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Old 02-01-2013, 10:27 PM   #31 (permalink)
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teach your dog to stay away from rattlers. i know, how do
you do that? there's electronic decoys (snake like) that
you teach your dog to stay away from. the dog wears
an e-collar. when he nears rattle sound he gets a shock.
i'm not sure if a vibration is used.
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:39 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear GSD View Post
Rowdydogs, thanks for the response. I didn't realize what went into snake aversion training,
I'm not sure I could go through it with my dog. I think I might want to sit in on one and decide whether it is something I could do.
It's always a good idea to sit in and watch first and talk to 'dog people' to get recommendations. Some trainers are good, some are awful.
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Old 02-02-2013, 09:03 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Abi is doing great, thanks for the good wishes. She's a little rock star!

I'd definitely recommend sitting in on a training session before signing up and forking over money for it (I actually recommend that for any training class though). I've had really good experiences with rattlesnake training, but I've also heard some horror stories about extremely heavy-handed trainers. If a trainer won't let you watch, especially for something like rattlesnake training that requires specialized equipment that's more costly than the course itself (so it's not like you'd learn how to do it by watching and then run off to do it on your own), then that's a big red flag IMO.

I'm really a very positive trainer and I really avoid physical correction of any sort whenever possible, and I still didn't have a problem with the training I did. It wasn't fun, I will tell you that--not terrible, but normally I really enjoy training my dogs, and the rattlesnake training wasn't one of those times. But I didn't feel abusive or anything. To me, it was like a medical procedure--I've caused my dogs plenty of pain and discomfort that I'm sure they didn't understand (spay/neuter, vaccinations, removing my GSD's hind dew claws which were just connected by skin, dental cleanings, microchip insertions, etc.), but was necessary or at least advisable in the long run for the well-being of the dog. Rattlesnake training is in the same category for me--it's not something I'd ever do just for the heck of it, but if I deem the risk of a bite serious enough, it's worth it to cause my dogs temporary discomfort to protect them in the future. I hope that makes sense.

I also hope your snake season isn't too bad...I hope that for everyone, though! FWIW, I'd almost worry more about the prairie dogs than the snakes. It's a bigger concern in NM than CO (though it still happens up there), but prairie dogs are the biggest plague carriers around. Well, their fleas are to be accurate. It's not a concern for your dog, but it could be very unpleasant for you if he manages to carry a flea home, which can happen even with preventatives. It's actually not hard to catch the plague, it's just that with modern medicine you only die from it if your immune system is compromised or if you don't get treatment quickly.

I'm not doubting you at all, but I'm a little surprised that bites are common. I lived in Wellington (just north of Fort Collins) for years and was in a big rattlesnake nesting/migration/something area (I never saw so many baby rattlers in my life), and we had our dogs off leash all the time and I only heard of one bite in all that time. The dog did nearly die as venom was injected, but prompt vet treatment saved him, and I know it took them at least half an hour to get vet treatment as that was literally quickest you could get to a vet short of teleportation. And in southern NM where I saw a freakish amount of adult rattlers and also no one fenced, supervised or leashed their dogs (ok slight exaggeration, some people had livestock fencing that snakes can get through easily), I never knew a dog to get bit. I know it happens, but I knew far more to be killed by coyotes, lost, or hit by cars than killed by snakes.

And again, I'm not trying to downplay the danger--a snakebite is definitely a serious thing, and dogs do die from them. It's just that of all the things that can happen to my dogs when we're hiking off-leash in snake country, the snakes are pretty low on my list of concerns. Letting your dog off-leash in an open area is always dangerous, but IMO snakes get a bad rap. Or at least the western diamondbacks do, since some species are more aggressive than others to be fair.
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Old 07-24-2013, 12:18 PM   #34 (permalink)
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i know this is old thread but to put in some more info my vet recommended against the vaccine because the effectiveness is debatable according to her. She says less than 50% of rattler bites actually get venom into a dog because of their bony leg structure. I also asked my dads friend who is retired but was the head of CSU vet for many yrs and he says the vaccine is totally unnecessary. he lives in a high rattler area and uses his dogs for hunting and he actually carries a vial of antivenom with him, I realize not many people can do this. He said his dog has been bit 2x and only once he had to treat with antivenom. At the dog park the other day people were talking about a class where the dogs get fitted with ecollars and exposed to rattlers with fangs removed and when the rattler bites the dog they get hit with a high stim level and then the dog is done with snakes forever. everyone who went raved about the effectiveness.
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Old 07-24-2013, 12:23 PM   #35 (permalink)
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[QUOTE=skier16;3913937 At the dog park the other day people were talking about a class where the dogs get fitted with ecollars and exposed to rattlers with fangs removed and when the rattler bites the dog they get hit with a high stim level and then the dog is done with snakes forever. everyone who went raved about the effectiveness.[/QUOTE]

That is the exact training that will be provided for my blood tracking dog. I decided to enroll my GSD as well, even though he isn't a tracker, he is exposed to the enviornment where he could come across snakes. I've spoke to folks who put their dogs through the training yearly. They swear by it. In fact, they say if your dog suddenly veers way off track, you need to follow your dog!!!
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Old 07-24-2013, 02:06 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Talked with another SAR person who carries dexamethasone, injectable benadryl, and adrenaline in her pack. Thinking of seeing if I can get those from my vet for our woods adventures.

If we had had a bite this past weekend there would have been a world of trouble. 20 minute hike get to the 4WD "mule" vehicles, and a 20 minute drive to a parking lot where a helicopter could possibly land. And assuming the person was bit, it might be 40 minutes plus to get a stokes basket TO them.

The copperheads were not to worry but there was a huge timber rattler on the trail.

None of our team dogs have the vaccine. I don't think most SAR folks do though the ones out west tend to do avoidance training. More common for the dog running by to "wake up" the snake and put it on the defense and the handler to get bit.
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Old 07-24-2013, 03:34 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Universities do not recommend this vaccine due to the possibility of adverse reactions.
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Old 07-24-2013, 08:49 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skier16 View Post
She says less than 50% of rattler bites actually get venom into a dog because of their bony leg structure.
So do rattlers only bite the legs?? What about the face if the dog attacks it or the snake lunges??
Our snakes over here have no trouble killing a dog by biting it's legs.....probably has more to do with how much venom a rattlesnake injects and how potent the venom is rather than where it bites the dog.
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