Rattlesnake Avoidance Training Through Positive Reinforcement

Rattlesnake Avoidance Training Through Positive Reinforcement


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Look no further to keep your dog safe from snakes!

Eileen Koval


Eileen Koval, CDBC, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, MSc is uniquely qualified as a fully certified dog behavior consultant by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) and the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT). She developed an extraordinary program that has been copied by trainers around the globe. Her training program, techniques, and distinctive approach have helped both trainers and dog owners use positive reinforcement techniques to teach their dogs to independently avoid rattlesnakes and other venomous snakes, and to ignore any indications/temptations to move toward them. She wanted to develop a completely independent dog who could work in the outdoors away from the owner and know how to detect and avoid both visible and hidden venomous snakes. Eileen has been honored to present her unmatched approach and unique techniques at the APDT/CAPDT Annual Conference 2021, other international conferences, podcasts, as a guest speaker in other trainers’ mentorship courses, and on YouTube channels. Additionally, this course has been endorsed by veterinarians and behavior professionals at Preventive Vet.

Eileen Koval/Confident Canines’ program is being utilized by trainers and dog owners in the US, Canada, Australia, Africa, and Europe. We want to help you develop an independent dog who knows how to detect a rattlesnake and knows to offer avoidance behaviors, whether you are present or not. It is simple enough to train our dogs to “leave it”, but what if your dog encounters a rattlesnake when you are far behind them on a hiking trail, or while they are roaming your property? Eileen’s training methodology guides you through techniques to train your dog to respond to both your cues/commands and to recognize the visual profile, scent, and sound of a rattlesnake as cues for them to offer trained avoidance behaviors. She teaches several avoidance behaviors that your dog can offer on his own in different varying situations in which he may encounter a rattlesnake. This course also teaches intelligent disobedience, in which we train our dogs to ignore any cues we give to move forward toward a snake that we do not realize is there. Our dogs detect the presence of snakes through olfaction (smell) long before we realize they are there. Dogs may ignore snakes in some situations and be interested in them in other situations, so this course will help you teach your dog exactly what you would like him to do in those scenarios.

Why is this?

​The shock that the dog receives upon sight and scent of the snake teaches a dog to fear snakes, but it does not teach him which behaviors we want to see. Fearful situations induce fight/freeze/flight responses. With shock collars, people are *hoping* that the dog chooses a flight response, but it is not unusual to hear about dogs that attack rattlesnakes instead of avoiding them after such training. They want to make the scary thing go away, so they use aggression to try to make it go away!

Also, when pairing a negative experience with a particular stimulus such as a rattlesnake, people want the dog to fear the snake. However, other stimuli are also present during such training, including the dog’s leash, harness, the owner, other people and their dogs, etc. It is common for dogs to associate the owner, the leash, and other things present during the training with the shock that they feel. It is common to hear of dogs becoming very anxious around their owners or the presence of their leash after this type of training.

Why not teach the exact behaviors that we want the dog to perform?

The techniques utilized in this program are relationship-building and focused on obedience and reliability. They are fun for you and your dog, and help develop a dog who WANTS to work with you!

This course can be used to teach your dog to avoid copperheads, cobras, mambas, cottonmouth, or a different type of venomous snake in your local area.

This course is designed for trainers to be able to replicate the material as an in-person course in their area and pet parents with basic training skills who want to keep their dogs safe.

(Credits to Eileen Koval/Confident Canines LLC)

If you are a credentialed trainer, you may be eligible for continuing education credits (CEUs) by taking this course:
IAABC CEUs: Pending | CCPDT CEUs: Pending | KPA CEUs: Pending

Signup Now!

Sign up now and reserve your spots; attendance is limited to 8 participants (you and your dog!) and 30 auditors (you alone)!

Date: September 25-26, 2024, 9 am-5 pm

Full participant tuition: $295
Auditor: $159


Animal Care Services

— 3119 Hamner Ave, Norco, 92860
Registration Type

Full Participant Tuition, Auditor

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