Frequently Asked Questions
Training dogs to recognize, and avoid contact with the Colorado River Toad
Partners is a behavioral dog training school founded by Leighton Oosthuisen, and based in Cave Creek Arizona, United States.
Currently the Bufo alvarius, or Colorado River Toad, is used. (While called a toad, it is actually a frog.) It is also known as the Sonoran Desert Toad.
Training teaches your dog to recognize and avoid the Toad, potentially saving it from poisoning.
Dogs are fitted with a remote controlled collar. They are then introduced to a River Toad, and given a stimulus when they associate with the Toad. The trainer then leads the dog away, and repeats the process.
Success is dependant on the dogs' personality, and to some extent on the behavior of the toad. In tests to date, about 90% of dogs perform very well, while the others either fail or don't respond appropriately.
No, avoidance conditioning needs to be "refreshed" on an annual, and in some cases monthly, basis. If your dog has strong predatory instincts, and has successfully hunted and killed prey, they will need regular refresher training to suppress their instinctual behavior.
At the onset of "Toad season". This is generally around the middle of June, or when the monsoon rains commence. Keep in mind that while the Colorado River Toad is a hibernate, they are often "discovered" by curious dogs digging in their habitat.
Parotoid glands located behind the eyes and on the hind legs contain poison which can cause paralysis and possibly death if ingested by dogs.
While the poison is not as toxic to humans, the venom can cause irritation and discomfort to the eyes, nose or mouth.
According to some this is true. In the interests of "fair disclosure, this is the infamous Toad that people lick to get high, although we strongly discourage this behavior.
The parotoid glands produce the 5-MeO-DMT and Bufotenine, both of which belong to the family of hallucinogenic tryptamines. These chemicals produce psychoactive effects when smoked, injected or ingested.
Generally we prefer dogs be at least one year old for best results.
There is no maximum age, as long as the dog is healthy.
Avoidance training can be done as young as 4 months. However dogs younger than about 8 months do NOT retain the recognition and association an adult dog does. We suggest repeating (renewing) the training at least twice if your dog is younger than 12 months. (Please note this is NOT a REDO, but considered to be a RENEWAL.)
Yes, any pure breed, cross breed, hybrid, size or age of dog can be trained.
Please note this is still subject to the behavioral guidelines.
Possibly yes, although the risk is very small. Dogs need to be able to VISUALIZE and SCENT the Toad. We also attempt to get the Toad to move, which replicates the prey drive instinctual response in the dog. This means we cannot use a sealed enclosure for training, and must expose the dog to the Toad.
However, we keep a very short leash on the dog at all times, and do not allow him to actually reach the Toad.
For the dog to be poisoned he needs to actually ingest or lick the toad, which we do everything we can to prevent.
Nothing is guaranteed. This is a service we provide in an attempt to save lives. No matter how hard we try, there are always risks.
No, we don't want to confuse the avoidance training with an obedience conditioned behavior.
In layman's terms, this training teaches a negative to the dog, while obedience teaches a positive.
We offer individual or group training sessions.
Classes are held indoors due to the heat.
Call us at 480 595 6700