When in the field with your dog, make sure it avoids dangerous snakes by snake-proofing your dog.
The other day we were swimming with our bluetick coonhound and he went sniffing right up to a water moccasin. It got us thinking, how do dog owners make a dog less curious about dangerous snakes? We did some research. Have you heard of snake-proofing?
Hunters, hikers, anglers, anyone who takes their dog on outdoor adventures takes the risk of their dog sniffing a dangerous snake and getting bitten. The problem is that snake venom takes a few hours to actually be painful for a dog so the dog won’t associate the snake with the pain it feels later with the venom. This is an issue with a dog’s short-term memory.
I talked to a man whose Labrador got into a rattlesnake den twice because he didn’t remember that those slithery toys caused the pain he was in. When a dog gets bit by a snake, he needs to be rushed to the vet and it will be given intravenous antihistamine and, depending on what kind of snake, antivenin. But for a price. The man ended up with a $6,000 veterinarian fee for two trips due to rattlesnake bites.
So why not be preemptive about it and teach your dog to be afraid of snakes instead of curious?
Surprisingly, there are a number of dog trainers who actually specialize in snake-proofing.
Basically a trainer has a few types of snakes. Here in Austin, Texas you can opt for snake-avoidance training with rattlesnakes, water moccasins, and copperheads.
The snakes are de-venomed and de-fanged. The trainer will bring the snakes to a park, let the dog investigate and then give it a shock with an electric collar. The shock doesn’t hurt the dog but hopefully it will always associate the snake with the electric shock. The fee is $60 per snake.
I think that is worth it rather than have your dog investigate the rattling toy behind the rock up ahead.