Today at Galena Creek State Park, Godiva and Ruby successfully completed another rattlesnake avoidance training with the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of Reno and Get Rattled-Rattlesnake Avoidance Training For Dogs. The weather was perfect, nice and cool, which is uncommon for a Sunday morning in June in beautiful Reno, Nevada.
Ruby was up first, and this was her second rattlesnake avoidance training session.
Since Ruby has aggression issues, I put a muzzle on her for everyone’s safety. I could tell she had some recollection of the events to follow, as she did show aversion to having the remote training collar put on. The crew at Get Rattled were amazing though. They handled her professionally and with compassion. Since Ruby completed training three years ago, she wasn’t interested in going anywhere near the live rattlesnake.
Dogs have an associative memory and remember things based on their associations with certain things. Because Ruby associated the rattlesnake with the “shock” correction, she only had to be corrected one time when smelling the caged snake.
Godiva was up next. It was clear being a two-time participant of rattlesnake avoidance training, this third time was a charm. She was tenaciously pulling away from the snake and the handler.
Godiva’s associated memory of the rattlesnake served her well; she didn’t have to be corrected at all. She eagerly ran back to me begging to get up in the van, and proves the association is with the snakes not with me taking her to the training.
Even though it had been 3 years since their last training, and some experts believe avoidance training should be performed in successive years, both Ruby and Godiva learned from their original encounters.
As a Licensed Veterinary Technician I highly recommend rattlesnake avoidance training and will testify that my dogs’ experience was a success. As I stated in Part Two of my Pet Summer Hiking Series, the short discomfort experienced from the training collar heavily outweighs the pain endured from a venomous snake bite.
A big thanks goes out to Get Rattled and the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of Reno for holding this event and educating dog owners on the dangers of rattlesnakes. It was obvious that Get Rattled truly believes in the service they provide; they are passionate about protecting dogs from the danger of venomous snakes.
Look out for Part Three in my Pet Summer Hiking Series – keeping your pet safe for an enjoyable hiking season!