Dogs and snakes

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In 2015 I started a snake avoidance program and I named it ‘Snake Safe’. As that point in time as I am now living and working in the country. Yes Australia is known for having a huge snake population and as well as having the most dangerous snakes in the world. I had a huge amount of enquiries over the years in doing exactly this and at that point in time the snake population was and still is extremely high. I saw snakes every day on my property. I was seeing stories everywhere, online, the local paper and so on of dogs being bitten and killed by snakes.

I began to make some calls and contact some local reptile experts, to find out their experiences snakes and dogs. I also began to look at what other trainers around the world were doing to teach dogs to avoid snakes and to my surprise there were a couple of trainers here offering it, one was on the other side of Australia and one other guy was only offering it every now and then.

Now I am away as I have all the information I need, I have made the equipment, got the snakes and have advertised heavily online. I had trained my dogs and a couple of friends dogs, it was very successful from that point of view. If the dog saw a snake he would very quickly avoid the snake, perfect!

I initially got a lot of calls and emails. I was getting one maybe two clients a week from it. I could never quite figure out why there was a complete lack this service here yet I was about to find out why.

One day I got a call from a lady who’s dog had been bitten previously the year before and she had spent $7,000.00 on veterinary care and fortunally the dog lived. Obviously she is very keen for all that not to happen again. As with all inquiries she asks how is it done? So I begin to explain how a dog learns and how we can pair or associate how they feel and then react. The goal is to have the dog move away from the snake. We need to be able to teach and condition your dog without a doubt that snakes are no good. Our aim is to create an instantaneous response within your dog to avoid that snake. Obviously we can’t explain it to a dog so we need to create the environment in a way where he can learn this. The only way to create that type of aversion in a dog and that is safe is with the use of a remote trainer. The lady then asks or more states ‘oh an electric collar’ and I reply yes that is correct. She replies ‘oh no I cannot do that’ and she hangs up.

This was the typical response I got from people from most people about using an e-collar yet there is no other way to do it and yes this training does need to be refreshed for most dogs. If the truth was known instead of this emotional response and the false press we wouldn’t have this complete misunderstanding of e-collars and how they are best used. For those who actually got to witness the training saw for themselves it was extremely easy to create the aversion to the snakes with minimal use of the e-collar and other training techniques. Like with any training tool it is, using it at the exact right time and at the right place.

I do not know how much you know about dying from a snake bite but to everything I have learnt it is absolutely excruciating.The dog will collapse and usually writhe in agony. The bite will swell incredibly large in a very short time. Constant vomiting. Seizures that are terrifying to watch. It’s about as horrific as you can get and it can take as little as an hour or two and as much as 48hours of agonizing decline until death”. And to my knowledge the dog is conscious the entire time.