Classes to teach dogs to avoid rattlesnakes

Rattlesnakes have already been active for months due to the mild winter and low precipitation, fostering an earlier and longer snake season. If you enjoy activities that take you and your dogs outdoors, you and your pets may be at risk for encountering rattlesnakes. And as the snakes keep moving in search of food and mates, they may even end up in your own backyard. According to the Nevada Department of Wildlife, the state’s current drought means more rattlers will find their way into urban areas proving for an active snake season.

“I’d say that most dog owners don’t really think about snake bites until they see a rattlesnake for themselves, in parks, or their backyards, and then realize their dogs can be at risk,” said John Potash, co-founder and co-owner of Get Rattled. “Get Rattled is a unique training clinic designed specifically to teach dogs on rattlesnake avoidance. We have been teaching this clinic for 15 years and have successfully trained thousands of dogs.”

Potash is licensed by the Nevada Department of Wildlife and has more than 25 years of experience working with venomous snakes and wildlife in areas of animal control, wildlife rescue, and public education. He works with skilled dog trainer Willie J. Stevens Jr., who has more than 20 years of experience training and judging pointing dogs.

Rattlesnake avoidance training is a crucial tool for dog owners. Potash said, “Prevention is your number one line of defense in protecting your dogs from venomous snakes. When dogs and their owners go hiking or to the dog parks to go off leash, this training teaches them to be fearful of the rattlesnake. It protects people as well, as the dog becomes an alert system. This training has proven to be an effective tool in teaching rattlesnake avoidance to all dogs from Great Danes to Chihuahuas.”

Because rattlesnakes can regulate the amount of venom they inject into another animal, the health risks to dogs from a bite can vary greatly depending on the amount of venom injected, the species of the dog, size of rattlesnake, size of the dog and where it was bitten. Dogs can also be bitten when owners are not around, so Potash suggests dog owners know some general signs of a bite along with health risks.

“Dogs are usually bitten on their limbs, neck, head, or face, so look for severe swelling in those areas. After some time, the venom may produce nausea, vomiting, and the dog can seem lethargic and will begin to act as if something is bothering them. If you see a snake bite happen or notice these symptoms, keep your dog calm, and take them to a vet right away. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.”

Lyon County pet owners are encouraged to take part in Get Rattled, rattlesnake avoidance training clinics, on Saturday, June 20, at Dayton Valley Dog Park, where appointments are available from 8 to 11 a.m. Other training sessions can be arranged from 1 to 4 p.m. the same day at Mountain View Park in Yerington.

Registration is encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome. Sessions last approximately 20 minutes. The cost for the training is $75 per dog. The clinic does require the use of a remote training collar, which is customized to each dog.

To register or for more information, contact Get Rattled at 775-234-8844 or


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment