Dogs here in Arizona face a real danger -- rattlesnakes. And the unusually warm temperatures are bringing out those snakes earlier than you might expect.
Some local dog trainers are offering classes to help protect dogs from coming into contact with the rattlers.
Matt Fitzmiller and his pup Kona are avid hikers.
That's why he's decided Kona should go through rattlesnake avoidance training.
“When I'm out with the family and out with the kids -- and out hiking I want to keep everybody safe, including the dog, so I definitely want to avoid rattlesnakes and know when they're around,” says Fitzmiller.
Louis Robinson, of Robinson Dog Training, is teaching Kona to avoid a rattler.
The first step is getting Kona close to a box with the snake inside. Once she gets close enough to smell the scent, she gets a light shock.
“It will create a lasting impression so when they smell that scent, the dog will try and avoid it,” says Robinson.
After that, it's time to take the snake out and teach the dog what to look out for.
“I'm going to move the snake over here and then you're going to try it again,” says Robinson.
After just a few times Kona quickly learns that she wants nothing to do with these snakes.
“It's a pretty common request,” Robinson says. “15,000 dogs a year are bitten by rattlesnakes nationally, and Arizona has the highest fatality rate.”