Snake Avoidance Training - Advice Please - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-06-2016, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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Question Snake Avoidance Training - Advice Please

Long time reader of this forum. First time poster (so please forgive me if I have done anything wrong).

Animal Ark are running Snake Avoidance Training for Dogs in my area (Western Australia). The training is done using a low-level static correction collar.

Was wondering if this type of training was typically effective for what they are trying to achieve? and what are the risks associated with this type of training for the dog? Also, please note that we do have a real risk of snake bite from highly venoumous snakes and to my knowledge while anti-venom is available vaccainations are not.

A bit about my boy: 3 year old GSD intact male. I have not used any form of training like this before so I have no idea how he will react. Any advice/information would be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-06-2016, 10:44 PM
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I have heard of this being done in high snake areas. It makes sense to me, low level or high stim...doesn't matter to me. A little discomfort now, may save the dogs life.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-06-2016, 11:38 PM
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If done right snake avoidance flat out works. As a gundog trainer this is something I do with as many types of venomous snakes I can find. The key is using live snakes not dead ones. It also helps if they're not riled up.

I use low varying levels of stim depending on each dog and how close they push it. I place markers 5ft, 8ft, 10ft, 12ft, 15ft and use an ecollar technologies 1200 around the dogs waist. 15ft low working level taps, 12 low working level continuous, 10 step up 5 continuous, 8 step up 5 continuous, 5 step up to a solid audible response. We do this in different locations with the dog running around airing in the location. Snakes are in cages of course. After this is done we do it all over on lead with handlers. We do this so the dog acts as a warning for handlers later and so the dog doesn't follow the handler blindly ignoring the scent. Usually last a good year the first time around needed a crash course later but definitely sticks for good after follow up snake proofing is done. I should add the step ups and stim levels are figurative and should be tailored to each individual dog. I've never snake proofed a GSD but my guess is they would never push the 5 ft boundary marker while proofing, not nearly as nose driven as spaniels, pointers, and retrievers who almost always have to take the closest look possible.

I'm a soft handed balanced trainer for the most part and rarely use direct correction with stim preferring indirect pressure when needed but this flat out works and saves lives.

Last edited by Clay Hill; 02-06-2016 at 11:47 PM.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-07-2016, 04:19 PM
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Interesting discussion, I may be working a field job in rattlesnake country this summer and I am sure to encounter snakes with my dogs. It seems well worth it to snake-proof.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-07-2016, 04:22 PM
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I have encountered copperheads out with my dogs. The ones we've seen have been pretty chill and we actually ran right over a copperhead coiled in the trail, by the time I saw it both dogs had run over it and it made more sense for me to keep going than try to stop and turn around. When I looked back the snake was still in the same place. But copperheads aren't usually known for being super aggressive or even super venomous for a dog.

I'd be more concerned about rattlesnakes because while my dogs wouldn't be real interested in a snake otherwise, the rattle is sure to intrigue them. It might be simple just to associate that rattle with avoidance, although they don't always rattle.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-07-2016, 07:28 PM
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@Clay Hill, why strap the collar around the waist?
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-07-2016, 09:21 PM
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the training I've taken my dogs used sight sound and smell of the different rattlesnakes that we have in my area and my dogs do get the vaccine
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-07-2016, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Nigel View Post
@Clay Hill, why strap the collar around the waist?
I don't won't the dog to associate what is going on in any way to a ecollar correction coming from the handler. Collar wise dogs will do this and not avoid the smell when out of line of sight with the handler. I want the dog to associate this particular stim entirely with checking out the smell of the snake. To ensure the dog is snake proofed whether with you or not. Not sure why it is but when the nose has got the brain focused on something a little stim in a dog's flank give more of a "something bit me" Forest Gump reaction than the normal pressure on pressure off or corrective stim on the neck.
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