Log in

The REALLY REAL RELAXATION Protocol. Presented by Suzanne Clothier

  • Friday, March 25, 2022
  • 6:00 PM
  • Monday, March 23, 2026
  • Recorded Webinar


  • Registration for PPGBI Members. If you are a member of another chapter (not British Isles), please use the International Chapter Registration link.



Suzanne Clothier’s Really Real Relaxation Protocol (RRR) is based on her commitment as a trainer to creating authentic responses rather than faux or “looks like” (but actually is not) behaviors. This requires a careful assessment of what the authentic behavior actually is in terms of arousal, body language, response and volitional behavior. RRR promotes true relaxation.

Other relaxation protocols are based in keeping the dog in a down position in a particular place in the hopes that this will result in relaxation. Remaining in place as directed does not always lead to authentic relaxation. Additionally, these protocols ignore the importance of social referencing, expecting the dog to remain in place regardless of what the handler does or does not do; this is more accurately the goal of a well-trained stay. RRR involves the handler and social referencing so that the relaxation becomes a shared response, not an action independent of the handler and relationship.

Finally, being prompted to assume a specific position does not involve volitional behavior or self-modulation, and remains extrinsically reinforced behavior, rather than the intrinsically driven choices and reinforcement of choosing the body posture and arousal that is truly aligned with authentic relaxation. Dogs learn self-modulation through discovery, facilitating behavioral changes and shifts in emotional and cognitive state, making it ideal for “reactive” dogs.

RRR is easily taught in one session, generalizes readily (as with most intrinsically reinforced behaviors), is suitable for use with dogs of any age, in group classes as well as private sessions, and can be used in any setting where the dog is in the Think & Learn Zone (productive arousal). Handlers do not need specific or sophisticated skills or knowledge, and RRR is as suitable for children as for adults.

This was previously aired at Geek Week 2021


    • Teaching dog to find authentic relaxation through their own choices.
    • Teaching handler to relax with the dog while maintaining connection.
    • Maintenance of dog/handler connection that can easily be modulated up or down as desired.


    • Simple, effective, quickly established – no need for laborious protocols.
    • Dog learns to self-modulate through volunteered, not prompted, behavior.
    • Handler learns to relax themselves while providing social reference for the dog.
    • Readily generalized.
    • Suitable for any age dog.
    • Appropriate for companion, service, shelter/foster, behavior case, competitive/sport, and working dogs.

    Learning Objectives:

    • Understand the value of volitional behavior, intrinsic reinforcement and social referencing.
    • Understand the steps involved in teaching RRR.
    • Be able to start any dog with RRR.
    • Understand various applications and considerations for one-on-one and group sessions
    • Be able to recognize common errors or challenges
    • RRR is a must-have tool for any trainer. This presentation will cover the details of teaching RRR, and a variety of applications.

    About Your Presenter

    Suzanne Clothier

    Suzanne Clothier has been working with animals professionally since 1977, with a deep, broadly varied background of experience. She is well respected for her humane, practical and sensible Relationship Centered Training (RCT™) approach to dogs and the people that love them.

    She has taught throughout the US and internationally on a variety of topics. Her thoughtful, effective tools and materials have been put to use by everyday pet owners, and by trainers, breeders, veterinarians, academics, in guide and service dog organizations, and in animal assisted therapy. She also serves as a consultant to guide and service dog schools.

    Regarded as an innovative trainer with exceptional observation skills and a broad range of knowledge, Suzanne is always in demand as an exciting, informative and entertaining speaker capable of making complex topics easily grasped and practical. Her works includes:

    • CARAT™ - a novel temperament assessment and scoring system.
    • The Enriched Puppy Protocol™ – a program for early puppyhood development, from birth to 9 weeks.
    • RAT™ (Relationship Assessment Tool) – a dog/human relationship dynamics assessment.
    • FAT™ (Functional Assessment Tracking) – a 15-dimension functional assessment of an individual dog.
    • CCC™ (Connection, Cooperation & Control, with Cindy Knowlton) – a puzzle-based training program.
    • Your Athletic Dog: A Functional Approach – a gait and movement assessment.

    An award-winning author of videos, books, and numerous articles, Suzanne’s writings have appeared around the world in countless languages from Danish to Japanese. Her book Bones Would Rain from the Sky: Deepening Our Relationships With Dogs (Warner, 2002) has received widespread praise from every corner of the dog world, including being included twice in The Wall Street Journal's list of Top 5 Dog Books.

    Suzanne is a member of PPG and IAABC. A long time German shepherd breeder, she lives on an upstate New York farm with husband John Rice, and their considerable animal family.

    All content copyright 2019. The Pet Professional Guild British Isles . All rights reserved. The PPG is a 501 c 6 Non Profit organization

    Please review the PPG Privacy & Security Policy 

    Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software • Web Design & Development by DotCreativity Web Design Services