June 18 & 19, the K-9 Rattlesnake Avoidance Clinic will teach your dog to recognize the signs of a rattler on the trail.
Summer is nearly upon us and many are planning to head out to enjoy the great outdoors. For those who like to bring their furry mates along, it is important to have them trained to avoid some likely dangers. On June 18 and 19, Friends of Douglas County K-9 is offering a Rattlesnake Avoidance Clinic to help dogs recognize the signs of a rattlesnake on the trail.
The streamlined K-9 class teaches dogs learn to sense the smells and sounds of a nearby rattler. “Training takes about 15 minutes per dog,”Dr. Kim Vanderholm, D.V.M at Franktown Animal Clinic and Friends of Douglas County K-9 Board Member. However, the skills the dogs quickly acquire allow them to learn how to protect their party from getting bit.
On training day, the animals are checked in and handed off to the trainer and handler. They then move through stations orchestrated to help them recognize warning signs. “Three of the stations have live rattlesnakes,” Vanderholm added. “The first station has a big rattlesnake on ice and another with a hood. They don’t put the dogs in any danger.”
Guided by a handler, each station teaches the dog to use different senses to hear, see and smell a nearby rattlesnake.
Guided by a handler, each station trains the dog to use different senses to hear, see and smell a nearby rattlesnake.

As they approach each consecutive station, if they are curious, their other senses are alerted. “When the dogs approach the snakes or snake skins, the handler gives them a little buzz in a collar we put on them.” With each uncomfortable buzz, they are conditioned to avoid anything that looks, sounds or smells like a rattlesnake.

Along with training your dog to be safe on the trail, enrolling in the class also benefits a good cause. Proceeds help out Friends of Douglas County K-9; a program that gives assistance to officers caring for their retired partners. “Funds that we raise are used to help with things like healthcare costs for retired K-9s and training equipment for working dogs.”

Last year sold out, so enroll your dog soon to guarantee a space!
K-9 Rattlesnake Avoidance Clinic
@Franktown Animal Clinic
7658 Burning Tree Drive
Franktown, CO 80116
$85 per dog/All proceeds benefit Douglas County K-9 Friends