While our weather here doesn't get cold enough for snakes to "hibernate" during the winter, I've never seen one during a winter hike and they usually don't come to mind until late spring.
Last year, I didn't think much about Kona and snakes as she was too nervous to do much exploring. But now, it's the sniffing and pouncing that keeps Kona spunky and stress-free. Every article I've read about dogs and rattlesnakes suggests to keep dogs leashed and away from brush and rocks. That's no easy task for Queen Pouncer.
There's that conservative voice in me that says I'll keep her out of the chaparral. But that means that I have to tug her away from her adventures.
A rattlesnake vaccine has been developed, but I have my suspicions about its effectiveness. There are also rattlesnake avoidance trainings for dogs, but they all use shock collars, which isn't an option for the painfully sensitive Kona Dog. (I'm also not sure how well a one time training works for dogs when they don't generalize well.)
I feel better knowing that of the handful of dogs that I've read about and know who have been bitten, all survived. I will be making calls to see which local vets stock anti-venom. And from here, well Kona, maybe you can steer clear of trouble.