MARYLAND – March 1, 2 & 3

Hosted by Cindy Knowlton of See Spot Grin, I’ll be so glad to return to Maryland! Three great days.

Friday: The RCT Practicum: Let’s Take the Theory Out for A Walk!

Saturday: Seek First to Understand: Fresh Eyes & New Ways to See the Dog

Sunday: If/Then Mind Map: Creating A Guide to Solutions for Training & Behavior Challenges


FRIDAY March 1, 2024

The RCT Practicum: Let’s Take the Theory Out for A Walk! 

What is a practicum? “a hands-on training that allows students to put into practice the theory they have learned”

This workshop is a hands-on day with 12 working spots for handlers and dogs to build their confidence by practicing foundation RCT skills with other students under the supervision of Suzanne Clothier assisted by skilled RCT instructors. We will be working on a developing a deeper understanding of and skill in applying the Auto Check-in, Really Real Relaxation, the Think & Learn Zone, Ghost Handling, leash handling, use of the Stimulus Gradient, thin slicing, and more.

Foundation RCT skills are effective, humane and proven techniques that support healthy dog/human relationships. Ideal for building relationships on a solid foundation between dog and handler, these RCT skills also work beautifully to repair relationships that have gone off-track.

Understanding these techniques in theory is the first step. Learning how to apply the RCT skills requires hands-on practice with your dog feedback, and observing others as they work with their dogs. Attendees without dogs will still be participating! And you do not have to bring a dog to benefit from this workshop.

This workshop focuses on authentic connection, volitional behavior, choice and agency, mutual respect, effective communication and shared joy.

  • The Think & Learn Zone (TLZ) Did you know your dog has a built-in Arousal-o-Meter that provides a wealth of information about state of mind, arousal, and emotions? From postural shifts to latency of response, your dog’s choices tell an important tale, helping you know if training time has become a management moment.
  • Connection by choice Understanding how engagement, attention and focus are created and lost – and regained!
  • Communication & clarity Learn how your dog’s preferences and sensibilities can guide you to an effective use of your voice, gestures, body language.
  • I’ve got the treasure map! Discover how using food rewards effectively can help you gain your dog’s engagement, increase the power of rewards through anticipation, and convince your dog that you might just be magic after all.
  • Don’t slosh the coffee! Test the brakes! Authentic connection is smooth and mutual. Learn how you can support any dog with engagement as you move together through various challenges.
  • Tincture of time, triggers and thresholds Learn how to create success for your dog through a deeper understanding of the Goldilock’s principle – “just right!” when juggling the variables of a situation.

Whether your goal is finding your best connection with your own dog, or you help others and their dogs, the RCT Practicum is a day full of “aha!” moments that will polish your training skills in valuable ways. Grounded in science, RCT blends heart and mind in a satisfying approach that is humane and effective.

NOTE: You do not need to attend with a dog to benefit! Suzanne will be assisted by trainers Michelle Kaufman and Stephanie Berry, both certified CCC Instructors. CCC (Connection, Cooperation & Control) is based on RCT principles and was developed by Suzanne Clothier and Cindy Knowlton of See Spot Grin.

Limited to 12 dog/handler teams. Dogs must be comfortable and able to work around other dogs and people without fear or aggression.



SATURDAY March 2, 2024

Seek First to Understand: Fresh Eyes & New Ways to See the Dog

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” St. Francis of Assissi

This seminar takes a deep dive into two of Suzanne’s Elemental Questions: “Who Are You?” and “Can You . . .?”

Healthy relationships and humane training are based in a deep understanding of the dog as an individual, long before we begin training our way to specific behaviors or goals. Love alone is not enough. We need observation skills, a framework for interpreting what we see, and a chance to keep putting it all into practice with a skilled guide.

This workshop will explore Suzanne’s approach to understanding canine body language, The Geometry of Body Language. This eye-opening take on reading your dog includes expansion, compression, flexion, curves, movement, stillness, cadence, stance, balance, micro and macro use of space, and more. We’ll be using 6 demo dogs throughout the day to show how the dog’s response to handler, stimuli, rewards and situation can be seen in ways big and small in their body language. You’ll be amazed at how much you might have missed. The comparison between the dogs will also be informative!

“Who Are You?” is an investigation into what we can learn about each dog through careful, nuanced observations. This Elemental Question focuses on how the dog processes life, from sensory awareness (sensitivities and deficits), social interactions, arousal and resilience. This detailed understanding helps us understand why a dog might excel or struggle, how we can best support the dog, and how to be a great partner for our canine friends.

“Can You . . .?” is an Elemental Question that zeroes in on the dog’s abilities. This part of the workshop will teach you to see what your dog’s body and movement can tell you. Many training and behavior challenges spring from physical origins, which may be minor or major, structural or functional. What does healthy, functional movement look like? Individual assessment of demo dogs as well as comparisons help refine your eye.

From reactivity to sloppy sits, pulling on leash, erratic heeling, jump & equipment refusals, difficulty holding a position, trouble learning a trick, disengagement, and even being cranky or aggressive with people or other dogs, we need to know how the dog’s physical being can give us clues and help us find the right solutions. Video and guided observation of demo dogs will be used to teach you a systematic approach to observing the physical dog.

This workshop will leave you with fresh eyes to really See the Dog. We can be humane in our expectations and goals only when we know if what we are asking is comfortably within the dog’s abilities, and when we understand who the dog is.



Sunday March 3, 2024
If/Then Mind Map: Creating A Guide to Solutions for Training & Behavior Challenges

No matter who you are, no matter how much experience you may have, sooner or later everyone faces a behavior, training or performance challenge. Sometimes, the solution is simple. You might even have an “aha!” moment reading your favorite dog publication or even a blog or Facebook post.

But sometimes, the solution is not obvious. Or the advice you get just isn’t working, or you feel uncomfortable with what people are telling you have to do. Maybe the training approach just doesn’t really fit your situation or your dog.

Now what? Many handlers blame themselves or the dog, not realizing that what’s needed may be a new way of looking at the issue.

Suzanne’s experience with many frustrated handlers led her to create the If/Then Mind Map which helps guide the user to a nuanced understanding of what’s really happening. Turns out the human mind is quite good at pattern detection, and organizing information in useful ways, even when there are many details to consider – IF we can gather the information we need in the right way.

Once we know what is really at work behind the behavior or training challenge, we can make better decisions about what we need to do. The dog might need new skills, or to improve existing skills, or management or support. The road map created with the If/Then Mind Map is unique to that dog, that handler, that relationship, and avoids the frustration and ineffectiveness of training recipes applied as if one size fits all.

Suzanne is famous for her problem-solving abilities and for thinking in nuanced, complex ways about how dogs exist within a rich matrix of intrinsic and extrinsic influences, and always in the context of relationships. If you’d like to improve your own ability to think in ways that create an organic road map to solutions, this is the workshop for you!

Using selected case histories, we will be exploring the multitude of factors at work for each dog and the presented behavior, training and/or performance challenges. This will be a hands-on experiential application of If/Then Mind Map. Using direct observation of the dog and input from the owner, participants will be creating their own If/Then Mind Map. Comparison and discussion help us understand what significant details add up to in terms of training triage, prioritization of which skills or issues need to be addressed and of course, which solutions will be helpful for this specific dog.

This workshop is ideal for anyone interested in learning a new approach that will help them uncover the framework for playing detective when faced with training, behavior and/or performance issues, and guide them to possible solutions.



Mar 01 - 03 2024