What is Treat-Retreat?

Treat-Retreat was developed by Suzanne Clothier back in the early 1990s, inspired by Dr. Ian Dunbar’s story of how he got into a rough spot with an Akita, and used thrown treats to help him and the dog save face and avoid confrontation. Suzanne’s approach is different – it’s about teaching the dog a skill set that promotes confidence.

This powerfully effective technique is used to help socially shy dogs master the intricacies of feeling comfortable interacting with and being around people. This is a dog-centric technique that is force-free, and one that does not use negative reinforcement. Instead, 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.

Treat-Retreat works through multiple layers of social interactions:

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

What this course includes

  • Written and video lessons.

  • Video of Suzanne as she works through all stages of Treat-Retreat on multiple dogs.

  • Access to Suzanne and group discussions through an online community and regular Zoom sessions throughout the course and case studies.

  • Certification to those who successfully complete three case studies.

  • For those successfully completing the course, CEUs are available for these organizations: IAABC - 32 CEUs; PPAB - 36 CEUs; CCPDT - 30 CEUs (trainers); KPA - 30 CEUs

What people are saying . . .

5 star rating

A superb, joyful and powerful learning experience

Sarah Whiffen

The structure and content of this course are superb. As you work through the steps, you can feel the level of thought and attention to detail that has gone into making sure you have what you need to progress, and I was very aware that the creators...

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The structure and content of this course are superb. As you work through the steps, you can feel the level of thought and attention to detail that has gone into making sure you have what you need to progress, and I was very aware that the creators really cared about my learning experience being a happy one. The text and video materials are first rate and the tutors are exceptional; delivering support and feedback with expertise, humour, kindness and patience. The technique itself is a game-changer and I feel privileged to have learned such a powerful and flexible tool to help families with dogs who struggle around people. Seeing the changes in the dogs as they learn and progress is humbling and joyful. It changes lives! Suzanne's wealth of knowledge and experience and her generosity as a teacher are inspiring and heart warming. The warmth and humour in her delivery is captivating and just great fun as well! And the well-being of dog is always, always at the centre of everything, just as it should be. I am delighted to recommend this course to any trainer who wants to learn a powerful and effective technique they can trust and which makes perfect sense to dogs.

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5 star rating

Treat Retreat Certification Course

Cindy Knowlton

Watching the dogs transform as they discover skills they never knew they had -- phenomenal! If you're in the business of helping dogs, you need this course.

Watching the dogs transform as they discover skills they never knew they had -- phenomenal! If you're in the business of helping dogs, you need this course.

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5 star rating

Treat-Retreat Certification Course

Bobbi Burgmann

Theses introduction subjects have been enlightening. I particularly enjoy the discussion topics and opportunities to get Suzanne's comments and guidance.

Theses introduction subjects have been enlightening. I particularly enjoy the discussion topics and opportunities to get Suzanne's comments and guidance.

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5 star rating

Positive Method

Brooke Dickhart

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. I can’t wait to continue the learnings!

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. I can’t wait to continue the learnings!

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5 star rating

Fantastic!

Christine Fox

I especially like the information that concentrates on the importance of understanding the SEEK instinct. This is SO GOOD!

I especially like the information that concentrates on the importance of understanding the SEEK instinct. This is SO GOOD!

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5 star rating

Enjoyed this course immensely!

Shelly Korobanik

Great course and learning!

Great course and learning!

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Course curriculum

  • 1

    BEFORE YOU BEGIN

    • An Introduction to Treat Retreat

    • Meet Your Instructors

    • How to use this course

    • Working with Suzanne Clothier as an Instructor

    • Goals & Expectations

    • REGISTER for Bi-Weekly Q&A Sessions

    • DOWNLOAD Q&A Session information and schedule

  • 2

    Question and Answer Sessions

    • Question and Answer Session from January 26th, 2022

    • Question and Answer Session from February 9th, 2022

    • Question and Answer Session from February 23rd, 2022

    • Question and Answer Session from March 9th, 2022

    • Question and Answer Session from March 23rd, 2022

    • Question and Answer Session from April 6th, 2022

    • Question and Answer Session from April 20th, 2022

    • Question and Answer Session from May 4th, 2022

    • Question and Answer Session from May 18, 2022

    • Question and Answer Session from June 1, 2022

    • Question and Answer Session from June 15th, 2022

    • Question and Answer Session from June 29th, 2022

  • 3

    TREAT-RETREAT OVERVIEW

    • Overview

    • What Treat-Retreat is Not

    • What Doesn't Work

    • The Evolution of Treat-Retreat

    • The Treat-Retreat Webinar

    • Generalization of Behavior

    • Terminology

    • The SEEKING system

    • Treat-Retreat Overview Discussion Group

    • QUIZ - Treat-Retreat Overview

  • 4

    READING BODY LANGUAGE

    • What the Dog's Body Tells You

    • The Geometry of Canine Body Language

    • Will Treat-Retreat Help this Dog?

    • Assessing the Individual Dog for Treat-Retreat

    • Reading Body Language Discussion Group

    • Reading Body Language Module Quiz

  • 5

    GETTING READY - Set Up, Using Space, Equipment, Your Skills, Handler & Helpers

    • Stages & Progress

    • Safe & Unsafe Zones

    • Set Up & Equipment

    • Your Treat-Retreat Skills

    • Handlers

    • Helpers

    • Bonus Material: HELP THE HANDLER, Help the Dog

    • Getting Ready Dicussion Group

  • 6

    USING TREATS EFFECTIVELY

    • Selecting Treats

    • Using Treats

    • Using Treats for Placement and to Guide

    • Working Parallel

    • Using Treats Effectively Discussion Group

    • QUIZ Using Treats

  • 7

    STARTING TREAT-RETREAT

    • Goals for APPROACH

    • Finding the Start

    • Getting on the Dog's Radar

    • Giving Dog Chance to Set Himself

    • Starting Treat-Retreat Discussion Group

    • QUIZ - Starting Treat-Retreat

  • 8

    APPROACH

    • CODY Investigation up close

    • FAME - Where is the starting point?

    • ZINNIA - Week 1, Session 1

    • Comparison - 2 Dogs Taking Treats

    • TANNER - Leaning

    • LEILANI & ZIPPY

    • Troubleshooting - APPROACH

    • Approach Discussion Group

    • QUIZ - Approach

  • 9

    THREE CASES

    • Progressions: LEILANI

    • Progressions: Leilani Discussion Group

    • Progressions: TANNER

    • Progressions: Tanner Discussion Group

    • Progressions: FAME

    • Progressions: Fame Discussion Group

    • Progressions & Limitations

    • BONUS FOOTAGE: Lenora - Shelter Dog - Progressions

    • Progressions Discussion Group

    • Progressions quiz

  • 10

    CHANGING & ADDING HELPERS

    • Swapping In New People

    • Multiple People Seated & Standing

    • Troubleshooting Changing & Adding Helpers

    • Troubleshooting Multiple Handlers

    • Changing and Adding Helpers Discussion Group

    • QUIZ - Changing & Adding Helpers

  • 11

    GROUPS

    • Working With Groups

    • ZIPPY - Bubble, Body Language, Positions

    • When Things Go Wrong

    • Troubleshooting GROUPS

    • Groups Discussion Group

    • QUIZ - Groups

  • 12

    POSTURES & POSITIONS

    • Standing Up Is Not So Simple

    • Standing - Variations on a Theme

    • Shifting to Standing

    • Seated to Standing

    • Postures and Positions Discussion Group

    • QUIZ Postures & Positions

  • 13

    ADVANCED GROUPS WORK

    • Groups - Adjusting The Ingredients

    • ZIPPY making changes

    • FISH - Working Close, Groups, Offering Sit & Down

    • Fish - People in Motion

    • People Approaching

    • QUIZ - Advanced Groups Work

    • Advanced Group Work Discussion Group

  • 14

    BONUS - Footage of 13 Dogs

    • All Sessions - CODY (Boxer Mix)

    • All Sessions - DAKOTA (Siberian Husky)

    • ALL Sessions - Fame, Australian Shepherd

    • All Sessions - FISH (Labrador X Border Collie)

    • All Sessions - LEILANI (German Shepherd Dog)

    • All Sessions - MISSY (Hound Mix)

    • All Sessions - NATE (Border Collie)

    • ALL Sessions - Sevvy (Border Colllie)

    • ALL Sessions - TANNER (Boxer)

    • All Sessions - ZINNIA (Border Collie)

    • All Sessions - ZIPPY (Chihuahua Mix)

    • All Sessions - Zuzu (Border Collie X)

    • Bonus Footage Discussion Group

  • 15

    Question and Answer Sessions from past sessions - BONUS CONTENT

    • Question and Answer Session One - December 8th, 2020

    • Question and Answer Session Two - December 19, 2020

    • Question and Answer Session Three - January 13, 2021

    • Question and Answer Session Four - January 30, 2021

    • Question and Answer Session Five - February 17, 2021

    • Question and Answer Session Six - February 27, 2021

    • Question and Answer Session - March 16, 2021

    • Question and Answer Session - April 28, 2021

    • Question and Answer Session - May 12, 2021

    • Question and Answer Session - May 26, 2021

    • Question and Answer Session - June 9, 2021

    • Question and Answer Session - June 23, 2021

    • Question and Answer Session - July 14, 2021

    • Question and Answer Session - July 21, 2021

    • Question and Answer Session - August 4, 2021

    • Question and Answer Session - August 18, 2021

    • Question and Answer Session - September 1, 2021

    • Question and Answer Session - September 15, 2021

    • Question and Answer Session - September 29, 2021

    • Question and Answer Session - October 20, 2021

  • 16

    PEOPLE AS EQUIPMENT

    • People, People, Everywhere!

    • FISH! 3 clips

    • Making Contact - Variations

    • Handling

    • Babe the Bassett

    • Sevvy & Human As Equipment

    • People as Equipment - Zack

    • People as Equipment Discussion Group

    • QUIZ - People as Equipment

  • 17

    CONTROLLED GREETINGS

    • Go Say Hi 1-2-3

    • Go Say Hi 1-2-3 Progressions

    • Transitioning to Go Say Hi 1-2-3

    • Owner Orchestrated Greetings

    • Colby - Say HI - seated & circle

    • Controlled Greetings Discussion Group

    • QUIZ - Go Say Hi

  • 18

    TROUBLESHOOTING

    • Common Problems & Solutions

    • A variety of problems

    • Physical Issues

    • Troubleshooting Discussion Group

    • DOWNLOADABLE FILE: Common Errors & Solutions - PDF

  • 19

    SPECIAL APPLICATIONS

    • Treat/Retreat Progressions & Steps Checklist

    • Teaching Treat/Retreat Classes

    • DOWNLOADABLE FILE: Questionnaire for Treat/Retreat Consultations & Classes

    • Working With Children & Protected Contact

    • Working with Unskilled Helpers

    • Special Applications Discussion Group

    • Wanna See Some Tricks? Management Tips

  • 20

    TEST

    • Assignment #1: Quantifying the Treat/Retreat Session

    • Instructions & Template for Assignment#2

    • Assignment #2 Helping Others Learn Treat/Retreat

  • 21

    Getting Certified: Student Submitted Case Studies

    • Case Study Expectations

    • HELPFUL INFO Sharing & Uploading Videos & Photos to Youtube and Vimeo

    • Case Study #1

    • Case Study #2

    • Case Study #3

    • HELPFUL INFO Sharing & Uploading Videos & Photos to Youtube and Vimeo

  • 22

    Next steps

    • Obtaining CEUs

    • Before you go...

  • 23

    Additional Resources

    • The 3P's: Does your dog need medication?

BENEFITS for the Professional

Moving past a rudimentary understanding of Treat-Retreat puts a wealth of new tools in your training tool kit.

  • CERTIFICATION

    Teach Treat-Retreat Classes

    Students who successfully complete the course and the certification requirement of 3 case studies will be listed at Suzanne Clothier's website as a CTRI (Certified Treat-Retreat Instructor). There is a huge need for classes that focus on the socially shy or fearful dog. Learning how to structure and teach Treat-Retreat classes sets you apart from other trainers.

FAQ

  • Is this course self-paced or scheduled?

    This course begins Jan. 10, 2022. While you may move at your own pace, content will be dripped out at a reasonable pace that expects professionals who wish to complete the course in a timely manner to spend 2-4 hours per week with the material. You may opt to move at a slower pace! up to you. But be aware that the scheduled bi-weekly Q&A sessions only cover the first 6 months.

  • How are students supported in this course?

    Suzanne's reputation is as a generous teacher who provides strong support for all her students. For the first 6 months, you will have access to Suzanne via regularly scheduled bi-weekly Zoom meetings and online discussions. You will also have access to a private group, and - if you are certified - ongoing support from the Treat-Retreat community.

  • How long do I have access to the course materials?

    You will have a full year of access to the materials. Of course, the course information that you download is yours to keep.

  • The pandemic has really interfered with my ability to offer classes. What if I cannot get my 3 case studies done in 6 months?

    We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has created chaos for many animal trainers. While you will be supported for the first 6 months, an additional 6 months is provided so that you can (hopefully) complete the case studies. *However* if necessary due to unforeseen pandemic issues, we will alter these terms to help all students be successful.

  • I'm not a professional but I like helping shy/fearful dogs. Is this course right for me?

    This course is intended for dog training professionals. You may wish to check out our Treat-Retreat webinar for basic information that will help non-professionals get started with a shy or fearful dog.

  • How much does the course cost?

    The Treat-Retreat Certification Course is $1495.00. You may spread your payments out with 5 easy monthly payments of $330.00.

  • What is your refund policy?

    Once you have enrolled, there are no refunds. Please be sure that the course for which you are registering is suitable for your needs and that you have the understanding or experience to make good use of the materials. Also be sure that you can commit to the time required to complete the course.

  • What are the technical requirements of the course?

    To complete the course you must have the ability to record and upload videos to either YouTube or Vimeo, the ability to create, download and open Microsoft Word documents and the ability to open and read PDFs and fillable PDFs.

  • What are the case study requirements?

    You will need the ability to work with dogs and people to complete the case study requirements (these do not have to be clients, but they have to be appropriate for the case study requirements). For Treat-Retreat there are THREE case studies, and you must exhibit your ability to do all progressions of Treat-Retreat. Please remember, Treat-Retreat often requires a lot of space, and for the dog to be off-leash. If you do not have access to a secure, open space such as a training room or a fenced in yard, you may not be able to complete the requirements of this course. If you have any concerns on being able to meet these requirements, please e-mail us at Courses@SuzanneClothier.com prior to signing up.

Instructor(s)

Suzanne Clothier

Senior Instructor

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. She has taught on a broad range of topics throughout the world. 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. Her work has been presented in multiple international conferences. 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. A German Shepherd breeder, her 11 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 with her incredibly tolerant husband John Rice.

Alissa Mosier

Instructor/Curriculum Development

Alissa Mosier has been working in the dog rescue community for over ten years, as a foster, consultant and current board member for Peppertree Rescue, Inc. Four years ago she made her passion her profession and officially donned the title of dog trainer. While some may recognize Alissa as the "Webinar Fairy" for Suzanne Clothier, her skills extend far beyond the keyboard. With a BS in Television/Radio/Film from Syracuse University, a MS in Childhood Education from the College of St. Rose, and a CPDT-KA through the The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers® Alissa has an ecclectic set of talents that she is happy to share. For the last two years Alissa has been working alongside Suzanne as Program & Course Development Director , as well as behind the camera, to help bring many RCT projects to life, including Treat-Retreat. Working in the Capital Region of New York Alissa's professional focus ranges from classes for puppies and adolescents to senior dogs (just ask her about Low Impact Agility!). But her heart remains with rescue dogs, and she lists Treat-Retreat as one of the must have skills for those in rescue, or trainers working in rescue. Alissa not only employs Treat-Retreat with her clients (and her own personal dog) she was behind the camera for most of the video in this course, and spent many, many hours editing it. She will serve as your tour guide to the material, offering insight and support while Suzanne brings the expertise.

Before you register

Please read through the course requirements and make sure you are able to meet them BEFORE ENROLLING.

  • Ability to record videos

  • Ability to upload videos to either YouTube or Vimeo to share with instructors through links

  • Ability to create, download and open Word documents

  • Ability to open and read PDFs and fillable PDFs

  • Ability to work with dogs and people to complete the case study requirements (these do not have to be clients, but they have to be appropriate for the case study requirements)

  • For Treat-Retreat there are THREE case studies, and you must exhibit your ability to do all progressions of Treat-Retreat.

  • Please remember, Treat-Retreat often requires a lot of space, and for the dog to be off-leash. If you do not have access to a secure, open space such as a training room or a fenced in yard, you may not be able to complete the requirements of this course.

  • If you have any concerns on being able to meet these requirements, please e-mail us at Courses@SuzanneClothier.com prior to signing up.

Payment Options

We're glad to offer two options. Grab your spot with a one-time payment, or spread it out over 5 payments. Monthly payments include a small charge for the payment plan.