If you and your dog hike frequently in Salt Lake City and around Utah, you’re probably aware that rattlesnakes can be a threat to dogs when hiking. With Utah’s warm summer climate rattlesnakes can be found almost everywhere across the state, particularly on rocky slopes high in elevation. While there are seven different types of rattlesnakes that habit Utah, the most common is the Great Basin Rattlesnake.
If you find your dog has been struck by a rattlesnake, try not to panic and do not attempt to capture or kill the snake. Instead, quickly seek treatment from an emergency veterinarian. “Treatment by your veterinarian with antivenin is needed as soon as possible to reduce the risk of potentially deadly effects from the venom. If you suspect that your pet was bitten reduce activity as much as possible and seek veterinary care as soon as possible. Over the counter pain medication such as ibuprofen and aspirin are not recommended, “ says Dr. Mark Langheinrich, DVM with Mountain West Veterinary Specialists.
While most dogs would survive being struck by a rattlesnake, it is every owner’s worst nightmare. Dogs are naturally curious animals so one of the best ways to prevent a rattlesnake bite is teaching your pup to avoid them altogether. Rattlesnake avoidance training with a professional can help your dog learn to identify dangerous rattlesnakes by sight, sound, and smell. Luckily several options exist for rattlesnake aversion and avoidance training for dogs in Salt Lake City!
Rattlesnake Alert at Barley’s Canine Recreation Center
Rattlesnake Alert operates primarily out of Barley’s Canine Rec Center in East Millcreek near I-80 and I-215. Classes are run by trainer Mike Parmley. Mike uses the Web Parton method to train dogs to identify rattlesnakes by sight, smell, and sound. Dogs will have a chance to interact with defanged snakes, using an e-collar to simulate the interaction with the snake. Pet parents should feel good about the fact that group trainings include a maximum of 6 dogs. All dogs attending the training should be at least 10 months of age. Trainer Mike Parmley expects that dogs will not need an annual refresher training or retest, though he does offer one. Visit their website for more information on upcoming classes.
Utah Rattlesnake Avoidance
Utah Rattlesnake Avoidance offers group classes for up to 6 dogs near Murray, Utah. Trainer Haley has worked with venomous snakes for over a decade. All dogs are trained on sight, sound, and smell using live snakes in an enclosed case. An e-collar will be provided for in class and used to simulate the snake interaction. Classes usually last about an hour and a half with owners doing most of the handling. It is recommended dogs be at least one year of age, though dogs over 6 months old may sign up for the training. Retesting is available for puppies who take the class prior to being one year old. Visit their website to sign up for an upcoming class!
Training to a T
Training to a T in Magna is a great option for those needing location flexibility or to train multiple dogs. Trainer Melissa is certified by the prestigious Victoria Stilwell Academy in positive reinforcement methods. Rattlesnake avoidance is taught over the 6 week period with classes ranging from 45 to 90 minutes. This class will teach your dog how to avoid snakes in general and uses positive reinforcement, without an e-collar, to shape your dog’s behavior when it does encounter a rattlesnake. Training to a T also offers a free mini safety course via their site and virtual rattlesnake avoidance if you are not near their Utah location. Visit their website to sign up for an upcoming session!
Side by Side Dog Training
Side by Side Dog Training in Salt Lake City partners with local reptile experts, Scales and Tails, to provide snakes for their 6 week snake avoidance training classes. The provide both rattlesnakes and non-venomous snakes to help pups learn to avoid all types of snakes and other critters. All snakes are contained for safety of the trainers and dogs. Owners can expect only positive reinforcement methods used to help your dog learn throughout this course. Dogs will need to have completed a prior Side by Side course or have instructor approval to enroll. All pups must be crate trained for the time when they are not directly learning. Visit Side by Side’s website to learn more or sign up for this class.
Live Oak Dog Obedience
Live Oak Dog Obedience in Bluffdale, Utah has a partnership for rattlesnake avoidance training with renowned trainer, Web Parton. Web uses live, defanged rattlesnakes with an e-collar to train dogs for sight, sound, and scent rattlesnake detection. Classes are usually available in late May and early June and typically sell out quickly. Classes last approximately 3-4 hours and consists of a maximum of 6 dogs. Live Oak guarantees they will not end class before they are confident your dog has aced the training. It is recommended pups be at least 10 months of age before taking the training. Unfortunately due to Web’s schedule he isn’t able to conduct Utah classes in 2023, but visit their website to stay up-to-date as they occasionally add fall classes.