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The Idaho Chukar Foundation and Idaho Humane Society offer classes each year that are designed to teach dogs to avoid the sight, sound and smell of rattlesnakes and porcupines. This year, we're adding skunk avoidance training as well. ONLINE REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED, BUT WE WILL ACCEPT WALK-UP APPOINTMENTS!

Training sessions for 2017 will take place between 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 3rd, at Julia Davis Park in Boise.

Experienced dog handlers will work with your dog one-on-one and focus on your dog’s reaction and body language to a snake, porcupine or skunk. The avoidance behavior is taught by putting a remote controlled electronic collar on the dog. When the dog’s attention is on the snake, porcupine or skunk, an unpleasant stimulation is applied to the dog. The stimulation is similar to static electricity. The session takes about 15 minutes depending on the dog, though most dogs learn the avoidance behavior quickly.

NOTE: A dog can be registered for ONLY ONE training session – rattlesnake, porcupine or skunk. Veterinarian behavioral canine science has indicated that a second training session within the same day or week is too much stimulation for one dog.

About rattlesnake avoidance training

Rattlesnakes are abundant throughout the area, especially in the summer. If you hike, hunt, fish, camp or live in a rural area, your dog may be at risk for a rattlesnake bite. And without emergency treatment, dogs can die from a rattlesnake bite. Bitten dogs may have to be treated for several days in the hospital, and costs can reach into the thousands. (At left is a photo of a dog after a rattlesnake bite.) A dog detecting a rattlesnake can signal an owner to avoid the snake. 

During rattlesnake avoidance training, every effort is made to teach dogs to avoid the sight, smell and sound of a rattlesnake. This is done by using live gopher snakes, which are non-venomous but exhibit the same aggressive behavior as rattlesnakes. The gopher snakes are loose on the ground but controlled by a certified snake handler from the Idaho Herpetology Society.   

Fees: The class is $60. A second dog owned by the same family may be added for $50 and any additional dogs are $30. Please note that no refunds are available. 

Refresher training: If you have participated in rattlesnake avoidance training organized by ICF and IHS with your dog in the past, the same dog(s) may sign up for a refresher course between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. for $30. 

All 2017 registrants will receive a digital copy of the "Dog Owner's Reference Guide: Post Rattlesnake Avoidance Dog Training."

About porcupine avoidance training

Porcupine aversion training for dogs has been shown to be safe and effective in helping prevent dogs from getting quilled. Both the dogs and porcupines will be humanely treated during the training process. Porcupines used during the porcupine avoidance training are all from Idaho and captured and released in the same location they are found. 

Fees: The class is $40 per dog. 

Refresher training: If you have participated in the porcupine avoidance training organized by ICF and IHS with your dog in the past, the same dog(s) may sign up for a refresher course for $25. 

About skunk avoidance training

Skunks are found across the region and are most active at night. They only use their spray as a last resort – they will try to get away first and then give a warning. A skunk's spray can travel 10 to 15 feet. It not only smells bad but also stings the eyes and nose of a predator. A direct hit in the eyes can temporarily blind a predator until tears wash the spray out.

Stuffed skunks and prey scents will be used during skunk avoidance training to teach your dog to avoid the sight and smell of skunks.  

Fees: The class is $30 per dog. 

All proceeds from the event will benefit the Idaho Chukar Foundation and Idaho Humane Society, both 501c3 non-profit organizations. 
For more information, call Drew Wahlin at (208) 608-0833 or email

Thank you to our sponsors: 


Dog Watch of Central Idaho