A Weekend with Suzanne Clothier

About Suzanne

Since 1977 Suzanne Clothier has worked professionally with animals, with a deep, broadly varied background of experience including obedience training, agility, Search & Rescue, kennel management, and program development. She is well respected for her humane, effective Relationship Centered Training (RCT™) approach to dogs and the people that love them.

Suzanne’s innovative training work includes:
    •    CARAT™ - a novel temperament assessment & scoring system
    •    The Enriched Puppy Protocol™ - Program for early puppyhood development, birth to 9 weeks
    •    RAT™ (Relationship Assessment Tool) – dog/human relationship dynamics assessment
    •    FAT™ (Functional Assessment Tracking) – 15 dimension functional assessment of individual dog
    •    CCC™ (Connection, Cooperation & Control, with Cindy Knowlton) – a puzzle based training program


Her tools and materials are utilized by guide & service dog organizations, animal assisted therapy, every day pet owners, by trainers, breeders, veterinarians, academics and in research. As a consultant to Guiding Eyes for the Blind, Southeastern Guide Dogs, Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation, Assistance Dogs of the West and Guide Dogs of America, Suzanne’s Enriched Puppy Protocol™ and RCT™ techniques have improved their puppy raising programs.

Her highly-praised book, Bones Would Rain from the Sky: Deepening Our Relationships With Dogs (Warner, 2002) was twice included in The Wall Street Journal's list of Top 5 Dog Books.

A German Shepherd breeder, her 9 generations of Hawks Hunt German Shepherds have been successful in competitive performance sports, Search & Rescue, herding, therapy work and of course as beloved companions. Suzanne lives on an upstate New York farm with husband John Rice, and their considerable animal family of dogs, cats, parrots, tortoises, horses, donkeys, Scottish Highland cattle, pigs and chickens.


Workshop Topics

From Maddening to Maturity:  Understanding

and Helping the Adolescent Dog

Saturday, September 15, 9am-5 pm

Morning:  interactive presentation
Afternoon:  1-3 demo dogs with their handlers

This workshop is designed for anyone who deals with adolescent dogs (aged 4 months to 4 years), their reactivity, impulsivity and the challenges of adolescence.

Do you wonder where your once wonderful puppy went? And why has he turned into a sometimes maddening, unpredictable, maybe even out of control adolescent? Relax — you’re not alone. More than a few puppy class stars have gone on to be champion buttheads as teenagers!
For many dog owners, the 18-24 month period of adolescence is problematic. Even with a great start in puppyhood, many dogs hit adolescence and become frustrating, unruly, and simply maddening in some ways. While puzzling to many owners, this is a natural but poorly understood stage of development.  

        Did you know that adolescence begins around 20 weeks of age?
        That a year old dog is roughly the equivalent of a 14 year human?
        That adulthood in the dog begins at 2-4 years of age?
        That the most annoying teenage dogs are usually geniuses?

The Relationship Centered Training™ (RCT) approach to adolescents focuses on three areas of the teenage dog’s life:

        Relationship with handler
        Social life (other people, dogs & animals)
        Life skills (self control, basic manners, coping skills)

For each area, we will explore ways to assess each dog’s strengths and limits, how the handler can support the dog, what skills need to be developed, and how to recognize problems that must be addressed.
This seminar will address

        RCT keys: communication, commitment, connection
        The handler’s role as the teenage dog’s guide to life
        Balancing the relationship
        Age appropriate responsibility
        Cooperation as a lifestyle
        Permission and parameters
        “Even though” empathy & expectations
        Potholes, loopholes and missing bricks in the dog’s skill sets

Self control, handling arousal, dealing with distractions and attractions, polite behavior with others (people and dogs) — all are important aspects of growing up into a well behaved adult. Learn how to guide your teenage dog to maturity using effective and humane RCT techniques such as Really Real Relaxation, Go Say Hi, Auto-Check-in, Puppy Politeness Poker and more.

When you understand your adolescent dog better, you can settle into the work and joys of helping them grow into a wonderful adult dog. The kind of adult dog that makes people say, “Oh, I wish I had a dog just like that!” while you smile and wonder if they knew him as a teenager.

The Enriched Puppy:  Creating Connected, Confident,

Competent and Coordinated Canines

Saturday, September 15, 6:30 pm-9:00 pm   

Suzanne’s program for early puppy development, for breeders, for anyone raising or interested in raising puppies birth to 16 weeks, for anyone interested in learning about how environment and social enrichment affects a puppy’s development, and for anyone who loves puppies. 

This evening lecture offers practical ideas for environmental and social enrichment aimed at helping puppies become the best they can be, including detailed information on development of the puppy brain, body, reflexes and social behavior.

Suzanne has raised nine generations of her Hawks Hunt German Shepherds, as well as litters of other breeds. Her Enriched Puppy Protocol  has been put to the test with thousands of puppies in multiple guide and service dog puppies since 2007, along with many private breeders.  The results?  The most commonly heard phrase is “These are the best puppies ever!”  with profound changes seen even in repeat litters raised without EPP.

Whether you love knowing more about helping puppies become the best they can be, wonder how to polish up the genetic material in your breeding program, or just love puppies, this is a fascinating evening full of puppies!


What’s The Problem?  Solving the Puzzle of Behavior,

Training and Performance

Sunday, September 16, 9am-5 pm.

Morning:  interactive presentation.

Afternoon:  1-3 demo dogs with their handlers

Emphasis on understanding how to tease apart the contributing factors to any issue, and practical approaches and solutions.

An exciting new seminar from Suzanne Clothier that provides attendees with a practical and powerful way of looking at any behavior, training or performance problem, and figuring out what to do.  

This systematic approach to unraveling the puzzle will help any handler, novice or expert, identify the areas that need attention, recognize training methods that are effective, and understand their dog as a physical, emotional and mental being.

For the dog lover, this approach helps guide your thinking about behavior & training problems, and helps you identify where to turn to help — and what kind of help you need and want.

For the dog training professional, this approach offers a number of powerful tools for quickly and accurately identifying the issues that may be at the root of any presented problem. This allows trainers to focus on areas that need to be built or that need strengthening or repair.

Above all, how do you know how and what needs work? How do you know if a method or equipment choice is right for you and your dog? There is a bewildering array of options and information out there. How do you know which way to go? Suzanne can help you find your way using your own good sense and specific approaches to finding answers.

Topics covered:
        The dog – physical, mental, emotional
        Clothier’s Functional Assessment Tool (FAT)
        The handler – goals, skills, tools
        Control, Connection & Permission — finding the strengths & gaps
        Training Triage – who, what, where, when, why
        What’s right for you? Creating a framework for assessing tools, methods & results

While Suzanne cannot provide a magic wand or any miracle fairy dust, she can and will provide meaningful tools and ways of thinking that will help you make better decisions for yourself, your dogs and – for professionals – your clients.


(203) 788-7647

 Newtown CT United States 06482

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