What is Snakebite Prevention Training?

Hiking in areas around Fort Collins is a favorite for most dog owners. I mean, it’s simply gorgeous out. Unfortunately, the same trails that you love are also host f0r many rattlesnakes.  In my Pet CPR classes, I recommend that avid hikers put their dogs through a snakebite prevention training. And always exercise caution when in areas that are known for poisonous snakes.

What is snakebite prevention training?

The training is simple, but a little harsh.  It should only be done by a specialized trainer with a class set up, do not try to do this yourself!  Your trainer will do all of the work to make sure it is done properly.  Once the trainer is ready a shock collar is placed on your dog.  The snake will be in a cage or somewhere contained but in a location that your dog is able to see, smell and identify the snake for what it is.  Once your dog has had a second to recognize some of the traits of a snake the trainer will zap him with the shock collar.  This instantly associates the presence of a snake with pain.  This will be repeated a few times in a session to make sure the dog associates the pain correctly.

Who should take the class?

I personally believe that almost all dogs should take this class.  In pet CPR classes I always remind dog owners that although it sounds mean, treating a snakebite is expensive and often the bite is fatal.  The brief shock caused by the training will far offset the alternative: a long and painful treatment for a venomous bite.  The training is necessary for anyone that hikes regularly with their dog, especially in areas like Fort Collins where rattlesnakes are extremely common in the summer months.

How often does the training need to be done?

Often a recheck session is recommended later that year or the following year.  Service dogs are required to be trained and regularly retested to make sure they retain their training.  For most dogs one recheck and then maybe a few years later is sufficient.  Most dogs never have to be shocked again after the initial session.

Who hosts the training?

In Colorado training is most often hosted by a rescue or service dog group as a fundraiser.  Keep an eye on our events calendar and local animal groups for news of an upcoming Snakebite Prevention Training class!

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