A muzzled rattlesnake used to train dogs to avoid rattlesnakes m | Marianne fountain
Concerned residents of the Kern River Valley can register their dogs for “rattlesnake aversion” training at Frandy Park Campground in Kernville from June 6-7.
The training takes about 15 minutes, is offered by Natural Solutions Enterprises, and costs $ 75 per dog, Marianne Fountain, a local host of the program, told the Kern Valley Sun.
“This is our tenth year we’ve sponsored them to come to the Kern River Valley to train dogs to avoid rattlesnakes,” she said.
The trainer uses a stimulation collar to simulate the bite of a rattlesnake, Fountain said.
“They use live rattlesnakes that have a muzzle,” she said. “The snakes can strike, but they cannot bite. They use different types of rattlesnakes. “
The trainers encourage the dogs to approach the snake.
“If the dog is curious, use the collar to correct it and praise it for holding back,” she said. “The dog thinks the snake made the collar feel uncomfortable, not the trainer.”
The trainers then hold a rattlesnake skin to a stick so the dog can smell it.
“You encourage the dog to go up and smell it,” said Fountain. “If he smells it, he will be corrected and think that the smell caused the uncomfortable feeling. He backs down and then the trainer praises him. “
The next exercise involves a fake stone with a live rattlesnake in it, Fountain said.
“The trainer encourages the dog to go to the sound and look at it,” said Fountain. “Then the dog is corrected and thinks that the noise made the uncomfortable feeling.”
In a third exercise, the dog’s owner calls the dog over, with a live rattlesnake placed in between.
“The trainer allows the dog to figure out how to get to the family member but stay away from the line,” said Fountain. “Sometimes the dog hides behind the trainers. At some point the dog finds out that he can bypass the snake. “
Some of the fee goes to charity, Fountain said.
For more information, email Fountain at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them at 760-376-2735.
Danger to humans
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife warns residents to be vigilant outdoors in warmer weather, as snakes will be long out of hibernation at the beginning of summer.
According to the CDFW, rattlesnakes can be found in piles of wood and in the bushes around houses.
“Rattlesnakes are generally not aggressive and are likely to retreat if given space or are not deliberately provoked or threatened,” reports the CDFW website. “Most bites occur when a rattlesnake touches or is accidentally touched by someone walking or climbing.”
The California Poison Control System rates the risk of a rattling bite as “minor,” but it can cause complications and rarely death. Still, the agency warns against hiking alone. Always have a cell phone close at hand in emergencies.
Steps on a bite:
- Take off watches, rings, etc., which can tighten swelling.
- Transport the victim to the nearest medical facility.
- Call the California Poison Control System at 800-222-1222.
What NOT to do after a rattlesnake bite:
DO NOT put on a tourniquet.
DO NOT pack the bite area in ice.
DO NOT cut the wound with a knife or razor.
Don’t use your mouth to suck out the poison.
Do not make the victim drink alcohol.
For more information, visit Wildlife.ca.gov/Keep-Me-Wild/Klapperschlangen.