Even though summer’s over, rattlesnakes have not all slithered back into their holes, which means residents have a chance to sign up for rattlesnake-avoidance training for their dogs at a home in Leona Valley on Oct. 21.
“We eliminate any curiosity (dogs) might have and help them have kind of a negative association with the sights and sounds of a rattlesnake,” said Gina Gables, owner of Ma and Paw Kennel and the event’s organizer.
The course will feature live rattlesnakes, disabled from biting, in order for dogs to recognize them and be trained to keep away. A variety of collars, which vibrate, spray unscented canned air or static, are offered. Dog owners generally are hesitant to use shock collars, Gables said.
“The older techniques tend to be a little more tortuous or upsetting for the dog,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be traumatizing.”
For dogs, it’s better to absorb the lesson, she said, and that they are calm and focused. The added benefit owners can learn is when their dog is alerted to a rattlesnake’s presence, turning dogs into a early warning system during a hike, a walk around the neighborhood or in their own yard, she said.
Registration is still open. Gables suggests people sign up soon, however, for space is limited. Initial training will cost $125, or $90 for annual refresher training if dog owners have done training through the Ma and Paw Kennel in the past year.