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Dogs learn 4 legs good, no legs bad


Western Diamondback Rattler

By Rick Sherman
Sun Advocate Reporter

If you like to take your dog running, hiking, camping or hunting, you and your pet are at risk of encountering rattlesnakes. A dog’s natural curiosity puts them at much greater risk of a venomous bite which can cause pain, and permanent damage which can cost thousands of dollars, or even death.
That’s according to “Get Rattled,” a provider of rattlesnake avoidance training. Get Rattled conducted a clinic at the Carbon County Fairgrounds Friday using several snakes, including a particularly large Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. The big rattler had its venom ducts altered so it can’t deliver venom. “That way, nobody gets hurt,” said Get Rattled owner John Potash.
The snakes were used in a variety of scenarios to focus the dogs on specific aspects of the rattlesnakes. Aversion training with “e-collars” was employed to teach the dogs to avoid the sight, sound and smell of rattlesnakes. Potash explained, “If the dog shows interest, that’s when they get the correction.” He said sometimes they learn after only one correction.
Potash acknowledged some people are adverse to using shock collars. “And I get it. I’ve seen people misuse them and it’s horrible. But where used right in this type of scenario, it’s the perfect tool,” he declared. He maintained that a positive reinforcement method would take weeks and may not be effective.
Price resident Nancy Bentley was among the first to take advantage of the clinic. She said, “When I walk with my dogs, I’m just scared to death they’re going to be bitten by the rattlesnakes because you know, we have them. And so it was the idea that we could do it and teach them in a very quick manner to avoid them.” She added that she was impressed with what great people they were.
Potash said they have trained anywhere from a half dozen to more than 100 dogs in a single day. He said they always recommend a refresher training after approximately a year.
Get Rattled can be contacted through the website, GetRattled.Org.

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