Rattlesnakes and your Curious Dog

Something to consider during summer in the high desert is rattlesnakes. If you and your pup are fans of venturing out and taking hikes together it might be something that has crossed your mind. While there are immunizations for your pet, they can be pricey and you’re still required to bring your pet in, if they sustain a bite. If you’re worried about your curious pup, it might be better for you to train them not to poke their noses around.

Rattlesnake Avoidance Class

There are organizations like GetRattled.org that set up training classes that help your pup, recognize the sounds, smells and sight of rattlesnakes. They set up a course with different stations that help train your pup. The classes use actual live rattlesnakes, so that the dog’s experience as natural encounter with a rattlesnake as possible. All of the other stations do include live rattlesnakes, but they’re in cages, so that the dogs experience the sight and smell of the snakes. The primary objective of the course is to train your dog to have an aversion to the snake. As a final test, if your dog shows a strong avoidance to a snake, they pass the course.

Trainers are present at the course, and take the dogs through one at a time. The trainers take the time to learn about your dog, and their specific quirks, so that they have the greatest chance of success. The rattlesnakes that are used specifically for these classes have had their venom ducts removed by a veterinarian. Throughout the history of this course trainers have found that removing the venom ducts is a better course of action than muzzling the snakes. Some snakes, when muzzled become extremely stressed out, and some act defeated and simply lay on the floor. The goal of this course is to show your pup what a snake looks like, and how it reacts when it feels threatened. So by removing the venom ducts, they still react in a coiled defensive pose which is best for your dog to learn.

Rattlesnake shot

There is a vaccine for rattlesnake venom that is available for dogs. The protection it offers typically lasts for six months, and if a bite occurs it’s still recommended to bring your dog to your Bend Veterinary Clinic immediately.

Take Away

On July 1, Blue Sky Veterinary Clinic will be hosting a Rattlesnake Avoidance Training for Dogs with getrattled.org. The training will take place from 8 a.m.-3p.m. and will cost $85. If you’re interested in discussing rattlesnake avoidance or vaccines for your pup, come to Blue Sky Veterinary and talk to your vet about what might be best for your pet.