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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


 

 

What is snake proofing? Snake proofing or breaking is the process that teaches dogs to avoid coming into contact with Rattlesnakes.    
Who is "Partners" Partners Dog Training is a professional dog training school based in North Scottsdale, Arizona, that specializes in behavioral training and obedience for pets. We are one of the largest schools in the United States, with more than 20 instructors, daily training classes, training camp and private lessons. The school also offers agility, herding, tracking, search work and protection training.    
What type of snakes are used? We use Diamondback rattlesnakes for snake proofing. While this means dogs will thereafter avoid most species of rattlesnakes, it does not deter dogs against ALL snakes, as the odor and behavior of snakes differs by species. Training a dog to alert to a Diamondback rattlesnake may alert them to other species of snakes.    
Why should I snake proof my dog? Dogs are by nature curious and protective. Housing development has increased contact with snakes, which defend themselves by striking at curious animals. Training a dog to avoid snakes reduces the risk of being bitten; thereby saving lives.    
How does it work? Partners uses a unique three-step process, developed by them for working animals. Dogs are trained to associate the smell, sound and site of a snake with a negative correction.
When they recognize this odor by association, a transmitter sends a signal to a receiver which provides the electrical stimulation. This equipment is capable of remotely adjusting the voltage and cyclic rate to ensure the appropriate response.
Partners is the only school to take special measures to ensure no negative association with the owner, trainers or instructors. Highly experienced qualified instructors are used to ensure the best possible results.
   
How successful is snake proofing? Very successful!
There is however, no guarantee ALL dogs will detect or avoid a snake. As with humans, unless you detect the snake, you are still at risk. While dogs have a superior sense of smell, unless they use it, they may still miss the presence of a snake.
   
Does snake proofing last forever? We have conducted studies on dogs proofed over the past ten years, and more than 75% recalled the conditioning. In some cases, previously trained dogs detected snakes from as far away as 100 feet. It appears some dogs recall ability is higher than others, often depending on the scenting and hunting abilities. However, as some dogs do not recall the conditioning well enough to be safe, we recommend re-proofing your dog annually .    
When should we snake proof our dog? We recommend proofing all dogs annually in the spring or summer.    
Are all snake proofing methods the same?

Unfortunately no. To correctly learn to snake proof takes hundreds of sessions. Our staff go through months of training learning to handle, condition and analyze the response.

There are others that use different methods. We have seen their results. Last year we tested a number of dogs trained elsewhere, and found that 90% of them showed no fear of snakes. In some cases they even attacked the snakes, a reaction that is sure to get the dog killed.

We have spent years perfecting our methods. Immediately after your dog is proofed, we evaluate their response to ensure the conditioning was successful. If there is any doubt, the dog is re-proofed AT NO CHARGE. We do not take chances with our pets' lives.

For a detailed analysis of the different methods

   
How severe are snake bites? Snake bites can be fatal to pets. Depending on the bite location, age of the snake, amount of venom injected and time taken to get help, treatment can cost $2,000 to $3,000.    
Must my dog be obedience trained? We do not require prior obedience training. However, as the snake proofing process requires a dog be on leash, it is highly recommended your dog be able to walk on a leash. In some cases we may suggest some leash training to allow your dog to be correctly handled.    
Can I proof my dog by spraying with water, using a clicker or saying no?

No. The success of snake proofing is based on "aversion training", which means you are conditioning the dog to associate a smell, sound or look (snake) with a negative or unpleasant response (the electronic stimulus). If you used water or your voice to adversely condition your dog, then they would later associate a bath or your voice with a negative reaction.

For a detailed analysis of the different methods

   
At what age can my dog be proofed?

Any healthy breed aged from 5 months to 10 years can be proofed.
If you are uncertain as to the health of your dog, or if your dog is older than 10 years, then check with your vet.

Be sure to mention ANY medical or health issues to the trainer when you check your dog in.

   
Can any breed be snake proofed? Technically yes. Most breeds (or mixes) can be snake proofed. Certain hybrids exhibit very strong hunt drive, and this sometimes causes a problem.
In these cases we may recommend additional conditioning.
Probably the biggest problem is dogs that cannot walk on leash, as they are difficult to control.
We have also successfully trained horses, cats and wolves, but we do NOT recommend this as a rule.
   
Snakes scare me. Do I have to still get near a snake? Can I still proof my pet? ABSOLUTELY!
In fact, all you have to do is bring your dog to us, and we will do everything for you. You can even leave your dog at the school for the day (like day care) and he can be trained for you. There may be an additional DAYCARE charge for leaving him at the school for the day.
   
Is snake proofing guaranteed? We test each and every dog trained at our school at least once, to ensure that the correct association was done. We also encourage pet owners to observe the testing, so that they can know how the dog responds when it finds a snake.
However, there is NO GUARANTEE a dog will never get bitten, as there are occasions where the dogs sense of smell or hearing may let them down, and they may get bitten.
After training a dog responds to the smell of a rattler, the way a person responds to the smell of smoke. They associate this odor with a bad memory, but if they are unable to smell the snake, they may not be able to avoid it. Note that if anyone "Guarantees" snake proofing, they are misrepresenting their training.
We are recognized as the leaders in this field, and we train most of the instructors out there, so if we cannot offer a "guarantee", then no-one can!
   
Can I combine obedience training and snake proofing at the same time? Partners is a professional training school, specializing in obedience and behavioral training. You are welcome to have your dog obedience trained and snake proofed at the same time, but generally we advise against doing it on the same day. Remember that snake proofing involves aversion training, and obedience training should be based on positive motivational reward.    
I trained my dog somewhere else.

If you have already snake proofed your dog somewhere else, this is a good chance it was done differently.
At Partners, we have developed a system that has been proved to be the most effective.
We have tested all the other systems and believe ours is the best.
In addition, we often see dogs trained using other methods, and evaluate the results. IN most cases the training has not been a success, and the dog needs to be retrained.
While this sounds like we are criticizing others, the truth is we believe the welfare of the dogs is more important than personal egos, and that any system that works, is a good system.
If you are in any doubt, bring your dog in to one of our FREE SNAKE CHECKS.

   
I live outside of Arizona. Can I still send my dog to you for snake proofing?

Yes, you can.
We generally advise that this is done as part of a Two or Three week Behavior Training Program.
That allows us to train and test the dog over a two week period, which increases the results.
Read about our OUT OF STATE PROGRAMS
If you are interested, please contact us directly.

   
What are the costs?

Click here for RATES
Group discounts and clinics at your specific time are available. Minimum 10 dogs for group discount.
We also offer discounts to 401 (c) iii RESCUES.
Law Enforcement and Search & Rescue dogs are FREE as a service to our community.
You can also arrange for a private proofing lesson, if you are unable to attend during a group class.
Click here for details.
PLEASE NOTE THAT RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED FOR ALL BOOKINGS.

   
When are classes held? We hold about 200 clinics during the year, generally two to four times a week.
To see a class schedule, click here.
   
How do I sign up? To sign up, call (480) 595-6700
or email us at signup@snakeproofing.com
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