An Evening With Swagger

Posted on 07/11/11 33 Comments


Well judging from the name of this blog post it could either be about my puppy or about me strutting my stuff on a night on the town somewhere. The video will clarify anything the pictures don’t. This is all about my boy Swag.

Mr. Swagger is growing up so nicely, I am absolutely crazy about him, but he has certainly caused a few struggles for me. Challenges in dog training are such a peculiar thing. So many people want an “easy” dog but the truth is with challenge comes knowledge. The challenges make us better dog owners for this dog and our future dogs.


For some reason “struggles” in dog training has been on my brain for a while. When this sort of thing happens I take it as a sign that I need to share what I am thinking . . . and it often is what drives the topics on this blog.

But this time around I went bigger. I decided to do a “webinar” about struggles in dog training. But then that went “bigger”. Talking about struggles turned out to be enough information for a stand alone DVD (haven’t released a DVD in a while have I?).

Free Cutting Edge Training

But in the end my goal in life is always to help as many people with their dog training as I can. To meet that goal means I am committed to continually pushing that “free line” and making cutting edge dog training information available to everyone. So this webinar series will be available to all for free, at least for the next 10 days..

That doesn’t mean my latest series of webinars won’t end up in a DVD somewhere some day, it just means it is currently available to all who register to watch. I really intended to include the video below in these webinars but in the end they were just too big!

As you can see from these clips Swagger is a handful around the house. He really doesn’t sleep a lot but he can entertain himself and makes no fuss about being put in a crate or an ex-pen. Recording most of our training sessions for my latest project “Puppy Peaks” means that Swagger does get worked very regularly. Which is a good thing considering his activity level!

To see more of Swagger and me shaping my 15 year old boy “Buzzy” be certain you check out my latest webinar series at

Today I am grateful for the amazing community of “Peakers” we already have inside the PuppyPeaks website. Any of you reading this give a shout out and let everyone know one thing you like about what you see so far.


  1. Claire says:
    Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 4:35am

    My “puppy” is already 2 years old now.
    I love all of Susan’s lttle tips, the small details that are so important, and that we so often overlook, forget, or might not even know about.
    Thanks so much !


  2. Elaine says:
    Sunday, July 17, 2011 at 7:34pm

    This video had me cracking up. I love how Swagger is so naughty and yet he can look so darned cute!


  3. Naomi says:
    Saturday, July 16, 2011 at 11:30am

    I really like the Swagger attitude, gotta love the cheekyness :))

    he reminds me a lot of my boy at that age! He still makes me smile a lot 🙂

    allthough I wasn’t always as aware of far future consequences- however those struggles have indeed improved my dog training.

    Thanks for sharing yours- those too are great opportunities to learn from 🙂


  4. Matilda says:
    Saturday, July 16, 2011 at 6:11am

    Oh and Susan: It’s called ‘fur’niture for a reason!


  5. Matilda says:
    Saturday, July 16, 2011 at 5:57am

    Thanks for posting this clip Susan. My Yasi (a Working Kelpie) is just 3 days younger than Swagger and I can so relate to this. Other than the biting that is, because since a month or so he hardly ever does that anymore. He takes just everything in his mouth, has heaps of toys that he plays with too, but he also goes to my bedroom to get things like shoes, sweaters or socks, takes firewood from the pile, chews pens, my sheepskins, just anything he finds! Just like you I patiently take things off him saying that it’s mine and swap for a toy, but it’s easier to keep things at a level he can’t get to them! But I love him to bits and we’re learning lots in PP!


  6. DSMBC says:
    Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 10:31pm

    OMG! How cute, and how much like my boy! I love theidea of the struggles webinar as we all have struggles. My boy is Also very outgoing and independent. he loves people and playing and throwing up as many challenges as he possibly can think of so that I can learn a lot about trIning dogs as well. Thanks for sharing.


  7. Kreg says:
    Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 5:39pm

    Interesting video and very fun commentary. Makes me feel normal with my dog to see these “daily snap shots”. They help me learn to be the best trainer I can be versus my fantasy of what I think Susan Garrett is. BALANCE and Fun/Joy.


  8. TawnyHill Shepherds says:
    Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 12:30am

    Cute boy Swagger and you really really wanted that water bottle didn’t you? LOL


  9. Trudie says:
    Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 8:51am

    The thing I like – Sharing
    1) Training attitude. I agree with Gretchen who said that is some “SMART boy” – trading the desirable item (like you showed him with the chicken necks!) and
    2) Teaching attitude. I agree with Mary who said “beyond worth the money”


  10. Kat L says:
    Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 6:48am

    Wasn’t he using ‘Re-Direct’ on you?

    So will he be coming out with a video for other dogs on “How to Manage / Train your Human Partner”? Maybe he can cover ‘Pester til they get it right’, ‘Trick Her Treat’, ‘Recall, Schmecall’, ‘Don’t Wanna Mamma’ and other insightful training points.


    • Susan says:
      Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 1:07pm

      @Kat, I do believe you are correct. Mr. Swaggermonkey was using a re-direct:).


  11. Kristen says:
    Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 10:30pm

    I felt like I was at home! My puppy does exactly the same thing! He is always finding something interesting to bring to me or he wants what I have!

    It goes on all day; here is a shoe, hey a tag on my bed, yum a pinecone, can I have that eraser, this newspaper has to be fun to shred! I am always trading a toy or chewy for whatever it is he finds! He has to explore everything with his mouth, it is like having a baby in the house!

    I love him, but he can be trying sometimes! 🙂


  12. Joanna says:
    Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 3:15pm

    You’re a good marketer, Susan. 😉 Wish I had the money for PuppyPeaks, as it does look hugely valuable to be able to watch you deal with challenges real-time. I do appreciate all the free info and videos that you put out for those of us who would like to learn from you but can’t afford to pay much. 🙂


  13. Suzanne Wesley says:
    Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 1:38pm

    Handsome man is such a GREAT shaper isn’t he? There is a too cute factor there but boy… let that cuteness get his way and you have a dog with a PhD. in shaping :))

    Being on Recallers/Puppy Peaks is starting to give us the tools to Redirect, Manage and Postively Fix many of those early potential problems that can creep in. These videos and the ones on Puppy Peaks are just incredibly informative. I’m loving the journey and the training through watching the evolution of Swag from 5 weeks of age onwards into his teens. It’s like Swag-Reality TV.



  14. Ellen Clary says:
    Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 1:21pm

    While I completely agree that dogs learn better in the “land of Do” they have an understanding of the “land of Don’t” also. Encore’s resource guarding is a “Don’t come closer” and your “No biting” is a Don’t which may currently be getting a blank look now but as you say it’s definitely improving.

    In the natural world “Don’t” is a survival tactic. Don’t piss the lion/rhino/gator off.

    And he’s a puppy – ya gotta laugh. 🙂


  15. Deb D says:
    Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 12:43pm

    Watching the don’t wanna don’t hafta moments and how you manage them has helped me immeasurably. It’s one thing to recognize that I need to work through these but some days quite another to actually convince my boy. If I understand dog correctly Max is sending you a great big thank you for helping the mama become more fun!


  16. Melissa says:
    Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 11:29am

    It’s the narration of you articulating Swagger’s thought process that is just hilarious!!!

    “…you know, in many counties this would be considered junk…”

    OMG…Susan…so funny!!

    Through you and Tracy, I’ve often found my own sense of humor with my dogs. Thank you for that!


  17. Jan says:
    Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 9:38am

    This video illustrates the value of PuppyPeaks. We get to see Susan’s training in real time…struggles and successes; how she deals with frustration (love the humorous names she comes up with :)and of course, the charismatic Swagger!

    As a long-time follower of SG’s blog, and more recently, recallers 1.0 and 2.0, I have learned so much,but Puppy Peaks gives me the opportunity to see the beginning stages of training rather than the finished product. It helps me so much to see the mechanics of things I have read about. It’s going to be a wonderful year!


  18. Mary M says:
    Monday, July 11, 2011 at 6:56pm

    Susan- How could you not love that face, really a very nice boy, not saying adolecences wont be tons of fun……but saying he is a great cuddler 😉

    Um one thing I like about puppy peaks so far…..I gotta say more then one, sorry!

    – can read/watch the website at my leisure, like in PJ’s with a cup of coffe in the morning or in PJ’s with water at night 🙂

    – I can play a video and replay to watch the nuances I find everytime I watch Susan train…helps me in my training!

    – We(meaning the group inside the class/course) can communicate freely with a bit of guidance from SY staff now and then, really a nice way to create a community all intersted in using reinforcemnt/positive training.

    – Last for now anyway, I can play a video then pull out my own training stuff and repeat what I just saw in my home….have done this numerous times and might even go back to the video to compare my training notes with the video.

    Overall, beyond worth the money, sugest for anyone interested in a better relationship with their own puppy/dog!


  19. denise says:
    Monday, July 11, 2011 at 6:35pm

    Little Swag is just trying to show you that there is more to life than work 😉

    I’m loving Puppy Peaks! Actually getting to watch you train Swagger in real time is priceless. There’s so much in the detail of watching a video as opposed to reading something on paper or attending a seminar because even though you may be training one specific behaviour there is also other training opportunities popping up in the same session that you can observe. You really should charge more for Puppy Peaks but I’m not complaining!


  20. Debra says:
    Monday, July 11, 2011 at 5:37pm

    Is it my eyes or does Swagger have a little white dot on the tip of each ear??!!??!!? I LOVE the eye expressions when he looks at you! Just melt your heart! Love it that you’re having fun while your re-directing him!! :o}


    • Susan says:
      Monday, July 11, 2011 at 5:43pm

      LOL no Debra that is glue left over from when his ears were taped up.


      • Susan says:
        Monday, July 11, 2011 at 8:19pm

        @Debra actually if you look closely at Swaggers left ear you can see where Buzzy left is “autograph”

      • Debra says:
        Monday, July 11, 2011 at 11:49pm

        Yes, I can barely see it! A little less hair to remind Swagger to respect his elders! LOL

  21. Chris says:
    Monday, July 11, 2011 at 4:40pm

    OMG, Susan, I’m still laughing at this one! I mentioned on the Puppy Peaks site that I have a singleton I bred that is a few weeks younger than Swagger. his name is Whoosier (as in Who’s Yer Momma-long story!). He also is very busy, very happy entertaining himself and not all that bothered about being crated. I’ve also been having the “biting the momma” issues you show here with Swagger. I have not had that issue with any other pups, and wonder if it is a behavior somehow born of the singleton issue. Any insights. I’ve just been dong lots of the same thing as far as telling him not to bite me, and if he continues, holding his collar gently until he calms and looks at me. Any other insights? Thanks!


    • Susan says:
      Monday, July 11, 2011 at 4:46pm

      @Chris, if you go to my webinar today you will see in detail what I did to stop Swagger — it didn’t involve punishment.

      best of luck — I love my singleton baby!


      • Liz with Jonesy says:
        Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 6:37pm

        Great clip.

        So – with a singleton that currently does not get time with other pups his age (going on 10 wks; does get some time with older dogs) and the older dog of the house is wishing the lil stinker would go away… 🙂

        What about bite inhibition?? Jonesy is also very mouthy (haven’t been able to watch webinar yet) and most of the time pretty soft. How do you maintain that when they are not getting feedback from other dogs?

  22. Mary Ann says:
    Monday, July 11, 2011 at 3:45pm

    Thank you for sharing these clips. While it’s inspiring to watch the brilliant Swagger, it’s so very comforting to see the flip side and watch you deal with the naughty Swagger with firmness and good humor.


  23. CJ says:
    Monday, July 11, 2011 at 12:25pm

    Thanks for posting this video! It makes me feel so much better to know that even the greatest trainers can have puppies that test your patience, and that mine (who is now two and fabulous) was just as keen on finding all sorts of stuff to get into, and not out of the ordinary. Because of her I’ve had to learn an enormous amount about training, and I’m glad that you emphasized the importance of freezing if you get nippiness. I didn’t know this when it happened at the time, but my reaction to just freeze in the face of the enthusiastic puppy teeth was right, phew! Thanks for sharing your struggles as it is wonderful to see what a great little guy Swagger is turning into with the right plan and reinforcement :).


  24. Karen says:
    Monday, July 11, 2011 at 11:56am

    Awww…the joys & challenges of motherhood 🙂 It’s wonderful when we’re the cookie & can focus on being the cookie for our dogs. BUT it’s challenging when they have TONS of energy & want us to be the cookie but we don’t have the time &/or can’t focus on being the cookie. Thanks for sharing!


  25. Gretchen says:
    Monday, July 11, 2011 at 10:53am

    Absolutely cracking up at the narration! “Will just trade this for the bottle!” What a SMART boy! Using what he knows has been re-inforced (trade my chix neck for chopped bits). 🙂 🙂

    Today’s webinar on Training Challenges is probably one of the best training presentations I’ve seen in my 15yrs of dog training. Just amazing! Being able to watch how you work through and past issues is invaluable. I think, as a trainer, it’s easy to know what to do when teaching a behavior. It’s MUCH harder to know how to positively proceed through a challenge. THANK YOU! 🙂


  26. Amanda says:
    Monday, July 11, 2011 at 9:44am

    Susan you crack me up… I love your narrative of his behavior, and you maintain such good humor about the whole thing even though he is “naughty.”
    It also does us (general us) good to see that even though you maintain high training criteria and your dogs are “well trained,” they are still in fact dogs, and you don’t assign morality to their behavior as “good” or “bad” so much as desirable vs undesirable.
    I’m SO excited about the free webinar content!!! 🙂


  27. Karen M says:
    Monday, July 11, 2011 at 8:29am

    How timely! Can so relate to your puppy challenges and mine is 3 yrs old! I need a LOT of imagination to make myself the Keeper of all the Joy.


Post a Comment

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

slide one
slide two