Susan Garrett is famous in the world of dog training because she is a dog agility competitor at the highest level. She has been on the world team multiple times and has won repeatedly. It’s clear she is really good at training her dogs and herself to create winning partnerships in the sport. The interesting thing about Susan is that she doesn’t want to keep the methods of her success a secret only for her own use; she wants to share them with the world.
Susan doesn’t just teach agility based on the obstacles on the course; she teaches dog training from the standpoint of behavior science. She has been teaching for many years, constantly learning while helping others learn how to use positive reinforcement in dog training of all kinds. Her impact on the world of dog training has been immense and she continues to teach.
Susan believes all dogs and their owners benefit from the same fundamental skills she uses to prepare her canine partners for agility. She sees the ability to make good choices as the most important fundamental skill for any dog. When dogs learn to make good choices about everyday situations like “Should I grab that?” or “Should I chase that moving object?” or “What should I do to get attention from this human?” they are controlling their own actions so their owners don’t have to be constantly commanding them to do things. Trainers help their dogs learn to expand that self-control into agility and other sports as well as the basic manners needed for being pleasant companion animals.
Dogs must be taught how their behavior affects outcomes so they can make good choices that their owners approve. Susan has used behavior science to develop a variety of games that help owners and dogs have fun while training. She has found that when humans are having fun while training, they choose to train their dogs more often; when dogs are having fun learning, they learn faster, which also helps keep their owners training regularly.
Susan understands the value of behavior science in training behaviors that are not just “pretty good” but trained to a level at which owners can rely on their dogs to do what they want, no matter what. The principles of behavior science are the basis of the training games and protocols she uses. They focus on the smallest details of great behavior from the very beginning, allowing dogs and humans to progress steadily to the highest levels of performance. Susan is driven to make the world a better place through positive reinforcement training for dogs and humans. Her students are transformed by the experience of training with her, learning about behavior science in a way that gives them positive reinforcement while they use positive reinforcement to train their dogs. Dogs’ lives are better through training because when dogs are well-behaved, their owners spend more time with them and include them in more activities.
In our film, Susan Garrett and Dr. Bob Bailey share insights into animal training from Susan’s standpoint of “Fun and games based on behavior science create great training outcomes” combined with Bob’s point of view that strict adherence to the principles of behavior science will efficiently achieve your training goals. You’ll see them talking together about training and teaching a classroom full of devotees who are excited to become better trainers and dog handlers in a variety of sports and other applications of training.