WENATCHEE -- Arlo stuck his nose up against a cage in a field off McKittrick Street. The 3-year-old dog was intrigued by the rattlesnake inside.
Then his shock collar went off and the dog flinched.
Thus ended Arlo's first and only lesson in rattlesnake proofing.
But would Arlo pass the test, administered about 10 minutes later? His owner, Susan Dretke, walked Arlo past the cage again, but this time, it had been moved to a new location and covered with orange, plastic netting. Arlo couldn't see the snake inside.
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As they got closer, the dog balked. Arlo wasn't going anywhere near the smell of a rattlesnake.
That's just what Darel Ansley had hoped would happen. Ansley teaches a class several times during the summer, aimed at training dogs to associate the smell and sight of a rattlesnake with pain.
Ansley charges $75 for the lesson. Dretke and her husband, Layne, say it's worth it.
"If he gets bit, it could cost us 10 times that, and there would be no guarantee that he's going to survive," the Cashmere woman said.
Ansley, a loan officer at People's Bank, learned about snake-proofing while living in Arizona and had his dog snake-proofed there.
"People wrongly assume that the same rattlesnake that frightens you, will frighten your dog," Ansley said.
That assumption was proven wrong in a recent weekend class when all seven canine students ambled close to the rattlesnake on their first encounter. And they showed no fear until the shock collar went off.
The snake was coiled but not rattling or attempting to strike. Ansley said he wishes the snake would have acted out a bit but the smell of the snake was all the dogs needed to take in.
Ansley plans to teach the class several more times this summer. For dates, visit his website at rattlesnakedog.com.