A friend’s puppy was bitten by a rattlesnake this week. Everything is fine now, after a few scary days and a scary vet bill.
As she was going through this, the question of rattlesnake training came up. In the scenario outlined (note: I haven’t done my own research on this; I’m casually reporting hearsay) for rattlesnake training, a shock collar is used in a controlled exposure scenario to teach the dog to never approach a snake. The shock collar is run quite high; a second friend who had done the training said it was enough that the dogs cried out.
Which raises a question: would you do it? Would you deliberately hurt your dog (in reality, have someone else do it), just one time, to teach them to be afraid of something deadly? What chance of exposure would convince you?
With Silas’s temperament, I would have to say no. He’s so scared of so many things already that I would never deliberately add a phobia to his list. More importantly, with all punishment-based training, there’s a possibility that the dog will misunderstand the thing he’s supposed to become averse to. It would be devastating for us if Silas became even a little more afraid of strangers or being in new places.
If I had a sturdy, even-tempered dog, and we lived in a place where exposure was likely, I don’t know.