Dogs & snakes & avoidance training?? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 03-11-2019, 05:34 AM Thread Starter
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Dogs & snakes & avoidance training??

Has anyone had any experience with avoidance training for dogs with poisonous snakes?? There is a guy that does it here, but it's exxy & I have not found one person with any experience of it or how effective or not it is. It's basically that this guy has some devenomed snakes(he says you must use poisonous species, as dogs will know the diff between those & harmless) and he uses electric shock collars to zap the dogs when they go near.

As if my dog hasn't cost enough in her short life, as if losing one dog late last year wasn't enough, as if having my child bitten by a brown snake & spent the night in hospital a month ago wasn't enough... my dog killed a black snake today & got bitten in the process. She is OK - phew! She also would have got bitten by a brown she found in the garage a couple of weeks ago & harassed, if it wasn't for the fact the snake had a rat half way down it's gullet. Antivenom is $1k over here - and that's just the drug, not the hospitalisation & tests as well... thankfully she didn't need that... & fingers x'd I don't have to take her back in for it later because of delayed effects...

Anyone, in Australia or elsewhere have any experience with this type of training & tell me if it's effective or not??
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post #2 of 14 Old 03-11-2019, 10:07 AM
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Your black snakes don't keep venomous away?
Here my black snakes...if they are around I don't seem to have the venomous variety in the area...
Not saying they're not here but not seeing nor hearing them...
When we first moved here we had rattlers on the property along with some other species...
I am not a snake person...
I tolerate, I leave them be if they leave me alone and we give each other wide birth of space...
Since I have black racers, I've not seen any other snakes.
I also know they eat some of the geckos and many frogs...hubby has seen them actuall scarfing them down.
Shivers...nature at its finest!!

Actually, my black snake{s} hangs out sunning himself on my back porch deck when cold out on occasion..
He has reared up and gone nose to nose with my lab who was sniffing in curiosity nor aggression.
They touched noses gently, friendly like thankfully.
I understand any snake bite is filled with germs as part of how they kill and digest..
Yuck.
Honestly, I thought a natural instinct to stay away from snakes that are aggressive or cause harm was natural defense...learn something new.
I know my horses know when a snake needs avoiding or is OK to be near...
My guys will not budge a step if they see or sense a venomous snake near the trail when we're riding....a non-threatening species they walk/mosey on past, step over them if lying on the trail sunning...don't care.
One of the reasons why I trust my horse so much...he has instincts better than mine.
When he says, "lets get, we gone!!"

New topic.... next!

....
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post #3 of 14 Old 03-11-2019, 10:40 AM
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We took our dog to snake avoidance training. We had worked with her since she was a puppy at avoiding snakes by showing her dead snakes and getting on to her if she got close to them. We've always practiced positive reinforcement training with her so the negative of us getting on to her when near a snake was very effective. However, we felt that a professional could do a better job...and a little extra snake training can't hurt!

They had a bunch of venomous snakes in a large room and put a shock collar on the dog (she had never had a shock collar on before) and took her close to the snakes. If she acted like she wanted to check them out she got shocked. It was a little more difficult with her because she didn't want to get close to them to begin with so they basically had to coax her into getting near them then they shocked her.

Our dog usually doesn't back away from anything. She'll go after raccoons, hogs, squirrels, cows (when told to), skunks (still hasn't learned her lesson after being sprayed three times), deer, etc...but she has never gone after a snake.

Since we have numerous poisonous snakes where we live and where we hang out with the dog, we felt like anything we could do to help her avoid even getting near a snake was well worth the cost. So far so good. We also give her the vaccine against snake venom, but I've been told that only buys you time to get treatment, it doesn't fully protect from getting sick if they get bit.
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post #4 of 14 Old 03-11-2019, 10:46 AM
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If this loads properly, this is our dog at the training.


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post #5 of 14 Old 03-11-2019, 11:09 AM
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I'd think showing the dead snakes and then disciplining if they attack it should stop the dog from going after the snake. Even the discipline frightens them a little...a snake bite is way worse.
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post #6 of 14 Old 03-11-2019, 11:49 AM
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We don't have venomous snakes, but I know several people who have had the training done in other areas of the country and they say it works well. I have zero issues with a shock collar when it means the dog's life can be saved. Visit with the trainer and ask how they tailor the program to different dogs. You do not want to go in with a full-bore shock on a sensitive dog or he may not associate it with the snake at all and panic, and a hard dog will blow right through a mild command. The trainer you choose needs to be able to 'read a dog'.
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post #7 of 14 Old 03-11-2019, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by ChieTheRider View Post
I'd think showing the dead snakes and then disciplining if they attack it should stop the dog from going after the snake. Even the discipline frightens them a little...a snake bite is way worse.
A dead snake and a live snake are very different things. Not comparable at all for training most dogs. A dog that ignores a dead snake may very well be inquisitive-enough to investigate a moving or rattling snake, so you need to train on live snakes. The most effective training I've seen had snakes outdoors, too. Some dogs just aren't comfortable indoors and won't associate the correction with the snake, but with the handler or with being indoors. Outdoors on a long-line or in a fenced area with no leash is preferable.
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post #8 of 14 Old 03-11-2019, 02:39 PM
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I do not like the way that the shock collar was used in that video, the dog was trying to avoid and wasn't allowed to so the snake was taken to her and then she was shocked. That wasn't fair.

I am not against shock collars, I have one dog that comes to me every day hat wears one. Two reasons, one is on the van if he sees another dog or a person he barks and will not stop. Secondly, he loved to fight and off leash he would be totally deaf to recall. Not any more, most I have to use is the beep.

From what I have read training with a dead snake is not the same as a live one.

Using a shock collar you have to know what you are doing. A strong willed/aggressive dog if given to high a shock could go into a red zone and actually attack the snake. Start mild and build up if necessary.
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post #9 of 14 Old 03-11-2019, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so far guys. Hoping others with experience of the training will pipe up.

Yes HLG, Red Belly Blacks, Tigers & Browns are among the deadliest here, and we have 'em all! I've grown up in the bush and you rarely see a wild snake, because yeah, they're shy, they stay away from you if they can. This poor snake was minding it's own business when we came down to a dam in the bush & she saw it before it could get away. Had some close calls though - stood on a tiger once, and I think it's lucky I had bare feet - so we both leapt away from eachother as soon as we felt...

Yes, most animals seem to have a natural fear of snakes. Whether it was natural fear or fear of Mum's Gone Mad(because it was a rare occasion that I ever ROARED at the dogs like I did when they went near one), my kelpies always gave them a wide berth. But this plurry dog... she's definitely got some terrier in her. She is a very easy going, obedient dog generally, has been easy to train with everything else... but when she's onto something, it's like a switch flicks & she can't help herself - I've dragged her away from echidnas before, with blood all over her nose from spiking herself... I don't know if she thought we were egging her on yesterday or just didn't register, but myself & my kids went hoarse from roaring at her, to no avail.

I wasn't getting close enough to 'the cut snake' to drag her away until it was dead - at which point she lost interest anyway, because it stopped being fun then - yes, we have seen the odd dead one on the road & she's been easily called off those. Not the same as live. And the guy that does the training here uses devenomised tigers, browns & blacks because her recons they easily tell the diff if they've trained on a python or other harmless one. And they're outside - he snake fences a yard, so it's a more natural environment...

And yes, I use primarily positive reinforcement training too Kriva, but I have bought a shock collar & used it to get her off the chickens, which she's so smitten with she eats any feathers she finds! And to prevent her chasing kangaroos when we're out on the trails. Trouble is, she knows when the collar is on - it doesn't help when it's off, although I did take care to try to disassociate the collar & me to the punishment, by having her wear it without risk, etc.
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post #10 of 14 Old 03-12-2019, 08:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxhunter View Post
I do not like the way that the shock collar was used in that video, the dog was trying to avoid and wasn't allowed to so the snake was taken to her and then she was shocked. That wasn't fair.

I am not against shock collars, I have one dog that comes to me every day hat wears one. Two reasons, one is on the van if he sees another dog or a person he barks and will not stop. Secondly, he loved to fight and off leash he would be totally deaf to recall. Not any more, most I have to use is the beep.

From what I have read training with a dead snake is not the same as a live one.

Using a shock collar you have to know what you are doing. A strong willed/aggressive dog if given to high a shock could go into a red zone and actually attack the snake. Start mild and build up if necessary.

I completely understand where you're coming from. I've never used a shock collar on a dog, although I think in certain circumstances it could be necessary. And we had worked with our dog (the one in the video) on dead snakes but we know there could be a difference in her reaction to live snakes. We didn't feel comfortable finding some live snakes ourselves to see what would happen. That's the main reason she was taken to the training. Just to make sure she knows that she's not to mess with them dead or alive.

One time prior to the training we encountered a large rattlesnake when she was with us. She barked and growled and although she stayed a distance from it, she did get wound up about it. She's quick but I'm pretty sure a snake can reach out and strike her faster than she can move. We were able to call her off that time and kill the snake but that's when we got serious about the training.
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