Hello & welcome to Arizona Rattlesnake Avoidance training.
The purpose of this training is to teach your dog to learn the smell, sight & sound of & STAY AWAY from rattlesnakes once they notice them, in order to avoid being bitten. While we can not teach a dog to always notice/detect a snake (ie: the wind is at the dog’s back/ snake is hidden & not rattling, etc.) we ARE teaching them that the rattlesnake is a bad thing & to stay away WHEN they do notice/detect it.
According to our local veterinarians, 90%+ of bites happen to the dog’s nose/face area because they are investigating it due to not knowing what it is & a natural instinct to investigate. This training teaches them NOT to investigate it & know that it is a bad thing & to STAY AWAY.
Yes, we use a stimulation collar. The sensation of this collar is equivilant to you sticking your toung to a 9 volt battery & only lasts less than a second. The reaction of the dog is due to the surprise of the sensation rather than the sensation itself.
*PLEASE DO NOT BRING YOUR DOG ON A FLEXI-LEAD/RETRACTABLE LEASH.* These pose a trip hazard to the trainer/staff & other clients. A standard 6-8 foot leash is sufficient. If you do not have one we have some you may borrow.
PLEASE DO NOT GIVE YOUR DOG ANY COMMANDS DURING THE TRAINING.
Simply walk your dog as though you are going for a normal walk. We want this to be between only your dog & the snake, because you will not always be around to point out the snake to your dog. This way the dog believes the sensation of the collar came from the snake & not you or me thus teaching them that the snake is a bad thing.
The training begins with either myself or my assistant placing a collar on your dog & then you will proceed to the first station.
The first station contains a towel that STINKS like rattlesnake as it is kept in the buckets with the snakes. Allow your dog to sniff this towel for AS LONG as he/she wishes to. This gets the scent of the snake into their nose. Once they are done with the towel I will have you walk your dog directly towards a live rattlesnake approx: 10 feet away from the towels. Please do not walk AROUND the side of the snake. The snake is positioned directly behind the towels with the wind blowing towards the towels in order to allow the dog to catch the scent of the snake.
This snake is defanged & has it’s tail taped so it can’t rattle as much. The purpose of this is to teach your dog the scent & sight of the snake. When I see that the dog has expressed interest/detection of the snake I will give them a “buzz” with the collar. At this point you can calm your dog down if needed. After that I will pick up the snake & bring it towards your dog. (please try not to run away from me, I know it’s scary having a someone coming towards you with a snake on the end of a stick. But I really prefer not to chase you around the area) If your dog shows continued interest I will “buzz” them again to reinforce that the snake is a bad thing. Once I am satisfied that your dog understands at the first station, we will move on to the second station.
At the second station there is a snake or two in a caged enclosure. Their tails are NOT taped so they can rattle. We are teaching the sound of the snake at this station. You will proceed to walk your dog as close to the cage as possible. At the point your dog shows interest I will “buzz” them again with the collar in order to reinforce that anything that makes that sound is BAD & to STAY AWAY. At that point we will proceed to the third station.
At the third station there is a live rattlesnake out in the open. It has been defanged & CAN rattle. This is our “test” snake to see how your dog will react to the scent, sight & sound of the rattlesnake & to reinforce that it is BAD & to STAY AWAY if needed.