Our training program was developed by expert dog trainer Seth Pywell. Seth is widely considered Western Australia’s best dog trainer and has been training and reconditioning dogs for over 20 years, specialising in canine behaviour modification, scent detection, protection training and obedience training. The program was originally developed in the late 90’s for Working & Hunting dogs, then later modified to suit Search & Rescue Dogs. The program has been continually refined over the years to ensure it uses up-to-date, scientifically sound methods which maximise your dogs’ potential for learning. Field testing of the training has also been used to eliminate any weaknesses and produce the most reliable snake avoidance training system available today.
This training is provided as a preventative measure, designed to safely educate dogs that there is a consequences to engaging snakes so that they will not want to engage them in future. Since it is impractical to monitor a dog 24 hours per day, our training was developed to allow dogs to learn from their own decisions. For obvious reasons, snake avoidance training should not be dependent on the presence and interference of a human. The importance of the self discovery aspect of this training cannot be overstated.
Employing any Snake Avoidance training techniques that require constant interference from humans is extremely lacking and impractical.
Live snakes MUST be used during snake avoidance training. Snake faeces, shed skins and/or toy snakes will not teach your dog to avoid real snakes, they will only teach the dog to avoid those specific items which is of no use. Live snakes have a distinctly different odour to snake faeces, shed skins and toy snakes, nor do they behave the same. If humans weren’t first taught what a snake actually is, a toy snake would hold no meaning; it would be nothing more than an oddly shaped piece of plastic. By the same token, snake faeces and shed skins hold meaning to humans because we know where they originate; this is obviously not the case with a dog. It should also be mentioned that deceased snakes cannot be used because they too have a different odour to a live snake.
Due to the way dogs learn, odour and movement avoidance must be taught separately, as well as combined. Without this a dog may be bitten while sniffing a snake hidden in long grass (no visual) or approach a snake that is downwind (no odour).
While no-one can guarantee all the decisions your dog will ever make in the future, we draw a similarity between snake avoidance training and learning the road rules. Learning the road rules is not a guarantee that accidents will never happen, but they certainly have a dramatic effect on reducing the risks of road accidents. We recommend all dogs completing our snake avoidance program undergo an annual refresher to test your dogs’ retention of the training and improve the probability of avoiding snakes in the future.
A dog owners understanding snakes and their behaviours shouldn't be overlooked as a component of the training. Fundamentally, dogs will try to avoid snakes as they do not perceive them as food, but as a potential predator. Ultimately, snakes do not want to get into confrontations; it compromises their survival by potentially leading to injury or death. Snakes will try to get away from your dog and use the time provided by the avoidance training to leave your property.