|There is a controversial subject
often referred to as "snake proofing", "snake
"aversion-therapy" and "snake avoidance"
training that is said to quickly teach dogs to stay clear of
snakes. The basic principle is to teach the dog to associate the
sight, smell, and/or sound of a snake with a negative correction
from an e-collar. The momentary shock is not comfortable to
the dog, but some say "the shock always beats a bite no
matter how you look at it."
training is also used for scorpions
and "poison proofing" for Anti-freeze; A sample of
antifreeze is placed on a rag and inserted into a PVC pipe with
holes drill into it to let the scent out. As with snakes, when the
dog directs his or her attention to the pipe it is given a
correction with an electric collar.
Pup with Scorpion sting
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Snakes are a common sight in Texas, most of
the time you will be warned by a rattlesnake in advance, but Copperheads
have very effective camouflage and are silent. Snakes are most
active as Spring turns into Summer and evening temperatures cool down. In
September as dove season approaches the risk of dog bites increase as
hunters and their dogs meet up with snakes under the shade of Mesquite
Some swear by this training, others say it wont work, but I feel that
maybe I have lessened the chance of my dogs being bitten. Both sides agree
it isn't guaranteed and if done the training needs to be re-enforced and
I believe the degree of success has to be
influenced by breed (as an example Anatolians will naturally alert/avoid
snakes), and/or the individual personality of the dog. A friend and I had
an interesting discussion about this, if I decided to ball-proof my dog,
it may only take one or two corrections for my Anatolian, but it might
never work for my Lab. In other words, how great is the dogs desire for
what you are "proofing" at the moment it encounters the object.
Bottom line, nothing is 100 percent in protecting your pet
against venomous snakes but between the vaccine and this training I do
feel somewhat safer.
Just as you will find several variations of
a recipe, do a search online and you will also find everyone has an
opinion on how to "correctly" teach your dog to avoid snakes.
Some snakes are alive, some defanged or muzzled, some in cages, there is
debate on when/if commands are given, etc.
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According to snake bite statistics, "There
are approximately 15,000 dogs and cats bitten by poisonous snakes in the
United States annually. The highest envenomation fatality rates
occurred in Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina and Texas.
In dogs, 70-80 percent of bites occur on the face and head, and 20-30
percent occur on the legs, with only rare cases occurring on the body.
Rattlesnakes account for 80 percent of dog envenomations, while
cottonmouth/water moccasin and copperheads are responsible for the
remaining 20 percent." ~ Treatment
In heavily populated areas, Rattlesnake
round-up's take place in January-July. In addition to a few of the
states above, they are held in Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, and
Snakes are frequently a problem in California and
Nevada as well. See the map below for the
geographical distribution of the rattlesnake.
Overlapping territories on
the distribution map show
possible areas of rattlesnake hybridization.
Map by Myra
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