Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Midland Annual De-Snaking Clinic this Saturday - hosted by Llano Estacado Bird Hunting Association.

Saturday morning, Zack the Wonder Dog, Zoie the Wonder Pup and I will rise with the chickens and be out at the shooting range by 6 a.m. – and if you’re a dog owner, you should get out there, as well. Saturday, the annual Llano Estacado Bird Hunting Association’s “De-Snaking Clinic” will start at 7:30 a.m.

What is a desnaking clinic, you ask? Well, it’s just what it says...it is an organized event where dogs are exposed to rattlesnakes so the dogs will understand the danger of such and learn to avoid the deadly creatures. Most hunting dog owners bring out their dogs to go through the training, and many dogs were there for a refresher. Regular city dogs are there, as well. Everyone’s getting ready for the upcoming hunting season, and as such, this is a timely clinic. Venomous snake bites translate into huge vet bills, long recovery time, and sometimes can be fatal.

Dogs are, by nature, nosy creatures. Dogs have a natural curiosity about snakes, and most often, will not naturally avoid them. Zack and Zoie, by virtue of their breed, are hunting dogs, and stay pretty much nose down anytime they are outside. Chances are good that one of them will stumble across one of those ornery snakes at some time, and we want them protected. Sometimes, dogs will survive a snake bite, but just as often, the snake bites are deadly. (There is also a new Rattlesnake Venom Vaccination (a series of two shots, a month apart) which lessons the toxicity of the venom, should a dog suffer a bite.)

Here’s how the clinic is set up. First, registration and release of liability is executed. Your dog is put on a lead, fitted with a shock collar, and then released to the handler. Two rattlesnakes are planted in the field. Their mouths are sewn shut so there is no chance of a bite or venomization. The handler (in this case, Ray Grappe, a renowned hunter trainer from Levelland, Texas) takes your dog to one snake, which is out in the open. Depending on your dog’s reaction, if the dog is curious and gets close to the snake, a shock will be administered. The dog will associate the shock with a rattlesnake, and won’t get close to it, should he happen on a rattlesnake in the future. The snakes also have handlers – as the day progresses, and warms up, those snakes want to move around.

Last year, Zack smelled that snake and wouldn’t have anything to do with it. He didn’t need any shock treatment at all. Zack tried to put the handler between himself and the snake, even at times leaning on Ray's leg. Zack reacted the very same way to the second snake hidden in the field. To my knowledge, Zack has not yet been exposed to a snake. Ray said that some dogs are smart, and just know that rattlesnakes are dangerous and won’t go around them. I was proud of Zack. (I’m a little worried about how Zoie will react - she'll probably try to lick the snake!)

Last year, there were 87 people signed in before I left at 10 a.m., and many of them had multiple dogs. This wasn’t just for hunting dogs – I saw Daschunds, Corgis, Westies, Schnauzers, all sorts of breeds. One young man brought an albino deaf Aussie. It was doubly important that this Aussie be de-snaked, since she couldn’t hear. She was going to have to go strictly on smell. She performed very well in the training.

There were hilarious moments, as well. One huge black lab saw that snake, and took off the other way, dragging the unsuspecting handler about 30 feet. The lab raced back to his owner, causing everyone to laugh, even the handler.

DE-SNAKING CLINIC
SATURDAY, AUGUST 9, 2008
7:30 A.M. UNTIL 12:00 NOON
PERMIAN BASIN SHOTGUN RANGE
1.25 miles South of I-20 on FM 1788
SENSITIZE YOUR DOG TO AVOID SNAKES
This method is effective for farm and ranch dogs, bird dogs, or any other type of dog that may be exposed to snakes. This method requires only 15 to 20 minutes to complete.

First Dog………………………………………$35
Each additional Dog…………………………..$25
Repeat Dogs…………………………………..$25

It’s fun to meet all the dogs and their owners, see each dog react differently, and know that each dog learned something. And they’ll all be safer when they’re exposed to the deadly rattlesnakes. The Llano Estacado Bird Hunting Association does a great job, and I commend them for their service to this community. I'll be handling registration - come see me!

17 comments:

HOBO said...

It is a new knowledge for me.
Thanks !

Janie said...

Hobo - it was new for me, as well, until I started hunting!

But it's a neat service!

Pam said...

Wish I could take Sweet Pea...don't you know the Queen would be a hit...the picture I get in my mind is too much to think about! Have fun, hope Zoie surprises you and does as well as Zack did! See you later!

Janie said...

If the Zoie surprises me, I will be well pleased. The trainer says she rocks in the field...maybe she'll be smarter than the average bear, Booboo!

Lynellen said...

Wow. i ALMOST feel sorry for the snake....nah...I dont.

Wish I could jet down there and have my precious Terabyte trained. She's pretty chicken of most things, but better safe than sorry.

doozie said...

That is creepy, good thing they are going to train the dogs not to sniff up a rattler

Janie said...

Lynellen - it's probably better that Terabyte is chicken--she's probably safer!

Doozie - it is...pretty.creepy.

Keeper Of All Things said...

Wow I never knew there was such a thing!!! I'm good just to keep my dog out of the pool...lol

Janie said...

Keeper - If the ZZ crew were at your house, they'd be in your pool, too!

Terri aka Pepsi's Mom said...

Sierra wants to know about the snakes in the field that DON"T have their mouths sewn shut? What if????

Pepsi would never leave a snake alone---she ate a toad once, because she just couldn't leave it alone , and got really sick! ( Toads make them foam at the mouth ) and are actually pretty poisonous......

Snooty Primadona said...

Wow! That is a great price for the service that's provided. I wish I'd known about this when our dog was still alive. We used to see plenty of rattlesnakes at the lake.

I'm assuming Zach is good to go now. Glad he made such a quick recovery. I mean, you never know which way it will go. Anyway, I hope they both do well since it could mean their lives. However, most dogs I've seen have that 6th sense that says Huh-Uh. No way.

I sure wish you'd come & go to lunch with me next week. Fred & Bessie are dying to meet you too, lol. he he he

i beati said...

I would think in Texas the biggest snake state - this would be a priority . Good idea!! I myself killed and removed 2 coral snakes this week, 1 in the kitchen !!!!!

catd264 said...

I'm so glad that Zack is back to his old self. And this De-Snaking thing sounds like a good idea.

Janie said...

Terri - Zack and Zoie think that Pepsi and Sierra need to get down here now!

Snooty - it is a great service. Zack's doing way better, Zoie as well. As to lunch, how about Monday? Busy? I'll e-mail you.

Sandy - Girlfriend!! A snake in your kitchen?? Yiiiiiikes!

Cat - it's a great idea, bring Louie and Lila out!

Snooty Primadona said...

Monday works for me, I think. Does this mean I have to get up early, lol?

jeery said...

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Janie said...

Snooty - get up early? Well, can you be up by 10:30 am - ish? We can do lunch at 11:30 am - ish...