Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Suzanne Clothier Seminar in Guelph

I just returned from a trip to Guelph to see world-renowned behavior expert and author Suzanne Clothier (www.flyingdogpress.com).
I am sure that the future will reveal what the purpose was, cause right now I don’t know. To be clear, I am not saying that the 4 days was totally circling the toilet bowl. I mean, listening to Suzanne Clothier and watching her work makes any dog person, and I don’t care who you are, a better one. The topics for my May 01 seminar are set, but what was discussed in Guelph ties in nicely with it, and I will share new insights and known stuff I was reminded of, with the people who’ll attend.
I had some “aha” moments, and but most of what was addressed I already apply. And surprisingly, there were points I don’t agree with, and others I still have to mull over a bit longer. That didn’t happen at Suzanne’s Victoria/BC seminar in 06. That time her word was gospel to me. It was the first and only seminar or workshop I attended where I agreed with everything said and done. Not this time.
This one was interesting, but not fabulous. I cry over the 1.200 bucks it cost me and imagine how many books and DVDs I could have bought. Holy Smokes Ontario is expensive. And so unfriendly. At least TO, the - ah – center of the universe. I will never rent a car from Budget ever again, even though they gave me a Hyundai Santa Fe, which I really liked. We are Honda people, but maybe will check into a Hyundai for our next car.
I will also not stay at the Airport Holiday Inn again. The room was nice, and the check-in person. But the check-out one was very snotty, and the airport-shuttle bus driver pointed with his head that he was ready to leave. No “I’m ready to leave, Mam”. Not even nodding. He pointed, not invitingly with his arm or hand, but his head. And I had to carry my own suitcase from the lobby to the shuttle. That guy would not be working for me for long.
The only good thing in Toronto was that I had a chance to see friends and have lunch with them – and got to meet their all-around beautiful Bouvier for the first time.
People in Guelph were friendlier. The Days Inn Hotel was great, too. The most comfortable hotel bed I slept in.
Being one of 60 or so seminar participants made me feel very uneasy. I knew about myself that I love being in front of a group of strangers much more than being part of one, but the level of discomfort I felt surprised me. As a result, I was not my usual self and experienced first-hand how insecurity inhibits performance when I had an opportunity to work with a people-shy border collie. Here I was, already tense but not afraid of the rather mild dog, ready to do what feels natural to me, but I had to follow someone else’s guidance, which made me even more rigid.
I’m already sympathetic to emotions that arise when one is asked to perform in perceived distressing situations, but having felt it, I now have an even better understanding and compassion for the dogs I work with - and their owners.
Physical discomfort creates stress as well, and that was discussed and is also on my May 01 seminar’s agenda. Suzanne Clothier swears by a product called System Saver (www.biotrope.net). The company makes the natural anti-inflammatory for horses, dogs and humans, and according to the folks in Guelph it is the best thing for arthritis related problems and geriatric animals. I ordered some for Davie, and some for Mike and I. I will keep you posted.

So, lets summarize: I had an interesting lesson in self-finding and self-improvement; I had a chance to drive a cheaper to purchase than Honda car I actually like; I got info about an affordable supplement that might help Davie’s arthritis and get rid of that twitch in my shoulder; I learned a couple of new things and remembered what I should emphasize more. I guess I got my answer what the purpose of my trip to Guelph was. Had it just not been that darn expensive.

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