Snake-proof Training vs. Vaccination


Not to be confused with Freestone
My neighbors GWP got bit last month while over in Columbia Basin...said it was the first time ever in all the years he's owned/hunted his dogs. He was bit in the shoulder, it swelled up pretty good and was taken to a local vet for a healthy dose of antihistamine. The dog is OK and was back out hunting the following week. He mentioned that he was going to sign-up for a "snake-proof" class (should think maybe the dog now has a new respect for snakes -- real live training :eek:). I just did a little research on this and there are some who say its a good thing to do, while others are pretty emphatic that it is not. Some suggest vaccination only. As most all my hunting will be upland and in snake country, would like to hear from the forum on this topic.

Alex MacDonald

that's His Lordship, to you.....
We had ours snakeproofed some years ago, and it seems to work. I for the life of me can't see how a vaccination would work against protein compounds, but hopefully somebody with a science background will chime in here.


Not to be confused with Freestone
Thanks for the reply Alex... 90 views and no responses had me starting to think I had opened a taboo subject matter...which, as everyone on the forum knows, I never do. Ruby gets her last set of shots this week and the quarantine period is over. I plan to ask our vet about the vaccination.
I chose not to give my dog the vaccine and avoid hunting in E. WA until it cools off. As for snake avoidance training all the snake bite stories I have heard involve a dog on the run and training would not have helped. That said I am comfortable using my e-collar so I plan on doing some training next year with a live snake. My 3 year old GSP runs hard and ranges far so the only real solution in my opinion is to reduce the probability of a snake bite and be prepared with local vets number.

There are a lot of posts on the Hunting Washington Forum from people with a lot more experience and knowledge than me. Worth checking out.


Not to be confused with Freestone
Our vet said she has only had about a dozen requests for the vaccine and that, in her opinion, they are about a 50/50 proposition as to affecting the outcome (rattlesnake venom). The other articles I've read supports what Brett said; that the majority of bites happen while the dog is on the run. Also that only about 20% of bites are fatal.

So, putting the two together suggests that the snake-proof training is of little benefit and the vaccine offers little improvement... that carrying a few Benadryl pills and having a list of vet clinics in the area you will be hunting/training is probably as good.