Rattlesnake avoidance training could help save your dog's life

A rattlesnake avoidance class Sunday at Veterans' Memorial Park trained dogs to avoid venomous rattlesnakes.

BOISE - It's pretty common, especially this time of year, that you'll see people with their dogs up in the foothills.

Tracy Oliver hikes with her dog a couple of times a week, but there's one thing in particular that worries her every time.

"The rattlesnake bite," said Oliver. "What I would do, how would I get him out of there?"

So Oliver recently took her dog to a snake avoidance training session in Boise.

"I took him because he was chasing snakes," Oliver said. "We found about four of five of them on a trip up (into the foothills) and he went after them."

At a session at Veterans' Memorial Park on Sunday, wildlife experts explained the dangers of venomous snakes in our area.

The dogs were walked through a course where they get close to less dangerous snakes and trainers use a shock collar to teach the dogs to stay away. 

"Immediately after he was shying away from anything that looked like a snake," Oliver said.

For Mike Hampton, he has even more of a reason to have his dog trained. 

"We have property up in Horseshoe Bend and we have a lot of rattlesnakes and bull snakes," Hampton said. "The first snake she got shocked and she started avoiding all of the rest of the snakes through the course and even twigs so it worked really well."

Snakes aren't the only danger you should look out for.  

"We also have trapping seasons for various species, coyotes and bobcat, that overlap where people might be out recreating with their dogs," said Jennifer Struthers with Idaho Fish and Game.

Struthers says it's hard to prevent your dog from getting stuck in a trap, so they try to help people identify where those traps might be so they can hopefully avoid them altogether.

"It's more about helping people stay calm and understanding how they can help their animal and release it from a trap and then take it for medical attention," said Struthers. 

If your dog happens to get caught in a trap, Idaho Fish and game has several tips, starting with putting a shirt over your dog's face in order to calm your dog. 

For more information on local rattlesnake avoidance training sessions, click here

 

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