Rattlesnake Avoidance Training

We walked down the hill to the left, Brezzi enjoying the outside. “ssssssssssss” Immediately Brezzi turns around and heads in the other direction….I follow.

I’ve been worried about Brezzi and her curious nature while we hike the mountains freestyle (no leash). She has a great recall, she’s respectful to other dogs and owners but she is a typical lab and every creature large or small, mean or not so mean is her soon to be best friend.

My worries have escalated because of all the recent stories of rattlesnake bites from clients to fellow pet sitters and news. My family lost a very dear little one to a bite as well. Spring is here and us San Diegans are out and about even more than normal enjoying the best weather ever and so are the Rattlesnakes.

Most of us are aware of the dangers, we know to wear hiking boots, stick to the trails, stay out of brush, don’t provoke the snake, etc but our 4 legged best friends don’t always understand. Yes, some of them do have a natural instinct to stay away from rattlers but their curious nature or even protective nature takes over. Rattlesnake Avoidance Training (RAT) is effective in teaching dogs to stay away from snakes especially if you’re out and about with you dog during the summer time.

At the beginning of our training class this past Sunday Brezzi was instinctively nervous around the snake but like I thought got curious. Wearing the training collar she jumped ten feet and the air and yelped like I’ve never heard before but she did not get bit. She only needed to go through that one time as the second time we took a stroll pass the rattlesnake and she heard that “sssssssssssss” she wasn’t going anywhere near it. Afterwards we went on our 5mile walk in the Penasquitos Canyon and she was a little hesitant on going near certain types of sticks making me feel more confident in her safety.

It’s recommended that we take our dogs to RAT once a year (preferably at the beginning of spring) for at least 2 years or until they don’t move towards the snake. All my dogs will have the training and we’ll be back next year, or until they stay away!

Good Dog Training School has RAT clinics every first Sunday until rattlesnake season is over. I recommend Lynne Moore and her partner Sam Madamba, they were professional, knowledgeable, and understanding of this teary-eyed dogMomma. Please, call them and have your furkid attend these classes, we much rather them got through a 30 minute class than a painful expensive snake bike.


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