What Does Three Years Between Practicing Contacts Give You?

Posted on 05/02/12 96 Comments

Well today we opened registration for my latest on line course “Say Yes to Contact Success.”  It has been two years in the planning; how to make sure we get great results for the students without overwhelming anyone with too much “stuff.”  Well yes there is a lot of stuff, but I have vision of amazing contacts in the future for MANY people!

Here is what I have observed about dogs and agility contacts. There seems to be two distinct approaches; training contacts or managing contacts. The minimalist approach is the management approach, which appears to work on some level for those of you that can run faster than your dog; get in front of him manipulate your body in order to to prevent a missed contact.

Honestly, you don’t see a lot of this with people just starting out, it usually is just an erosion of criteria that results in this type of contact performance in a dog that has learned what competition means to his handler.  Remember in our relationships with our dogs there is always one animal shaping the other. As far as dog agility goes one animal shapes the other to do things he possibly would not naturally want to do. So it can be me shaping my dog to drive into position to nose target on a stopped contact or to add an extra stride to get deep into the yellow on his contacts OR . . . it can be the dog shaping us to run an unusual handling path around a course, moving in to be close to the dog any time he has to execute a contact.

One animal shapes the other — always.

Personally I find it much more rewarding to do my shaping at home so the dog doesn’t shape me inside the ring! The very cool thing is that if you train contacts correctly, the behaviour is there for the life of the dog  . . . all it requires is one small element from you and that is consistency.

I think this video clip demonstrates my point perfectly. In the first clip I am totally in the moment with Encore, it is a finals class at the WAO world championship in the UK last May. I  have decided to run her dogwalk (which I have trained both a run and a stop with her) and she has only a running A Frame. I am in the moment driving hard, the dogs can feel it and start to push as well yet one over handling moment causes an off course and so immediately I switch to driving hard by stopping my contacts. Encore is an 8 year old dog, who has experience many “going for it” moments in competitions throughout her career but she is happy to stop when asked and because she wasn’t immediately released she goes into performing her nose taps on the seesaw. Even thought she is long past the mid-point in her career, the performance expectations are still very clear to Encore which makes her very happy to do as I expect.

The next clip just makes me smile. It is DeCaff at 12 years old. I filmed this yesterday morning. DeCaff has not been asked to perform a stopped dogwalk performance in at least 3 1/2 years . . . likely longer. She has been retired that long but I asked her to perform her running dogwalk more than her stopped one when she did compete. So this clip is completely cold turkey, spontaneous, no prepping in advance, I didn’t even ask her to nose touch my hand . . . I just wanted to see how a well understood behaviour in a dog could remain dormant and still come back with brilliance. Well I don’t know the answer but I do now it is at least 3 1/2 years!

Investing your time to train contacts is well . . .  just that; an investment. It takes time to put the pieces together so they are this well understood by your dogs.

Think about the “response cost” of managing your dog’s contact performance. It is not just the agility runs that are wasted because your dog missed another contact it is also all of those other runs you didn’t qualify in because you had to run closer to a contact then you would have liked and so you were so out of position for the following sequence in which the dog either had a bar or took an off course. Training your contacts correctly is an investment up front, but the pay offs are so very worth that investment.

I do all of my training outside at home so that when I step into the ring I can focus all of my efforts on being the best handler possible for my dog. Having contacts you can rely on gives you a higher level of confidence . . . knowing that your dog at any age is going to do what you trained him to do.

If that has an appeal to you, check out my latest course; Say Yes to Contact Success. I know you will be reaping the benefit of your investment for years to come and for dogs to come. If you have any questions I can answer about our upcoming contact course please be sure to leave them here!

Today I am grateful for my nephew Phil who burned the midnight oil with me over the past two weeks videoing and editing until the wee hours then getting up and working for his father during business hours . . . and to Phil’s wife and young son for allowing me to steal him away!


  1. Kirsten says:
    Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 6:08pm


    What kind of equipment should we have in order to be successful for the course? I have done puppy peaks and recallers and have loved every minute of it and very much want to do this course, but since the closest agility training center is 45 minutes away, I’m trying to make the decision of how much/what to purchase right now.


    • Susan says:
      Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 7:09pm

      @Kirsten, once inside the course we have a “school supplies” section where we outline what you need to arrange a head of time. The only piece of “real” agility equipment you need access to for the first 10 weeks is a seesaw. That is one of the best features of this training, you do it all on things you have or can easily build and keep around the house; such as a set of stairs or a simple 4′ plank.


  2. Claire says:
    Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 5:30pm

    About re-training:

    Can we teach our dog a nose-tap contact in our practices, while continuing to trial our dog using our former method, whatever it may be ?

    Or is it recommended to teach the new method during a break in competition ?

    Thank you !


    • Susan says:
      Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 7:07pm

      @Claire, Absolutely! I have many student that have done just that! You can build up your nose tap away from agility using the non agility equipment you have around the home. When it is time to “transfer to real agility equipment” we recommend you take your dog out of trial for 2-3 weeks to make that transition. But the cool thing is you can plan ahead when that time will be!


      • Claire says:
        Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 7:33pm

        Sounds good, thank you !

      • Claire says:
        Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 8:38am

        …I assume I don’t just need to take the dog away from Agility trials, but also from any contact obstacles in PRACTICE, during 2-3 weeks ??
        Is that correct ?

  3. Irina says:
    Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 11:40am

    I am very interested in learning to teach consistent (running) contacts, my dog ist already 7 years old – loving jumping contacts 😉 The puppy I am expecting will not be with me before September. so I am wondering, if its the best moment now to sign in the course? On the other hand I would like to watch puppy peaks but its closed as I see. Seems to me a good way to learn your way of training your dog and transferring it to my further puppy….your crate games DVD ist already on the way to German.Do you think it makes sense to sign right now? Any other ideas?


    • Susan says:
      Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 7:04pm

      @Irina, Puppy Peaks will be re-opened next week, once registrations for the contact course closes. The ideal situation for you is to sign up now and get your mechanics down and become familiar with the skills on your 7 year old dog so your puppy will be super star being trained by someone who is working through the process with their “second” dog. Plus your 7 year old will benefit HUGELY by all of the body awareness exercises you will teach!


    • Irina says:
      Monday, May 7, 2012 at 2:43am

      Thanks Susan, I will sign the course, this is a totally new experience for me. When Puppy peaks re-opens – I really don’t know what I will be watching there. do you share your training of swagger from the very beginning with videos?


      • Susan says:
        Monday, May 7, 2012 at 6:32am

        @Irina, yes with Puppy Peaks you see my training from 6 weeks of age (and actually 1 or 2 videos from earlier) and onward.

  4. Paula says:
    Friday, May 4, 2012 at 9:11pm

    I’m considering signing up for this course. My questions, I’ve got two dogs with managed contacts, both running in excellent for the last three years. One PACH, one almost MACH. Can I still trial and do this course or will I have to take 3 months off?


    • Susan says:
      Friday, May 4, 2012 at 9:53pm

      @Paula, I would not take the time off. Keep trialling as usual because we have you train the “new improved” behaviour away from the contact equipment. You just have to be sure you never mix the two . . . I mean if you are teaching a “target” response on the stairs away from agility, you don’t every give a “target” cue in the middle of a run in hopes of improving what you have. Keep them completely separate and after 10 weeks when you have your ground work BRILLIANT you will then take 2 – 3 weeks away from trialling to make the transfer. I have helped tons of people do this over the years.


  5. Donna Heavner says:
    Friday, May 4, 2012 at 4:43pm

    I am wondering if I sign up, can I do the course online whenever I can find the time. Maybe 15 mins in the morning, 15 in the afternoon or 15 mins in the evenings? Anytime, Anyday, 24/7?
    Thank you.


    • Susan says:
      Friday, May 4, 2012 at 5:08pm

      @Donna, that is the PERFECT suggestion Donna, one I would hope all students would be able to work around “as you have the time” don’t try to force it all in one session. You will be more relaxed and in a more energized state if you just steal away a few sessions as you have the time. Yes, yes, yes!


      • Donna Heavner says:
        Friday, May 4, 2012 at 5:17pm

        One more question please…..will there be downloadable – printable material?

      • Susan says:
        Friday, May 4, 2012 at 11:20pm

        @ Donna, if you sign up on the “Plus” level you will get an ebook with all of the lesson plans nicely organized for you. If you are on the regular membership you will still be able to print out all of the written copy for your own use.

  6. Helene says:
    Friday, May 4, 2012 at 4:43pm

    Hi Susan – I’ve been considering signing up for your course to help me work with my new puppy. Today, however, I noticed that my 6 year old is showing stiffness in her shoulder. Again. This has been on and off for about 6 months now, and rehab efforts are clearly not holding (I’ll be doing more research into this!). My four year old was out for 2 months over Christmas with a shoulder injury as well. Both have been trained to 2O2O contacts, and I have been happy with their performance. These injuries are really worrying however. Can you comment on whether teaching them running contacts will reduce the stress on their shoulders? I want long, healthy careers for both my girls! Thanks and REALLY enjoying Puppy Peaks! Looking forward to more courses with you. Cheers


    • Susan says:
      Friday, May 4, 2012 at 5:11pm

      @Helene, would it be possible for your to post a video of your dog’s 2020 contacts. I can’t comment on it as there are soooo many different ways dogs drive into position. The course would definitely be a huge benefit to you from the body awareness point of view. Lots and lots of behaviours to teach that will strengthen the dog, build flexibility and balance and in the end help prevent injuries!


  7. Pat D says:
    Friday, May 4, 2012 at 3:08pm

    Another thought, will the shaping course be covering some of the body awareness shaping tricks? Maybe I should wait and take the Shaping course first?


  8. Pat D says:
    Friday, May 4, 2012 at 3:02pm

    Hi Susan, I was wondering if we will be able to print out the game instructions, as we did in the Recall games? I will not be getting a puppy for about 3 months or more, but would be willing to study all this now if I can print out the games on a daily basis. Sorry, but cannot afford the highest level which includes a DVD and a year access. Thanks!


    • Susan says:
      Friday, May 4, 2012 at 3:27pm

      Hi Pat, yes the written instructions are set up just like on Recallers. The shaping course does not cover any body awareness exercises. Let me know if you have any other questions!


  9. Mary says:
    Friday, May 4, 2012 at 1:57pm

    Hi Susan,

    I want to do recallers 4.0, my dogs are workings with me but are easily distracted by the environment, so I wondered if I should do Contact Success now or I wait to do recallers 4.0 and I pray for another contact success courses in the future?


  10. JP says:
    Friday, May 4, 2012 at 7:42am

    Are you planning on closing it earlier than the 1 week open for signup window???
    I am trying to figure out financials and don’t want to miss out!


    • Susan says:
      Friday, May 4, 2012 at 8:43am

      @JP, if we do have to closer earlier (I do not like to do that) everyone will get a ton of notice.


      • JP says:
        Friday, May 4, 2012 at 9:09am

        Ok Thanks!!

  11. Jess says:
    Friday, May 4, 2012 at 5:15am

    Is there any chance there will be an opportunity to upgrade to Plus later on down the track in order to access running contact training?. I signed up for Basic before I had a chance to watch the video and I’m still very much up in the air which way I’ll go – it depends on how well my 6 yo does in her retraining back into 2o2o along the way 😉


    • Susan says:
      Friday, May 4, 2012 at 8:44am

      @Jess, there are a couple of people that want to upgrade, so once registrations close I am sure we will be able to open that option up privately to the class.


  12. Terri E says:
    Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 8:04pm

    Just went to sign up and the Chase website is down so my Chase card will not work. I’m okay until tomorrow, right?


    • Susan says:
      Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 9:58pm

      @Terri E, yep not a problem.


  13. Kathy says:
    Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 7:47pm

    Hi Susan,

    I registered for the basic course. Is it possible to add the Plus now?


    • Susan says:
      Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 9:57pm

      @Kathy, contact Lynda AT clickerdogs DOT com, she will take care of you.


  14. Terri Everline says:
    Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 7:30pm

    I do have a quick question, I don’t have a puppy yet, hoping for the whelping next weekend. I am really interested in this course for my puppy but also just because of the value of the information overall. I just wonder about the coaching call since I can’t really use them for my puppy for several months. Thinking of doing the member plus just so I have more access and I want the running contact stuff. So can I delay my coaching calls until puppy comes home or do they just go away?


    • Susan says:
      Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 9:57pm

      @Terri, the coaching calls are done with the group, they will be taped and you can access them at anytime during the call. That being said I think with your puppy not even born yet you might want to wait to see if I offer this course again (no plans right now) unless you have an older dog you can use to “practice teach” some of the skills to. Perhaps signing up for “Puppy Peaks” would be better if you don’t have another dog. Al the best with that new puppy, how exciting . . . I so love puppies!!!


  15. nan says:
    Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 7:04pm

    Susan, First of all, can I congratulate and thank you for all the experience and guidance you give to your readers to help with training our dogs!
    I am a relatively new handler and have been training agility for the last year with my two small dogs and we are doing quite well so far. I now have an eight month old collie and have been following your ruff love program and have done some work on the crate games with him.
    I attend a local dog club a few times a week for obedience and agility training. The collie has a high drive but I found it hard to get his focus on me during the classes and among any moderate level of distraction. We are working hard on this and beginning to see some good success.
    I feel that we still have a lot of work on the basics that needs to be done but this course really interests me.
    My question is, would I be better to do some of the courses that deal with the more basic concepts of training before I try to tackle a course of this level?
    If so, what do you suggest and is there any I can start straight away?
    Thanks, again.


    • Susan says:
      Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 9:53pm

      @Nan, at 8 months you collie is a perfect age to start working on his foundation. I think all of the purposeful work offered in this course would help to create more focus in your pup because it is done within the comfort of your home. Join the class, but take your time working through all of the content (particularly the “Focus for Work” session.


      • nan says:
        Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 5:30pm

        Thanks, Susan. I’m gonna do that. I’m just waiting for the go-ahead from my credit-card company (It’s a bank-holiday here in UK) and then I’m gonna sign up for the plus membership.
        I signed up to PP the other day and have since spent every spare minute on my computer, watching the videos 🙂
        When will Recallers:4 be coming out? because I want to sign up to it also :)))

  16. Laurie says:
    Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 6:58pm

    I’m one of those folks that only has access to contact equipment during my weekly class. You wrote earlier that “80% of the stopped contact work requires no agility obstacles other than a seesaw” (I don’t have one of those, either), so I’m wondering if it would make sense for me to sign up for the extra part that includes RC.


    • Susan says:
      Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 9:51pm

      @Laurie, the same goes for my running contact work, the vast majority of it is done away from equipment (like maybe 75-80%)? That is one of the biggest differences between it and other popular methods of running contacts.


  17. Vin says:
    Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 4:41pm

    So there are payments options? Excellent, I didn’t get that far when I viewed the webinar. I got to the price and thought, yes great price, but I haven’t got that amount of money right now.
    I have a fast dog who will put body and soul on the line for me. Whilst we have done a few tricks and body awareness skills like, walking through a ladder, begging, walking backwards, roll overs etc, I have given up training tricks due to his frenetic method of offering behaviour, including continuous barking! (yeah I know I have created this) but how do I fix it?
    Will the course include shaping quiet thinking????


    • Susan says:
      Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 4:47pm

      @Vin, although yes we will offer advise on overcoming your training challenges the fundamentals of shaping are not a focus for this course. However I do have a Shaping course upcoming later this summer.


  18. Maria J. says:
    Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 4:00pm

    Hi Susan,
    I need more of desire and drive with my dogs, the module of Focus for work it’s my biggest interest in here. Now my question is: does this module worths paying the course.

    More than learning how to teach the contacts I’m more interested in learning the mechanics of how you teach, so I can create big desaire on my dogs to work with me like. Transfering the value, the triggers, the module of joy for work, are they well explained so I can use that elements to teach anything to my dogs, not just for the contacts? and use the joy for work module to be able to create the desaire I need for my dogs to work with me not just on the contacts? or should I wait for recallers 4.0?

    Thank for everything 😀 I’m on Puppy Peaks and I’ve learnt so much from you! and realized of many many things I was doing wrong, I’m sure my dogs love you now 😀


    • Susan says:
      Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 4:50pm

      @Maria, to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t buy the contact course this time around. I would put your efforts into creating drive. Are you on our newsletter? Much of the content of the “Focus for Work” module was covered in my recent newsletter series of the same name. I will be offering a Shaping Course early in the summer, it will be less expensive and I think may suit your needs better. Plus, you are correct, Recallers will be PERFECT for you. Keep watching Puppy Peaks, working on some of what you see there, and work through the ideas on the “Focus For Work” newsletter series, that would be my best advise to you.


      • Maria J. says:
        Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 5:51pm

        Thank you for your advice 😀 yes i’m on the newsletter, the articles looks very interesting! I just finished the first one and it’s brilliant I couldn’t read the articles before because I just finished a difficult exams period on college, now I am all eyes 😀 Can’t wait for the shaping course : ) and I’ll keep learning from PP : ) Thanks

      • Maria J. says:
        Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 5:57pm

        oh and the recallers course I’m looking forward to join! :D!

  19. Kathy says:
    Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 3:43pm

    Also, I rarely have access to full sized contact equipment. Will that create a problem for my pup?


  20. Kathy says:
    Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 3:42pm

    I signed up for the course and am wondering if I will have access to both the stopped and running contact content.


    • Susan says:
      Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 4:57pm

      @Kathy, that depends upon what the level you signed up to be on. The “Plus” level people, (which get an extended time on the course, a DVD on the body awareness, the extra coaching calls and the course ebook) also gets access to my Running Contacts course.


  21. Christine Pinnow says:
    Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 3:16pm

    I’ve spent all my dog training allowance on Recallers and Puppy Peaks. Wish I had more for this course, too. Maybe the next time you run this course I’ll have saved up enough $$ to pay for it.
    Thanks for all the info and inspiration!


  22. Terry Long says:
    Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 3:02pm

    I had a great 2020 stopped contact from your techniques before, including component training, and now have been attempting to retrain to a running contact (AF & DW; teeter is still 2020) with the same 12″ dog. I want to focus on running contacts. Any plan for a separate course and fee for running contacts (even if we need to swear that we meet prerequisites!)?


    • Susan says:
      Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 4:58pm

      @I think at some point I may do that Terry, I don’t have any plans at this time.


  23. Ellen says:
    Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 2:52pm

    Susan, thank you again! I know it is going to be another year full of fun and joy and I can not wait to start component games as I really need improvement on being a “splitter”. I know contact training will let me transfer so much of what I am going to learn to other sports if and when we decided to try them. Signing up for recallers 1.0 changed my and my dogs life. We are better because of you sharing that brilliance with us.
    I belong to local agility club which allows me to train inexpensively but unfortunately does not offer any fundamental trainings. Knowing prices for private lessons or even regular classes in my neck of woods it actually makes less expensive for me to take your on line classes. And for sure I get out so much more value. Being and IC peep rocks too! Thank you for discount!


  24. Alex says:
    Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 2:45pm

    I’m really interested in this course, since recallers and PPs are helping me so much with my training, but I don’t have access to regulation equipment, except for a couple of jumps and weave poles that I have in the backyard.
    Will it be absolutely necessary to have access to the equipment, or will we be able to teach/practice the components away from the equipment and put them together later, so I can rent an agility room an hour at the time and put the new skills to work?

    I don’t think they’ll let you rent it with limited agility knowledge as I am. This is our first time in agility.

    Please let me know so I can decide whether to sign in or wait for the next course.


    • Susan says:
      Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 5:01pm

      @Alex, I would guess more than 80% of the stopped contact work requires no agility obstacles other than a seesaw (and you won’t need access to the Dogwalk or A Frame until the last few weeks of the course). I think it would be safe to say you won’t find any other contact training course that required less access to real agility equipment than this one! THe amount of access you need I am sure you would be able to rent a facility somewhere to get.


  25. Marie Black says:
    Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 2:29pm

    I really want this course, but have a very busy summer and I’m still digesting and incorporating Recallers 3, Puppy Peaks and Shaping. I’m assuming Say Yes to Contact Success will be offered again in the future. Any forecast as to when?


    • Susan says:
      Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 5:02pm

      @Marie, I have no idea when we will do this again, we have no plans at this time . . . sorry, I know that doesn’t help you at all with your planning but we have “Shaping A Difference” course and “Recallers 4.0”


  26. Victoria H. says:
    Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 2:14pm

    As an agility newbie with mobility challenges paired with a fast dog, stopped contacts seem great for me since they would give me an opportunity to catch up and position myself optimally for the subsequent obstacles. Do I understand correctly that your dogs are nose tapping the ground? Although that seems fine on grass or in a training building, I’m trying to envision how it would work given that most trials in my area are offered in barns filled with red clay dirt.

    I’m a visual learner with memory issues that require me to see things multiple times. I hope that you’ll keep producing DVDs. I currently have Crate Games, 2×2 Weaves & Success with One Jump. I would love to see a DVD on distance handling, a must for those of us with physical challenges. Thanks!!!


    • Susan says:
      Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 5:09pm

      @Victoria, yes we are requiring our dogs to tap the ground. It is no problem in dirt floors (you can see the video of Encore doing it at the World Champions in the UK on a dirt floor). For my students that train on the dirt surface I suggest using a bath as “learning” on a dirt floor is far more problematic than “performing” on a dirt floor. It is unlikely that this content will ever be released on a DVD.


      • Victoria H. says:
        Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 6:03pm

        Thank you so much for the prompt response, Susan. Did you mean learning on a mat on dirt vs. a bath or am I just misreading your remark?

        I can understand wanting to keep your content exclusive to your on-line participants. I hope I will have the resources at some point to participate beyond buying your existing DVDs and books, but am sure that you will have many enthusiastic students soaking up lots of knowledge in the weeks to come.

      • Susan says:
        Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 9:50pm

        Sorry if I wasn’t clear Victoria. I would have them bring a bath mat and do the nose touches from the contacts onto the bath mat.

      • Victoria H. says:
        Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 10:54pm

        Thanks for the clarification!

  27. Laura says:
    Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 2:10pm

    I am very interested in training running contacts with my dog, but i’m wondering how many of the component games require specific contact equipment? I don’t have any of the contact equipment at home – i just use my stairs mostly – and then use the equipment at weekly classes. Will this be an issue for me with the SY to Contact Success course?

    Thanks for putting together such great material!


    • Susan says:
      Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 5:11pm

      @Laura, I did 80% of my running contact foundation with Swagger in my bedroom (with out anything that looked remotely like agility equipment). I only had him on “real” equipment for the last 3 weeks of his training. As far as I am aware there is no other method available that uses less agility equipment than this one.


  28. Gudrun says:
    Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 1:42pm

    I signed up even before I had watched the whole of your last newsletter video. I had kind of expected that we would get something “to keep” (e-book, dvd, downloadable coaching calls) with the regular membership, so I was a little dissapointed that these only follow the + memberships. With recallers, the course materials were included in the brilliant membership. Will there be an option to upgrade if I feel I really need the materials? Another question: is the part on running contacts only avvailable for + members or for everyone?

    A third question is regarding puppy peaks. Because of recallers, I felt the need to focus on those lessons, redoing them several times, and now the shaping course, I haven’t really been able to follow puppy peaks. I am way behind, and now I have signed on to yet another course. What happens when the year I signed up with puppy peaks for is up? When will that be? I would like catch up eventually, but with so much other stuff going on I am getting quite stressed just thinking about trying to fit that in next to all the other stuff before august 1st or whenever.


    • Laura says:
      Friday, May 4, 2012 at 9:38am

      I’m also behind on puppy peaks (for the same reasons as Gudrun) and was wondering what happens when the year is up. Will we lose access to the website?


      • Susan says:
        Friday, May 4, 2012 at 9:44am

        @Laura, for those of you that have subscribed to Puppy Peaks for the full year I promise you we will have an option available to just “maintain” your membership. We haven’t worked out the details yet, but it won’t just “go away” I promise!

  29. Angela says:
    Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 1:28pm

    I am debating which of the plans to sign up for. I have not tried to train running contacts before, primarily because the contact equipment I have access to most regularly (my backyard equipment) is not regulation height. It seemed to me that with other methods I looked at for training them, that I would need to be training on competition-height equipment regularly. I’m intrigued though about the component training, and whether that would allow the concept to translate to full-height equipment easier even if most of the training was still done at home? Just trying to figure out if attempting running contacts is feasible for us, given our access to equipment – thanks for any input!!


    • Susan says:
      Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 5:16pm

      @Angela that is the difference between this method and other methods of training running contacts. With this method most of the work is done away from the contacts, allowing mistakes to not be associated with the equipment we want the dog to be “brilliant” on.


  30. Kerry says:
    Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 12:52pm

    Will there be opportunity to send in videos of our work for analysis/review?


    • Susan says:
      Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 1:15pm

      @Kerry, our program is that of “component games” there are more than 40 games that each of you will learn as you piece it together your contacts — and that is just for the Stopped Contacts alone! That is why we provide detailed videos of each of these games. This is just a different style of learning from other platforms that will have you send in videos. Our experience over the past three years with this style of education process has been amazing, not just to produce the end results but rather to produce students that can independently evaluate what is and is not a good performances from their dogs. My goal is to help my students not just with their “recallers” or “shaping” or “contacts” but to help them become better dog trainers in the process!

      BUT having said all of that, although we don’t ask for videos to be sent in. Students when faced with a challenge have often posted clips to our community where we are all active participants and solutions are always discovered.


  31. Kate says:
    Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 12:37pm

    I admit I wouldn’t even need this course if I’d had “consistency”. I have photos that show nice 2o2o my first year of trials, and then…
    I know I could fix it myself, but I also know I will get so much more than a simple 2o2o from this course 😉


  32. Lauren says:
    Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 12:35pm

    When will the course actually start? I’m very excited about the opportunity, but want to be sure to arrange the work life so I can fully participate. Thanks!


    • Susan says:
      Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 1:18pm

      Hey Lauren, first we have to wait for all of the students to register (the plan is to leave registrations open for a week, but we may have to close a bit earlier). Next we have some “pre-course” assignments that are asking students to do but the first actual lesson plans will not roll out until May 14th. The running contact curriculum will open up June 18th.


  33. shelley says:
    Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 12:30pm

    So so excited about SY to Contact Success…..the website is fab, easy to navigate and already buzzing with the wonderful energy that everything Say Yes attracts! Thankyou Susan for all your hard work on this over the years, so happy it’s finally arrived!!! LOH you are a Saint and we love ya!


  34. Laura says:
    Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 6:23am

    Aww I love seeing videos of Decaff. She is so adorable, look at that happy face and waggly tail!


  35. Shauna Wenzel says:
    Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 1:39am

    That really is a lot of money. As you may know I am in puppy peaks and have been really looking forwards to the contacts course for ages. But boy, thats a lot of cash.
    What can a PP member expect to be different from PP? More direction, more instructions, a more detailed plan, you answering ALL questions?
    Please could you try to explain the difference as I haven`t done any other of your internet courses. In PP its been fantastic, but it is as you said videos with a couple of notes. Sometimes you answer questions, but not always….I guess you get an awful lot!


    • Susan says:
      Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 10:42am

      @Shauna, yes PuppyPeaks is a completely different format. It is laid out as a chance to “Peek” at me raising my puppy Swagger . . . but of course it morphed into so much more than that. I do try to answer all of the questions that relate to what I am training (even though that is not how the course was advertised:)). BUT with SYtoCS it is completely different format. Formalized downloadable lesson plans, step by step instruction and coaching each step of the way. Very, very different than Puppy Peaks!


  36. Melissa Davis says:
    Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 10:52pm

    Does this course address training the teeter?


    • Susan says:
      Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 10:57pm

      DOES IT EVER! Yes of course, it is a big part of the course!


      • Melissa Davis says:
        Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 1:00pm

        Awesome! Can’t wait!

  37. Mary M says:
    Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 10:43pm

    Love how much fun De has in this video!!!


  38. Deb says:
    Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 10:18pm

    If we pay for the plus membership, will the running contact information be available from the beginning? Will you cover how to effectively train both at the same time or which one you think should be taught first?

    I also have the same concern as Mel. Although I know that monthly installments should cost a little more, an almost additional $100 seems a little steep. I would think a monthly installment fee of $10 or maybe $15 would be sufficient.


    • Susan says:
      Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 10:38pm

      @Deb, the running contact information will be opened up at week 6. The thing I would change about Swagger’s training was to do all of the foundation just the same but do my running contact work AFTER I did my stopped contact work. Yes there will be coaching on maintaining both behaviours as you progress along.


      • Deb says:
        Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 10:51pm

        Thanks Susan…if I can figure out a way to swing the cost, your answer sealed the deal.

  39. Mel says:
    Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 10:11pm

    Susan, I’m interested in the course but noticed the monthly payments for either plan add up to more than the one time cost. $60 more for the Member level and $99 more for the Member Plus. I would think the monthly installments should add up to the same price as the one-time otherwise it defeats the purpose of making it affordable to those of us who need it broken up. I hope your reconsider your payment options.


    • Susan says:
      Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 10:31pm

      @Mel & Deb, we actually are not charging anyone more for paying with a payment plan, we are actually giving those that can pay upfront a discount. All payment plans have an expense to the lender, we try to keep this fee as low as possible. In our last course it was 15%, we are thrilled that this time we got it down to just 10%. You do have the option of putting the lump sum on your credit card and paying it off over three months, but I am positive that will cost you far more than the 10% we managed to negotiate for our students.


      • Mel says:
        Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 10:42pm

        Thanks for the clarification Susan. That makes sense. Perhaps an asterisk near the payment info or small print would be helpful so those us us like me don’t look like an idiot on your blog. I appreciate the reply.

      • Susan says:
        Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 10:45pm

        @Mel, brilliant idea, thanks for the input!

      • Deb says:
        Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 10:48pm

        Thanks for the clarification Susan. Good idea Mel.

      • Bonnie says:
        Friday, May 4, 2012 at 8:23am

        Actually, putting it on your credit card will cost much LESS than the 3 month payment plan. Here is a handy credit card payment calculator.


        If I enter $997 at a credit card interest rate of 18% (the default rate in the calculator) and enter $100 per month as the monthly payment, the debt will be paid off in 11 months at a cost of $91, less than the $99 for spreading it out over 3 months with Say Yes. Just hoping to offer an alternative to those that want to take the course, but can’t swing the $364/month payments for 3 months.

        Susan, accounting is not your forte, but then we don’t expect it to be!

      • Susan says:
        Friday, May 4, 2012 at 8:41am

        @Bonnie, then that should be your plan! Buy it with your credit card and pay it off over 11 months! Awesome!

      • Bonnie says:
        Friday, May 4, 2012 at 9:29am

        Actually, I never carry a balance on my card, but I thought it was a great option for those that really want to take the course, but can’t afford the entire cost in the next 3 months. In fact, I just checked the current average interest rates for credit cards for May 3 – it is only 14.5%. At that rate, if you pay $90 a month for 12 months you will pay off the $997 in exactly 1 year, when the Member Plus course ends (and pay just $83 in interest cost for the privilege). The complete Member Plus course for just $90 a month or $3 a day! Can’t beat that!

      • Susan says:
        Friday, May 4, 2012 at 9:40am

        Great work Bonnie!

  40. Debra Jones says:
    Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 8:26pm

    Can’t wait!!!!


  41. Carol Renton says:
    Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 7:07pm

    Everything I’m reading about the course addresses stopped contacts, except for the plus membership giving information on running contacts, which is what I want to do with my 11 month old sheltie. If I do the plus membership, is the running contacts part of the class going to be a self directed program like Shaping A Difference?


    • Susan says:
      Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 7:42pm

      @Carol, the running contact portion of the course will be supported by all of us. Basically what I am doing is giving you access to everything I put together for my small private group from earlier this year. You work through the component games at your own pace, but we will be here to answer your questions as they may come up.


      • Carol Renton says:
        Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 8:49pm

        Yeah! Thanks Susan. That seals the deal for me!

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