Thought you would like to know how Riley is doing out here.  we have lived here 10 mo. and he loves it.  I am weaning him from phenobarb with no issues so far.  He is happy and active, jumping 20" with ease and very content though low dog on the totem pole with the girls.  However he is still my best boy and wraps himself around my legs every night.  Here are the results of our test today.
 
 First,  the test is run in an open field with two rattlesnakes that have fangs and venom, but have had the injection gland removed.  One is more docile than the other and has had its rattles removed.  The other is irritable and has rattles.  The dog is handled by an experienced dog handler and the owner stands close by with the trainer.The dog is fitted with an e-collar and  is introduced first to the more quiet snake he is allowed to look and sniff from a distance then quickly and briefly shocked strongly.  He is then walked around the snake and only gets shocked if he looks at the snake or tries to approach.  Then the dog is walked over the the one with rattles.  If he tries to flee, no correction,  if he tries to approach he gets shocked.  The owner then stands on the other side of the aggressive snake and calls the dogs to come.  The proper response is for the dogs to come to the owner circumventing the snake.  He still has the collar on so if there is any chance he would run over to his owner "through" the snake he would get corrected (probably wouldn't happen at this point.).  Then the owner takes the leash and tries to walk by the snake as a test to see if the dog responds with avoidance.  A good dog will avoid the snake and possibly push the owner away too.  The whole idea is to see, smell, hear the snake and associate with a very negative feeling.
 
Here's what happened with my three.
 
Ellie(ABRL rescue-giant schnauzer mix, 5 yo) went first.  She saw the snake and began to rush in and got shocked.  She jumped 6 feet in the air , screamed and hit the end of the leash running in the opposite direction.  Every attempt by the handler to bring her close to the snake was a wrestling match with Ellie pulling with all her strength away.  She would not recall to me as she was trying to run in the opposite direction the whole time.  When I  tried to walk her by the snakes the handler had to help because she was so wild.  Hope she learned her lesson, but suspect she will not be interested in getting anyway near a snake.
 
John did Spirit(bearded collie/bouvier mix, 9yo).  She got almost all the way to the snake before she was shocked because she was almost casual in her approach.  After that she wanted nothing to do with that creature.  By the time they tried the 2nd snake she stayed at the end of the leash, not a frantic as Ellie, but a low key "Get me out of here!"  at first she wouldn't come to John, but finally came around to his right side and wouldn't get on the heeling side where the snake was.
 
Riley was amazing!  He entered the field, caught the scent and immediately eyed the snake.  Correction was given.  Trainer said he has fantastic sense of smell which bodes well for his memory of the experience.He circled the snake with the handler looking several times for which he was corrected.  He was a little skittish after that, but as they approached the second snake he stayed with the handler but wouldn't look in the direction of the snake, turning his head and only sneaking an occassional glance in the direction of the snake which he received lower level corrections.  Then the handler dropped the leash and I called him and he came in like a perfect dog would skirting the snake widely, but straight to me.  Then I walked him in heel position by the snake and he pressed heavily into my thigh forcing me away from the snake.  Everyone was impressed.  Riley is my guy!  He wouldn't let me near the  snake.  I know who I want by my side when I hike out here.
 
Total cost:$200, but worth it if it saves their lives.  Neighbor ran over rattlesnake in his driveway this week.
 
Thought you would like to klnow about life here in the wild west.
 
Know your kennel is doing well and best wishes for continued success.  Really nice to have a quality dog.
Jane Stanley