German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
102 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Does anybody have any feedback regarding rattlesnake avoidance training or taught their own pup rattlesnake avoidance? When my pup gets older, I'm going to start hiking with her and eventually she will be off the leash when hiking. An encounter with a rattlesnake is likely. I'm likely going to get her the rattlesnake vaccine, but even then my Vet said they still have to be brought in for emergency and sometimes still need antivenin. Knowing how expensive that is, I think it's worth my time and money to seek out training for avoidance.

Does anybody have any experience going to training or training their pups rattlesnake avoidance? Would using fake snakes work? Should I teach her now or should I wait until I start hiking with her? She's 15 weeks old. I probably won't start hiking with her until after a year when her hips are fully developed.

Appreciate any advice on the topic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,762 Posts
Where do you live? Are there Rat Snakes where you live? Do you know someone with chickens? Sounds funny but this is how I snake proofed Inga.

Texas Rat Snakes are good sized harmless snakes, that is, they have little hooky teeth and are non venonous. The males are hot tempered. They will bite to defend themselves.
 

Attachments

  • Like
Reactions: goldtwh

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,762 Posts
They go into henhouses and eat chicken eggs. They are easy to catch in a henhouse. Be aware if it is a male he will try to bite you. Get him behind the head. If he bites you just wash the place with soap and water.

When he has calmed down somewhat, call you dog over and hold the snake out to her. She will come sniff the snake. The snake will then tag her right on the nose. The snake will have a snakey smell too that the dog will never forget.

Inga got tagged on the nose and now she avoids all snakes. Thats a good thing too because there are Timber Rattlers, Cottonmounths, Copperheads and Coral snakes here.

Anyone can snake proof their dog this way. The other night Inga was going around the feedshed and suddenly shot away like she was propelled by a rocket. I went and looked and it was a (harmless) Coachwhip snake. :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,762 Posts
Range of various Rat Snakes-
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,275 Posts
For whatever reason last year we ran into snakes regularly, almost every hike and in some instances rattle snakes. None of my dogs ever showed any interest, zero.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
330 Posts
Lots of trainers offer rattlesnake avoidance training here in Tucson. Lots of people swear by it. The classes I’m familiar with use shock collars or shocks in the target ‘snake’ to freak out and/or cause pain in the dog, the idea being that then the dog will associate pain and fear with and so avoid rattlesnakes. I don’t know about that. Besides hating the idea of causing him fear and pain on purpose, I don’t know that it’s a guarantee with a strong dog.

My girl dog had high prey drive and back east chased and caught a skunk eventually. Whew, what a stink! After that experience, she *hated* skunks, and ever after was twice as determined to kill any skunk she saw. At least once a spring she got nailed, once right in the back yard. So I figure, avoidance training could have the opposite of the intended affect. Do not want a dog who wants to kill rattlers.

I personally have relied on Beau’s very strong Leave It, and once had to use it with a rattler when he was 14 months old. So far, so good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
493 Posts
Does anybody have any feedback regarding rattlesnake avoidance training or taught their own pup rattlesnake avoidance? When my pup gets older, I'm going to start hiking with her and eventually she will be off the leash when hiking. An encounter with a rattlesnake is likely. I'm likely going to get her the rattlesnake vaccine, but even then my Vet said they still have to be brought in for emergency and sometimes still need antivenin. Knowing how expensive that is, I think it's worth my time and money to seek out training for avoidance.

Does anybody have any experience going to training or training their pups rattlesnake avoidance? Would using fake snakes work? Should I teach her now or should I wait until I start hiking with her? She's 15 weeks old. I probably won't start hiking with her until after a year when her hips are fully developed.

Appreciate any advice on the topic.
My one experience with a rattle snake vs GSD was at night. Me and Scout were out at night back home in North Bama when we walked up on the biggest Rattle Snake Ive ever seen in my life. He was at least 5 1/2 to 6 feet long. A pure beast. I hollard at Scout as he was walking up on him and Scout jumped back as the snake struck. The snake did not get a hit but it was awful close. It was like Scout already knew (like humans know) to stay out of the way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,164 Posts
There are several threads in the archives that you should read -- these classes are notorious for backfiring spectacularly with some dogs (making dogs shut down in fear or get really angry when they encounter snakes -- both of which are dangerous reactions). And you'll be paying someone to really hurt your dog, as these are not little shocks these guys are using.



Have you looked into the rattlesnake vaccine's details to get you more time (and potentially a lower dose of antivenin)? It's not a great solution, but it you are far away from vet care it might help buy time. When I last looked, it was only good for about 6 months and takes a few weeks to get peak protection. It also doesn't cover all species of pit vipers. It's a complicated decision as to whether to get it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
493 Posts
Shooter, yikes, sounds scary! And very lucky for Scout.
Yessum, normally Rattlers are not out at night unless in the heat of summer, which it was. I still wasnt looking for snakes though. I lived on the side of some rocky bluffs that snakes just loved and this one was a little too close to the house
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
330 Posts
Here some species are actually more active at night, so when we lived out in the desert I had to be on high alert for snakes any time of day April to November. Dec-March still possible to see one during freak warm spells, but much less likely - usually just too cold at night, they’re denned til it warms up. In town, I never see them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,759 Posts
You might want to check with some of the hog dog people, I would assume this is a concern for them as well.

Pay close attention to everything @Magwart said. Avoidance training can go very wrong very fast and once it's done you are kind of stuck with the results. If it was me I would teach a command that means back off double time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
102 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Where do you live? Are there Rat Snakes where you live? Do you know someone with chickens? Sounds funny but this is how I snake proofed Inga.

Texas Rat Snakes are good sized harmless snakes, that is, they have little hooky teeth and are non venonous. The males are hot tempered. They will bite to defend themselves.
I live in southern California! I heard there's classes that will use harmless snakes. Maybe it's these or another type of non venemous snake.

For whatever reason last year we ran into snakes regularly, almost every hike and in some instances rattle snakes. None of my dogs ever showed any interest, zero.
My pup doesn't have a tremendous interest in the lizards we come across, but sometimes they do peak her interest. Enough to make me think she might go up to a snake to take a sniff.

I think you need to get him trained on the rattle sound as well.
They don't rattle here! I've had quite a few encounters with rattle snakes and I have never heard one rattle. Not sure why but someone once told me due to Darwinism. The loud Rattlers bring attention to themselves and have more encounters with predators. So the quiet ones are the ones surviving and reproducing. Not sure how true that is.

There are several threads in the archives that you should read -- these classes are notorious for backfiring spectacularly with some dogs (making dogs shut down in fear or get really angry when they encounter snakes -- both of which are dangerous reactions). And you'll be paying someone to really hurt your dog, as these are not little shocks these guys are using.

Have you looked into the rattlesnake vaccine's details to get you more time (and potentially a lower dose of antivenin)? It's not a great solution, but it you are far away from vet care it might help buy time. When I last looked, it was only good for about 6 months and takes a few weeks to get peak protection. It also doesn't cover all species of pit vipers. It's a complicated decision as to whether to get it!
I think there are classes available that don't use shock. They use the leave it approach. That's why I'm glad I posted. The shock classes don't seem like the way to go.

I talked to the vet about the vaccine, she says it's a good idea and it will protect against the western diamondback which is the most common dangerous snake we would encounter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,164 Posts
One thing I would recommend is knowing what clinics stock antivenin -- it's so expensive that most do not. It's often just large emergency referral places, but your vet will know. I would put that place in your contacts -- the phone number and the address -- so that you can navigate there quickly after a snake bite. The last thing you want to do is be calling 10 different clinics asking whether they have antivenin on hand.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
102 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
One thing I would recommend is knowing what clinics stock antivenin -- it's so expensive that most do not. It's often just large emergency referral places, but your vet will know. I would put that place in your contacts -- the phone number and the address -- so that you can navigate there quickly after a snake bite. The last thing you want to do is be calling 10 different clinics asking whether they have antivenin on hand.
That's a good recommendation! I have 2 of the ERs and my Vet already in the phone but it would be good to know before hand which one of them stocks antivenin.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,909 Posts
Also try to find out about rattlesnake behavior on various times of the day. We, in Western OR, hardly see them so I don't know about the Rattlers' daily schedules, but all the common (non-poisonous) snakes in our area are out later in the afternoon to soak up some heat before the night. I start seeing "our" Garter, Racers and Gopher snakes from late morning to just before dusk. I know that they are slower in colder weather and thus more likely to strike instead of fleeing. Just my 2 cents.
Hope you and the dogs will be safe and have an enjoyable hike. I think you are brave!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
396 Posts
After having 2 dogs get bit by rattlers in my own backyard, I thought it was time to train them. There's a local woman here that has been doing snake avoidance training for 40+ years with great success. All of my dogs have been trained by her, she uses live snakes in a cage with a shock collar. I can tell you it absolutely works as I have witnessed my dogs freaking out and running from rattlers after being trained. It's a scent thing for the dogs, venomous snakes put out a specific scent that the dogs, once trained, associate that scent with the pain that they felt when they smelled it. I wouldn't think about not training any new dog I get now, not that I see a lot of rattlers, but one is too many on my property in my opinion for the dogs not to be aware. In fact my daughter has a 5 month old corgi puppy that is going Saturday to be trained. It's the best $100 you can spend on your dog if you live in the desert!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,762 Posts
This snake in cage and shock collar is somewhat similar to my live snake tags dog on the nose method. I imagine a person could do this themselves using a nice tame little Ball Python. They could have the Ball Python on the floor of a building so no weird cage involved (snakes in cage not found in nature).

Antivenin is hard to find and terribly expensive, thousands of dollars per vial and it takes several vials.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Shooter

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,412 Posts
I agree with the natural avoidance of some dogs at least! We get bull snakes from time to time in the springtime. I was out mowing and watched one go across the yard and go thru the fence and the dogs just laid where they were with that nonchalant air with their head turned away! We also have had a snapping turtle get in our back yard a couple times ( I don't know how, we have 5 foot chain link but they have managed!) and they did bark, but stayed back. I was like how do I get this out of here! I keep the empty dog food sacks and recycle as trash bags, so both time I took an empty sack out, took a rake and got the turtle to go in the bag and since I didn't know what to do otherwise just took it in the front yard and left the sack on its side! They were gone when I got home from work! So I think too, some dogs at least have a natural avoidance due to the scent or something! They didn't like frogs either! They did pick up a couple of those but wasn't too interested after it peed in their mouth I think! I smell skunks from time to time but thankfully nobody has ever got sprayed!!!
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top