4 Topics Weekend


Friday, May 25 - 7-9 PM : Working with Fearful and Reactive Dogs

This evening lecture focuses on understanding canine behavior, the nature of fear and anxiety, understanding aggression (including bite etiology). The role of stress, arousal, resilience and environmental factors are discussed. Understanding of the Stimulus Gradient, safety zones and handler behavior are stressed.

Saturday, May 26 - 9-5

Topics: Building Observational Skills and What Your Dog's Body Can Tell You

We will start this full-day lecture with exercises that build observation skills for appreciating and entering the "umwelt" (an animal's perception of its world), reading body language on a detailed and whole body basis. These skills will focus on the dog's sensory input, external body language, understanding breathing, use of space, orientation, geometry, tension and more. With this information, you will improve your observation skills, learn how to really see instead of just looking, and how to watch fine and subtle details from the dogs.

After building observation skills, the focus will then be on the dog's physical abilities and how they interact with the goals of the handler, with the dog's willingness and ability to perform. This will also include basics of functional assessment. You will learn how physical problems are mislabeled as behavior or training problems, and learn to recognize the most common issues of pain, guarding, structural and functional issues that dogs present.

Sunday, May 27 RCT & RAT

Relationship Centered Training uses 3 Core Concepts and 9 Keys to define the dog/human relationships. This particular model is holistic, and circular, meaning there is no one specific starting point, as all connects to all else. RCT helps to clarify what aspects of the relationship are strong, and which may need strengthening. The 3 main concepts: Connection, Communication and Commitment. Within those 3 core concepts are 9 Keys that further define the dynamics between handler and dog.

Far past the simplistic dominance/submission, master/dog models, RCT offers a rich but intuitive model for understanding and improving the relationship between dog and human. The foundation of Suzanne's work and training, the RCT approach has helped identify where training issues and problems in the dog/human relationships may be originating. You will gain a new understanding of the dog/human interaction, and be able to apply the RCT principles to any training issue or behavior problem.

RAT OVERVIEW - 1/2 day
RAT was designed by Suzanne Clothier to help trainers and instructors:

  • Systematically assess foundation elements of the dog/handler relationship
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses of handler and the dog
  • Develop an appropriately focused and efficient training plan
  • Prioritize which aspects of the relationships to address
  • Provide a structured framework for discussing with the handler the issues that need to be addressed on both ends of the lead

RAT offers a detailed look at the foundation of the dog/human relationship. RAT details how the behavior of each contributes to the overall harmony (or lack thereof) between them. These are foundation issues that stand alone, regardless of age, socialization, breed, sex, experience, history, training, etc. This assessment is done within the first 5-10 minutes of the consultation or evaluation.

This is an overview of RAT, not a complete 2 day RAT workshop. This partial day focus will help attendees get a feel for this invaluable tool for dog training professionals and rescue and shelter workers. RAT can provide a new approach to assessment that is truly holistic in considering the entire dog/human dynamic.

FMI, see the CAARMA website for registration form.

April Minech 412-600-6457412-600-6457

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Additional Information

Type Live
Year 2012
Topics No
Author Suzanne Clothier
Presenters No
Location Pittsburgh, PA
Venue N/A


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