Desert Messenger

February 1, 2012

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February 1, 2012 The Nose Knows: Training dogs to avoid rattlesnakes Consider for a moment the marvelous mechanism that is a dog's nose. It's diffi- cult for humans to imagine a sense that is, by various estimates, from one hundred to ten thousand times better than our own. Dogs have been trained to sniff out ter- mites in homes, to detect cancer cells in people, to detect drugs and explosives, and to sniff out an almost undetectable epoxy that makes emeralds appear more valuable than they are. Therefore, why not take advantage of this in- nate ability, and train dogs to stay away from rattlesnakes by using their sense of smell? This is the concept behind snake proof- ing dogs. However, to be perfectly accu- rate, the process probably should be called rattlesnake avoidance training. The idea behind this method of training is to have the dog associate the smell (also the sound and sight) of a live rattlesnake with an unpleasant experience, a brief and harm- less, shock from a shock collar. The dog makes an immediate, and often permanent, association that the snake hurt them and therefore snakes are something to avoid. Cast your memory back to high school or college biology class. Remember the story of the lowly Planarian? These simple, freshwater, flatworms live in streams and lakes. They prefer dark places. But if you place an electric grid on the dark side of an aquarium and shock them every time they swim to that area, it's not long before they are all hanging out on the lighted side of the tank. Dogs have a much more advanced nervous system than a flatworm. The point is—we all avoid what hurts us. The shock that a dog receives doesn't hurt them so much as it scares them. As New River resident and snake avoidance trainer Jim Walkington said, "Heck, it scared me when I shocked myself by accident with the collar." A dog's other senses are important in keeping them safe, but smell is primary and the most important. Many times, the snake does not rattle before striking. And, if the snake is coiled, movement is limited. Just remember, the snake might not move, it might not rattle, but it always gives off a smell. If you live in an area where rattlesnakes are present, or you take your dog hiking in the desert or out to the various desert lakes, training the dog to avoid rattlesnakes is a must. When we made the decision to live in the desert, there were a series of trade-offs. Now in Quartzsite! Community United Methodist Church Worship Sunday 8:30am Quartzsite Elementary School (QES) GYMNASIUM 930 W. Quail Trail, Quartzsite Tyson Pastor Gary Hayes Cell 928-201-1143 Pasonage 760-544-7064 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." -John 3:16 Main Street I-10 QES x Quail Trail N Living with the indigenous desert creatures is one of those trades. Desert rattlesnakes do not hibernate in the true sense of the word. They are temperature dependent, and one or two days of high temperatures in the 70s will assure they will be out hunting despite what date is on the calendar. Some local vets treat a doz- en or more rat- tlesnake bites a year. When a rattlesnake bites a dog, that unpleas- ant and costly experience doesn't teach the dog to stay away from rattlesnakes. The dog does not connect the pain and suffer- ing they experience to the process of being bitten. However, when they are trained, the correction with the collar is immediate— it comes as soon as they smell and hear, and see, the snake. One final thought—the best time to train your dog is now. Better to be six months too early, than one minute too late. Page 39 Jim Walkington is the owner of Viper- Voidance, an New River, AZ company that trains dogs to avoid rattlesnakes. He will be offering his snake proofing classes in Quartzite on February 11 and 12, 2012 at the Main Event area. The cost is $75 per dog. Call Jim at 480- 215-1776 to sign up for a time slot. For more information, see his website DAY NIGHT SHADES REPAIRED Factory Chords! 3 YEAR UNCONDITIONAL GUARANTEE Local Resident • FREE Estimates Larry - cell 928-273-3719 Fire Station Church 2012 CAMP MEETING SCHEDULE Jan. 29th-Feb. 3rd.- Paul and Cindy Talley, ministering in music and the Word. Feb. 5th-10:30am Service- Bost Family Traditions Gospel Bluegrass 7:00pm Pastor Rita will be preaching Feb. 12th- 10:30am Pastor Bruce will be preaching 7:00pm Pastor Bruce will be preaching Feb. 18th 8:30a,-3pm Women's Conference. Marian Anderson will be speaking. Cost is $25 and includes continental breakfast, lunch and materials. Deadline is Feb. 8, 2012. Contact the church to sign up. Feb. 24th-10am-5pm Third Annual Gospel Bluegrass Festival 7:00pm Double Portion Family Gospel band from Canada Feb. 25th-10am-6pm Third Annual Gospel Bluegrass Festival March 4th-10:30am Richard Toviah, Messianic Jew speaking on current topics. March 20th-April 1st Third Annual Women's Retreat, $100 and includes meals and lodging. Contact the church to sign up. 665 W. Tyson Street, Quartzsite Pastor Bruce Swart 928-927-5808 KOFA Moon Mt. Hwy. 95

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