It's one of my biggest fears - RATTLESNAKES!  And one of my biggest concerns as an avid hunter and dog owner is having my dog come into contact with a snake while off the leash.

Even a simple routine like taking your dog for a walk or going out hiking can turn quickly into a deadly situation should your dog encounter a rattlesnake and lean in to take a closer look.

Sit Means Sit dog training held a rattlesnake avoidance class for dogs on Saturday with a nationally known dog trainer passing through Wyoming agreeing to present the course for the first time in Casper. Jay Belcher (aka JJ) of Sublime Canine Dog Training in Arizona, travels the country helping dog owners like me, understand the relationship between dogs and humans and how to help dogs avoid rattlesnake encounters.  JJ gave both the dogs and owners an up close and extremely valuable experience, one that neither my dog, nor I will quickly forget.

JJ travels with 2 adults rattlesnakes that have had their venom glands removed but still uses extreme caution when handling the vipers.  He let the snakes roam around a sandy area one at a time and then escorted each dog in the course to a safe distance from the snake.

Sit Means Sit Dog Training, Casper

Once the dog had noticed and got the snakes scent, JJ then helped each dog learn to stay away from it, by giving the dog a negative reinforcement with the aid of an electronic training collar (See the video above).

My dog only needed one pass and she got the message!  Her reaction was subtle, but noticeable.  Even after the snake had been removed from the area and placed back into it's crated, my dog refused to go into the area where the snake had been roaming around.

Now this course cannot guarantee that your dog will never be bit by a snake, but it certainly gives them a lesson that will help them recognize it as a danger should they encounter a snake while hiking or walking or even hunting.  Even just the smell of a snake in the area can help protect them.  As was the case with my dog as just the scent of a snake made her steer clear of the area!  Lesson learned - Thanks JJ!

JJ Belcher of Sublime Canine Dog Training in Arizona was only in town for the day, but Sit Means Sit had such a positive response for this course, that they plan on bringing JJ back in the future to teach more dogs and owners about rattlesnake avoidance and try to help more dogs stay safe.

Sit Means Sit Dog Training, Casper

At least for now, it seems that both my dog and I are afraid to go near rattlesnakes and even more important to me is that she now knows what one smells like and that's a welcome relief!

For more info on dog training or to get on a waiting list for the next rattlesnake avoidance course, contact Sit Means Sit dog training in Casper @ (307) 251-7784 or on Follow them on Facebook.