If you own a dog and live in Arizona, you’ve probably had a scare or two involving a snake and your beloved pup. Arizona is home to 13 species of rattlesnakes alone, making it a dangerous place for inquisitive dogs who are down on their level.
In general, many rattlesnakes prefer remote areas; however, some species, like the Western Diamondback, hang out in places where neighborhoods begin to merge with desert habitats. This can include areas such as golf courses, edges of lakes, along the sides of hiking trails, and even in suburban backyards. Additionally, rattlesnakes can be found hiding under shrubs, piles of debris, woodpiles, and just about anything else that is left lying on the ground, including water toys like pool noodles.
This is why Rattlesnake Avoidance classes are an extremely beneficial tool in helping your dog react appropriately and avoid these venomous reptiles.
While positive reinforcement training is the preferred method of training for most pet owners, when it comes to something as lethal as a rattlesnake, this type of training can fall short. For this reason, the use of aversion training is widely used and has proven to be a much more effective method of teaching dogs to avoid rattlesnakes.
Aversion Training: What it Is and How it Works
So, what is aversion training for dogs? Aversion training is simply giving your pet a negative association with the object you want them to avoid. In order for your pet to obtain a negative association with rattlesnakes, we use a simple and proven approach that takes only 15 minutes to teach and can protect your pup for a lifetime. We accomplish this using live rattlesnakes, e-collars, and a team of trained professionals.
Our professional dog trainer will meet with you a few minutes prior to your scheduled test to explain to you how the process will go. Your dog will be fitted with their e-collar, and both you and your pup will be led to the course.
During the course, your pet will have three opportunities to approach a controlled and muzzled rattlesnake in addition to one decoy snake that has been scented. Because your pet may not always see a snake before it’s too late, we train your pup to recognize them based on sight, sound, and smell.
Once your pet walks into the strike zone, the e-collar is triggered. Immediately, your pet is aware that the smell, sound, or visible snake they are approaching is dangerous. Ten minutes later, when you go to pass the final snake, your pet shouldn’t go anywhere near it. This lets us know that they have associated the snake with something that they want to avoid.
Effective Dog Training, Life-Saving Results
The best part about seeing your pup master rattlesnake avoidance training is knowing your pet will react appropriately when they encounter a dangerous snake. Some dogs will bark at a distance, some will retreat, and others will simply refuse to move forward. This is a crucial part of the training that allows you to read your dog for signs of snakes in the future. Not only could these 15 minutes save your dog’s life, but they could also save yours, too.
Central Pet is proud to partner with Animal Experts in order to provide a safe, controlled, and authentic training experience for your pet. Jill Cruz, our certified dog trainer working with Animal Experts, hosts our Snake Avoidance training classes run throughout the spring and summer when rattlesnakes are most active. Classes are run multiple days a week at Central Pet in Tucson.
Because our training is so effective, spaces fill up quickly. If you haven’t signed up yet, call us today at (520) 882-7577 or click below to reserve your spot! We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have and find a time that works for you.
Originally published in January 2019. Updated in February 2023.