by Leighton Oosthuisen


March 2012

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▶ How do we evaluate how well your dog does?

Snake proofing is vitally important to your dog’s safety!
If you hike or live in the desert, as most of us do, your dog will encounter a rattlesnake at some stage.
As important as the training is, it is even more important to know how to “read” your dogs behavior.
• Remember that snake avoidance training is NOT a science!
• We are training a dog to behave contrary to its genetic print!
• Most dogs have little or no knowledge that rattlesnakes are bad.
• If anything, they see snakes as prey; and thus something they should hunt or be curious about.
• Domesticating of canines has reduced their natural fear of potential predators and dangers
• Without training, most dogs will approach a snake out of curiosity or hunting instincts.
• Educate yourself in what happens, what we look for, and how to understand your dogs behavior.
• Know what to look for when they encounter a snake.


▶ When we avoidance train we evaluate three behaviors: Recognition; Association; Response.



▶ 1. Recognition

✔ “Recognition” is where the dog recognizes the odor (or sound) to be something unique.
• Dogs need to “recognize” the odor, so that we can effectively train them.
• Our training system goes to great lengths to establish a good scent (and sound), so as to give the
dog every opportunity to “recognize” this.
• We train odor recognition first, then sound recognition, in different locations, with different snakes


▶ 2. Association

✔ “Association” is where the dog associates the odor (or sound), with the negative stimulation.
• Odor and sound association are trained independently, to allow the dog the best opportunity to learn.
• An electronic remote controlled collar gently “nicks” the dog at the exact moment he “recognizes the
odor or sound.
• This creates “association”. It teaches “association” of odor or sound, with a negative response.
• The collar does not harm or hurt the dog; it is designed to them a fright.


▶ 3. Response

✔“Response” is what happens when the dog “recognizes” and “responds”.
• When confronted with a threat, dogs react with a “fight or flight” behavior. We call this “response”.
• Response is what the dog does when he recognizes a “snake”
• This is what you need to recognize. This is your cue!
• Clearly we want to see “flight”, so we train the dog through repetition to run away from the snake.
• Technically the dog is running away from the “odor” or “sound” of the snake.
• Some dogs will bark; while others will act aggressively towards the snakes.
• Retaliation is a normal genetic response, specially in certain breeds, but it dramatically increases risk.
• Note that not all dogs will flight. Some with come to their handlers, while others will just freeze.
• Our goal is to teach all dogs to run from the “threat”, and if possible, pull you away with them


▶ Conclusion

✔ Not all dogs are born the same. Each dog differs based on genetics, personality and education.
After training, your instructor will discuss how your dog did in each of the three areas above.
We recommend regular renewals of the training, so as to keep your dog current and safe.
Thank you for trusting us with your dogs training!


Copyright Leighton Oosthuisen ALL RIGHTS RESERVED