BERRYVILLE — One Shot Retrievers kennel will hold a snake avoidance training clinic for hunting dogs and house pets Aug. 29.
The training will be conducted by Wayne Lain who conducts the clinics throughout the state. The program involves introduction to rattlesnakes, copperheads and water moccasins, all of which are defanged before the program starts. Since a snake almost instantly replaces its fangs, their mouths are also taped close.
An electronic shock collar is used on the dog for negative reinforcement as Lain introduces the dogs to snakes under different conditions.
In the case of a rattlesnake, the dog is introduced to one where it cannot hear the rattle and either finds the snake by scent or sight, and another that rattles it finds with scent, sight and sound. When the dog becomes curious about the snake that is when the collar is used as negative reinforcement.
There are trainers using methods that do not involve e-collars, but are not as effective because to work a person has to see the snake before the dog and warn it of the snake’s presence.
The training not only helps keep dogs from being bitten, but their reactions to nearby snakes have kept people from being bitten as well.
Most think of snakes in the summer months, but during the hot months they are most active from dusk to daylight. That includes the early part of dove season.
Rattlesnakes are more active in the early fall when they can be moving throughout the day in and out of fields to feed.
Although snakes typically prefer avoiding larger objects, sometimes crossed paths are inevitable. Snakes can strike half to two-thirds of their body length and advance quickly.
The clinic will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cost is $100 per dog and must be paid in cash. There is no pre-registration and each session takes about 15 minutes. One Shot Retriever Kennels is located at 22082 FM 2215, a half-mile east of Midway Package and Feed Store just south of Lake Palestine on U.S. 155. For more information call 903-681-1954.