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First time GSD owner...
Do your dogs instinctively know not to mess with a snake when they cross paths with one? Today Hans freaked out when he saw our John Deere tractor parked (not running) in a place it usually does not sit (barked, growled & acted afraid) YET the other day he was furiously digging at a lumpy place in the yard that I just assumed was home to a mole-until a couple days later saw a good sized black snake there. I actually thought his pursuit of the mole was kind of funny and took a picture. A bite from a black snake would hurt but we also have copperheads and water moccasins in our area. Now I'm worried! I'd hoped he would be afraid and not mess with them, but now I don't know. Is there anything to carry with me when we walk that can buy time until I can get him to a vet if he is bitten by a poisonous snake?

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Scarlett has a very distinct bark when she corners something in the yard. Like you, we have black racers, Eastern Garter Snakes and a known Copperhead in our yard. I know to go running with a shovel if I hear that bark. So far, Scarlett has only barked at them, but never stuck her face at them. I hope she doesn't.

I completely share your fear. I honestly do not believe she would leave them alone for long if I did not come running when I heard the bark. I am pretty sure she'd have her big nose right in the thick of it. She's a dog...it's what she does.

I think vigilance is our best defense. If you hear "that" bark. RUN, do not walk to find out what is going on.

When Scarlett cornered the Copperhead last May, I couldn't even see what she was barking at at first. That snake was SO hard to see. I pulled her into the house and when I came back with the shovel (not that I really wanted to have to take it to the snake...I HATE to kill them...even if they are poisonous) he/she was gone. I have been nervous this spring. I am trying to limit camouflage places and cover in my yard in hopes that the snake finds "greener pastures".
 

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They say it is not effective but most folks I know carry benedryl for immediately after the snake bite.

Dogs mainly get bitten when they are messing with the snake and not running through the woods. So anytime you see anything like this correct the dog sharply.

I do not believe antivenom is routine for a copperhead or water moccasin bite; I think antibiotics, fluids, and rest are. I've known several dogs personally who were bit by copperheads but not by water moccasins and they fared well. One was bit on the leg the others right on the nose.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Scarlettsmom,
SO glad she didn't tangle with that copperhead! On a walk with Hans, he literally leaves "no stone unturned". Of course, their tendency to search every little thing, sticking their noses in, around, under and through everything, not only makes them a pleasure to watch, but is what makes them such awesome SAR and police dogs.
Yes, I am going to have to be very watchful all of the time. Don't know if there's any truth to it, but have heard that putting lime down around the yard discourages snakes from coming around.


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Copperheads, me & the training field...
(But first let me remind you that it may well be illegal to kill a snake, venemous or not. Depends on your state. Here it is illegal to kill them.)
One year I rather often saw them - heading into the garage once, crossing the road a time or two. The most exciting time was when it had been raining and the youngster had been released from training & was running I reached down to pick up the 15 ft line. I looked to one side of my hand and there was a copperhead within 8 inches (I swear it was more like 4!), looked the other direction, and there was the tail of another!
I like snakes. They don't bother me but being that unexpectedly close to two venemous ones gave me a really weird feeling in my shoulders.
BTW we loaded up and left after that surprise.

Didn't phase the youngster. she was focused on a stick or running through the water.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Middleofnowhere,
That was pretty freaky seeing more than one that close. I am not really afraid of them as much as some people are. I am more afraid for Hans. Hopefully, keeping a close watch when we walk will prevent any snake problems. It is funny how fearless they can be about some things, while a parked tractor can cause such an issue. It took a lot of assurance and convincing on my part before he would finally approach the front tire to sniff it, lol.


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We have gotten a snapping turtle in our yard twice, dinner plate size, I don't know how they manage to get thru the fence! The gsds barked, but seemed to know not to get close. I got an empty dog food bag(I reuse them as trash bags!) kinda matuvered it into the sack with a broom and carried it out. We have seen a couple snakes but they either don't notice them or leave them alone. Hooch the pitbull, I don't know what he would do, I kind of think he would try to grab, so hope nothing comes along to find out! There's a field behind us so critters are around! Oh when the neighbors leave their trash can at the curb after dark the dogs will stand at the fence and bark looking that way! I assume it's the trash can!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Readaboutdogs,
That is funny that they bark at the trash cans! Ouch! I hope that snapping turtle never gets ahold of anybody.
Having been in a kennel a lot while with his previous owner, Hans seems fascinated by things our cow dog doesn't look twice at and scared to death of many things as well. Not only did the parked tractor scare him, but a cow walking up to the fence (and we weren't really close) caused him to Velcro himself to the side of my leg. Coyotes started really howling the other night just below our house and he just sniffed the air and kept on walking-go figure! I felt like running in the house, lol!


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There are coyotes in our area too! It's real dark at the back of our yard at night and sometimes I've heard what sounds like them yipping , it gives me the creeps too!
 

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It should be of concern to you!

Jack was bitten, unfortunately we didn't realize it until we called him in.

He was bitten in the thigh. Vet was surprised because most dogs are bitten in in the face when toying with them. His thight swelled to twice it's normal size and though he's fine now, he suffered muscle damage and will always limp.

And Jack is a big boy at 97 lbs.

Spring is the worst time as snakes have built up venom.

We still don't know what type of snake bit him, but living in Louisiana, it could have been most anything. We have all the venomous snakes.

I really hate them! Remember stepping on one barefooted and still shudder thinking about it!

I think they'd just have to lock me up because I'm pretty irrational on the subject and would get rid of things with no legs in my yard..
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Zyppi,
Sounds like he may have stepped on it. I am glad to hear he survived. We talked to some people once who live in the same general area as you with all of the venomous snakes and they said they put lime all around their yard to help keep snakes out. Have you ever heard of doing that?


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There is an anti-snake product that contains sulphur and the stuff that is in moth balls. For me, the problem is two fold...The stuff STINKS and what happens if there are already snakes in my yard?? They will be STUCK inside the boundary. Also, I don't want to discourage the good snakes (HUGE Eastern Garter Snake and an even bigger Black Racer). I have been busy cleaning out my flower beds, removing piles of leaves, pinecones and pine straw and hoping that with less "cover", I will not see Mr. Copperhead this summer. I also got rid of my big bird feeder. It attracted the critters that Mr. Copperhead preferred to eat. I miss the bigger birds, but now I have little Gold Finches, more Cardinals and some Black Cap Chickadees that frequent my thistle feeder. I do NOT miss the 1,000 Squirrels that used to drive Scarlett nuts.
 

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We have a lot of rattlesnakes here in California. Several people I've talked to have had great success with Snake Aversion training. We signed Walter up for the course this May.


Also, have you heard of snake "fences"?

 

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Hello no. I am terrified of snakes. Irrationally so. The thought of walking in the woods.....Yikes.

Snake traps. Like giant mouse glue traps in a box or tube. Catch a snake, take it somewhere else and release it by pouring vegetable oil on it.

Take it far, far away. Another country would be fine by me.
My pest control guy said six miles.

The granules are hit or miss.
 
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