Western diamondback rattlesnake

Web Parton, left, watches as That Dane Bar owner Lisa Benz walks her dog around a western diamondback rattlesnake, hidden in the shadow of a bush. Benz was hosting Parton for snake safety classes for dogs and their owners.

Snakes are a fact of life for dog owners in Mohave County, but encounters don’t have to be deadly for owners or their furry friends.

Lake Havasu City’s pet-friendly pub, That Dane Bar, played host this week to a snake trainer from Oracle-based Snake Safe. Trainer Web Parton led classes at the business, where dogs were trained to detect snakes by sight, sound and scent – by using two live western diamondback snakes.

The snakes were defanged, and harmless to all participants. But the lesson imparted to canine participants was to avoid the rattling reptiles – and it’s a lesson that Parton says is never forgotten.

“For every snake you see, there are a lot that you don’t,” Parton said Thursday afternoon. “These dogs didn’t know what a snake was before, and now they do. Now they know snakes are there – this is the only class these dogs will need. They won’t forget.”

Parton has been training dogs to avoid rattlesnakes for more than 30 years, and is often called upon to travel throughout Arizona to give such training to Arizona pets. After the training is finished, owners are advised to monitor their animals’ behavior.

“If you see anything funny, unusual or irregular about their behavior, watch how they act,” Parton said. “They will tell you.”

According to That Dane Bar owner Lisa Benz, this is the first time Parton has been invited to train dogs at her establishment, after she received multiple requests from her customers to host him. This week, 36 dogs were enrolled in Snake Safe’s snake-avoidance classes at her establishment.

“It’s very important in this region,” Benz said. “Several of my customers have found rattlesnakes in their backyards … some might have snakes in their yards and not even see them.”

For more information about possible future classes, contact That Dane Bar at 928-733-0860. For more information about Snake Safe and snake-avoidance training, visit www.snakesafe.com.

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