get close to one.

                My little 10# rat terrier has been bitten twice, the second one almost killed her.
                Then we went thru the snake proofing day and when she looked at the snakes and started approaching them, she was shocked and just jumped back.
                After that, every snake we find she jumps back and I reinforce that and at 4 1/2 years has not been bitten again and I think only if she came on a snake she didn't see or smell she would be bitten, because now she won't get close to one at all, just bark warns.

                Around here, even in town, they find rattlers and dogs get bitten in their own yards.
                Most anyone in rattler country, like we are here, should consider that kind of training, as it may save your dog's life.

                I had seen that before, but when it was MY dog, I was a nervous wreck, but it was a non event, as I knew it was supposed to be.
                They were several other little dogs, some pure lap dogs, one toy poodle that had been bitten in his own yard and still walked up to the snakes, didn't learn from the snake bite itself, but sure learned from the shock to stay away after that.

                You would think the dogs would be traumatized, but they seem to understand that it was the snakes that did it, not any other and stand around after that looking around and interacting with other people and dogs just like they did before the shock.

                I would go watch, to be sure whoever is doing it knows what they are doing and if so, I would think it is one more way to keep your dog safe at little cost to the dog.


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by Lieselotte View Post
                  For all I know, Malamute is something you take when you don't feel well
                  OMG!!! Thanks for the laugh, Lieselotte!!!! (Shhh, don't tell the Mal folks.) So you know what breed I'm talking about, here are some cute Alaskan Malamute puppy photos: http://www.akc.org/breeds/alaskan_malamute/photos.cfm

                  They told us at the session that rattlesnakes have a unique smell - not entirely sure if that's true or not.
                  Yes, I've heard that pit vipers do indeed have a unique smell, so the dog will avoid pit vipers after training with a rattlesnake but won't respond to harmless snakes the same way. Although, hopefully, the dog will think twice about trying to play with *any* kind of *moving stick*!

                  I don't know if they do snake-proofing with any other kind of snake besides pit vipers, I think that category includes most (but not all) of the poisonous snakes found in this country. I don't know if they ever use, say, coral snakes for instance.
                  Last edited by Passiton; Jun. 17, 2010, 08:59 AM. Reason: Add link


                  • #10
                    My dog warns to any snake the same way, she is not about to get close to any stick that moves, just in case it may reach out and touch her too.


                    • Original Poster

                      Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                      My dog warns to any snake the same way, she is not about to get close to any stick that moves, just in case it may reach out and touch her too.
                      Hmmm. I could have sworn my friend told me that her dog ignored but DID give a wide berth to a harmless snake (don't recall what kind, probably king or black) he came across, while he alerted strongly to rattlers after training. Of course, she told me this years ago, so maybe the details are getting a bit fuzzy, or maybe some dogs distinguish type of snake and some dogs don't. Dunno on that point.


                      • #12
                        How timely - I went into the barn to feed tonight. I usually feed Nakota in the center aisle, which I use as a run-in, and Irish and Peanut eat outside. Nakota ran in in front of me, and just as I was about to cross the threshold I heard a rattle and saw the rattlesnake right in the doorway. It was probably about 3' long. It rattled and hissed and went into one of the stalls. Nakota came out (more annoyed that I hadn't followed her in and given her dinner). She ate outside tonight.

                        It's almost a year to the day since there was a rattlesnake in my front yard, just a few feet from the house.

                        Unfortunately, Tennessee is a long way from California.



                        • #13
                          I killed a bigger rattler yesterday, between the house and barn.
                          I had been hand weeding around the propane tank and found a rabbit hole.
                          I wondered then if a snake had also found it.
                          I guess I disturbed it somewhere around there and next I know, it was meandering right almost into the hay barn.
                          I finally got it with a shovel about 10' from the barn, where I would not have found it in the hay.

                          Those rattlers around the buildings are like playing russian roulette, sooner or later they will bite someone.
                          Don't like to kill them, but like it less if some critter or human was bitten because I didn't.

                          My friend's dog, that helps him with farm chores every morning, was bitten on a toe on a hind leg three weeks ago early one morning.
                          It was still a little dark and he doesn't think he saw the snake.
                          It looks like he is going to lose part of that leg, don't know quite yet, but it doesn't look good.