Course Curriculum

  • 01

    Welcome to Snake Avoidance!

    • A Message from Your Instructor

    • How This Course Works

    • Join the Facebook Group!

    • Get Additional Support!

    • Podcasts, Books, and More!

  • 02

    Training Basics

    • Training Basics for Snake Avoidance

    • Marker Training Basics Overview

    • Marker Training Basics FAQs

    • Marker Training Basics

    • Marker Mechanics

    • Adding a Cue

    • Capturing, Shaping, Luring

  • 03

    Week 1

    • Snake Avoidance Training Plan Overview

    • Snake Safety

    • Snake Behavior

    • Training Materials for Sight, Scent & Sound

    • Other Training Supplies

    • Snake Alert Foundations

    • Week 1 Homework Summary

  • 04

    Week 2

    • Welcome to Week 2!

    • Adding A Verbal Cue to Your Snake Alert

    • Recall Foundations

    • Using A Long-Line for Recall Foundations

    • Collar Give

    • Week 2 Homework Summary

  • 05

    Week 3

    • Welcome to Week 3!

    • What Is Fluency & Why Is It Important?

    • Building & Generalizing Your Dog's Alert

    • Advancing Recall (Level 2 Distractions)

    • Advancing Collar-Give

    • Troubleshooting Recall Failure

    • Week 3 Homework Summary

  • 06

    Week 4

    • Welcome to Week 4!

    • Fading Extra Alert Cue Props & Prompts

    • Generalizing Alert Cue to Movement

    • Advancing Recall (Level 3 Distractions)

    • Snake Avoidance Without Guardian Present

    • Week 4 Homework Summary

  • 07

    Week 5

    • Welcome to Week 5!

    • Transferring The Alert

    • Change of Behavior

    • Sound

    • Scent

    • Sight

    • Week 5 Homework Summary

  • 08

    Week 6

    • Welcome to Week 6!

    • Putting The Cues Together

    • Troubleshooting Ignoring The Snake

    • Advanced Set-Ups

    • Week 6 Homework Summary

  • 09

    Next Steps

    • Supplemental Support Options

    • Summit Virtual Classroom FB Group!

    • Practice, Practice, Practice!

Snake Avoidance Class Instructors

Amy started training dogs professionally in 2010 at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley after leaving the nursing profession. Amy is a graduate of the Karen Pryor Academy, and the owner of Trust Your Dog, which makes custom dog muzzles and other dog gear for expanding dogs’ worlds. Amy’s background in training has ranged from agility, to search and rescue, to shelter work, and behavior modification. Amy currently trains her personal dog in the sport of agility and loves attending continuing education events and classes for dog trainers. Amy's major training focuses in recent years have been Rattlesnake Avoidance, which she has been doing since 2017, and educating other pet professionals about Fear Free Vet Visits and Cooperative Care at Colorado State University.

Amy Creaven KPA-CTP

Guest Instructor

Snake Avoidance Class Instructors

Benah got her start in dog training through the sport of agility in 2012 - she fell in love with the sport and never looked back! Agility has inspired Benah to understand the intricacies of canine behavior and communication, with a specific focus on relationship building and R+ training methods. Benah loves nothing more than helping her clients experience a more fun and engaged relationship with their dogs, and loves watching teams develop more effective methods of communication. Benah lives in Chatham, NY, with her Border Collies and cat.

Benah Stiewing CPDT-KA

Summit Associate Trainer

Snake Avoidance Extra Support

  • Virtual Classroom Facebook Group

    With your online course enrollment, you get access to our Facebook community group for ongoing support. Here you can post videos of your training, ask questions, and get answers from the Summit team to guide your next training steps!

  • Add-On In-Person Practices

    Snake Avoidance In-Person Practice with Guest Expert Amy in Fort Collins, CO! These semi-private lessons give you and your dog the chance to practice with the snake sight, scent, and sound cues in different environments, while receiving coaching and feedback from Amy to refine your training plan! You and one other student will share the time for several rounds of practice so that you can learn through both your own practice and observing another dog’s learning as well! These In-Person Practice times are available monthly on a fixed schedule from April-September. Register at

  • Add-On Online Coaching

    Snake Avoidance Online Coaching Sessions with Course Teaching Assistant Benah! Get 30 minutes of private Snake Avoidance training support wherever you are at in your dog’s Snake Alert training! Summit Trainer Benah has learned the ins & outs of this protocol with Amy, and she is ready to help you along if you get stuck or just want an extra set of eyes on your training. These Online Coaching sessions are held via Google Meet, so you can access this support from wherever you are in the world! Your session will be recorded and sent to you so you can go back for review at any time. Register at


  • How do you teach Snake Avoidance with positive reinforcement?

    Snake Avoidance is taught with positive reinforcement by focusing on what we want our dogs to do when they find a snake. The most useful behaviors are those that create space between the snake and the dog while alerting the owner to the presence of the snake. This course teaches the components of building an alert behavior that creates distance away from the snake, and then putting that alert behavior on the cue of the sight, scent, and sound of the snake.

  • Will I need any other equipment to work on Snake Avoidance at home with my dog?

    You will need snake cuing supplies such as snake sheds, a decoy snake, a bluetooth speaker or phone, and possibly a few other props depending on what you’re teaching your dog to do as an alert behavior. Oh, and treats or toys too! In the first week of the course, we include links where you can purchase or find snake-specific props that you will need in later weeks of the course.

  • What types of snakes will this Snake Avoidance course cover?

    While we focus on snake avoidance for rattlesnake species found in Colorado (where Summit & Amy have their home bases), the concepts taught in this course can be applied to venomous snakes or poisonous creatures of many species. If you know a little bit about the types of dangerous creatures in your area, you can create a scent, sight, and sound (if applicable) cue picture most similar to that species, and use that for the cue for your dog’s recall and alert behavior.

  • If I start out with just the online course, can I add supplemental practice later?

    Of course! Supplement support lessons are available a la carte after course progress or completion. Please note that the in-person semi-private practice sessions are offered during the spring and summer months only; online coaching sessions are available all year long! Learn more about Supplemental Support lessons at

  • Will taking this course guarantee that my dog won't get bitten by a snake?

    This online course covers a training protocol for teaching your dog Snake Avoidance skills; just like with all training, individual results will depend on the implementation of your training plan. Taking this course does not guarantee that your dog will not get bitten by a rattlesnake (or other snake), but we know it will give you and your dog skills to work together to avoid them!

Enroll in the Snake Avoidance Online Class!

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