We didn’t travel far to experience the fastest breaking the trainer had ever seen. The rattlesnake trainer travels all over California, and maybe the country, breaking dogs from sniffing, hunting, attacking or otherwise annoying rattlesnakes.
Kalev is not particularly aggressive towards rattlesnakes, but because of her size, we didn’t want to take any chances. It was time to break her of any latent tendencies towards rattlesnake hunting.
The process was simple, and took about 5 minutes once her number was called. The trainer cuddled her for a second to gain her trust as he slipped a shocking collar around her neck. She fell for him.
- First he took her on the porch where a small dead rattle snake lay curled in a little circle. It didn’t smell like cow pies or a dead mouse, so she avoided it. It probably hadn’t been dead long enough. No shocker collar action for her on step one.
- Next the trainer led her to some big scary rocks where a fake snake sound rattled from between the boulders. Again, she showed extreme disinterest.
- Then the trainer had a real treat, snake smells rubbed in the grass. He coaxed her towards it, and she took the bait. He zapped her instantly telling her to avoid tempting snake smells at all costs.
- To pass the test she had to run across the grass containing a live snake and come to me while avoiding the snake. She started out to make a beeline for me, but screeched to a stop when she smelled his venomous body hidden in the tall grass. She gingerly stepped aside, and ran towards me.
That was three years ago. Today, she will still hardly walks on grass – even ours. She balances on the rock wall rather than touch the manicured lawn until she gets to just the right place, then she tiptoes over to take care of business, jumping back to the safe rocks when she finishes.
I think she’s broken.
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