How to Teach a Dog to Avoid Snakes

Teach your pooch that snakes aren't something to play with.
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Dogs are curious creatures who enjoy exploring their surroundings. Unfortunately, while sniffing around outdoors, Fido could come upon a snake. A bite from a startled snake can severely injure or even kill your canine companion. Avert such a tragedy by teaching your pooch to avoid snakes using positive training techniques.

Step 1

Teach your dog the "leave it" command. Show your dog a treat in the palm of your hand, say "leave it," then close your hand into a fist around the treat. Once Fido stops trying to get at the treat and looks up at you, say "good" and give him a treat from your other hand. Repeat this exercise for 10 minutes daily until your pup responds consistently to it.

Step 2

Put Fido on a leash. Make the "leave it" exercise harder by placing a treat or a favorite toy on the floor and only rewarding Fido with something tasty if he leaves it alone on command. Repeat this exercise for up to 10 minutes per day, using the leash when necessary to stop him from approaching the toy or treat on the floor, until he consistently leaves high value treats and toys alone on command.

Step 3

Place a rubber snake on the ground. With your pup on a leash, walk him by the snake, close enough so that he can see it but not touch it. Point to it and command him to leave it. If he doesn't try to pull away from you toward it, reward him with a treat. If he does try to approach it, say "no" and walk him in the other direction. As with other training, repeat this exercise daily for a few minutes at a time.

Step 4

Tie a piece of clear thread around the rubber snake. Approach the rubber snake with Fido on a leash and have a friend pull on the snake just a bit so that it moves, mimicking the real movement of a snake. Audibly gasp as loud as you can and quickly walk with your pooch away from the snake. Repeat the exercise until Fido reacts with fear around the snake and goes out of his way to avoid it.

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