Rattlesnake avoidance training available

May 3, 2023 | Education

This dog seems interested in, but at the same time wary of, a rattlesnake at a previous rattlesnake avoidance class. (File photo by Douglas W. Motley)

By DOUGLAS W. MOTLEY – Senior Writer


Crestline’s Double Dog Ranch, located near the end of Dart Canyon Road, is now taking reservations for its next rattlesnake avoidance training event. Their first event is slated for Sunday, May 14. Last year’s training exercise, which was also held on May 14, attracted over 60 families, most of whom brought multiple dogs.

These events typically attract families from throughout Southern California. There is still time to pre-register, which people can do by logging onto their website at https://doubledogranch.com/ and clicking on “contact.”

The staff at Natural Solutions are experienced dog trainers, animal behaviorists and naturalists, who warn that you or your dog could encounter rattlesnakes almost anywhere in Southern California, with seven species found in the region.

Most prevalent in the San Bernardino Mountains is the Southern Pacific Rattlesnake. Less common, but much deadlier, is the Mohave Green Rattlesnake, most often found on the north desert side of the mountain.

“Using a remote training collar to provide a perfectly timed, low-level stimulation (electric) that your dog will associate with the muzzled rattlesnake will effectively enable your dog to detect the sights, sounds and smells of rattlesnakes and create the reflex for your dog to quickly move away and avoid them,” said a spokesman from Natural Solutions. This type of training was witnessed by The Alpine Mountaineer at one of last year’s rattlesnake avoidance classes at Double Dog Ranch.

According to rattlesnake expert William Hayes at Loma Linda University Medical Center, snakes kill up to a quarter-million people worldwide each year. Those who are bitten and survive must often contend with crippling disfigurement, which explains the fear and apprehension that many feel toward snakes.

“Unfortunately, there are countless myths and misunderstandings that greatly exacerbate these fears,” Hayes wrote in a report published by Loma Linda University. “Our data suggest that only two factors have a significant effect on snakebite severity: snake size, patient mass, snake species and the site of the bite. Bites by larger snakes and to smaller humans result in more severe envenomation. Don’t believe the myth that smaller snakes are more dangerous. Larger snakes have much more venom available to inject, and they really can unleash it.”

While nothing is 100 percent guaranteed, rattlesnake avoidance training has proven highly effective in preventing envenomation by rattlesnakes. An added bonus is that paying attention to your dog’s behavior can help you avoid the snake as well.

According to ranch owner Dana Ridland, the next event will be held on Saturday, July 23.


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