Yup that “SG” Susan Garret, the icon of Canadian Agility … the one I thought was married to Greg Derret until I figured out their names were not the same! They are connected though, Susan uses Greg’s system and that seems to work very very well for her. I look forward to one day saying I use Such and Such System but that day ain’t here yet. I use my own system ~ I should call it the SWUCADWW system (shape what you can and do what works).

Susan uses lots of acronyms. DWDH = don’t want to don’t have to is one example. IYC is another  – It’s Your Choice … another way of saying what I have called Doggy |Zen for many years.
Susan’s disciples try to use her voice. “Weave-aahss” took me way too long to understand.” READY? READY?” and  “GIRLY” are two others you hear a LOT of up here.
Susan (along with lots of other great trainers) has INCREDIBLE timing!

None of which is to in any way knock the fine lady. She is an astute business woman and a very successful dog trainer. Watching her webinars and seminars; reading her books and blog; watching her videos etc is really educational and I often find it affirming. I love her emphasis on shaping; her insistence on looking at punishment as a human failure not a dog failure; her concept of being the cookie for the dog and the fact that she trains in short often interrupted chunks (just like me!) She encourages humans to allow mistakes and work with and from them.

There is a great video out there where Susan gives credit to bad trainers who build drive. I may have shared the link before but it cracks me up every time I think about it and makes a very good point. Distraction training is big in SG World and it’s important to mine. I got distracted half way through this post by the chickens yelling – went out to investigate and all seemed fine so I grabbed a minute to wok on weave entries (completely forgetting the computer was on). About 4 minutes into our session a CHICKEN came looking for me!! We had worked through a new rabbit and a guinea pig being on the lawn grazing already and Miss Herding Sally was more distracted that expected by that; so I really thought a chicken was a bit much. A loose chicken in her weave poles! She finished the poles, I praised her and put Sampson, Sally and Brody back in the house with LOADS of praise.

I live relatively close to Say Yes and could, in theory, train with SG at least sometimes. There are a few reasons I haven’t (yet) and one is probably that many many people keep telling me I really MUST. Telling me I MUST anything is a great way to make me DWDH personally. I also am not convinced of the necessity of a head collar and until I can be totally cooperative with the training plan it doesn’t make a lot of sense. I can see times that a head collar could be a very useful tool but I do not yet see why all puppies need it. The absolute insistence on tugging as the be all and end of all of rewards is also a tough one for me to work through. I like tugging, don’t get me wrong but I don’t think it’s the ultimate reward for many dogs.

She was in my group at Regionals. Which was super cool. She was pleasant enough in passing but quite in her own head space.  (Which is totally fair; I was in my own head space too.) She made a comment in passing about not liking how punative many people were at Regionals on a coaching call I watched. I suspect a whole whack of people suddenly raised their bar higher because SG was watching them and therefore got more frustrated with their dogs then usual. I made a conscious effort not to change anything for the audience and as far as I know I succeeded but I could feel the temptation.

I didn’t realize it at the time but I got to meet Swagger. A cute puppy sniffed me very deeply at the raffle draw and I laughed and made some comment about smelling irresistible to dogs. Eau De Rabbit is pretty sweet. The Garrett group  didn’t really understand but I had fed and watered the rabbits that morning before driving up to Regionals. My guess is Swagger hadn’t smelled rabbit before!

She fascinates me. She enthralls me. My personality is not given to cult like behaviour.I love Crate Games. I have an audio with her  running behind me as I type this and it’s LOADED with good stuff. Her puppy peaks introductory webinars cover lots of great stuff and are worth watching.