Suzanne Clothier


Involved professionally with dogs since 1977, Suzanne’s background is widely varied, with experience in breeding, kennel management, grooming, showing, training, canine midwifery, puppy aptitude testing, instructing, behavior consultations, in-home training, K-9 Search & Rescue, holistic health care and various club memberships & activities. 

She served as a committee member for the American Humane Association's Task Force for the Development of Humane Standards for Dog Training, and as a member of the AKC's Agility Advisory Board.  She has taught seminars on a wide variety of topics in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Belgium, and Italy, and spoken from groups as diverse as FEMA Northeast Region Disaster Dog Teams, Association for Pet Dog Trainers, Alaskan Dog Mushers Association and Wolf Park.

Currently, she is a consultant for Guiding Eyes for the Blind’s Canine Development Center in Patterson, NY, developing a relationship based approach to the GEB puppy raising program, created using her Relationship Centered Training techniques and philosophy.

She continues to teach seminars in the US and internationally, and is developing new educational materials.  Her book, Bones Would Rain from the Sky: Deepening Our Relationships With Dogs (Warner, 2002) has received widespread acclaim, and has been published in German and Italian.  Read an excerpt from Bones.

Listed in "Who's Who in Dogs" by Connie Vanacore (McMillan, 1998), Suzanne is an award winning author whose articles have been reprinted worldwide by dog trainers, clubs, humane societies, veterinarians and breeders.  Suzanne has been featured & quoted in various articles for a wide range of magazines as well as a number of books from a variety of authors, and has been a consultant for Steve Dale's syndicated pet column..  Her work has been published in the AKC Purebred Dog Gazette, Dogs In Canada, Dog Fancy, Wolf Clan, Delta Society, APDT Newsletter, Off Lead Magazine, TTEAM Practitioners Newsletter, German Shepherd Review.  She has appeared on numerous radio interviews in the US and Canada.

She is also a long time breeder of German Shepherd dogs.  Dogs produced by her Hawks Hunt breeding program have been active and successful in obedience, therapy dog work, tracking, agility, herding, Search & Rescue, and as companions.  

Suzanne's life is shared with husband John Rice, and together, they care for a lot of animals - dogs, cats, parrots, tortoises, horses, donkeys, cattle, pigs, chickens, fish and other creatures that find their way to Hawks Hunt Farm.

More info about Suzanne, her writings, and seminars can be found at her website, Flying Dog Press.

Blog posts by Suzanne Clothier


How does it work, life with so many dogs?  At the moment, there’s 12.  At the top of the chart is Otter, who will be 15 in March 2009.  Her great-granddaughter Spider will be a year old in April 2009.  

How do I try to stay in balance so that none of the dogs appear to be lacking
something important to them? First, life with many dogs requires that I let go of the notion that I could possibly have the same kind of relationship with all the dogs that I could have with 1 or 2 dogs. Kind of like being married, and then being married with a kid, and then having 4 more kids (or in this case, 8 more after that.)  It is more complex in some ways, less intense on some levels, more intense on others, and yet the shared interactions also lift the burden from my shoulders to be ALL.



What constitutes a full life for a dog?  

As someone who has a lot of dogs, I get asked frequently this question:  “How
do you give enough attention to each dog?”  It’s a bit hard to explain to folks who haven’t lived with dogs ranging from near 15 years old to not even a year old and everything in-between.  And all related.  At the moment, there’s four generations living here, a lovely rich tapestry of genetics.

Easy to get lost in the technicalities of how I handle the grand old dame Otter as well as her great-granddaughter Spider.  Suffice it to say they have different needs.

The deeper, far more important question is how to know what is "enough."



A trainer wrote:  “You generally don't  try to teach math on the playground, it tends to take all the fun out of  kickball.”

This struck me as odd.  Did the trainer mean that they equated "training" with not fun?  Or as the equivalent of math?  (Math teachers of the world would like to know: And  exactly why is math synonymous with not fun?)  

To me, training is simply a conversation between me and a dog.  Like any conversation, it can be casual, fun, serious, difficult, silly, meaningful or meaningless, boring, dry, exciting, stimulating, etc.  It all depends on what's being discussed, how it's discussed, where it's discussed, who's talking and who's listening.  


That May Not Be So Cute When He Grows Up

“That may not be so cute when he’s a big boy!”  Wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve said that phrase.  And whether it was a bundle of fluff Bichon pup or an all-legs-all-the-time baby Great Dane, the caution was always worth heeding.  Because baby animals grow up to be adult animals.

Between my own dogs and helping others with theirs, a lot of puppies have grown up around or with me.  Storm, the newest baby in the house, is putting a new twist on raising a youngster and being careful about what he learns now when he’s little.

When he was born, Storm was about 60 pounds.  You read that right – about 60 pounds.  At birth.  Storm is a Scottish Highland calf, a sturdy baby bull with fantastic eyelashes and red shaggy fur.  At the moment, he’s laying a few feet away.  He is the official House Calf.  

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