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Barry Pollock
(Barry1492) - F

Locale: Media
Snakes and hiking with dogs on 06/08/2011 13:25:12 MDT Print View

So I'm considering leaving my dogs at home from now on. We went on a trip in WVA this weekend and I watched my two dogs walk right past a rattle snake's head. I mean, this think was coiled and it's head was no more than 4" from my dogs.

My dogs way 18# and 36#. I honestly don't think either could survive a bite.


Your opinions?

todd harper
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: Sunshine State
Re: Snakes and hiking with dogs on 06/08/2011 14:40:59 MDT Print View

Survive, perhaps. But they won't be happy about their face doubling in size (yes, it can happen) and you'll be worried out of your mind!

While she was still alive, I only took my pup hiking during certain periods of the year. When living in such an environment, some risks aren't worth it, IMO.

I think you're being responsible.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Snakes and hiking with dogs on 06/08/2011 14:45:57 MDT Print View

I've also decided to keep my dog out of snake territory as much as possible. Snakes are only one of the reasons I keep him on leash and walking behind me, but there's always the chance I won't see the snake, either.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Snakes and hiking with dogs on 06/08/2011 14:47:14 MDT Print View

Barry,
Google "snake proofing dogs" or "snake training dogs". Learn about the process. Find someone as close as possible, pay the $$ for the one day session. It will be Way cheaper than your first vet visit, or the loss of your dog.

Be prepared, it will be a lot harder (emotionally) on you than your dog.
Thankfully, your dog is tougher than you. ;-)

Edited by greg23 on 06/08/2011 14:52:17 MDT.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Snakes and hiking with dogs on 06/08/2011 14:49:12 MDT Print View

I think you're perhaps fortunate they didn't go after it.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Snakes and hiking with dogs on 06/08/2011 14:55:56 MDT Print View

I've got an 8 pound rocket that I'm sure would be dead if bit.

We've had one run-in with an adult rattler. She was running behind me; it coiled, rattled, and I snatched her before she could decide whether she was afraid of it or not. I did yell a loud "leave it!" at her as a warning when she saw it...Who knows if this meant anything to her.

I do believe that animals are pretty good at sensing each others intentions/energy and I doubt she'd approach a rattling snake. Being little and fast, I figure she'd most likely get bit by running through brush or nooks and crannies.

That said, I feel she belongs out there with me, not loafing at home; I got her specifically as a trail running/backpacking companion and she's absolutely at her happiest when out running and chasing me through canyons.
I'll do my best to teach/protect her, but what's going to happen is going to happen.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
snakes and dogs on 06/08/2011 15:29:18 MDT Print View

I share the concerns about running into rattlers when hiking with my dog. I've heard and/or seen plenty of folks carrying their dogs out after they've been bit. It seems a really common area to get bit is on the face since they like to stick their noses into everything.

I mostly try to hike with my dog outside of prime snake season and/or at cooler, wetter times. If I'm brining him along on a hike when rattlers are a good possibility, he stays on his leash and when possible, stays behind me. He's super curious and has a strong chase instinct, so I fear he would try to pounce on a snake just to see what it is if given the chance. The few rattlers we've encountered with him so far have been sleeply, slow-moving and lazy and Bixby has just walked right by them without even noticing them, thankfully.

We've been considering, and probably ultimately will someday complete the rattlesnake avoidance training with our dog. The other thing we're considering is a rattlesnake vaccine available at the vets office. It doesn't make the dog immune to a bite, but it buys you quite a bit more time to get medical attention. Some good friends have had successful results with the vaccine on at least one occasion with one of their ranch dogs that has to contend with snakes not only at home in the Los Padres/SB foothills but also on regular horse-packing trips in the southern Sierras.

In our house, the dog is part of the family. He loves to go hiking and camping with us and we enjoy having him with us. I want to bring him along as much as I can and just have to take reasonable precautions to safely do so.

Jake Willits
(TrailSavvy) - MLife

Locale: Arkansas Ozarks
snake dogs on 06/08/2011 15:39:19 MDT Print View

My rat terriers kill snakes all the time. In fact, the first one I owned was sired by "the best snake dog I ever seen", or so said the breeder. If my female walks in front of me, I have no worries about being bitten myself, and she has proven up to the challenge so far. Could be the breed type. Just wanted to weigh in that although it is risky, the dogs sometimes are well equipped for it.

Ginger Allman
(gindavall) - F

Locale: Ozarks
rat terriers on 06/08/2011 19:08:17 MDT Print View

Rat terriers aren't dogs. They're a special force of nature. I've never seen such an effective killing machine. The one I know has been bit several times by copperheads, though. She will catch a snake and whip it so hard the head comes off. But I'd hate to see what a full sized timber rattler would do to her. I think trusting a dog to have a safe snake instinct is short sighted.

Edited by gindavall on 06/08/2011 19:09:57 MDT.

Charles G.
(Rincon) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
Snakes and hiking with dogs on 06/08/2011 20:19:57 MDT Print View

I live in SE Arizona where there are a lot of different kinds of rattlesnakes. I have had to deal with about 30 rattlers in ten years just on my property. Because snakes are so common here, I have put all of my dogs through snake aversion training and can report that it really works. My 5 year-old golden retriever won't approach a year-old, shed, rattler skin.

The training procedure involves a shock collar and live rattlesnakes. It is best to review the training once a year for the first few years. Here in Arizona, the cost is $35 - $50 per session. My neighbor had his dog bitten just outside his front door; the vet bill was $4200.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: rat terriers on 06/08/2011 20:42:21 MDT Print View

"Rat terriers aren't dogs. They're a special force of nature. I've never seen such an effective killing machine."

Yup.
Mine is mini-pinscher/rat terrier mix.
Lord help you if you're smaller than her. She can go for a 7 mile mountain run with me and still comes home to blaze circles around the yard looking for things to kill. Their prey drive is pretty intense, to say the least.

I can't imagine what a big dog with a terrier brain would be like.

I'm certainly not going to trust her to do the right thing with a snake, but what can you do? I'm not going to not take her out either...


Oh dear.
I'm bragging about my dog online, aren't I?
I've become one of those dog people...

Edited by xnomanx on 06/08/2011 20:44:12 MDT.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: rat terriers on 06/08/2011 20:48:48 MDT Print View

"Oh dear.
I'm bragging about my dog online, aren't I?
I've become one of those dog people..."

How utterly ..... ummmmmmmmmm ....... sweet........

Patricia Combee
(Trailfrog) - F

Locale: Northeast/Southeast your call
RE: snakes and hiking with dogs on 06/09/2011 18:20:04 MDT Print View

My dog and I both nearly stepped on a snake this past weekend. It was a king snake and not a copperhead, fortunately. Usually the dog notices stuff like that and so do I, but we both missed it.
Rattle snakes are bad, but they "usually" give you a warning rattle, but copperheads just nail you!

Brian Dickens
(briand) - F

Locale: Colorado
"Snakes and hiking with dogs" on 06/10/2011 12:18:32 MDT Print View

The training is good.

Having a trained dog and ALWAYS using a leash is the best.

Javan Dempsey
(jdempsey)

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: "Snakes and hiking with dogs" on 06/11/2011 23:12:02 MDT Print View

Yeah, I wish there were rattlesnake avoidance trainers on the east coast, I could never find any.


There are other ways to train your dog to avoid snakes if a professional isn't available however. One encounter with an aggressive large non venomous, or only mildly venomous snake will teach your (my) insanely stubbornly curious dog quick.

Any herpetologist type friends with bull snakes can learn your pup fast, assuming they're not too timid about letting their snake bite a dog. With anything in life, the trick is making sure they learn the hard way, so it sticks. If they don't lose decidedly, they'll just enjoy the concept of snake encounters.


Still I agree, if you love your pup, sometimes, the best thing to do is leave them at home, as much as it hurts to see them cry.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: rat terriers on 06/12/2011 17:27:32 MDT Print View

"I can't imagine what a big dog with a terrier brain would be like.

Like this, only he's a whole lot smarter than a terrier.

"Big terrier

Brian Dickens
(briand) - F

Locale: Colorado
Huh??? on 06/15/2011 09:01:25 MDT Print View

"""Any herpetologist type friends with bull snakes can learn your pup fast, assuming they're not too timid about letting their snake bite a dog. With anything in life, the trick is making sure they learn the hard way, so it sticks. """

I disagree, you NEVER want a snake to bite your dog. The dog will get defensive and desire to kill it, which is exactly the instinct you are training AGAINST. Any herpetologist that practices the above is bound for problems and potentially a lawsuite.

The training involves a shock collar, snake, snake scent and leading the dog away. Some dogs that are really good never get the shock.