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During this one-on-one training, your dog is exposed to a live Rattlesnake (which has been safely muzzled) in a naturalistic setting. While still terrifying, the Rattlesnake cannot open its mouth and bite your dog (or you). This method makes this otherwise deadly animal harmless - it will still rattle and move, but it CAN'T bite your dog.
Your dog's natural curiosity will take over, and it will investigate the Rattlesnake. We will then administer a mild static shock correction (i.e., a small static shock using a special collar) to teach your dog that Rattlesnakes = danger.
Don't worry, your dog (although shocked) is not harmed.
The Rattlesnakes are also not harmed at all during the process. They are muzzled in a manner that keeps them, as well as your dog, safe and comfortable. Our snakes are kept and cared for with kindness and respect, they are providing a lifesaving service to your dog, and they deserve the best care in exchange for that.
We are dog lovers, too! Our trainers are Pet First Aid Certified and regularly work with professional dog trainers and veterinary staff to hone our skills.
Many trainers still use de-fanged (where the Rattlesnakes fangs are pulled from its skull) or stapled (where the Rattlesnakes mouth is stapled shut with surgical staples) snakes for Aversion Training. This practice is a cruel, inhumane, and unnecessary form of mutilation, and we would never do this to our snakes.
While it may seem mean to shock a dog, it is the only effective method for Rattlesnake Aversion Training.
If you have ever trained your dog to "sit" or "stay," you probably used "positive reinforcement," where you show a dog what you want it to do and reward it with praise or treats for doing it. This is a great method for training a dog, but, as you know, it takes time and they still don't listen sometimes (even after years).
When it comes to Rattlesnakes, you and your dog do not have the luxury of trial, error, and reinforcement. They need to learn NOW because there are no second chances with wild Rattlesnakes. We use the lowest level of shock possible for your dog, and this is determined by their size and temperament.
The whole training takes about 30 minutes, and it can last a lifetime (although we recommend a brief follow-up appointment every year to double-check that they still have it down).
Come to us. We offer weekly training in Payson.
We can come to you. We make house calls throughout Payson, Pine, Strawberry, Gila County, Southern Navajo and Coconino Counties, and Eastern Yavapai County at a time that is convenient for you. This can actually maximize the effectiveness of the training because your own backyard is where your dog is most likely to encounter a Rattlesnake. We will make house calls up to 100 miles from Payson.
Further than 100 miles? No worries! You can book training in a community near you - we regularly travel throughout Greater Arizona to bring Rattlesnake Aversion Training where it is needed the most. Please see our Greater/Rural Arizona Schedule or give us a call.
Arizona Rattlesnake Aversion holds regular training weekends throughout Rural Arizona.
Kingman, Holbrook, Bisbee, Yuma, Williams, Colorado City, Willcox, or Yarnell... All of Rural Arizona.
Check out our Greater Arizona schedule to see if we are stopping by your town soon.
And, if we are not, give us a call and tell us to get our act together. We are committed to serving ALL of Rural Arizona.
You are always welcome to come to us for training next time you're in Rim Country.
Every dog is Trained one-on-one, and not in a group setting.
A muzzled Rattlesnake will be placed in relatively close proximity to your dog. Leashed, you will allow your dog to approach to investigate the snake. When your dog approaches the Rattlesnake, it receives a mild correction.
At this point, some dogs have learned the lesson, and steps 2 through 4 are just reinforcement. Some dogs will not need correcting again after step 1.
Rattlesnake sheds (the Rattlesnakes naturally shed skin) and Rattlesnake scent will be placed in a concealed location, and you will allow your dog to investigate as you walk by. At this point, some dogs remember the smell of a Rattlesnake from step 1, and they refuse to approach the scent. This is great, and the dog will not be corrected again. Bolder dogs will still approach and require a second correction.
This is a crucial step that teaches your dog to recognize the SMELL of a Rattlesnake, even if they can't SEE it (perhaps it is hiding under a log right by them).
You will walk your dog by a strategically concealed speaker (often behind some rocks, under leaves, or in a pile of sticks). As the dog approaches, the speaker will activate and play the sound of a Rattlesnake rattle. Many dogs will immediately pull in the opposite direction, as they remember the sound from step 1. This is great, and the dog will not be corrected again.
This is another crucial step that teaches your dog the SOUND of a Rattlesnake, because they may not be able to see the Rattlesnake, and other, more pungent odors in the area may conceal its smell.
Rattlesnakes can lose their rattles, they can choose not to rattle, and babies will not have a rattle - that is why your dog is also taught the smells and the appearance of the Rattlesnake independently from this step. Even if the snake does not rattle, your dog should still recognize the danger.
Your dog has now seen a Rattlesnake, smelled a Rattlesnake, and heard a Rattlesnake, so it is time to put it all together.
Step 4 is very similar to Step 1. However, this time your dog will be exposed to a live, large, and highly defensive Rattlesnake - the worst-case dog-rattlesnake encounter scenario. Don't worry, this Rattlesnake will be muzzled, too.
There are very few dogs who choose curiosity at this point. Your pup will likely pull as far as they can in the opposite direction of the Rattlesnake. Any attempts to make them walk towards it will be met with the utmost resistance.
This means you're done, and your pooch is now a proud graduate of Arizona Rattlesnake Aversion. The whole process generally takes less than half an hour.
Many dogs will never forget their Rattlesnake Aversion Training. Nonetheless, it is important to check periodically. We recommend doing a follow-up training every year. Follow-up, or re-enforcement training, is just a test (like step 4 above). If they approach the snake, they are given a reminder correction. If they still avoid the Rattlesnake, you're good to go.
Re-enforcement Training takes only a few minutes and costs around fifty percent less than initial training.
Do not, under any circumstances, check your dog's Rattlesnake response with a wild Rattlesnake.
Our Training does not necessarily teach your dog to "alert" or "point" to a Rattlesnake, it teaches them to AVOID them all together when they see, hear, or smell them.
What this means is your dog might not give an obvious indication to you (barking, crying, changes in body language, etc.) that there is a Rattlesnake nearby - they will simply avoid it. If you are walking your dog and they are pulling away from something, trust them.
Of course, the OPPOSITE can also be true (and more often is), and your dog may give very obvious indications when they sense a Rattlesnake, thereby providing you a warning of its presence, also.
Please reach us at if you cannot find an answer to your question.
Every single dog is different, so we can not guarantee a specific result. However, our type of Aversion Training is the only effective method for dogs and has the highest chance of success of any Aversion Training method. It is highly effective.
Initial Training: $125.00 (discount available for over 2 dogs)
Re-enforcement/Follow-up Training: $75.00
House Calls (additional):
Scheduled Training Weekends in Rural/Greater Arizona DO NOT incur mileage fees.
Dummy Collar Rental: $25.00 (plus shipping if outside Payson)
First, understand that your dog is not being electrocuted. It is receiving a mild static shock. This is not to say it is not unpleasant, or even potentially painful, but it lasts less than a second. When used correctly, your dog will not be harmed. In fact, modern collars have safety mechanisms to prevent this.
Have you ever shocked yourself with static on a cold, dry winter day? Or, perhaps putting fresh clothes on straight from the dryer? Maybe you used to put socks on your feet and rub them against the carpet to "zap" your brothers and sisters? That's what your dog is experiencing... pretty mild, right?
Injuries from static collars generally occur from prolonged use (pressure wounds from leaving the bulky collar on for days at a time). Your dog will wear it for approximately 15 minutes.
Don't worry, your dog will not hate you. Dogs are intelligent enough to associate the static correction with the Rattlesnake. They do not think you are doing it for "fun," they think the Rattlesnake did it. Dogs also respond to clear directions (have you ever seen that very confused look on your dog's face if you give it multiple commands in quick succession?), and it does not get clearer than Aversion Training.
As always, if you have concerns about your dog's participation due to age, health concerns, or otherwise, please contact your Vet for advice.
One - yours.
Generally, less than 30 minutes from check-in to graduation (per dog).
We can conduct house calls within 100 miles of Payson but don't worry if you are beyond that: Arizona Rattlesnake Aversion has regularly scheduled training throughout Greater and Rural Arizona. Check the Schedule for upcoming towns, and reach out to us if you want us to add your community.
If you want to come to Payson for Training (offered at least one day/week), or if you want to schedule a house call (within 100 miles of Payson) at a time convenient for you, please reach out to us to book a time.
The most common responses from a dog to mild static correction are:
Don't worry! As soon as they show the right response you can praise them and hug them and tell them how well they did. We use the bare minimum of force required to ensure an effective lesson.
We understand that many people out there are vehemently opposed to the use of Static Shock Collars under ANY circumstances, and they are entitled to that opinion (in any other situation, we may agree).
We are not in the business of engaging in debates, we are in the business of saving dog's lives. What we will say is this:
At the end of the day, the idea that you can compare the "cruelty" of a mild static correction with the "cruelty" of an avoidable Rattlesnake bite, and come up with the answer "Aversion Training is the problem," is ridiculous.
Dogs younger than six months should not receive Rattlesnake Aversion Training. Concerns regarding age or health should be directed to a Veterinarian.
Contrary to popular belief, Rattlesnakes do not really "chase" people, they are shy and very defensive animals.
Think about it: they want to attack things so little that they have a built-in alarm to let you know when they are getting angry so they don't have to.
The stories you hear of people being chased are largely exaggeration and misunderstanding (if you are between a Rattlesnake and its favorite hiding spot, it may not stop just because you are there. This often gives the impression that they chase people, but, in reality, you scared them and are now standing between them and their hide).
Remember, they are also muzzled, and you will have a trained Venomous Snake Handler right beside you the whole time who can remove the snake if you feel uncomfortable.
So, If Rattlesnakes are shy and defensive, why do I need my dog trained? Well, the difference between us and our dogs (and why they are 20 times more likely to get bit), is that they will happily lick, sniff, and bury their nose in a Rattlesnake (often while leashed, before you even realize there is a snake there). Rattlesnakes may be shy and defensive, but even their generally patient nature has limits.
The vaccine may be able to lessen the impacts of a bite, and/or, give you more time to seek veterinary treatment. However, it DOES NOT replace the need for medical treatment in the event of a bite, and it DOES NOT stop a bite from being a terribly painful, traumatizing, and life-threatening situation for your dog.
Even if your dog has had the vaccine, stop a bite before it happens with Aversion Training.
There are dogs who have been struck by Rattlesnakes 2, 3, and even 4 times. This is because the Rattlesnake bite is not particularly painful... at least initially - their fangs are not huge and it is quicker than the blink of an eye.
What this means is, several seconds to several minutes could pass by before your dog begins to feel the incredibly painful effects of the bite. Unfortunately, this intervening time is enough for them to never associate the experience with the actual Rattlesnake. In other words, if your dog is bitten by a Rattlesnake, by the time it starts to feel the pain it may have completely forgotten that it was a Rattlesnake that caused it.
Rattlesnake Aversion Training makes an immediate connection between Rattlesnakes and correction.
We recommend doing a follow-up training every year.
Even though many dogs will last years without requiring retraining, we will not know until we test them. We do not want that first "test" to be years after your training when your dog is alone in your yard with a wild Rattlesnake.
Making an appointment yearly for a check-up is the best way to keep your dog safe. Follow-up training is offered at a discounted rate.
Generally not. Because of our multi-step (appearance, scent, and sound) process, dogs typically develop an aversion to Pit Vipers only (Rattlesnakes in North America). Of course, every dog is different, and there is a chance they may confuse harmless snakes with Rattlesnakes and respond accordingly, but it is usually just to Rattlesnakes.
If your dog is generally very timid and cautious, it will be more likely that they are occasionally scared by other snakes (or things that look like them) following training. Just make sure you let us know if your dog is particularly timid and we will adjust how we train them accordingly.
Our Pup, Carl, is a Chihuahua who has had Aversion Training and happily lives in a house with several dozen non-venomous snakes (Rattlesnakes are kept in a separate structure to avoid him thinking there are Rattlesnakes in the house), he will even lie next to a six-foot Boa and enjoy his heat light. However, every now and again (every couple of weeks perhaps) he will be sniffing in the grass and run into a garden hose or lizard and suddenly think he didn't notice a Rattlesnake and it is now right next to him. When this happens, he will jump backward, but, within a few seconds, he will realize his error and go about his business.
Every dog can respond differently. There are dogs like Carl, there are dogs who continue to pull Garter Snakes from the garden, and there are dogs who may be averse to all snakes after Aversion Training. However, in our experience, it is most common for dogs not to be scared of other snakes after Aversion Training.
We certainly will. We regularly schedule Training Weekends throughout Arizona.
How it works is:
It is our mission to bring state-of-the-art Rattlesnake Aversion Training to all of Arizona. We recommend follow-up training every year, so we make it our goal to come back every year.
Does this mean you have to wait a year if you miss out on a Training Weekend in your town? No way! We will come back as many times as we have to in order to provide Aversion Training to everyone who wants it in your town.
Even though we may use a specific sub-species for your training, for example, an Arizona Black Rattlesnake, the aversion training should be effective for all North American Rattlesnakes.
Western Diamondback, Mojave, Black-Tailed, Grand Canyon... they generally look, smell, and sound the same as far as your dog is concerned.
When we train, we try to use Rattlesnakes that are most common in your area, because this is the type of Rattlesnake they are most likely to see. If you want to take a family vacation out East (where you may encounter an Eastern Diamondback), or maybe North to the territory of the Timber Rattlesnake, your dog's training should still be effective.
Not typically, but every single dog is different and may respond differently. There may be some small side effects (as with any training), but make sure you compare that side effects to those of Rattlesnake envenomation.
Some dogs are going to be a little bit jumpy or nervous for a little while after their training. They were just taught that Rattlesnakes are horrible and to be avoided at all costs, and then we forced them to go near one several more times to really make sure they got it. They are our best friends, and we are willingly doing something unpleasant to them, BUT it is to save their life. They WILL get over it, they WILL NOT get over a Rattlesnake bite. Most dogs are happily wagging their tails as soon as they leave training.
Some dogs will occasionally mistake something that is not a Rattlesnake for one after training. Garden hoses, or the sudden appearance of a lizard from under a bush, for example. Personally, I would rather my dog overreact and look foolish than underreact and die.
Generally, we recommend only training one dog at a time. It is typically more effective.
However, we do understand that some bonded dogs are going to act completely differently if they are separated from each other. If this is the case, and may potentially have a negative impact on the training effectiveness, we may train them together.
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Rattlesnake Aversion Training is an inherently dangerous activity. We take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of pets and their owner/handler, but we can never eliminate all risks. Participation is at your own risk—waiver required. Consult your vet if your dog/s has any health issues or potential issues that may make training unsafe. Never handle live Rattlesnakes or intentionally expose your dog to Rattlesnakes. Results can't be guaranteed. Third Parties listed on this website, or any materials, are waived from all liability and are not associated with the delivery of Aversion Training.