I've probably met some of you oldtimers at shows, field trials and hunt tests many years ago as I was the secretary of the Desert GSP club from the mid 70's through the 80's.
But I'm completely out of shorthairs now though I still read the forums regularly. If anyone has the answers I know you guys will.
All of my dogs were snake broke in Arizona and we only broke them on rattlesnakes. A friend of mine is moving to Texas with her dogs (not shorthairs) and she plans to have them snake broke. The trainer she found suggests training for rattlesnakes, copperheads, and cotton mouth water moccasins individually.
I'm completely out of touch with current trainers and methods and would appreciate any comments on the necessity for having the dogs snake broke on all three; and the trainer and the training methods on this website, http://www.winterkennels.com/ or suggestions for other excellent trainers in the Fort Hood or Austin area.
I have two shorthairs and used Harlan Winter to train both of them. When we took my first shorthair, Belle, to be trained I was thinking only rattlesnakes, thinking if you train for one snake you train for all. Not so, we did the training on the rattelsnake and then Harlan brought out his Cottonmouth. She went right up to it like she had never been trained at all. Apparently, all three snakes smell a different. I could even smell the difference in the Cottonmouth as it smelled fishy. Anyway, I have had both my dogs trained on all three snakes as we hike and swim allot in Central Texas and all three snakes can be found in the area. I will say Belle (Harlan says she has a Magnum nose.) scents the rattlesnake from about 50 feet off. The other two they don't pick up the scent on as quickly, but they still scent them and avoid. By the way I had Belle trained 3-1/2 years ago and every year Harlan has a refresher clinic (no cost) at Sportsman's Finest on Bee Caves and will retrain as necessary. I have never had to retrain either of my two shorthairs at his refresher clinic.
Harlan has his own snakes and ecollar and the training doesn't take more than about 30 minutes. He will do the training at his home or at Sprtsman's Finest. The training at Sportsman's Finest is once a year in August and is first come first serve. If you get there early the line isn't too bad. Of course, his next time at Sportman's Finest is a year out.
Also, I have a friend who has Labs and hunts with them and he is the one who recommended Harlan. He told me he can spot snakes in a field based on how his dogs will circle around areas avoiding the snakes.
Hope this helps.
Bev and the Pointer Sisters (Belle and Halo)
CHARLIE ROSE DOES A GREAT JOB HE HAS BIN TO NEW MEXICO THE LAST COUPLE OF YEAR FOR SNAKE TRAINING
Many thanks to both of you for the reaponse!
That's exactly the kind of information I was hoping for. I'll pass it on!
I've been doing snake breaking for many years. Even when I lived in Dublin and Stephenville where we had all three types, all I ever worried about was the Rattlers. The venoms from Cottonmouth and Copperheads are not particularly damaging to dogs except for very small breeds.
I will say though that none of the dogs I ever put through the snake breaking on rattle snakes was ever bitten by the other two.
While I've no faith that breaking dogs on anything besides rattlesnakes will keep them from wanting to get into rattlers, it does seem to work well in the reverse.
I do it differently though than most trainers, our snake breaking consists of three different sessions where we break them by smell, sight, and sound in different sessions. It still only takes about thirty minutes total time with the dogs, but we'll run ALL of the dogs through one scenario before beginning the next so it has time to soak in, in between each session.
The method has proven to be extremely efficient and effective for us. CR