Rattle Snakes

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by Eselpee, Jan 5, 2014.

  1. Eselpee

    Eselpee New Member

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    I have a new stray that I have started in PetSmart classes since there are no other alternatives available in this very rural area. I would like to hike with this dog, but I live in an area known for the Mohave Green Rattler. The local Game & Fish offers rattler aversion classes that use shock collars. They are taught by park rangers, not dog trainers.

    It is imperative that he not entertain any curiosity about these snakes. The Mohave Green is the most poisonous snake on this continent. They are unique among rattlers in producing neurotoxic venom and they are notoriously aggressive. Dogs typically get bitten on their snouts and are vulnerable to brain damage. The Mohave Greens are not seen frequently, but it only takes one unlucky encounter to damage a dog.

    This new dog, Gus, is a very sensitive guy. He is an old-style ranch collie just under 35 lbs and estimated to be about 7-months old. I don't want to use shock collar on him; a clicker is too much for him. I hope to get lots of feedback before I start hiking with him.

    Thanks!!
    Janet
     
  2. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    I'm not a fan of aversive training, and in the vast majority of cases it's not necessary. However, snake aversion training is one of those things that it's probably necessary with. Like you said, if he gets too close, he's a dead dog. A dead dog vs. a temporarily terrified and hurting dog is a sucky choice to make, but in the end it may be worth the discomfort if they are very common where you live.

    In terms of clicker training him to avoid them, the problem I see is that you'd need a snake, preferably a rattlesnake, to proof him against. Different types of snakes smell different to me, and I imagine it's even more dramatic of a difference to dogs. Also, you want him to actively stay away from them and not just ignore. If I'm thinking of the same snake as you, they're pretty notorious for being a little jumpy and are more likely to strike someone walking too close by them than other rattlesnakes.

    The alternative may be to just keep him leashed when he's on hikes and stay very vigilant.
     
  3. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    I am sure someone posted a link not long ago about a new technique for training snake avoidance that doesn't involve shock collars. I didn't read it, because we are pretty much free of anything venomous in our state. Google and the search function are failing me now; anyone else remember it?
     
  4. Dogdragoness

    Dogdragoness Happy Spring!!!!

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    If you are going to use this method to train snake aversion (and it does work very well when done correctly, I have used it myself). BUT ... and this is a big "but" ... make sure you work with a professional trainer that knows how to use one and have them work with your dog on snakes if it bothers you that much.

    I had a terrier that just wouldn't leave them alone no matter what we tried, and due to his age and the fact that he has been hit four times (yes I said four :/ ), the vet said the next time could be his last, so we sought help and it worked, I would rather him have a moment of discomfort then die a horribke, painful death from a snake bite.
     
  5. halblingefrau

    halblingefrau New Member

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    My parents live in the mountains near Kingman, AZ and the mohave greens range there as well. Mom has been looking into aversion training as well. I would be in agreement with the others that, while I normally wouldn't advocate aversion training methods, in this case I think it's warranted. Is there any way you can talk to any other dog owners who have had the training offered by the rangers?
     
  6. Eselpee

    Eselpee New Member

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    Thank you all for responding. It is helping me think things through. I was not able to find any experienced dog trainers in this area, so I will at least talk to the Game & Fish rangers. Maybe I can observe a class. I will at least wait until I have several months of positive dog training in with Gus.

    Halblingefrau,

    Kingman is where I live too! I would be very happy to share anything I find out. I would like to hear anything your parents find out too!
     
  7. Eselpee

    Eselpee New Member

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    I lived in VT for 25 years before moving to the sunny SW. I hope you're staying warm! Its early in the year for the current temps.
     
  8. halblingefrau

    halblingefrau New Member

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    I had a feeling since your profile says "the heart of Route 66" that you were somewhere in Mohave County. Mom still hasn't chosen what she will do in terms of rattlesnake training. There are a lot more options down here in the valley where I live.

    She doesn't go hiking with her dog, but they live up in the Hualapais and once she let Stubby outside to potty and he jumped right over a snake! Luckily it was only a bullsnake and Stubby didn't even bother with it other than jumping over it. Still, scary!
     
  9. DJEtzel

    DJEtzel New Member

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    I agree with this. I'm not a fan of aversion via E collar whatsoever, but I do think you have to make a choice here. I know a gal on another forum that uses shock collars for aversion to snakes on all of her dogs. They are of varying levels of confidence, from what it sounds like. I would much rather worry about a dead dog than a slightly shaken dog. The IDEA is that there is pain and fear associated with it. Which is better, IMO, than death.
     
  10. Eselpee

    Eselpee New Member

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    Thanks DJ,

    I have resigned myself to the need for this, but the people running the class are park rangers not dog trainers. Therefore, I feel the least I could do for my sensitive little Gus is to educate myself. I would like to hear more about what your friend has learned about this method. I might be underestimating Gus, but I want to be prepared.
     
  11. Eselpee

    Eselpee New Member

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    DJ,

    What kind of dog is Recon?

    He looks like Gus and I describe Gus as a ranch collie, a prototype of the AKC Australian Shepherd. But I am just making it up as I go. What do you think?
     
  12. Eselpee

    Eselpee New Member

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    What do you mean by "correctly"? What practices should I be wary of?
     
  13. DJEtzel

    DJEtzel New Member

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    I can't PM you, but if you can PM me, I will give you her contact info.

    Recon is a purebred sport/working lined border collie. Gus looks like an Aussie / German Shepherd mix to me, but who knows! :)
     
  14. halblingefrau

    halblingefrau New Member

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    I spoke to my mom and she said her neighbors had their dog go through it with the Mohave County rangers. I don't know the neighbors, so take their enorsement with a grain of salt. Apparently "their dog is like their child" so I would hope they did due dilligence like you're doing. That's no guarantee though. For what it's worth, mom is going to have Stubby go through it sometime before spring when the snakes wake up.
     
  15. Eselpee

    Eselpee New Member

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    Maybe I will be classmates with your parents. I will check for Stubby and they can check for Mr. August (Gus) :)
     
  16. Eselpee

    Eselpee New Member

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    The person who holds the snake aversion class in my area has a website:
    http://vipervoidance.com/Home_Page.html

    He said he doesn't necessarily turn the ecollar up all the way, but the first shock is powerful. He said it was b/c there may not be a second chance to correct the dog. Is that how you (ecollar savvy readers) would approach this?
     
  17. Dogdragoness

    Dogdragoness Happy Spring!!!!

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    You must know when to hit the button and have really good timing or you might end up with. Dog who is avoident of rocks, logs, other dogs ... Because that's what he as around or looking at when the button was pushed.

    It's not about just strapping on the collar and zapping, which it's very important to find a professional who knows how to use one and how dogs perceive it's use.
     

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