Snake Dog

Dog's by their very nature are inquisitive creatures but get too close to a snake and it could cost their life. Every year thousands of dogs are bitten, many die.

If a dog gets bitten by a snake it can be too late before the owner realises, now a training programme in Perth is helping teach dogs to avoid snakes altogether.

Seth Pywell from Perth Dog Trainers runs the snake avoidance training, "we allow the dog to investigate and then we educate the dog and explain that investigating snakes is not good we explain that the odour is not good and reptile movement is not good."

Seth places treats in tubes along a special wall and then gets the dog to sniff them out. Then snake handler Marcus Costino places a venomous snake into a tube, this one's a Tiger Snake. "The tiger snake ranks for our west Australian ones its number seven in the world for venom toxicity." The tube is then placed into the wall - the dog is then encouraged again to sniff out treats. Leilla the Doberman has already gone through the training look at her reaction upon smelling the snake.

In the initial training an electronic collar is placed on the dog and activated when it approaches a snake, a small electric shock warns the dog to stay away. It doesn't hurt the dog. It's enough though to get the dog to react; it associates the shock with the smell and movement of a snake.

Michael Margot is from search dogs Australia, his dogs have gone through the snake avoidance training - "when you do this at a young age it imprints in the dog and then probably only every couple of years do you need to come back and do a refresher course."

As warmer weather approaches snakes are on the move and it's not only dog's that need to be careful. Here's some advice that could save YOUR life.

"Get a normal pressure bandage one you'll find in any first aid kit and start at the bite and I find the easiest way to explain it is go to the nearest end of the limb so if you were to get bitten on the ankle start at the bite go all the way down to your toes and then come all the way back up your leg." Call an ambulance and stay still, walking will spread the venom. If your pet is better get them to a vet as quickly as possible but for dogs like Tracker - prevention is better than a cure.

To find out more information

www.perthdogtrainers.com

www.slithersandslides.com.au