FRANKSTON, Texas (KETK) – A special training program in Frankston is teaching our furry friends how to stay away from venomous snakes and protect humans in the process.

Snakes are out and about this summer and pet trainer Wayne Lain is putting man’s best friend to the test.

“What we’re trying to do is make these dogs avoid these venomous snakes,” said Lain.

Some of the most dangerous yet common snakes in Texas are rattlesnakes, but here in East Texas copperheads and water moccasins are the primary ones to look out for.

All three species are a part of the training, in hopes it will avoid a tragic accident.

“People bring their animals to me to try to keep them from getting hurt in the field (or bit). Mostly they get bit because they investigate a snake,” explained Lain.

Here’s how the program works:

Lain lets the dogs go investigate the snakes on their own. Some are in cages and some are just lying in the grass.

As soon as they get close enough, an e-collar is used to apply pressure to the animals neck mimicking a snake bite. 

“They associate that correction or the stimulus as a snake doing that to them. They can’t help but think that. They’re one dimensional,” said Lain.

He said the dogs catch on quickly and are more cautious the second time around.

With 18 years of experience in training pets and hunting dogs, people like Larry Waterman seek Lain’s expertise. He comes back for a refresher course every year. 

“We’ve been here now two years in a row, and we find it invaluable. We have copperheads out on our property where we live and our dogs avoid them and actually alert us when the snakes are around,” said Waterman.

He said it’s an effective program other dog owners should also consider taking a part in.

“We’ve had friends who’ve had dogs be bitten by poisonous snakes and almost die. We want to teach our dogs to avoid them,” added Waterman.

This is Lain’s final piece of advice:

“Get them trained to try and avoid a bite. Get them vaccinated in case of a bite.”

All this is so your furriest member of the pack can live as long as possible and protect you in the process.