The success of training a dog can be measured by the reliability of the results, i.e. when you recall your dog does it come to you every time no matter the situation? or only sometimes, provided you are at home where there are no distractions and you’re holding food. There is no debate that Snake Avoidance Training absolutely must be reliable, as any failure puts your dog’s life at risk.
When the reliability of dog training is essential, it is critical that the trainer be able to properly implement a range of training methods/tools that cover the full spectrum of canine learning, not just positive reinforcement or ‘reward only’ techniques. In addition to this, the dog trainer must also be able to use all their tools with consistency AND compassion. The ability to combine these factors are characteristics of a true professional. Remote Training Collars (e-collars) are used by the highest ranked dog trainers in the world in combination with other training methods to produce phenomenal results, never compromising the drive or emotional state of the dog. We are fortunate enough to have trainers in Australia who have the experience and knowledge necessary to appropriately apply these dynamic tools.
Misunderstanding of these devises and misuse by inexperience personnel has lead some people to the incorrect belief that these tools are a cruel and unusual form of punishing a dog for an undesired behaviour. True professionals in the field of dog training however understand that this is a most uninformed and narrow minded view. Elite dog trainers around the globe utilize Remote Training Collars (e-collars) in a number of applications.
· Positive reinforcement (as a marker to predict rewards in the same way a clicker is used)
· Negative reinforcement (to guide the dog into position)
· Positive punishment (to teach the dog to avoid certain things)
Contrary to some opinions, the use of remote training collars cannot cause physical harm to a dog apart from chafing if the device is left on the dog for prolonged periods (over 8 hours) and never moved. This is termed ‘pressure necrosis’ and can occur with anything that is left to rub against a person or dogs skin for a long time, even a normal collar. This was extensively explored and confirmed by the South Australian judicial system.
While Remote Training Collars are openly available and legally permitted for use in Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria, we advise that only appropriately trained and experienced persons apply them. If used by inexperienced practitioners, dogs can easily associate the stimulation from a remote training collar to an incorrect and undesired source. These incorrect associations can cost thousands of dollars worth of professional training to rectify.
It is impossible to teach snake avoidance to dogs using food-only training techniques, such as ignoring, distraction and differential reinforcement of an incompatible behaviour. These techniques are not only unreliable but require a person to be present at all times. Unfortunately most snake bites on dogs happen when the dogs are in their own backyards and it is impractical to keep them under constant supervision every day. Snakes naturally avoid dogs; however to a dog, snake movement and smell is virtually irresistible, drawing them in to investigate or play with the snake. The snake perceives this behaviour as a threat and strikes out at the dog. When a dog is envenomated by a snake, it will never associate the suffering that follows the bite with the snake itself as the suffering is separated from the bite by more than 5 seconds (dogs can only make associations between a predictive stimuli and an event when they occur within 2 seconds of each other). Our Snake Avoidance Training is designed to work when the dog is alone and teaches the dog to avoid both snake movement and odour (this is why a Scent Detection experienced trainer is a necessity).
We are respectful of other, incomplete, training methods that don’t generate reliability; however, such methods should not be used in life saving and critical training processes. For those who ‘sit on the fence’ when it comes to undertaking Snake Avoidance Training for their dog, we respectfully ask you to…