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Hi!

I apologize in advance for this being so long, and for never having posted before. I am a llllloooonnnnnnnggggg time lurker here, and absolutely love SM, just have never gotten into posting. I really need your advice now though, and am here reaching out for help!

I live right outside of Austin, TX, and am experiencing problems with..... rattlesnakes! We have lived in our current home for 4 years, and the problem is growing increasingly worse. We found (and killed) two small rattlesnakes the first year we lived here, and the count increases every year. I do live in the country so expect to deal with "wildlife" to some degree, but having killed about 8 snakes last year alone is enough for me! The weather here is getting warmer, and just like clockwork, we killed yet another rattlesnake last night. This one was a very close call as my SO discovered it while he was using the weed eater, and not until it was already striking at him! Thankfully it only nicked his shoe, and he escaped unharmed, but enough is enough!!!

I am turning to you because I am worried about Rocky getting bit. He is trained to both pee pads and outdoors, however he clearly prefers outdoors, and will only use the pee pads when I'm not home. With the alarming number of snakes we're finding, I would prefer he switch to indoors (pee pads) only. How can I encourage him to do so?

I've done some searching here on the forum and read how one member would use and X pen to keep her dog near the back door with a pee pad when she asked to go out, but I'm afraid he'll just continue to hold it, as he will absolutely not use the pee pads when I'm home. I've considered getting one of the grass patches, but am concerned with odor, do they smell after a while?

What other solutions are there? I only take Rocky out on a leash, and never when its dark outside (even though our property is well light, snakes are very hard to see in the daylight, let alone at night). I have made up my mind that if I am ever in a situation where one of us is going to get bit (me or him that is) then I am absolutely 100% putting myself in the way, I figure a) I have insurance, b) I'm bigger so it will take longer to get in my bloodstream and c) they will work to no end to save a human, where as they may not fight as hard to save a dog.

My vet offers a "rattlesnake vaccination" which we have discussed, but I'm not convinced its safe enough for small dogs. He primarily gives it to larger herding and hunting breeds. He says he has given it to two Boston Terriers, but even they are much larger than Maltese. He feels comfortable that it is safe for Rocky, but I am very unsure. The other downside is, it has to be given every six months, which is a lot of vaccinations in my opinion. The vaccination doesn't make them "immune" to snake venom, it buys you time to get to the ER Vet and reduces the pain allegedly (although I'd like to know how they know that). The vaccination is made by Red Rock, Red Rock Biologics.

I would love to hear any suggestions for retraining him to indoors only, as well as your opinions on the rattlesnake vaccine.

And not to keep my first post as a complete downer, included are some pictures of Rocky.

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Thanks in advance for all your help!

Momma2Rocky
 

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I don't have much advice to offer, but I want to say that Rocky is so freakin' cute!

One thing that popped into my mind would be to try those indoor grass pad/things. They are real grass, that are made for dogs to pee on. Sorry I am not being real clear. I am in a hurry. Hopefully someone else can explain it better.

Good luck and all of you stay safe!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I don't have much advice to offer, but I want to say that Rocky is so freakin' cute!

One thing that popped into my mind would be to try those indoor grass pad/things. They are real grass, that are made for dogs to pee on. Sorry I am not being real clear. I am in a hurry. Hopefully someone else can explain it better.

Good luck and all of you stay safe!
Thank you for your kind words about Rocky!

The grass patch is kind of what I have in mind, I just want to make sure I don't get something that will have a urine odor. At least with the pee pads I can just throw them out when they are soiled.

I should also mention that my parents live about 10 minutes away from me and their (overweight) Dalmatian was bitten by a rattlesnake about 3 years ago. He was rushed to the vet and thankfully survived, but I have seen first hand how horrifying it is.

Momma2Rocky
 

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Oh please don't let that cute little baby outside! I don't care how much those beautiful eyes plead with you. If you have that many rattlesnakes around your house, he doesn't need to get bitten. They are so little and he is too precious. I hate snakes of any kind..........:w00t::w00t::w00t:
 

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If you have or can get Black snakes, King snakes or Bull snakes,all non venomous,they're natural enemies of rattle snakes. They actually eat Rattlers since they're immune to the venom.I was told this by a wild life officer when I told him about the Black snakes in my yard and the Scarlet King snake I saw on the lanai,they scared me. He said don't get rid of them and told me why. He said they don't both humans and they never bothered my fluffs.
I'd check it out w/ a wild life officer in our area.
 

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If you have or can get Black snakes, King snakes or Bull snakes,all non venomous,they're natural enemies of rattle snakes. They actually eat Rattlers since they're immune to the venom.I was told this by a wild life officer when I told him about the Black snakes in my yard and the Scarlet King snake I saw on the lanai,they scared me. He said don't get rid of them and told me why. He said they don't both humans and they never bothered my fluffs.
I'd check it out w/ a wild life officer in our area.
Someone else mentioned this to me as well. I'm not thrilled with the idea of introducing additional snakes, but have not completely ruled this out. I wonder though, how would I keep them on my property and not from just crawling off?
 

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Someone else mentioned this to me as well. I'm not thrilled with the idea of introducing additional snakes, but have not completely ruled this out. I wonder though, how would I keep them on my property and not from just crawling off?
Good question... I bought a bunch of ladybugs one year for natural pest control, waited til after dusk to release them as they said... they pretty much all flew off anyway by the next day :p
 

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I know the thought of adding more snakes is scarey but even one black snake will make a difference. They also eat rodents and they don't bother your little fluffs. Something to think about. We had 2 Black snakes and no Rattlers. I saw one huge Rattler about 6 feet long in my neighbor's yard.....
 

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Sorry, I have no advice either. But, I just wanna say how cute your pup is! I hope things work out for you and your family. Stay safe. :)
 

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I probably would get my dog vaccinated. If bitten and taken to the vet the amount of anti-venom needed to use is enormous and expensive. Vets also can run out in areas where there is a problem. I would also do everything I could to rattlesnake proof my home.
A side note baby rattlesnake venom is more deadly that an adult rattlesnake.
 

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I found this on rattlesnake proofing... How to Rattlesnake Proof a Backyard - wikiHow

but it sounds like if you are taking him out only on a leash and not after dusk, you are doing things right...
Keep your dog safe from rattlesnake bites | Desert Road Trippin'

Hope your family and Rocky stay safe out out of harm's way...
We found another one today :smscare2:, this time in the middle of the day! This one was was small, but scary none the less. I feel so terrible because Rocky loves to be outside, but I just can't allow him any freedom what so ever. We go out, he stays on a short leash, he potties and we go straight in. We have a beautiful backyard, and a big patio, and we enjoy spending time outside, so I really want to keep the snakes away so we can continue to enjoy it!!

Thanks so much for the links, the "rattlesnake proof" fence mentioned in the first link could be a viable solution, assuming we could build it correctly.

In the second link they mention some trainers using a shock collar to get dogs to associate snakes with bad or fear, there is no way I would ever ever use a shock collar, but perhaps there is another way to teach him they are bad? How could I accomplish this or teach him to avoid them using positive methods? I won't do anything that will harm him in any way (like a shock collar) so if it can't be done positively, it's not an option.

I am open to ideas and appreciate all your help and advice!

Momma2Rocky
 

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I got to looking at snakes in NC.......Copperheads, there is some kind of rattlesnake but they say there is not many of them and about 4 more poisonous ones. Everytime I read this thread, I get upset because I have such fear of snakes.:w00t: You have such a beautiful backyard and can't enjoy it because of rattlesnakes.......Oh, I am so sorry!!! Good luck in trying to get rid of them!!
 

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I can't tell you what to do, only what I would do if I were in that same sitation.

1. I would not give a rattlesnake vaccination under any circumstances to a Maltese dog.

2. I would keep the dog inside while the threat is outside the home. It will take patience and persistence, but you can train your dog to go on pee pads inside if he is already going on pee pads while you are not home. He can't hold it in forever. He will eventually use the pee pad.

Since he doesn't understand the outside danger you are protecting him from, he won't understand why he can't go out, but he will get used to being inside.

JMO. I wish you the best.
 

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Someone else mentioned this to me as well. I'm not thrilled with the idea of introducing additional snakes, but have not completely ruled this out. I wonder though, how would I keep them on my property and not from just crawling off?
I thought about that too but I had 2 and even with lawn mowers and weed whackers and the dogs barking at them occationally and us spooking them once in a while,they never left. As long as they don't feel threatened they won't leave or if they have adequate food supply,like rodents and other small lizzards. We had lots of those little anoles,they pretty much hung around.

When I first moved there,I was disconcerted to find a small black snake in my pool,so I'd fish him out w/ a net and take him a cross the road and let him go,a couple days later,little bugger was back.
I would seriously talk to wild like control officer,they can give you advise on how to deal w/ native species. Sometimes as awful as it sounds you might need a little help from mother nature,as no matter the man made barrier, they will get in.....

Something is drawing rattlers in so if you have a snake that will eat rattlers,they'll probably stay long enough,hopefully to rid you of your rattler problem.
Like I said, my neighbors had a rattler that showed up,I saw it...huge.... but I never saw one in my yard.
I don't like snakes,deathly afraid of them but if you leave them alone,they leave you alone generally. I would occationaly get startled by a black snake,they'd always slither off somewhere if they saw me coming so I learned to just ignore them... Same with the Scarlet King snake (red,black,white)I found on the lanai near the pool, he was actually quite beautiful. I looked carefully to make sure he was red on black (friend of jack) not red on yellow (kill a fellow) meaning a coral snake,very similar colours(red,black ,yellow)...

If I had to have a snake on my property,which we do here in Ohio ( a blue racer,similar to black snakes, I'd rather have one,non venomous and one that will scare off or eat venomous ones... Anything to keep my fluff safe..Good luck!
 

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wow , that is scary , i dont like snakes period .. just have to say that its nice that u posted and hope u will continue to do so , and to tell u that rocky is adorable!!!
 

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Wow you have more rattlesnakes than we do. And we are in the middle of nowhere. We had a baby rattlesnake in our garage one time. My husband spotted it in the evening. So we left the garage door a little open during the night hoping it would leave by itself. Next morning I found it close to the door. Our gardener arrived at the same time and I told him there was a snake. He first thought I was joking and that it was a fake one. I gave him a broom and he pushed it up the road to an empty lot. We have not seen a snake since then. Some areas here have a lot of scorpions. I have not seen one yet. When I read about those things at the city data forum, people always say to make sure there is no food supply. Like scorpions like crickets. Do you use pest control ? Last year we had a lot of grass hoppers and crickets. We started using pest control just because of this. We started in December. We have not had any grass hoppers or crickets since. A lady on our Sun City forum said that people up the road from them that did not use pest control found a bunch of baby scorpions in their bath tub. Scorpions are impossible to kill with pesticides. You have to step on them to kill them. So the only way to keep them away is to suppress the food supply. So maybe if you find out what the snakes like in your yard you might be able to keep them away by suppressing what they like.
 

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Gee with all the snake talk I too forgot to mention how absolutely adorable Rocky is. Gee maybe he can stay here until the snakes clear out....hhhmm,ulterior motive...
I hope the rattlers will clear out soon,it's tough to keep the little ones out of danger with snakes,we don't always seem them until it's too late...
Maybe you can get snake traps,I hear people catch and eat snakes...tastes like chikin'!
 
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