Snake safety courses for dogs in Orange | Central Western Daily

Snake safety courses for dogs in Orange | Central Western Daily
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If you happen to see a dog running after a plastic snake on the end of a fishing line around Shadforth this summer, there is no cause for alarm. Deb Coleman – aka The Dog Lady – will use whatever’s at her disposal during her four-week, $200 course to ensure your pooch doesn’t enter an unwinnable skirmish with a copperhead or eastern brown, and her tool kit includes snake skins, dead snakes, remote control snakes, plastic snakes on fishing line and, well, cheese and twiggy sticks. Anyone who has ever owned a dog, on any continent at any time, knows that selective deafness is a common problem in the canine world, and that a dog’s ability to hear often depends on the quality of the other distractions on offer. A snake is a fairly attractive distraction, what with its smell and its wriggly writhing. Getting your dog to move away and come to you when called in this situation requires starting with the basics, and that means teaching your dog to be able to “recall” what it should do when it is called. “Asking your dog to get away from a snake is like asking a Year 1 student to take a university exam,” Ms Coleman said. “We need to have really good recall from your dog, long before you ask it to get away from a snake. So we practice just getting your dog to respond to you on a normal recall, then we move to an emergency recall with a whistle.” Ms Coleman urged dog owners to keep their properties tidy. “And if you let your dog just go into the bush,” she added, “then it’s very likely they’ll be bitten by a snake, if one is there.” Good luck with training cats. Send us a letter to the editor using the form below …

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