Rattlesnake Avoidance Training

Here at Snakeworx, we strive to be the best rattlesnake avoidance company we can be, one dog at a time.  Our rattlesnake avoidance training process is by far the most complete, most innovative, and most effective in use today by any rattlesnake avoidance company. Dogs learn by associating scents, sounds, and sights with either a positive reward or a negative correction. Through the various stages of the rattlesnake avoidance training process, we isolate the scent, sight, and sound of a rattlesnake and teach the dog to associate a negative correction with each. After rattlesnake avoidance training, your dog will choose to avoid contact with rattlesnakes to avoid a correction. Your dog will be trained using live, muzzled rattlesnakes that are specific to your local area. Prior to a rattlesnake avoidance training session, the staff carefully muzzles the rattlesnakes so that neither dog nor snake are harmed or in danger. The rattlesnake avoidance process is very safe for everyone involved.


Station 1)  Collar Sensitivity:  Dogs are individuals and their sensitivity to training collars can vary not only by breed and size but by personality as well. Prior to the rattlesnake avoidance training process, the trainer will speak with you about your dogs past experiences and personality, establish a rapport with your dog, and test and select the appropriate training collar level.

Station 2)  Juvenile Snake Encounter:  A large adult rattlesnake can be very threatening and intimidating but is not the only danger your dog faces; a small juvenile snake can inflict just as deadly and costly of a bite as an adult. Because the juvenile snake is non-threatening, your dog’s curiosity will cause it to “discover” this new thing in its world. When the dog is fully engaged with the snake, a correction is given. Although usually only a couple are needed, this is done as many times as needed until the dog is clearly avoiding the snake.

Station 3)  Scent Isolation:  Simply put, scent is a dogs world. It is how they identify each other, their territory and surroundings, food, safety, and danger. Your dogs sense of smell is as important to them as our eye sight is to us. Many times your dog will smell something long before it hears or sees it. With that understanding in mind, in this step, we use a shed rattlesnake skin to isolate the scent of a rattlesnake. The shed skin does not look like a snake nor is the sound of a rattlesnake present so we are able to effectively isolate the scent pattern of a rattlesnake. When the dog enters the scent cone of the rattlesnake and clearly recognizes it, the dog is given a correction if it fails to avoid the shed rattlesnake skin. Again, although usually only one or two, and sometimes none are needed, this is done as many times as needed until the dog is clearly avoiding the rattlesnake scent.

Station 4)  Sound Isolation:   A dog’s sense of hearing is very acute and they effectively associate both negative and positive consequences with specific sounds. In this step, we isolate the sound of a rattlesnake by concealing an adult rattlesnake in a hide box. The dog cannot see the rattlesnake but the rattlesnake will rattle upon seeing the dog’s approach. Immediately upon hearing this sound, the dog receives a correction and the trainer runs the dog away from the sound.

Station 5)  Adult rattlesnake encounter:  The final stage uses an adult rattlesnake, native to the area. By now the dog knows the sight, smell, and sound of a rattlesnake. We walk the dog toward an adult rattlesnake and observe the dog’s behavior issuing a correction if the dog stumbles upon the rattlesnake and fails to avoid it. When the dog clearly avoids the snake, we run the dog back further teaching the dog that it has made the correct choice. You, the owner, will be instructed to stand on the opposite side of the snake and call your dog to you. If your dog chooses to completely avoid the snake and find a “safe” path to you, the training has been successful.

Station 6)  Debrief:  Since different dogs react differently to training, the trainer will talk to you about your dogs training session, how your dog reacted during the session, and what behavior you can expect from you dog when it comes into contact with a rattlesnake. We do this so that you, the owner, will be able to identify your dog’s behavior when a rattlesnake may be present and safely avoid the area.