Frequently Asked Questions

How does it work?

The pinch the e-collar delivers teaches the dog to avoid snakes; the dog thinks that the snake caused the discomfort. We want the dog to decide for itself to leave snakes alone – not to avoid snakes because you want it to, but because it wants to.

Does it work?

Yes amazingly well for most dogs, especially after an annual refresher. Aversion training has been used in WA and NZ (for kiwi avoidance) and USA for years.

Is my dog safe?

The snakes are safely controlled, the loose snakes are non venomous and the dangerous ones are enclosed. Your pet is safe at all stages of training.

How long does it take?

Most dogs can be trained in 15-20 minutes. It’s not the duration that is important but the recognition time it takes any dog to work out that proximity to snakes is unpleasant and to be avoided. Ideally it’s quick and reinforced annually for 3-4 years.

How much does it cost?

$195 inc GST per dog ($85 inc GST per refresher). Discounts and “pack rates” available for 2 or more dogs.

What is an e-collar?

Electronic collars deliver a negative stimulus that feels like a pinch. They can also vibrate or emit a sound depending on the training requirement. We are very discriminating in its use. E-collars can be highly effective training tools.

How often should we refresh?

Annually is ideal. But not too soon after your first visit. Leave about 6 months between sessions. Studies have shown that by refreshing each year for 3 to 4 years this type of aversion training is effective in over 80% of dogs.

Is it in groups?

No, although we can attend groups such as dog training clubs. We train dogs individually. Ideally out of the sight and the distraction of other dogs. However, several dogs can arrive at once – but it’s one-on-one training. Special “pack rates” apply when multiple dogs are booked.

Who does the training?

Usually it’s David, assisted by Keely, Jenny or other members of the Animal Ark team. However, with some knowledge of e-collar use, dogs, and snake behaviour anyone who is suitably experienced can do it. So it may not be me at all sessions but always only people I approve of. Legally though access to deadly snakes is the hardest thing here, and DBCA Parks and Wildlife Service in WA strictly controls that access. We are fully licensed with DPaW as wildlife educators.

What snakes do you use?

We use snakes local to our training area. Usually that means Brown snakes (Dugite or Gwardar) and Tiger snakes. For the closest encounter and for snake movement association we use pythons. We keep many other snake species for other locations.

Which venomous snakes bite most dogs?

76% Brown Snakes (such as Dugite, Gwardar) 13% Tiger snakes according to Murdoch Uni information.

Where do you do it?

We travel all over WA and sometimes internationally to deliver and learn more about this training. Mostly though we are around Perth and major towns of the SW of WA. We hold regular sessions in North Beach, Malaga, Perth Hills, Bunbury, Albany, Nannup and Rockingham. See our diary for scheduled dates and locations.

What age of dog can be trained?

Any age, but the younger the better. We prefer from 4 months onwards, usually from about 6 months. It depends a lot on the dog as individuals differ in maturity rates.

Can we go to you / home visits?

Yes and visits are often prompted by you the owner, if you can help get a group of people interested. We work together to find a suitable location for the training such as a bush block, farm, winery or regular home. We need some good shade, a bit of parking for our clients and us.

Can you come to our vet practice or dog club?

Yes, just call to chat. We frequently get booked this way.

What if my dog already attacks snakes?

It is very difficult to stop/reverse ingrained behaviour in dogs. We are willing to try though and have had some successes.

What if my dog already attacks lizards?

Such a dog would probably attack snakes as well so get it trained soon.

What if my dog already uses an e-collar/perimeter fence collar?

That’s no problem just let us know.

Don’t try this at home!!

You need live and local snake species, good safety protocols and the right kind of collar. Dead snakes smell different very soon after death. All our native wildlife is protected and you need special licensing to work and travel with venomous snakes. Also if after training you come across a snake do not lead your dog to a snake to test the training. You may think you want it to check it out but you are sending your dog a mixed message by encouraging it towards a snake. There is plenty of evidence, and we have many testimonials to show, that of its own accord the dog will very likely leave the snake alone.

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