While the city of Santa Clarita provides and maintains dozens of picturesque trails that residents can map out on HikeSantaClarita.com, there is danger among the beauty: rattlesnakes.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that a total of 7,000 to 8,000 people are bitten in the United States every year.
Beloved family pets are also put in danger when they’re hiking with their owners and come across a deadly rattlesnake.
“From January to December of 2017, 27 snake bites were brought in,” said Courtney Andrews, practice manager at Valencia Veterinary Center. “However, those are the ones that were brought in alive — there were some dead on arrival.”
Veterinary centers allow owners to vaccinate their pets against venom however, it is not a cure, it allows the owner more time to get their animal to get emergency veterinary help, according to Andrews.
Although, owners can supplement the vaccine with rattlesnake avoidance training that can be found with several training services. Ma & Paw Kennel is one of the local dog service providers that offers a rattlesnake avoidance program.
On April 7, Ma & Paw will be hosting a rattlesnake avoidance training in Castaic all day. The training for first-time trainees is $125 and $90 for an annual refresher program.
“The training is a personalized-comprehensive course that will contain six to nine different stations,” said Gina Gables, dog trainer and owner of Ma & Paw Kennel, “dogs will be taught how to recognize snakes through sight, sound, and scent.”
The training will also, train owners on how to read the body language of their dog to determine whether they have found a snake in the area, said Gables.
The training is available to dogs of all ages however, due to the use of a shock collar it is recommended that the dog be six months old. Although, Ma & Paw Kennel offers in-home training sessions for younger dogs that use a vibrating or spray collar. Pre-registration is highly recommended due to the training being a one-on-one 20 minute training session.