Snake avoidance training for bird dog?

jballjball Posts: 18 Greenhorn
I am an avid bird hunter that recently moved back to Florida after 8 years away. I have a 5 y/o wirehaired pointing griffon that has spent all of his hunting life in the prairie of MN and SD. He has no idea what a snake is and I plan to run him once quail season opens this year but am afraid of his curiosity in things getting him in trouble! I spoke with Dr. Calderwood this am and learned he is no longer performing this service. I also did a quick search and came up with someone in Georgia. Anyone know of a closer alternative or any other thoughts? Thanks in advance!

Replies

  • SaltygatorvetSaltygatorvet TallahasseePosts: 4,007 Captain
    I believe there in one in Pavo Ga. I'll see if I can find out more
    You should have been here yesterday
  • If_it_flies_it_diesIf_it_flies_it_dies Posts: 1,133 Officer
    I've always done my own. If you have an e collar (shock), bring home a fresh dead moccasin or rattle snake (preferably both) and when the dog approaches the snake set it on the highest setting and give him a good 2-3 second whack. Try again the next day. The couple I've done haven't gone back the second day. I also tie a fishing line to the snake and have it "chase" the pup a bit. This is in essence what the "pros" do except with a live snake. As long as its fresh I can't and haven't seen the difference. You could also play a recording of a rattlesnake while doing it if you think he'd be drawn to the sound. I try to do a refresher course every year as well, although I haven't had to shock since the first time. Good luck with your hunting, lot less birds here than where you're from I'd imagine. I have a springer spaniel I hunt with and we keep busy with woodcock because the quail are few and far between.
  • jballjball Posts: 18 Greenhorn
    Salty- Good deal. Thanks.

    If it flies- I do have a coller but finding a freshi of eithe snake might be a challenge for me time wise.....I think he would definitely be drawn to the sound and the overall movement of a snake. I grew up chasing them here and watched the decline of numbers growing up so I don't have super high expectations! I am persistent and love watching the dog do his thing so I will be hunting either way but do not expect it to be the amount of birds in general from what I have been used to lately. I just left an area that had endless public land less than 15 minutes from my doorstep, fairly low pressure, and good numbers of pheasants and waterfowl. Haven't tried the woodcock or snipe yet though......
  • no slackno slack Posts: 333 Deckhand
    I've heard of a vaccine for dogs to protect from rattlesnakes. Not a lot of info on it but it is out there and supposed to be effective.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 10,531 AG
    Dr. Caulderwood is/was the only one I knew of in Fl.

    Sad that he is done with it.
    Worked on three of my dogs but made one more aggressive towards snakes even after two sessions.

    If there is one in Ga., I would travel to get a new dog done.
    I also do the vac. it wasn't developed for SE snakes but if it buys me some time it ain't a big cost.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 10,531 AG
    no slack wrote: »
    I've heard of a vaccine for dogs to protect from rattlesnakes. Not a lot of info on it but it is out there and supposed to be effective.
    there is a ton of info, try google.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • jballjball Posts: 18 Greenhorn
    Yeah it's sad that he is no longer doing it. I will do some more looking into someone in Georgia and post here for others that may be interested. Haven't seen a vet here yet but have an appointment next week to establish a relationship......anything special as far as vets getting the vaccine?
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 10,531 AG
    jball wrote: »
    Yeah it's sad that he is no longer doing it. I will do some more looking into someone in Georgia and post here for others that may be interested. Haven't seen a vet here yet but have an appointment next week to establish a relationship......anything special as far as vets getting the vaccine?
    just got to find out which vets have it, maybe check with some dog clubs/orgs for info.

    good luck!
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • drgibbydrgibby Posts: 1,381 Officer
    From what I have heard from the Reps. the vaccine is very effective against pygmy strikes but not so much against Easterns. Better than nothing, I guess.
  • Barrett1Barrett1 Posts: 165 Officer
    The vaccine is effective for the western diamondback and buys time with the eastern diamondback (not sure about pygmy). It is not effective for water moccasins.

    Check with NAVHDA. They did a snake avoidance training in Lake Wales about a year ago.

    If you find something let us know. I have 3 that need the training.


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  • CyclistCyclist Posts: 23,346 AG
    Snake training worked well on my GSP. 4 years after the initial training with Dr. Caulderwood I did a refresher and Bartram would not even get close to the snakes. I still worry about running up on one quickly, not sure what you can do about that.
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  • kci-miakci-mia Posts: 265 Deckhand
    My father used to do ours and some friends dogs back in the 70's to 90's using live rattle snakes and moccasins.
    He used to call it "snake training" and he would train the dog once a day for two days...seen few that required 3 trainings. There are occasional dogs that never learns no matter how many times. Most dogs require additional training a year or two later. None of his trained dogs ever got bit.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 10,531 AG
    drgibby wrote: »
    From what I have heard from the Reps. the vaccine is very effective against pygmy strikes but not so much against Easterns. Better than nothing, I guess.
    That's what I read, it's not expensive and if it gives my dog(s) a little edge in that event then it's worth every dollar x1000.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • jballjball Posts: 18 Greenhorn
    Thanks to everyone for the replies. I am in the same camp of doing anything possible to give him an advantage. Been a busy week and have not had time for any internet diggin yet so hopefully I'll come up with something this weekend as the season is coming fast!!

    Edit: One coming up in December in Lake Wales....
    https://www.floridapalmettonavhda.org/snake-avoidance-clinic/
  • troyefltroyefl Posts: 4 Greenhorn
    Look for Florida Palmetto NAVHDA chapter. They are hosting a snake avoidance class sometime in December for a nominal fee. Have not attended one before but was thinking about going to this one.


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  • AllenRAllenR Posts: 2,702 Captain
    I did my own training. I got a rubber snake from walmart. Laid it out and let the dog walk up and sniff it. I hit the garmin and dimmed the lights in about 3 counties. They will avoid all snakes now with no worries
  • jballjball Posts: 18 Greenhorn
    I would do that as well but its the scent and sound that I want him to recognize. He is curious and before he sees the snake in cover he would be nose deep in it and we would have an issue. I know there is always going to be risks and there is a possibility of him running across one without scenting it but he was born to use his nose so thats what I'm banking on!
  • Barrett1Barrett1 Posts: 165 Officer
    Thanks for the info.

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  • kci-miakci-mia Posts: 265 Deckhand
    It's not just the sight of a snake but their scent, sound and movement you want your dog to associate with dangerous snake. It's also the reason they train more than once as they use different snake each time.
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