About Suzanne Clothier

Suzanne Clothier has been working with animals professionally since 1977, with a deep, broadly varied background of experience including obedience training, agility, Search & Rescue, kennel management, and program development. She is well respected for her humane, effective Relationship Centered Training (RCT™) approach to dogs and the people that love them.

First listed in Who’s Who in Dogs back in 1997, she has taught in the US, Canada, Belgium, Holland, Italy, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the UK for groups as varied as Assistance Dogs International-NA, Wolf Park, Association of Pet Dog Trainers, FEMA, Alaskan Dog Musher Association, he University of Minnesota’s Nature Based Therapeutics conference, many national and international conferences, and for training groups and clubs.


Regarded as an innovative trainer, Suzanne’s work includes:

  • CARAT™ - a novel temperament assessment & scoring system
  • The Enriched Puppy Protocol™ - Program for early puppyhood development, birth to 9 weeks
  • RAT™ (Relationship Assessment Tool) – dog/human relationship dynamics asssessment
  • FAT™ (Functional Assessment Tracking) – 15 dimension functional assessment of individual dog
  • CCC™ (Connection, Cooperation & Control, with Cindy Knowlton) – a puzzle based training program

Her tools and materials have been put to use in guide & service dog organizations, in animal assisted therapy, for every day pet owners, and by trainers, breeders, veterinarians, academics and in research. She has served as a consultant to Guiding Eyes for the Blind (Patterson, NY), Southeastern Guide Dogs (Tampa, FL), Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation (Bloomfield, CT), Assistance Dogs of the West (Santa Fe, NM) and Guide Dogs of America (Sylmar, CA). For all of these organizations, her Enriched Puppy Protocol™ and RCT™ techniques have helped them improve their puppy raising programs.

Her work has been presented in multiple international conferences, including most recently at the 2017 International Working Dog Breeder Association conference. She has served as a committee member for the AKC’s Agility Advisory Board, and as a committee member of the American Humane Association’s Task Force for the Development of Humane Standards in Dog Training.

Her book, Bones Would Rain from the Sky: Deepening Our Relationships With Dogs (Warner, 2002) has received wide spread praise from every corner of the dog world, including twice being included in The Wall Street Journal's list of Top 5 Dog Books. An award winning author of videos, books, booklets and numerous articles, Suzanne’s writings have appeared around the world in countless languages from Danish to Japanese.

A German Shepherd breeder, her 9 generations of Hawks Hunt German Shepherds have been successful as competitive performance sports, as well as in Search & Rescue, herding, therapy work and of course as beloved companions. Suzanne lives on an upstate New York farm with husband John Rice, and their considerable animal family of dogs, cats, parrots, tortoises, horses, donkeys, Scottish Highland cattle, pigs and chickens.