Although no type of rattlesnake aversion training is foolproof, I have been looking around for an alternative to the traditional method which incorporates the use of "Shock Collars" to train the dog to stay away.
Traditionally, most programs use a series of steps, using live, muzzled rattlesnakes to deter the dog from the scent, sound and posturing that rattlesnakes present. They begin by putting a "shock collar" on the dog and then expose him to the rattelsnakes' smell. As the dog sniffs, he receives a slight shock. The shock increases until the dog no longer puts his nose near the smell. They do the same thing with the sound , rattler's shaking tail, and with the posturing of the snake. Depending on the dog's reaction, he could be shocked a few times at low level or several times at high level. This absolutely does not work for me. I do not believe in shocking a dog at any time for any reason. SO, I turned to some trainer friends of mine and asked them how they train rattlesnake aversion.
Both Kyle Rayon of "Let's Train!" and Marcy Piasecki of "Home Buddies La Jolla", use positive training methods only.
They both suggested teaching cues to the dog to stay away. Teaching a strong "leave it" or "out" message where the dog learns that "leaving it" is far more rewarding than not listening. Like training for anything, this requires a lot of repetitions and since dogs don't generalize well, a lot of different locations and subject matters but it can work at least as effectively as traditional aversion training without the pain to the dog and the damage that can do to your relationship. For more information or to schedule training, contact Marcy Piasecki at firstname.lastname@example.org.