Snake Avoidance Training
Living in Texas with dogs bred to hunt, it’s a sure bet that you or your dogs will encounter a poisonous snake. My yellow labs, Lulubelle-8 and Daisy-11, both graduated from Snake Avoidance Training (S.A.T.) by the time they were a year old. It’s a good way to ensure your best friend doesn’t stick his/her nose into a rattlesnakes business.
S.A.T. is simple; the trainer puts a shock collar on your dog, the only time I have ever allowed one on my dogs. The dog is put in a pen with a live defanged rattler. When the dog gets within striking distance and the rattler lunges at the dog, the trainer gives the dog a good shock at the moment of the strike. Fortunately, my dogs got the idea the first time. I don’t think I could watch my girls take the hit a second time. The collars were taken off and never put on again. Sometimes a refresher course may be needed.
Twice, this training has kept me from tangling with a rattler. Lulubelle encountered a rattler shortly after her training, which may have saved me from a snake bite. She was ahead of me on a seldom traveled trail, with lots of growth. She went on point…that tail went up as did the hair on her back. She didn’t bark, but made a nervous growl. There was a 6 foot long rattler curled ready to strike. She made me aware of the snake’s presence, but made no attempt to go near it. We both made a wide detour and my girl earned her treat.
Don’t try this yourself—ask your vet, breeder, or check with a hunting club. Hire a trainer with lots of experience in S.A.T. See my next blog about snake proofing your dogs.