About Suzanne Clothier

"Training is a mechanical skill that can be learned. Problems arise when we mistake training for a relationship."

About Suzanne Clothier

Suzanne Clothier has worked with animals professionally since 1977, with a background includes obedience, agility, puppy testing, breeding, Search and Rescue, conformation, instructing, kennel management and AAT.

Her Relationship Centered Training™ approach blends science and heart to create humane, effective and practical solutions for dogs and the people who work with them, whether professional working dogs or couch warming companions.

A “trainer’s trainer”, Suzanne has long been in demand as a speaker at conferences around the world. She has taught on a broad variety of topics throughout the US and internationally for groups as varied as Wolf Park, FEMA (Northeast Region Disaster Dog Teams), Alaskan Dog Musher Association, Assistance Dogs International NA, Association of Professional Dog Trainers, and University of MN’s SPEAK! conference. She is a popular speaker at online conferences such as Geek Week! and the Lemonade Conferences.

An innovative trainer always seeking better ways to understand, assess and improve what we do with and for dogs, Suzanne has published a variety of books, DVDs, online courses and training tools. Her ground breaking book, Bones Would Rain from the Sky: Deepening Our Relationships With Dogs (Warner, 2002) was twice voted a Top 5 book by the Wall Street Journal, and is considered a classic in the field.

Her tools and materials have been put to use for every day pet owners, by trainers, breeders, veterinarians, in guide & service dog organizations, in animal assisted therapy, and by academics and in research. She serves as a consultant to guide and service dog organizations around the world, with her RCT materials, innovative assessment tools and Enriched Puppy Protocol being incorporated into their programs.

Her suite of assessment tools provide a powerful framework for trainers and organizations:

  • RAT™ (Relationship Assessment Tool) – handler/dog dynamics, rapid assessment plus ability to track and compare
  • CARAT™ (Clothier Animal Response Assessment Tool) – temperament assessment on 6 categories, 21 dimensions
  • FAT™ (Functional Assessment Tool, release in 2022) – global of functionality/welfare assessment across physiological, social and cognitive dimensions

A long time breeder of German Shepherds, 11 generations of her dogs have been successful in multiple dog sports, SAR, therapy work, and as guide dog breeding stock. Her Enriched Puppy Protocol (EPP) reflects her deep understanding of how to provide age-appropriate challenges to create puppies that are connected, confident, coordinate and capable. EPP has been put to use in multiple guide & service dog organizations and with private breeders to maximize the critical early puppyhood development.

She lives on a working farm in upstate New York with husband John Rice, and their considerable animal family.

  • Agility Training Workbook: A Step-by-step Motivational Approach (1991, out of print)
  • The Clothier Natural Jumping Method (1991)
  • The 7 Cs (1993)
  • Physical Therapy for the Canine Athlete (1994, out of print)
  • Understanding Puppy Testing (1995, out of print)
  • Body Posture & Emotions (1995, revised 2022)
  • Understanding & Teaching Self Control (1995, revised 2022)
  • Following Ghosts: Understanding the Tracking Relationship (1995, revised 2018)
  • Bones Would Rain from the Sky: Deepening Our Relationships with Dogs (Warner, 2002)
  • Finding A Balance: Issues of Power in the Dog/Human Relationship (1995, revised 2018)
  • Attentive Cooperation (2015)
  • The Connection Collection (2014)
  • Motivational Agility Training: Step-by-Step (1991, 0ut of print)
  • Your Athletic Dog: A Functional Approach (1995)
  • Introduction to Relationship Centered Training (2013)
  • Arousal, Fear & Anxiety: Empathy, Understanding & Options for the Shy & Fearful Dog (2014)
  • Mindful Socialization: Because Life is Not a Checklist (2019)
  • Really Real Relaxation: Creating authentic, connected relaxation with your dog (2018)
Training Programs & Materials
  • The Connection Course Cards (2014)
  • Fruits & Veggies Training Game: Mind Your Peas & Cues
  • RCT Training Games (with Heather Leonard, 2013)
  • The Enriched Puppy Protocol (2007; public release late 2022)
  • CARAT: Temperament Assessment Tool (2007)
  • RAT: Relationship Assessment Tool (2009)
  • FAT: Functional Assessment Tool (2015; released mid-2022)
  • CCC-Connection, Cooperation & Control (with Cindy Knowlton, 2018)
  • Treat-Retreat Certification Course (2021)

What our customers say about us

Suzanne is my go-to for practical, real world training

I’ve hosted Suzanne’s seminars for many years. Super easy to work with, she is very professional. Attendees love her humor and how she connects with each one of them. Many keep coming back for more every time she’s in the area. Suzanne is my go-to for practical, real world training without gimmicks and fluff. Highly recommended!

Cindy Knowlton, See Spot Grin, Glenwood, MD

A Suzanne Clothier seminar is must-have experience for all dog lovers.

Suzanne Clothier is the best. She has been a regular present at For Your K9 for nearly two decades. Her knowledge about everything dog with her quick wit makes any Suzanne Clothier Seminar a wonderful experience of learning and laughing. After her first visit many years ago, we revamped our training program to incorporate Suzanne’s teachings and now For Your K9 is known for solving behavior issues and great training in our area. A Suzanne Clothier seminar is must-have experience for all dog lovers.

Nancy Reyes, For Your K9, Chicago, IL

Inspirational, engaging and thought-provoking

I first met Suzanne through her insightful, wonderful book Bones Would Rain From The Sky. The book alone had me hooked and I wanted to meet this amazing author in person. I was delighted to host her for a series of 4 seminars in the UK. She didn’t disappoint! The woman that I met through the pages of her book, was even more inspirational in person and was an engaging and thought-provoking speaker. Suzanne is a consummate professional and delivered a world-class service for the lucky people who were able to attend. She had our audience spellbound from the beginning, right through to the end. I can’t wait to have you come back again!

Gemma Fisher, Fisher Fix Dogs, UK

Evidence-informed, master of creativity

Suzanne Clothier is an excellent speaker. Her work is evidence-informed from both empirical literature and case studies. She has great rapport with the audience speaking from her head and heart – grounding her work in stories that are funny and breathtaking. She is a master of creativity and communication with her animal partners. Suzanne is a “go-to” expert in the field.

Dr. Jean Larson, University of Minnesota, Nature Based Therapeutics Programs

I see dog behavior more clearly

Suzanne Clothier is brilliant in her understanding of dogs (and other species), and she uses her knowledge creatively to help people be successful in their work to improve their lives with their dogs. After learning from Suzanne, I see dog behavior more clearly. I am able to interact with dogs more effectively – for both the dog and for me. My dogs and the dogs I work with are grateful to Suzanne for giving them a partner who respects their point of view.