Snake Avoidance Training – Shock-Free

Positive Reinforcement – Shock-Free Snake Avoidance Training

Snake avoidance training using positive reinforcement methods is a rare find in today’s world. We do not use shock collars and there’s no need to repeat the class or go back for a booster shock. In fact, this class doesn’t focus on fear or pain at all. No prior training is required and our classes are open to everybody.

Build trust and a deeper bond with your dog by teaching them snake avoidance training and what to do when they encounter a rattlesnake. No more shocking them to create fear. And the best part is, you and your dog will have fun learning!

We’re back with a new and improved curriculum based on feedback from previous students and information from area herpetologists. Customized for Utah State laws, our new curriculum is simplified for both you and your dog so it’s easier to train and understand! Join us for another great season of snake avoidance training, all shock-free!

Group Classes

$195 for 6 Classes

At the end of our 6-week group class, you and your dog will receive a customized training plan to continue training, and perfecting rattlesnake avoidance without ever shocking your dog. When available, the final class includes training with a live, humanely sourced, rattlesnake.

Please sign up for the VIP list to be among the first to hear about these classes when they are scheduled. They fill-up quickly and the VIP’s get first dibs, so join us!

Classes have concluded for the 2023 season
If you are interested in getting notified when we list our 2024 classes, please sign up for the VIP list below.

$195 dollars for a 6-week course (Each additional dog for the same owner is $10*. If you have more than 2 dogs, please email us before registering). If you have multiple dogs, each dog will need a separate handler to adequately train during class. Each class will range from 45 minutes to 90 minutes, depending on the number of dog/human teams in class. We will meet once a week and you will have plenty of support available along the way. There is a minimum of 2 registrants required for the class to run. If we don’t meet the minimum, you may join us in another group class at a later date, or sign up for private lessons (at an additional cost).

Scent articles will be provided. You will need to provide your own lifelike, yet fake, rattlesnake for training outside of class (about $45), a long leash, and other training items such as treats, water, etc. As we proceed through class, we will talk about other items to make training easier (bluetooth speaker, items to train for the movement of the snake, etc), but none of these items are required for class.

Join us as we create a community of dogs and dog lovers who use positive reinforcement for snake avoidance training!

*Additional dog price is only valid for dogs who belong to the same owner. Dogs who belong to separate owners must pay the full class price.

REFUND/CANCELLATION POLICY: Please make sure you can attend class at the set date and time before registering. Due to the popularity of this course, refunds when cancelling are very limited and are only given for situations out of the client’s hands since you are holding a spot. Refunds are not given for any reason if you cancel within two weeks of class beginning.

In-Person Private Classes

Shock-Free Snake Avoidance – In Person Private Classes

Shock-Free Snake Avoidance lessons are available as in-person private lessons! These will be held at a local park in the West Valley/Magna area.

Perfect for dogs who aren’t the best fit in a group class or for anybody who wants a more personal one-on-one touch. There are two options available.

NOTE: Like our group class, dogs will NOT be fully trained at the end of these classes. You will need to continue training beyond class.

4-Lesson Fast Track

The 4-Lesson Fast Track option covers the basics of snake avoidance and lays a foundation for you to continue training outside class. It does not include snake knowledge, identification, or a customized training plan. You will receive a generic training plan at the completion of the four lessons. This option does not include working with a live snake, but local in-person clients will receive a snake scent article.

6-Lesson Comprehensive

The 6-Lesson Comprehensive plan includes your foundation training in addition to 2 trainer led lessons on how to take your foundation to the next level and begin training outside and/or on the trails. It also covers snake knowledge and ID, and a customized training plan based on where your dog is at the end of the 6 weeks. Snake Scent article provided. When available, if you choose, you may exchange your final lesson and attend a group session to train with the live snake.

Virtual Snake Avoidance Training

Looking for Virtual Snake Avoidance Training?

This class is available via virtual training. If you are not local to Salt Lake City, UT, but are still interested in this training, please email train2at@gmail.com for virtual training options. Pricing varies depending on how many virtual clients we are working with at a time.

Want to be a VIP?

1-2 days advanced notice of new classes when listed. Sign up before the class is advertised to the public. Last minute cancellation list (if somebody drops out at last minute, you get notified to fill the spot). Sign up below.


The benefits of snake avoidance training without shock

  • Unlike the shock collar method, using positive reinforcement methods removes both fear and pain for your dog, neither of which are necessary to learn to stay away.
  • Aversion training relies on the fight or flight response of your dog, which can’t be predicted, as the dog decides in the moment. If your dog has a fight response, he/she could learn to attack snakes or people. Avoidance training removes the unpredictability and the fear/pain, which allows the dog to learn more easily. It isn’t a painful, traumatizing or scary experience.
  • Positive reinforcement snake avoidance training is much more forgiving. If an aversion trainer shocks at the wrong time, it can take months, years and even a lifetime to undo such a mistake. If you make a mistake with positive reinforcement, the dog just gets an extra reward. No harm done.
  • It is easier to keep fresh in your dog’s mind because it does not require you to have a shock collar or own a live rattlesnake. You can teach your dog snake avoidance training dog year-round so they are always ready.
  • It teaches your dog what to do when they see, smell or hear a snake.  They will know to back away and give the snake space.
  • Perhaps most importantly, you do not have the potential fallout and risk associated with snake aversion shock training. Positive reinforcement is much safer and more humane.
  • As a bonus, the positive reinforcement snake avoidance training allows you to develop an even deeper bond and trust level with your dog—something that is eroded each and every time you use pain and aversion techniques in any training. 
About This Course

Training to a T, LLC customizes our teaching to meet the training level for each individual dog/handler team. If one way of teaching particular behaviors doesn’t work for your pup, we have several different ways we can teach the same concepts. We do not require prior knowledge of behaviors or attendance in any other prior classes. Most dogs will not be fully trained at the end of the course, but you will receive a customized training plan for you to continue training beyond the course. All participants should plan to continue training beyond class. The more you train, the more your dog learns, and the more reliable he/she will be in whatever you are training.


“Melissa is very knowledgeable on the topic of dog behavior and how to train them on difficult tasks. I completed her rattlesnake avoidance class and was pleased with how responsive she was to my questions/concerns. She goes above and beyond in making sure you have the tools you need and the support–definitely doesn’t leave you high and dry after the class is done!”

“I worked with Melissa outta state/over the internet. I was skeptical about dog training at a distance but to my surprise, it worked and I believe it’s on account of Melissa’s keen observations, solid training, and animal intuitiveness. She did a wonderful job of recognizing my dog’s breed and considering his high energy, youth, and disposition. I feel she went above and beyond to help me and my doggers. Make the investment, take the time and enjoy a more trained fur-family member.”

Resources for Further Study

https://youtu.be/iH10DFuZohM – An Interview with Amy Hughes-Creaven, a Colorado Dog Trainer who is spearheading the Positive Snake Avoidance Training movement.

Article from a veterinary office in colorado regarding the fallout of traditional snake aversion training.

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