In a groundbreaking new dog training course, Training to a T, LLC, has launched their positive reinforcement rattlesnake avoidance class. This new course is a very rare find in Utah and uses a more modern, scientific approach to teach your dog what to do when they see, hear, or smell a rattlesnake.
Traditional rattlesnake aversion classes have relied on e-collars that deliver a shock when your dog gets too close to a rattlesnake, resulting in a fear-based approach. In an ideal setting, the fear and pain your dog associates with this experience will stick with them and they will avoid those snakes when outdoors. Unfortunately, many dogs will experience a fair amount of discomfort and can develop other behavioral issues down the road from these trainings. You never really know how the dog is going to respond in these classes, so if your dog has a bad reaction, the damage is already done by the time the trainers have used the shock.
Our course is the complete opposite of your typical rattlesnake aversion course. We remove the fear and pain aspect, and use all positive reinforcement, or rewards and positive associations, to teach your dog to stay away from the snake. It’s a combination of foundational obedience behaviors, such as leave it and place training, used in conjunction with visual, auditory, and scent-based training to reach the ultimate goal of staying away from the snake. This course meets once a week for about two months, so it takes more time than your traditional, single-day rattlesnake course, but in that time, we really focus on training and adapting those foundational behaviors for rattlesnake avoidance. During the latter half of the course, we do more advanced work where we introduce the outside environment. By doing this, it teaches you how to train your dog in multiple places, which is really a missing component in your traditional classes. Each environment will be different for your dog, so it really takes the training to a new level.
For those interested in enrolling or learning more about this course, you can visit https://trainingtoat.com/classes/snake-avoidance-training/. Class size is limited, but there will be several classes offered as spring and summer approach, and you may sign up to be notified when new classes are listed. Non-local residents are invited to join our virtual classes as well.