Cultivating Canines: How to Grow Your Own Best Friend



1. to develop or improve by education or training; to train; to refine;
2. to promote the growth or development of;
3. to devote oneself to
4. to seek to promote or foster (friendship, love, etc.).
5. to seek the acquaintance or friendship of (a person).

CULTIVATING CANINES is a fascinating new seminar from Suzanne Clothier that offers a comprehensive approach to raising dogs with respect. If we are cultivating rather than merely raising or training, we can approach this part of our journey with our dogs in new ways. We begin to understand that the quality of all we do contributes to the dog we have at our side now and in the future.

In this seminar, taught with humor, scientifically grounded knowledge and a deep passion for dogs, Suzanne’s Relationship Centered Training principles combine with her lifetime of experience raising dogs and helping others do the same.

Whether you are a first time owner falling in love with their new dog, or a non-profit organization seeking to raise dogs who can serve mankind, this seminar presents Suzanne’s thoughtful approach to truly cultivating canines so that they can grow into a best friend. Chock full of AHA! moments and practical tips, you’ll never look at any dog in the same way after this weekend.





Part I – Saturday AM Session

Puppies are not just cute! They are the amazing result of many factors and influences combining just-so to create a heart melting bundle of fur. From birth to 9 weeks, puppies transform more than a tadpole to a frog! We’ll look at what goes into making a puppy, including the importance of critical periods and what they mean for the adult dog that puppy will become.

What needs to happen for the best outcome? How does enrichment and socialization affect the developing puppy brain? How can we help each puppy reach it’s full potential? If you want to understand dogs, begin with the fascinating look at what puppies need to develop properly as social, cognitive and physical beings.

  • The Foundation
    — Genetics is the blueprint
    — Environmental – physical, emotional, mental, social
  • The Basic DOG Kit Building Schedule
    — From 0-9 weeks
    — What happens when?
    — Critical periods & normal development
  • Enriched Puppy Protocol-Lite
    — Learn about the puppy raising approach used by Suzanne with her 9 generations of German Shepherds, and in use at Guide Dog of America for their guide dog puppies. This approach has been in use at major guide schools since 2008, helping thousands of puppies develop into confident, coordinate & connected canines.

Even if you will always adopt older dogs, How to Build A Puppy offers important information that helps you understand the adult dog from the perspective of what did (or did not) happen in puppyhood. For anyone who loves dogs, How to Build A Puppy deepens your appreciation for the astonishing changes that occur in just 63 days.


Part II – Saturday PM session

Raising a puppy during the important first six months is hard work, but it is also serious FUN! With the puppy depending on you to learn about his world, you’ve got a lot to do.

But socializing and training is not a matter of more, more, more. Life is not a checklist. This session focuses on a sensible, effective approach to helping a puppy grow from weeks 8 through 24 (6 months).

  • Mindful Socialization
    — Quantity vs. quality
    — The experience you want him to have
    — Training vs. manners
  • Planting the Seeds
    — Foundation skills for life
    — Real life training – consequences & rewards
  • What’s missing? For pups from less than ideal puppyhoods
    — Filling in the gaps
    — Recognizing limits
  • Understanding your pup
    — Customizing socialization for your pup, your life
    — Common challenges & problems

In an ideal world, puppies had rich, joyful and pleasant experiences that taught them about the world before they were even six months old. This kind of foundation sets the dog down a good path towards becoming a solid canine citizen. But even if there are gaps, you can make a difference with mindful, successful socialization. Learn how to help each young dog become his best!





Part III
TEENAGE DOGS – The Not-So-Wonder Years of Adolescence

Being a teenage dog is not easy! And it’s sometimes even harder to be the handler of a teenage dog.

The adolescent dog needs specific help and guidance so that he can mature into a wonderful adult dog. The teenager is not just a young dog – his brain works differently than a puppy’s or an adult dog’s brain does. (It’s not your imagination!) When you understand what’s happening, and how to help, those Not-So-Wonder Years of canine adolescence go a lot more smoothly.

  • Understanding & supporting the adolescent dog  What’s going on in that brain, and why? Blessings and challenges both abound in that teenage brain.
  • From angel puppy to demon dog  Remember your amazing genius puppy (if you had one) — what happened? The normal progression from puppy class valedictorian to juvenile butt head is not unusual.
  • Remember the seeds you planted? How to nurture the seeds of early training and socialization to help your dog get through this period of life.
  • What’s missing? Filling in the gaps For the rescue dog who may have missed out, how do you know what’s missing, and how do you fill in the gaps?
  • Common challenges & solutions It all hinges on relationship, communication, consistency and kindness. Learn how to work with your teenage dog in humane, effective ways without confrontation, pain or force.

Adolescence sometimes feels like the longer stretch of your dog’s life, and it can be frustrating. This session will send you off knowing the why behind the shifts in your dog, and having practical tools for more enjoyable day-to-day life with a four legged goofball.




Part IV

We all know that every dog is an individual, but how closely do we look at each dog? This session focuses on developing your eye for seeing your friend in new ways.

  • Discovering your dog as an individual  Dogs share many characteristics, and yet their differences can be profound. What is it you love most? find most challenging? wish that your dog did more – or less?
  • Temperament, personality & maturity  Orchids, dandelions and violets – a garden of variations, all hidden under those furry coats. We take a detailed look at the blending of temperament, personality, training and breed.
  • What can you do to be your dog’s best friend? Love isn’t always enough. Understanding and appreciation are important! Learn why what works for one dog may not work for another.
  • What size world? which sports? what job? Making decisions for your dog that help him be his very best, every day.

Maybe you’re starting with a new puppy? or struggling with a teenage dog! Could be that you’re wondering why your young adult dog is still driving you crazy. Or maybe you’re helping a rescue dog learn about what’s possible after a troubled past.

For anyone who loves dogs, and wants to understand them better, this seminar will give you tons of information. Chock full of  practical ideas and AHA! moments, this weekend will leave you laughing and full of new ideas for growing your own best friend.

$175 for either Saturday or Sunday or $325 for both Saturday & Sunday. A portion of proceeds will be donated to Guide Dogs of America. To register, please….

GDA staff, volunteers & raisers, and other service dog organizations – please ask GDA for the 25% discount coupon code!

Shelters & rescues, and service dog organizations – 25% discount.


Hourly Schedule

9:00 SAT - 12:30
How to Build A Puppy
From birth to 9 weeks, what goes into making that adorable puppy?
1:30 - 5:00
Ready, Set, Grow A Puppy!
8 weeks through 6 months, puppies are learning and experiencing. How to make the most of it?
9:00 SUN - 12:30
Teenage Age Dogs - The Not So Wonder Years of Adolescence
Adolescent dogs can be challenging. Learn how to get through the rough spots in style!
1:30 - 5:00
Every dog is an individual. Learn how to appreciate your dog's unique personality, temperaments, skills and challenges.


Oct 13 2018 - Oct 14 2018


9:00 am - 5:00 pm


Guide Dogs of America
Sylmar, CA
Carpe Canem Inc.


Carpe Canem Inc.