Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Anyone out there ever been to a Susan Garrett seminar?

Susan Garrett is coming here the week before Regionals and she's doing a boatload of seminars. They're way expensive though, $100 a day just to audit the handling seminars. She's got a 2 day seminar over the weekend called 'Advances in Dog Training' that is billed as '...for anyone interested in learning how to improve your relationship with your dog and how dogs learn'. It's $270 for both days plus a nearly 2 hour drive each way for me plus maybe hotel room if I don't drive back Sat. night plus there goes my weekend plus it could be mega-crowded, over 90 people maybe. Then she's got 2 days of master handling seminars during the week, those are the ones that are $100 to audit plus gas again plus a day or two off work. One is called 'Greg Derrett's Double Box Foundation to understand the benefit of Greg's handling' (whew, what a mouthful). The other is 'Rear cross execution and driving lines'. Not sure I need help with rear crosses and I have no idea what 'driving lines' means. I have Greg Derrett's 'Shame about the handler' DVD where he goes through a bunch of double box drills as well as his latest DVD. Anybody familiar with any of this? Is the seminar much different than the DVD? Is the 'Advances in dog training' worth it? Do you have to be fully indoctrinated to her/Greg's handling system to get any benefit from the handling seminars? The working spots are long gone and I didn't even try for one in the lottery so I'd be auditing. You can email me at 'colliebrains at Juno dot com' if you want to respond privately.

On the one hand it's so expensive and a hassle and the week before Regionals (can you say Agility Burn Out?) but on the other hand it's not like she comes here every day and maybe it's a good opportunity to learn some stuff.


  1. Roxanne1:12 PM

    I don't know about these, but did you see there's going to be a 2-day CU seminar in NM in August. I asked to be put on the info email list, but I'm not sure I'm up to the 6-hour drive, hotel, etc.

    Still ... it's as close as CU will get nearby in 2008.

  2. I saw the post about the CU seminar and if it was Leslie herself doing it I might consider going. Unfortunately the person giving it is someone I've butted heads with before and I have no desire at all to hear her speak. I forget where, why and the exact details but in short there was some discussion about the AKC and how unfortunate it was that they exclude people and as such if you have a mix you're often excluded from not just the trials but from the agility community as a whole. Her response was that I had excluded myself from the community by getting a mixed breed dog. I thought that was pretty darn obnoxious esp. coming from an instructor. Sounds childish I know but I can't see myself sitting in a room for two days listening to someone who would say something like that.

  3. The following comment was accidentally left in the comments on the swimming post below and it was a good one that might be helpful to others so I'm reposting it here. From Cedarfield:

    I've been to several of Susan's seminars and camps. I enjoy almost all handling seminars so I'm not sure my opinion means squat about those :-)

    Her skill as a dog trainer is renowned and for good reason. She's also a very good presenter, clear, organized and funny.

    I've never been to her "Advances in Dog Training" but if she were coming anywhere near me I'd go to that one in a heartbeat. I really don't think you can get the kind of information on dog training for agility--or anything else-- anywhere else.

    And auditing should be just as good as working for a seminar like that. Probably better than working because you can observe all the dogs rather than just your own.

    Make sure you take lots of notes, though, because it's hard to remember everything once you get home even though you think you will.

  4. Roxanne2:55 PM

    Thanks for the warning. Perhaps I won't be driving to NM in August. Kelly's school in Colo Springs tried to get Leslie for sometime in 2008 with no luck. I've heard they are trying again for 2009.

  5. Oh, I didn't mean you shouldn't consider going. I just think for me she would be a bad match. Sometimes instructors rub you the wrong way, they may be good teachers in general just maybe not for you (I mean me). I've never met her in person, never taken one of her classes and only 'know' her through the way she presents herself on the internet so maybe in real life things would be totally different and maybe for you she'd work out just fine. I'm just not willing to drive all that way and spend all that time & money when I've got a bad feeling about it before I even leave my house.

  6. I love dogs and i would love to come this kind of seminars, but too bad, there is no seminar like this in my area.

  7. She follows Greg Derrett handling system, (which I actually do too so that was why I had really wanted to do some seminars w her), so it would probably helpful to review some of that if you were to take a handling seminar with her. Because if you take it, even as an auditor you probably want to get where she's coming from first. GD system is all about consistency, nothing complicated, but consistent.

    I have taken a few seminars with her, both working and auditing. One was a puppy foundation, one was special small dog masters handling day, I forget the other, was a few yrs ago-maybe something general that was a lot of lecture. I got a lot of useful information. She can also be a challenging personality to spend a whole day with. In the puppy one, auditing was probably about the same as working because we did very little stuff with the puppies-was a lot of Crate Games stuff. In the handling one, I do remember doing a lot of exersizes so I think it was valuable to do working in that one.

    I think working with Susan Garrett is an experience that, love it or hate it, you would be glad you at least had that experience and likely will learn something. She is sort of like Hilary Clinton when Hilary is not on campaigning nicey nicey mode. She is a very, very smart lady, but sort of hard to take. Like just don't ask her a question that she might think is dumb. Even if you thought it wasn't dumb.

  8. Thanks for all the opinions. I wonder if Hilary would be good at agility? And what would she wear while doing it?

    I always think my questions are dumb and I wait for a quiet moment when everyone else has gone off to get their dogs or something to ask the presenter my question and then he/she shouts to the whole class 'Elayne brings up a good point here...' and proceeds to tell everyone my stupid question and I turn bright red and wish I could crawl into a crate.

    I've heard from multiple people that her personality can be challenging and I'm o.k. with that. I'm just unsure about whether the info. she has to offer will be useful to me given the required time/money expenditure. I'm leaning toward the weekend dog training seminar and maybe I can find someone to split driving/hotel costs since I won't take a dog. Or maybe just the Greg Derrett box handling day which would be the cheapest option but require a precious vacation day. I'm thinking 2 days in a row is a bit much for me. Just how much is there to know about dog training and operant conditioning? Decisions, decisions.

  9. Elayne, are you still on Linda M's list? Her handling method is not the same as GDs, so if you are really interested in learning it, learn from the list, skip the box seminar and go to Advances in Dog Training w/ Susan instead.

  10. Yes, well, that is part of the dilemma. I've been following the articles in Clean Run about Linda's system and I joined the list but it's hard for me to keep up with all the discussions. It's such a high volume list and after a bit it turns into info. overload. I'm leaning towards this system but I also have DVD's on Derrett's system and I'm curious about it as well. I'd like to explore them both before making a decision about following either one or even following a system at all. On the other hand Linda's system is looking the best option for me right now for a number of reasons and maybe learning about the other will be a waste of time/money when the weekend dog training seminar could be more useful. I just wish I knew more about what she was going to cover. If it's really basic stuff about operant conditioning for 2 solid days I'll be bored out of my brains.

  11. I've taken several Susan Garrett talks and seminars, including the Advances in Dog Training (or some variant) at least twice. I saw your later post that Wishy gave you info to sign up for that; I hope you'll find it useful. She's been giving this seminar for several years, so some of the material is the same every time, and might be stuff that you already know, but it also develops as she develops as a trainer--more experiences with her own different dogs, more experiences with other students and their dogs--and that's one of the things I like about it. Plus I get a different perspective as *I* learn more about my different dogs and training and agility, and I've found her talks to be entertaining and educational. As other folks have said, sometimes her responses are a little hard to take, but mostly she's helpful and wants people to understand the material, so if you're prepared for the occasional jab, you'll probably have a good time. That's definitely a good course for auditing.