Suzanne Clothier (she/her) has been working with animals professionally since 1977, with a deep background of experience that includes obedience, agility, puppy testing, breeding, conformation, instructing, kennel management, and search and rescue.
She has taught across the United States and internationally for groups as varied as University of Minnesota’s SPEAK! conference, Wolf Park, FEMA-Northeast Region Disaster Dog Teams, Alaskan Dog Musher Association, APDT, and Assistance Dogs International. She has taught for training groups, rescues and shelters, veterinarians, breeders, national conferences, and search and rescue organizations.
Suzanne’s seminars reflect the breadth and depth of her experience, covering a broad range of topics from early puppy development to aggression, fearful/anxious dogs, behavior, athletic performance, the animal/human bond, and more. Whatever the topic, the focus is always on humane, effective, and practical application of her Relationship Centered Training™, her holistic approach to dogs and the people who love them.
Her book, Bones Would Rain from the Sky: Deepening Our Relationships With Dogs, has received wide spread praise from every corner of the dog world. Ahead of its time, Bones, spoke specifically to the importance of relationships as the foundation of all and has been selected twice for the Wall Street Journal‘s list of “Top 5 Dog Books.” She is the author of numerous videos, books, booklets, and articles on a broad range of topics.
An innovative trainer, she has developed multiple programs and tools:
- CARAT™ (Clothier Animal Response Assessment Tool) – temperament assessment
- RAT™ (Relationship Assessment Tool) – assessment of the dog/handler relationship
- FAT™(Functional Assessment Tracking) – tracking functioning on cognitive, social and physiological dimensions
- The Enriched Puppy Protocol™ (EPP) – early developmental enrichment from birth to 16 weeks
- Clothier Puppy Test, Clothier Adult Test, including a formal In-For-Training (IFT) test for use in guide/service dog schools
- Connection, Cooperation & Control (CCC) – with trainer Cindy Knowlton – a program for developing and improving the handler/dog relationship using puzzled based rewards
Suzanne served as a committee member for the AKC Agility Advisory Board and the American Humane Association Task Force for the Development of Humane Standards in Dog Training. She has served 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.
A German shepherd breeder, 10 generations of her Hawks Hunt German Shepherds have been successful in obedience, agility, SAR, tracking, nosework, herding, therapy work, and as guide dog breeding stock. She lives on a working farm in upstate New York with her husband, John Rice, and their considerable animal family of dogs, cats, parrots, tortoises, Scottish Highland cattle, horses, donkeys, pigs, and chickens.