Rattlesnake Avoidance Training

Canine Energetics provides the only Rattlesnake Avoidance Training in Mendocino County. We work with qualified snake handlers to provide an effective program which will train your dog to detect and avoid rattlesnakes. We have successfully trained over one hundred dogs so far with this course, helping prevent dangerous and avoidable snake bites.

This training is offered annually in the spring and summer in the Ukiah area.  Dogs are trained individually and each session takes 30 minutes. The cost for the course is $90 per dog.

If you are interested in participating in the Rattlesnake Avoidance Course, please enter your information here and we’ll let you know when the next classes are scheduled.

Why we offer Rattlesnake Avoidance Training

I have spent many years in the wild parks of Africa and I have seen more snakes here than there. This inspired me to design the Rattlesnake Avoidance Training program to help keep dogs and their owners safe around snakes.

Norman the poodle shows avoidance in a Rattlesnake Avoidance Training

Norman the poodle shows avoidance in a Rattlesnake Avoidance Training

I work with professional snake handlers to provide a quick, safe and effective training program. I put my two dogs – a Jack Russell Terrier and a McNab cattledog mix – through the course, and if they see, smell, or hear a rattlesnake they will want to get out of the area. These breeds are bred to chase and kill things that move and are extremely inquisitive, yet I feel confident that I have given them all the tools they need to stay away from rattlesnakes.

I was down at the river one day and noticed my terrier go into the full alert mode and I was wondering what got her attention. I followed her line of sight and saw a Rattlesnake coming down the hill to the river toward us. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have seen the snake cross the river (a wonderful sight) and nestle under a bush on the pathway leading back home. My other dog becomes like a spring and recoils back faster than lightning if he smells the skin of a rattlesnake. This is how it works.

Please contact us if you would like to be alerted of the next Rattlesnake Avoidance Training session.

What to expect:

Prior to your appointment, please read this information and carefully listen to the instructions given at the training.  We want your dog to receive the maximum benefits from this training. It is important that you follow all instructions given to you by the handlers.

Rattlesnake avoidance training is designed to create an aversion reaction from your dog when in the presence of a rattlesnake.  The training varies from dog to dog.  Your dog may vocalize and jump during the training.  It is important that you remain quiet, calm and not react to your dog’s behavior.  For the safety of all, follow any instruction given during and after the session.

Phase 1.  Scent, Sound and Sight

A neutral handler will take your dog and approach a rattlesnake from a direction that the dog can smell the snake (down wind). A low level stimulation will be applied each time your dog acknowledges the snake.  This may take several approaches from different directions. After the dog has been taught to avoid the smell of the rattlesnake the handler will proceed to the next station.

Phase 2.  Reinforcement of the Scent.

In this phase, the scent recognition is reinforced with no sound (no rattling) and a concealed rattlesnake. Again the neutral handler will approach and withdraw from the rattlesnake several times. When the dog shows consistent avoidance behavior, the dog will proceed to the next phase.

Phase 3Avoiding and Alerting.  See what the dog has learned.

The dog will be placed on one side of a concealed rattlesnake and you will be asked to stand on the opposite side, out of sight. If your dog does not know the come when called command then the long-line will remain on.  As soon as you are told to, you will call the dog to you. The dog should make an arcing movement away from the snake.  You will move in the direction the dog’s travel (left or right). Some dogs may refuse to move or retreat in the opposite direction.  You will be instructed to go to the dog and remove him from the snake.  You will praise/reward your dog for a job well done.

Additional Information

Every dog is different and may react differently to the training. This training is not a 100% guarantee that your dog will never be bitten by a snake.  Some dogs are ‘first time learners’ and pick up the avoidance training immediately. We suggest that all dogs repeat the training under different situations so they will generalize the training.  We also recommend that you talk to your veterinarian about a rattlesnake vaccination series for additional coverage. We recommend that each dog participates in three different seasons of Rattlesnake Avoidance Training to reinforce the learning.

Upon encountering, some dogs will hardly demonstrate avoidance, but they have noticed it. Other dogs will do the snake bark and alert you. Remember the leading experts in rattlesnakes can still get bitten. We have trained over 100 dogs and we’ve never had a dog bitten once it has gone through our course. We are in contact with other experts and share our experiences as we continually develop this training. We recommend that every dog participate in the course for three seasons to reinforce the training.

To sign up for our rattlesnake training updates, please fill out the form above, email us at dogs@canine-energetics.com or call 707-391-2387 to put your name on our list.


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Rattlesnake Avoidance Training

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(707) 391-2387



Serving Mendocino County

Ukiah, California and surrounding areas

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