EP 20: How to protect your Dog from Porcupines and other Dangers in Alaska and Arizona

Porcupines and Dogs don't Mix

What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • Dogs can be trained to avoid porcupines
  • Differentiating between deadly wildlife encounters for your dog, versus others that are costly and/or annoying but not life-threatening
  • Anticipating possible threats, including traps, and preparing for them makes time with your dog on the trail more enjoyable
  • Deadly dog threats include the Sonoran desert toad
  • Coyotes are an increasing danger for dogs in many areas, including suburban areas

Welcome to another episode of Free Range Dogs

In this episode, Web speaks with Don Lietzau, a friend and fellow dog lover and dog trainer. Don has recently moved to the Southwest after many years in Alaska. In this conversation, they speak about dangerous encounters between dogs and wildlife and preventive measures that can be taken to mitigate harm to dogs.

In Alaska, as in Arizona, there are a variety of wild and dangerous animals, as well as hunting traps found in the wilderness or on the range, that are threats to the well-being of dogs. Wolves, bears, moose, rattlesnakes, Sonoran desert toads, porcupines, and skunks are discussed in this free-ranging talk. These potential encounters need to be considered seriously and in advance by anyone who is out in the wilderness with their dogs- whether as a hunter or a hiker.

In Alaska, Don developed a method of porcupine-aversion training for his dogs, as this was a very common encounter there and in many other parts of the United States.  Although getting stuck with porcupine quills rarely results in death for a dog, it can be very painful and an expensive visit to the Vet.  

In Arizona, rattlesnakes are the greatest deadly danger for dogs, and rattlesnake aversion training can be a very effective method to protect dogs and their owners. Another deadly danger for dogs during the monsoon season is Sonoran desert toads, which can kill quickly before you can get your dog to the Vet. Web Parton offers both rattlesnake aversion training and Sonoran desert toad aversion training. 

As far as the other threats posed in the wild, such as moose, bears, and wolves, it is best to be well-prepared for an encounter prior to an adventure in the wild.  Read about best practices to keep yourself and your dog safe. Be sure your dog is well-trained and comes immediately when recalled by voice or whistle, keep a dog lead on you, and leave the area as soon as is safe. Contact Web for Free Range Dog training to get you started.


Don Lietzau 


Tundramoor Drahthaar Kennels



Web Parton

Free Range Dogs