|Answers to frequently asked training questions
HOW MUCH DOES THE TRAINING COST?
Clinic prices may vary slightly but generally range from $75-$90/dog (please keep in mind that our clinics are often fundraisers for organizations or charities ad they may have incurred additional location or facilities costs to host).
For house/location calls (limited availability in Southern California only from August through January), the cost is typically $160 for the first dog trained (including travel/location fee). 2 dogs will be $220 total, 3 dogs will be $300, 4 dogs will be $380 and 5 dogs will be $460. If 6 or more dogs are to be trained, then we can afford to waive the travel/location cost and the price then simply becomes $80/dog (6 dogs = $480, 7 dogs = $560, etc).
HOW OLD DOES MY DOG NEED TO BE?
We generally recommend dogs be at least 6 months old so that they are developmentally mature enough to make the correct associations during the training. Small breeds may mature sooner (around 4.5-5 months) while large breeds may take longer (6-8 months). There is also often variation between breeds and even individuals. We are happy to do a puppy evaluation on the day. If we are not comfortable with a dogs psychological state and development, WE WILL NOT TRAIN HIM/HER AT THAT TIME! The owner will not be charged or will be refunded in cases where pre-payment was collected And yes, mature and even elderly dogs will benefit from this training as well as long as they are still physically cleared for normal dog activities and still have their wherewithals about them!
HOW BIG DOES MY DOG NEED TO BE?
Any size dog will benefit from this training. With our process, we have successfully trained dogs as large as Mastiffs and Great Danes, to as small as teacup Maltese and Chihuahuas. Any dog that is possibly out and about will benefit no matter the size. We have collars/equipment for all sizes of dogs as well.
WHERE CAN I HAVE MY DOG TRAINED?
You can attend one of our many clinics throughout California and the surrounding Western States, posted on our schedule page!. Also, on a limited basis in Southern California from August through January, we may be able to come to you for a private house/location call for individuals or small groups. Availability for this is often limited to certain weekdays and may depend on certain city or local regulations.
WHEN SHOULD I HAVE MY DOG TRAINED?
Today! There is no real snake season in most parts of California. With our huge fluctuations in temperature, don't be surprised to encounter a rattlesnake basking in January on a day when it's in the 60's and sunny. In the late Winter and Early Spring, rattlesnakes are often active searching for food and potential mates. Then, in the late Summer and Early Fall, the baby rattlesnakes are being born and are travelling all over looking for a place to call home. As more and more development displaces natural habitat, the rodents and the snakes that eat them are forced to share the same area with humans and their beloved pets, cauing many casualties to happen at or near home. If a dog is likely to be out and about, it is likely to encounter a rattlesnake at some point in its life. It is at this time when this training shows its merit and importance. Check out our schedule for upcoming training clinics in your area or contact us to arrange a private Southern California location call (usually on a weekday, limited availability from August through January).
HOW LONG WILL THE TRAINING TAKE?
The training process generally takes 10-15 minutes per dog, depending on the dog and the conditions of the training environment. A dog that is more sensitive to different environments or one with severe separation/ stranger anxiety, may take longer to get into a frame of mind where they are capable of engaging their environment; therefore facilitating the learning process. EVERY dog is treated as an individual and will be given as much time as he/she needs to reach a comfortable state of mind!
HOW OFTEN DO I NEED TO HAVE MY DOG TRAINED?
We strongly recommend training be done once a year for three to four years in a row with studies showing the first two years of training occurring back to back to be very important. Every dog is different. Most dogs retain a single experience for only about 8-18 months and then aspects may start to weaken or trickle out of the brain. Only a very small percentage of dogs will retain all aspects of the rattlesnake aversion for life after just a single training. The second-year refresher serves to "remind them to remember" and build on their retention exponentially. It doesn't hurt to train every year thereafter either but is often not crucial. Training is really only necessary once a year, but can be done up to twice a year to remain effective. In most cases, we don't recommend a dog repeat training any sooner than 6 months as it can actually overdo it and cause some dogs to go into a state of learned helplessness.
MY DOG HAS SPECIAL BEHAVIORAL ISSUES; CAN HE/SHE STILL BE TRAINED?
Absolutely! In fact, our excellent reputation is based heavily on our ability and willingness to work with dogs that are shy, fearful, aggressive to people and/or other animals, unfocused, hyper-obedient or that have separation anxiety. Our trainers have a special understanding of animal behavior and dog psychology. As mentioned above, EVERY dog is treated as an individual and will be given as much time as he/she needs to reach a comfortable state of mind!
HOW DOES THE ELECTRONIC COLLAR WORK DURING RATTLESNAKE AVERSION TRAINING?
WILL IT ELECTROCUTE MY DOG?
The electronic training collars we use do not work like a taser; contrary to popular belief, it does not send electricity coursing through the body. It is not electrocuting or burning a dog. It does not matter if the dog has other metal buckles or loops on its collars or harness. Instead, it works a lot like a TENS unit which people may be familiar with from chiropractic or physical therapy. It causes a momentary muscle contraction, much like a cramp or a pinch, between the two contact points which can be startling and uncomfortable to the dog. This gets paired with the sight, scent and/or sound of the rattlesnake at the various stations to form a direct association in the dog's mind that that animal, scent and/or sound is starting and uncomfortable, creating the reflex in their brain to move away. We start EVERY dog on a barely low level that we cannot typically feel ourselves, and increase the level only if need be, as need be, until the dog has reached a level that it feels and responds to. Overstimulating a dog puts him or her into a heightened panic mode where learning stops.
I USE AN ELECTRONIC TRAINING COLLAR ON MY DOG FOR OTHER REASONS; WILL THE TRAINING STILL WORK?
Yes, please be sure to note on our training form that you have used an electronic training collar and for what purpose, but our training process is designed in such a way so as to make the dog think that it was the snake that directly caused the discomfort. This is NOT about teaching a dog that we, as humans, want them to leave rattlesnakes alone or else they will be punished! If your dog wears an electronic collar regularly outdoors (for invisible fence, barking, hunting, etc.) in may be helpful to show up to the training with your own collar on the dog. We will then put our own lighter weight, low-profile collar on your dog and then remove your collar which the dog is used to, giving him a sense a freedom to experience the environment.
WHAT SHOULD I BE AWARE OF AFTER TRAINING?
1. Other types of non-venomous snakes like gopher snakes, garter snakes and kingsnakes have a very different odor. Some dogs will generalize this training across all snakes ("A snake is a snake is a snake!) while many others may not worry about or they may even approach other types of snakes as they do have different odors.
2. A dead snake smells VERY different to a dog; when the blood-to-air barrier has been broken (meaning blood and other bodily fluids have been exposed) and/or decay has started to set in, it is emitting a very strong, very different and tempting odor to a carnivore. Most dogs are likely to go up to a dead rattlesnake or other snake after training.
3. When your dog has alerted you to a snake and/or is jumping back or staying away from or even if you aren't sure if he or she has seen it, PLAY IT UP BIG THAT YOU ARE "SCARED" OF THE SNAKE AND RETREAT AWAY FROM IT. Then PLEASE secure your dog before approaching the snake, catching/killing it or attempting to "shoo it away". Even though your dog has learned to successfully recognize and avoid rattlesnakes, a dog may still feel the need to protect its owner and its protective instincts may over power self-preservation.
4. Trying to test your dog by leading it up to or encouraging it to approach any type of snake or snake element can only weaken what they have learned. You, their most trusted pack leader, is now giving them permission and confidence to approach and check these things out.
5. Your dog has learned the sight, sound and smell of rattlesnakes but please keep in mind that if they are running full out through the brush, perhaps chasing a rabbit, and/or the wind is blowing in the wrong direction, there is still the potential that a dog may run into/over a rattlesnake before he/she has any opportunity to detect it.
WHAT AREAS DO YOU SERVE?
San Diego and surrounding areas
Palm Springs and surrounding areas
Yucca Valley / Joshua tree
Salton Sea / Imperial
Los Angeles and surrounding areas
Ventura County / Simi Valley / Santa Barbara
Newport / Laguna
Lake Arrowhead and surrounding areas
Big Bear and surrounding areas
Banning / Beaumont / Yucaipa
Hemet / San Jacinto
San Bernardino and surrounding areas
Riverside and surrounding areas
Antelope Valley / Hesperia / Lancaster
Bakersfield and surrounding areas
Sacramento and surrounding areas
San Francisco and surrounding areas
Plumas county / Tahoe
Albuquerque & Moriarty, New Mexico
Walla Walla and Winthrop, Washington
Bend and Eugene, Oregon
and many many more!