Snake avoidance training

Discussion in 'Cast & Blast' started by andrew, Jul 8, 2008.

  1. Has anyone out there done this with their dog?

    I would like to take my dog to the east side during the first part of the season, however, I'm worried that she may get bit by a snake...being that she is still sort of a puppy and gets into more trouble than good.

    I've heard or read or maybe even dreamed this...that you can have the dog vaccinated prior to.

    If I manage to get a hold of a snake and use the method of shocking the dog until she doesn't want to even come close to it...does it matter what kind of snake?

    Advice from you east side hunters?
  2. I know of no training you can do, have just resigned to letting my dog go and dealing with what comes.

    I don't hunt any more but do let her go explore on the gravel bars and along the banks when I'm fishing. I worried about it at first because there are a lot of rattlesnakes down here, but didn't think there was really any way to avoid it, so I just accept it and fish, then call her when it's time to jump back in the boat and move downstream.
  3. From their website:
    Red Rock Rattlesnake Vaccines defend your dog by creating an immunity that works right away to help neutralize the toxins. That's rattlesnake protection that will put you and your dog at ease.
  4. I have had only one encounter with the rattlesnake and the dog.
    Out at RF 3 years ago the dog and I were walking up the trail to fish another hole when I hear the snake buzz and see the dog on point, I told the dog to heel and left the snake alone.
    I have been living, hunting and fishing in rattlesnake country all my life, I say no worries mate.
    The last few years I have been leaving the dog at home when the weather gets snakey mostly to avoid the ticks.
    A good friend of mine did have his dog bitten by a rattler and it took 45 mins. to get to the vet, the dog was fine in a couple more hours.
    If you can get the Vaccine to carry with you saves the long ride to a vet.
  5. This should get you started..

    I've never had any encounters with snakes while hunting. Chukar hunting probably carries the most risk. It's pretty rare that a dog actually dies of a rattlesnake bite. Benedryl and a day or two at the vet's office and they're back to normal.

    Vaccines carry their own risks...
  6. CWU Girl,

    What started all of this is me asking a co-worker who went to WSU if Barstow has rattlers. I've booked that cabin you scooped me and a few others on for the second week of September, and that got me thinking about our two-fanged friend!

    I'm more worried about my three year old running into one than my dog, but hopefully Mom is watching like a'll be tough for Dad since he will be out fishing!

    Thanks though for the link...and as you pointed out that it seems more relevant to hunting chukar; which hopefully I will do this year...just have to find another able bodied person to hunt with if I'm going out into the big country.
  7. I've hunted the east side of the state for 30 yrs. and have only run into a handful of rattlers while hunting. Although it's definitely a risk, it's not one I'd lose sleep over.
  8. I had my lab trained by this method in Arizona, and it has been effective for 9 years and counting. I now offer the training here in Eastern Washington.
  9. X2 Do the same. Avoid areas early season known to hold a lot of snakes. Carry anti-histamine and if hunting far from home call ahead and loccate out a 24 hr Vet in the area in case of emergencies.
  10. Is your dog collar conditioned and / or force fetched? That basis of training will go a long way towards helping the dog in snake avoidance training.

    Personally I just watch the temps and avoid hunting when it is "snaky", as Gary suggested.

    Also, from researching this for my own dogs through vets on the East side it appears that the Red Rock vaccine is not a magic bullet - that venom is often not the main issue but site infection from the bacteria from snakes. I was set up with oral and injectable anti-biotic for that, and also carry Benedryl as a sedative. However one of the things that The Red Rocks vaccine seems to avoid is expensive anti-venom. The follow-up after the bite is less costly. The vets that I spoke to also indicated that the particular population / sub-species of rattler in E WA is far less venomous then say the diamondbacks in TX.

    As far as rattlers around a cabin and your little one, I'd suggest that you set-up a "play perimeter" and spend 30 minutes stomping around and creating a lot of commotion every day. Snakes generally like to be left alone - like bears and wolves.

    I think that we should start a post on the best gun for snake defense.
  11. I've hunted and lived here for decades, seen a couple of snakes hunting, a few others,, never seen my dog show interest. You'd be better off considering porcupine avoidance training, which I accomplish after the fact with a pair of pliers on my tailgate.
  12. I had my GWP snake avoidance trained, and then repeated up a couple years later for reinforcement. He was curious and wanted to check out the snake at the first training station the first time he went through training. But he gave very wide birth to the snake by the time he got to the last training station.

    For what its worth, and it is somewhat obvious, I've been told to ask what species of rattlesnakes are being used in the training. Not sure how you'd verify/validate unless, maybe, you were a herpetologist. In CA we have 8 different species of rattlers.
  13. Well, hunting for 31 years in the basin I have run into rattlesnakes every year. I have known several dogs that were killed by rattlesnakes.

    Here is what my vet told me. The vaccine's are questionable. He has seen two vaccinated dogs that were bit. One looked like he never got bit, the other looked like death though he did survive. He did not recommend the vaccines though he did give my dog the shot at my request.

    His recommendation was avoidance training. He said rattlesnakes stink. Every dog knows that there is a snake around by the odor. Dogs get bit because they are curious. He said to take a dead rattlesnake and place it where the dog will find it. Set the shock collar on max and when the dog approaches the snake shock him.

    One day I found a dead, flattened rattlesnake in my driveway and did the avoidance thing with my dog. Not sure if it works. I ran into a snake bird hunting later that year and the dog did not react. Not sure if he ever saw the snake, but I did. At least he did not run over to the snake. I am sure you can train a dog to avoid snakes, but it might take more than one "shock". My dog views the shock collar as a mild annoyance.

    So here is my best rattlesnake story. New pup, about four months old. I come home at dusk and the wind is just howling. So I take the dog across the street into the sage so he can take a piss. I am standing in the middle of the street, when I hear a noise that I heard before, but cannot quite place it. So I walk over to the dog and see that he has raised his leg and is pissing on a rattlesnake. The rattlesnake left the neighborhood after that.....I am sure muttering under his breath.

    He does leave porcupines alone. Well, except for the one time in heavy cover when I thought it was a bird and told him to fetch it. I don't know if has forgiven me for that.
  14. Dansley, saw your article in the world today; we'll be taking you up on a refresher for our two goldens-they went through it a few years ago in Sonoma, CA and could probably use an update!

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