The Colorado Gun Dog Association schedules one Snake Avoidance Course per year, usually the first Saturday of June. Our snake handler, Robert Hemmenway, goes to great lengths to bring rattlesnakes from Texas for this one-day event. The CGDA organizes the venue, the entries plus all the help as a club. We are not a business but have been hosting snake avoidance training for over 20 years. This is a big event because we educate hundreds of dogs that day. If you are interested in this training for your dog/s send us an email at: Snakeavoidance@coloradogundog.org requesting to be included on our notification list . Hopefully you can participate in the next CGDA Snake Avoidance Course, tentatively June 1st, 2024.
You may be wondering what exactly a Snake Avoidance Course is and what will happen to your dog. Professional snake handler Robert Hemmenway from Texas has 'desnaked' thousands of dogs over many years and will conduct the clinic sponsored by the Colorado Gun Dog Association, a pointing dog club. Rattlesnakes have the ability to rotate fangs very quickly after losing them, so Robert uses a clipping method to keep the old fang partially in place and milking the venom in the process. The possibility of venom extracting from that portion of the fang is extremely low and their mouth is humanely taped for further safety. Robert has never had an adverse incident related to a snake bite.
The course uses electronic stimulating dog collars for teaching the dogs to associate the snake as their discomfort. The electronic collar has been proven as a very safe and effective method for this training. There will be multiple rattlesnakes on the course.
Snake 1: A snake has its rattles taped to simulate a dormant snake or a cottonmouth. The dog is brought in the vicinity of the snake using long check cords so they can "find" it. The best response is to get the dog to use its natural senses and see the snake and smell the snake. When the trainer sees that this has occurred, a correction will be given from the e-collar. Some dogs will need further stimulation, but most will learn quickly that any interest in the snake results in a correction.
Snake 2: The other rattlesnakes used in the avoidance course will not have their tail taped, so the do will hear the typical sound a rattlesnake makes. This will give the dog the opportunity to hear, see, and smell a live snake. If your dog responds by avoiding the vicinity, then no negative response will be given. If the dog shows any curiosity, stimulation will be applied.
The goal if for the dog to take a wide berth around the final snake(s), and to demonstrate that they have no interest in going near one. This training is not guaranteed. It gives the dogs the idea that snakes are not a good experience, suppressing their natural attraction and curiosity.
We have heard many success stories from dog owners who told us that this course saved their dog's life, a vet bill or warned them of a snake nearby.
The grounds are in a field a short distance West of Heirloom Parkway on the North side of Hess Road near Rueter-Hess Reservoir.
Directions coming from the North: Go South on I-25 to the Ridgegate Parkway Exit 192. Turn left on Ridgegate heading East. Continue East to Chambers Road (a major intersection). Turn Right (South) on Chambers Rd until it dead ends into Hess Rd. Turn Right (West) on Hess Rd go approximately 2.6 miles look for signs and a gate on the right side (North) of the road. This is where the event will be held.
Directions coming from the South: Go North on I-25 to the Castle Pines Parkway Exit 188. Turn right (East) and follow the road around for approximately 2.5 miles. Look for a gate and signs on the left (North) side of the road. This is where the event will be held. Note: Castle Pines Parkway becomes Hess Road. Observe the speed limit. This area is frequently patrolled by the police.