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  1. #1
    BPnet Senior Member dakski's Avatar
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    Hook Training Instruction Thread with Video

    I haven't seen a thread on hook training yet (honestly, I didn't search, but I am on here pretty often and have yet to see a thread on it). Many people ask about it, especially those with either larger snakes, snakes that are going to be large but aren't yet, and snakes with strong food responses.

    My Female BCI, Behira, nailed me in a clear food response bite at about 600G and about 1 1/2 years old. No big deal. However, I didn't want a repeat at 7FT and 7,000G! She has an incredibly strong food response, but otherwise, is a total sweetheart.

    I began hook training her, and now, at over 2 years old and about 1,000G, have yet to have anything close to an incident since.

    I have a video link below (cannot post Imgur on here yet, but I'll see if I can post it embedded later) that shows what I am about to describe with my baby girl, Behira (she's a Ghost BCI - Hypo Anery - in case anyone is curious).

    First, a few basic rules:

    1. The hook is used to let the snake know it's handling time and/or snap them out of food response mode.

    2. It is a training/desensitizing tool and in most cases, should only be used to let the snake know it's time to come out and play and THE HOOK SHOULD NOT BE USED TO GRAB THE SNAKE.

    3. It takes some time to hook train a snake. They don't think like we do and have to be conditioned more than trained. We can't explain it to them so they need to learn with repetition.

    4. BE CONSISTENT!

    5. DO NOT USE THE HOOK WHEN FEEDING! Only use it when handling. This makes a clear distinction. Hook = fun time. No hook and prey = FOOD TIME!

    Now, how I use the hook.

    To be clear, I use the soft (make sure it's soft) handle of the hook, not the hook itself (you can use anything that doesn't smell like food - paper towel insert, golf club handle, etc. - However, be consistent - same object every time and make sure it's sanitized).

    1. Gently touch the snake with the handle and either tap, or gently rub, them with it. Choose tap or rub, but again CONSISTENCY is KEY!

    2. Show the hook handle to the snake while touching them, after touching them, or before touching them. Again, just be consistent and #1 and #2 can be reversed.

    Often Behira just sees the hook handle now and says, oh, doesn't smell like food, time to come out.

    3. Repeat either both steps #1 and #2, or either one, preferably the rubbing or tapping part, again and read the snakes body language. The snake may tense up in response to the stimuli initially, but then settle down. Watch the tongue as well (part of body language). Is it coming out short and quick or long and wide strokes that are slow (happy tongue)? Is the snake tense even when not being touched with the hook, or does he/she appear relaxed?

    4. Reach in and pick up the snake.

    Optional: When beginning the process, or if unsure of the snakes body language at the time, you can use the handle as a block. In other words, hold it closer to the snakes head/neck area (on the snakes side - don't pin them down) and pick them up more from midsection to upper body. This way, if you happen to startle them, the hook is a line of defense.

    Behira has been in S position, ready to nail a rat, and I've had to stroke her quite a few times with the hook to get her to relax, but it works pretty much without fail now. The other day, full S position, head and neck an inch off the ground. 3-4 rubs to get her to think maybe it isn't food time, and another 3-4 rubs to get her to put her head down and get picked up. However, it worked.

    Is it foolproof? No, but between the hook and reading your animal, you should be in pretty good shape.

    One note on the rubbing, I try to rub side and upper back. I try not to get under her body or directly on the spine. I am always gentle.

    Without further ado, the video showing exactly how I pick up Behira with the hook now:



    https://i.imgur.com/5kgF1uw.mp4

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  3. #2
    Registered User richardhind1972's Avatar
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    Re: Hook Training Instruction Thread with Video

    Looks fine dakski
    Obviously would of been a bit easier for you if she wasn't in her hide

    Sent from my TA-1024 using Tapatalk

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  5. #3
    Registered User Valyrian's Avatar
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    Re: Hook Training Instruction Thread with Video

    I've hook trained my Burm since I've had her. Only took a week for her to tame down

    Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk
    0.1 CB17 Pearl Burmese Python - Kaiju

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  7. #4
    BPnet Veteran craigafrechette's Avatar
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    Great thread, dakski!
    Last edited by craigafrechette; 08-03-2018 at 07:48 AM.
    ...life is beautiful...

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    Registered User ckuhn003's Avatar
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    Re: Hook Training Instruction Thread with Video

    Very helpful video and happy I finally for to see Behira in action! I was familiar w/ the technique of Hook Training but never realized it was best to use the handle and not the hook to caress the snake. Also, I like how you shield Behira's head as you attempt to pick her up.

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  11. #6
    BPnet Veteran AbsoluteApril's Avatar
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    Re: Hook Training Instruction Thread with Video

    very nice!

    Quote Originally Posted by ckuhn003 View Post
    I was familiar w/ the technique of Hook Training but never realized it was best to use the handle and not the hook to caress the snake.
    I use the hook end, you can use anything, even a roll of paper towels, the key is just to knock them out of food mode by the touch.
    ****
    For the Horde!

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  13. #7
    BPnet Senior Member dakski's Avatar
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    Re: Hook Training Instruction Thread with Video

    Quote Originally Posted by AbsoluteApril View Post
    very nice!



    I use the hook end, you can use anything, even a roll of paper towels, the key is just to knock them out of food mode by the touch.
    Thanks for clarifying AbsoluteApril!

    I agree. I use the handle, but as stated, you can use anything. Just be consistent.

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  15. #8
    BPnet Senior Member dakski's Avatar
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    Re: Hook Training Instruction Thread with Video

    Quote Originally Posted by ckuhn003 View Post
    Very helpful video and happy I finally for to see Behira in action! I was familiar w/ the technique of Hook Training but never realized it was best to use the handle and not the hook to caress the snake. Also, I like how you shield Behira's head as you attempt to pick her up.
    Thanks Ckuhn003!

    As stated by AbsoluteApril, you can use the hook, I like the hook handle, it doesn't matter, just be consistent.

    I made sure to shield Behira's head in the video, but usually her body language is such that I know I don't need to. I only do that when she seems a little on edge or hungry as an added precaution. To be clear, she's never even attempted a strike since hook training.

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  17. #9
    Registered User dboeren's Avatar
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    Paper towel roll is pretty short though, I think you want it to be longer than strike range. Old golf club should work and they're pretty cheap.
    0.1 Diamond/Jungle Carpet Python "Lucy"
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  19. #10
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    I've been trying to hook-train my white-lipped python, but no matter what, he immediately gets defensive
    Too Many...

    That's what my wife says



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