FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why do you use de-fanged rattlesnakes? The best way for a dog to recognize a rattlesnake is to be able to see, hear and smell it. Using a de-fanged rattlesnake is the safest way for the dogs to be able to closely interact with the snake in it's most natural setting.
Why not use a non-venomous snake? There is no other snake that has the same scent as a rattlesnake. Since scent is the main focus of the training, it would be useless to use a different species. Also, there are no other snakes that have a rattle for the dogs to hear.
Why not contain a rattlesnake in a box? I want the dog to be able to see a rattlesnake move the way it would in the field, hear the rattle without being muffled and smell the different parts of the rattlesnake from head to tail. This is not attainable if I use a snake in a box.
Why are you using an e-collar? The purpose of this training is to make sure that your dog does not want to interact with a rattlesnake for the rest of it's life. An e-collar is the best way to give your dog a negative association with the snake. I am careful to use the lowest setting possible to make an impression on your dog.
Will my dog need a re-test in the coming years? I will give each dog as much time as needed to be able to recognize a rattlesnake through sight, sound and smell. I will be very thorough with my training and we will have a final test to prove the training was effective. Therefore, there will be no need for a re-test as this training will be etched in your dog's brain for the rest of it's life.
Will this training be effective 100% of the time? Smell is a product of many different variables such as wind, temperature and humidity. There is a possibility that even the most highly trained scent dog may not be able to smell a rattlesnake if these variables are lined up against it. Also, with there being so many different species of rattlesnakes, there is a chance that a specific species may not smell the same as the ones we are working with. Luckily, if scent fails, there is always the backup of the sound of the rattle.