I’ve kin visiting from out of state, and after a two-day drive to get right here, they need to stretch their legs on a hike. Since I’m not certain how lengthy they are going to be sport to stroll, I go away aged Otto at house, and convey solely 5-year-old Woody together with us.
We have been possibly 100 yards up the path, with Woody off-leash forward of us by about 20 toes, when he stopped, checked out one thing on the bottom in entrance of him, and appeared again at me. I glanced down at no matter he was and – “Woody! Off! Right here!” He calmly and instantly stepped again away from the snake and trotted again to me for a jackpot of treats. “YES! What an excellent boy!”
We have been shut sufficient to see three or 4 “buttons” on the snake’s tail, however the snake by no means rattled them in alarm. Woody’s calm conduct didn’t upset the snake, and she or he did what rattlesnakes want to do when confronted with people or canine: She slithered quietly off the path and into the tall grass, out of sight.
We apply the “Off!” (a.okay.a. “Go away it!”) conduct on each stroll, and that occasion was precisely why. I need my canine’ response to “Off!” to be instantaneous and calm. I need them to have each expectation that after they instantly flip away from no matter they have been or smelling after I gave the cue, and return promptly to me, that they may for certain get a deal with – and simply may get a jackpot. (That’s after they get a handful of treats, delivered one after one other. A canine can eat a handful of small treats in about two seconds, however by delivering them one after one other after one other after one other, it drags out the handful into an excellent 15 or 20 seconds of sustained nomming. It’s far more particular than a handful given directly. It takes benefit of the identical precept behind the programming of slot machines to let coin jackpots trickle out a bit at a time, as an alternative of dumping all of the cash into the tray directly: It looks as if extra!)
I believe this coaching is important for each canine who’s walked off leash. However I do know that I’m fortunate; neither of my canine is especially predatory. In the event that they have been, I couldn’t ever allow them to stroll off-leash in our neck of the woods from Could via October, as a result of as an alternative of trying again at me with that, “Hey Mother? What’s this?” expression, I do know that some canine would simply dive in and attempt to seize it, with probably disastrous outcomes. There are too many snakes round right here to stroll with a predatory canine off-leash. However even with my non-predatory canine, the snake on the path is precisely why we apply and apply some extra.
For extra info, learn Snake Avoidance Coaching for Canine.
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