Every year since Scouty was 6 months old, we’ve attended Snake Avoidance Training. Living and walking where we do, it’s inevitable we’re going to come across a snake or two each year. Last year I had an incredibly close call – the snake slithered down to the water to be among the humans and dogs! I screamed, it slithered away. But I dread to think what would have happened if all the dogs weren’t in the water at the time.
The Snake Avoidance Training provider we use is Animal Ark. They’re extremely busy, which means to need to book in nice and early. We usually book in for September/October.
The first time you take Fluffy with you, it will take about 20 minutes to go through the ‘snake course’. The first couple of snakes are loose (see Scouty’s photo). Whilst the ‘loose’ snakes are not venomous, they do bite – as Scouty can tell you. She got bitten by the snake in the photo, but it put the fear of snakes into her!
In basic terms, the Snake experts at Animal Ark pop a zapper around Fluffy’s neck and as Fluffy gets too close to the snake, Fluffy receives a zap – controlled by the snake expert. The reason Scouty was bitten the first time is the zapper wasn’t on a high enough setting for her. But I reassure you, she was all ok – if anything, the bite was what gave her the fear of the snakes right from the first one she encountered.
The next few snakes are the venomous ones… Tigers, Browns, etc. They are in super secure cages and are hidden in the bush under leaves. My job is to walk Scouty past the cages that are partially hidden and if she goes too close to one, she gets a zap from the Snake experts. This teaches her that they are to be feared and not messed with.
I can confidently say that by the end of that short session, she was well and truly fearful of snakes. It’s mainly the smell that she’s afraid of but of course, when she sees a snake she is wary of them.
So that first year after the training, we’d be walking along a path and she’d literally jump in the air (for no reason I could see), but I’m pretty sure she could smell a snake in the bush near the path. This happened on numerous occasions near the river.
The next year I took her back for a refresher course and the Snake expert was a little disappointed that the first snake Scouty saw, she went up to! I think it’s because she loves all souls and forgot they were a threat to her. But literally a 10 minute refresher course and she was back to where she was meant to be.
This year I’ll be taking her again and I can’t wait to see if she’s fearful or loving! Hopefully the former.
I absolutely would recommend you take Fluffy to Snake Avoidance Training. You have nothing to lose (except a few dollars) and you’ll have peace of mind that you have at least tried your best to ensure your doggie is not going to approach a snake. Nothing is full-proof. If Fluffy is running through the bush and surprises a snake, it’s likely Fluffy will be bitten. The only way to avoid that is to avoid bush areas in snake season.
For more information, head over to https://www.animalark.com.au/snake-avoidance-training-for-dogs and have a read. They go all over WA. We’ve been to Balingup and Margaret River for our training sessions – but of course they come to Bunbury too.