More than 150 dog owners attended Rattlesnake Avoidance Clinic for Canines on Saturday and Sunday. Masters came as far as Claremont at the other end of Los Angeles County to have their pets trained in how to identify and avoid poisonous rattlesnakes.
Avoidance trainers Tracy and Fred Presson have gained a reputation for their experience with training dogs.
“Any breed can be trained to identify snakes from their smell, sound and look,” said Fred Presson, a San Diego County based trainer who conducts one-on-one sessions in Calabasas through Mountains Restoration Trust. “We work with them until we are confident they can recognize one.”
With a backyard adjacent to the Santa Monica Mountains, Oak Park resident Jim Beck has attended the clinic annually for four years. “It works,” said the owner of a spaniel named Joey. “He’s spotted several snakes in our backyard and notified us with a panic bark to come.”
Many of the participants said they have already seen rattlesnakes in their yards and out on the trails this season. Presson said that about 150,000 curious dogs are bitten by snakes every year. There are several types of rattlesnakes, some more poisonous than others. All snake bites should be examined by a medical professional for treatment.
If you see a snake around your home, the Animal Control Center in your area will remove it.
The next session of the rattlesnake avoidance clinic will be held June 9-10. To sign up or obtain more information, visit www.mountainstrust.org.