TREAT/RETREAT for Shy, Fearful & Socially Awkward Dogs

Treat/Retreat is a powerful must-have technique for anyone who works with shy, fearful or socially awkward dogs. Force-free and fear-free, Treat/Retreat helps dogs learn how to navigate the complexities of interacting with people.

Treat/Retreat was developed by Suzanne Clothier back in the early 1990s. For 30+ years, Treat/Retreat has been helping dogs around the world. This powerfully effective technique is used to help socially shy dogs master the intricacies of feeling comfortable interacting with and being around people. Treat/Retreat about teaching the dog a skill set that promotes confidence.

Key aspects of Treat/Retreat:

  • Dog-centric
  • Force-free
  • Does not use negative reinforcement

This is a dog-centric technique that is force-free, and one that does not use negative reinforcement.

Respect for the dog’s boundaries, arousal and abilities are combined with nuanced observation and engagement of SEEKING to help build the dog’s skills. Using thin slices, Treat/Retreat helps the dog develop skills in comfortable ways that are readily generalized.

What’s Involved in the Treat/Retreat program?

Treat/Retreat works through multiple layers of social interactions:

  • Approaching
  • Moving
  • Interactions
  • Groups
  • Postures & gestures
  • Humans as training equipment
  • Orchestrated greetings

The 2023 Treat/Retreat certification course begins starts January 15, 2023.
This course is only offered once a year. Register now!

What Our Students Say About TREAT/RETREAT

  • Awesome course! I loved this course. Powerful change through easy to follow protocols! Thank you, Suzanne. ~Shanthi Steddum
  • Fantastic – I especially like the information that concentrates on the importance of understanding SEEKING. This is SO GOOD!  ~ Christine Fox
  • Positive Method This course in just the first module has proven that when we put the ownership on the learner (dog), we have a positive outcome. I’ve learned so much about the “seeking” mode too.  ~ Brooke Dickhart
  • These introduction subjects have been enlightening. I particularly enjoy the discussion topics and opportunities to get Suzanne’s comments and guidance.  ~ Bobbi Burgmann
Become a Treat/Retreat Certified Instructor

Treat/Retreat Certified Instructors

Look for the official Treat/Retreat logo!

These trainers have earned their Treat/Retreat certification. They have demonstrated their skill in taking dogs from the first moment as shy, fearful and socially awkward dogs to dogs with new social skills, right up to interacting with people as equipment. Treat/Retreat Certified Instructors have worked through an intensive course and passed hands-on demonstrations with 3 case studies as well as written exam.

Sadly, because this technique has been around for a long time, there are many trainers who have felt free to appropriate the name Treat/Retreat for themselves. While they may believe they understand Treat/Retreat, they often provide inaccurate information. You will find these misguided trainers on YouTube, Facebook, and of course on their websites, even in respected publications.

To avoid the continuation of unskilled trainers mis-applying Treat/Retreat, we created an online certification program in 2020. This is an intensive certification course designed for working professionals who wish to build their skills for working with shy, fearful and socially awkward dogs.

Select a Treat/Retreat Certified Instructor! This listing will be expanding soon as quite a few trainers in the pipeline are able to complete their case histories. The pandemic made it extremely difficult to work with clients and helpers in the way that Treat/Retreat requires. We’ve got trainers from at least 4 countries close to certification!



As the owner of See Spot Grin in Millersville, Maryland, Cindy offers private lessons, group classes and online coaching thoughtfully focused on building dog/human relationships in a way that makes sense to both ends of the leash.

SHELLY KOROBANIK, Vernon, British Columbia CANADA

Shelly Korobanik at Pooch Partners in Vernon, BC offers in-person, remote and self-study training, plus behaviour consultations and modification programs for dogs of all ages and breeds.  Our goal is to inspire and empower you through games-based concept training to transform your dog into your perfect canine companion.

Facebook @poochpartners




Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA

Janine Proulx
Gentle Touch Ottawa Dog Training
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Specializing in one-on-one training for a custom, gentle touch for your best friend!
PAT RAPAPORT, Morehead City, NC

Pat Rapaport, KPA, CPDT-KA, TRCI has a mission at her Hole in the Wall Dog Training Academy: to develop or further a fun and enjoyable relationship with your dog. A well-behaved dog is a “good” dog. We will train you how to get the most from your dog. A well behaved dog is a “good” dog. Positive reinforcement with reward training has been proven to speed up the process of learning. Your goals are met and your dog is successful. Aversive techniques and fear based methods are not part of our philosophy.

Hole in the Wall Dog Training Academy
Morehead City, North Carolina  28557   (note there is no “the”)
252-241-2984   (note there is no “the”)
Instagram   holeinthewalldogtraining

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