by Leighton Oosthuisen


March 2012

Click here for printable PDF of article



▶ What is a Renewal?

✔ A Renewal refreshes the dogs Association and Response to snakes
Dogs go through a similar training process as dogs that are being trained for the first time, except they are
evaluated on a desert trail and exposed to snakes hidden in the ground.


▶ What is a Snakecheck?

✔ A Snakecheck is a conditioning test to ensure appropriate response to a snake.
Occasionally we will recommend an owner check their dogs to ensure the dog is correctly responding to
the odor or sound of a snake. Owners can personally handle their dogs, and introduce them to snakes.
Depending on the result, dogs may be rescheduled for training, or may be given a passing grade.
(Please note snakechecks MUST be done within 30 days of the original training session)


▶ Why is a Renewal required?

✔ Most dogs trained by us WILL recognize the odor and sound of a snake.
The problem is that they forget the NEGATIVE ASSOCIATION, and thus fail to RESPOND appropriately.
Renewing their training refreshes their memory, and renews their flight association.
In most cases, it doesn’t take long, literally a few seconds. But in some cases, it is necessary to completely
retrain the dog, especially if it was trained elsewhere in the past.


▶ When is a Renewal required?

✔ Renewals are required for certain high risk dogs
Drop your dog off with Partners for the day. Dogs receive hours of closely monitored playtime, socialization
and exercise. You can also arrange for your dog to brush up on its training while at Day-care.


▶ Which Dogs should be Renewed?

✔ If your dog displays ANY of the following behaviors, you should renew them annually:
• Critter chasers (rabbits, mice, lizards etc)
• Displays elevated prey drive towards food or toys.
• Shows strong curiosity towards odors or sounds while hiking or playing in the desert (or your garden)
• Territorial behavior towards other animals (dogs, cats, people)
• Working dogs, such as Search & Rescue, should be renewed annually
• Hunting dogs should be renewed annually, or in some cases, twice a year.
• Certain breeds, such as Malinois, Shepherds, Huskies, Terriers, Hybrids, etc. should be renewed
• EXTREME RISK - If your dog hunts and kills prey, (Pit bulls, Terriers), they are at extreme risk


▶ Snake Avoidance versus Instinct to hunt prey

✔ Remember snake avoidance training is about teaching a dog to avoid snakes, through the use of negative
association. This goes against what your dogs instincts are.
Therefore it is critical your dog recognizes the odor/sound, and recalls the association this is something
to be feared. If you have a high-risk dog, you have a dog that is genetically predisposed to hunt and or kill
prey. This means your dog will need constant refreshers to maintain their sense of fear, or they will revert
back to their natural instinctual behavior.



Copyright Leighton Oosthuisen ALL RIGHTS RESERVED