Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Susan Garrett & Swagger, Feature, Encore, Buzz, and DeCaff

Who is in the photo at right?

Those are my four Border Collies; Swagger (9 mo), his mother Feature (4 years), Encore (7 years), Buzz (15 years) and Mix breed “DeCaff” (12 years).

My name is Susan Garrett. I am a professional dog trainer that lectures all over the world about training your dog through games rather than intimidation.

I have been very fortunate to have owned some amazing dogs that have won more than 25 National Agility Championships and 2 World Championships over the past 20 years.

This picture [photo left] is of myself and my Border Collies Feature and Encore, we were on a trip to the UK for a competition and to teach.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

My dogs chill out every morning while I sit at my computer with a cup of Tazo “Refresh” Herbal Peppermint tea, the way we start each day.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

Organic vegan cookies for me, homemade tuna brownies.

How were you and your dogs united?

Buzz and DeCaff were “sent to me” -- I was not looking for a dog when I got each of them but those two dogs were definitely the most pivotal in my dog training career. I learned so much from them, which inspired a video clip on YouTube called “The Journey” which is nearing 200,000 views.

I wrote a book about Buzz, Shaping Success -- it was named dog training book of the year in 2005 by the Dog Writers Association of America. As I professional dog trainer I had more than one break down sobbing due to the challenges Buzz gave me.

How did your dogs get their names? Any nicknames?

Buzz was crazy with drive. His registered name is “High On Emotion” and he has always lived up to that! The dog I got after Buzz I knew would be called “DeCaff” because once you have had a Buzz you certainly need a DeCaff!

They all have many nicknames; here are some of them:

Buzz: BooBoo

DeCaff: My Dee Dog (mighty dog)

Encore: Coriander

Feature: Peach Pie

Swagger: Wagger, Monkey Man,

Please tell us about your on-line dog training courses.

After spending more than 20 years traveling the globe giving lectures on our unique approach to dog training I realized I was limited with how many dogs and dog owners I could help. People werenʼt progressing as fast as they or I would like because I couldnʼt get to all of the places that asked as often as I wanted. So three years ago I started some on-line training. It by far as produced the best results I have ever seen in all of my years of dog training. Our program works because I know none of us has extra time each day to train a dog but anyone can squirrel away 5 minutes to play with their dog.

The 5 Minute Formula is about to launch another course at the end of November. People sign up to learn one new 5 minute game a day and at the end of the 6 week course they have a better trained dog then they have ever dreamt possible. It really works just like that!

I actually also give out a ton of free videos and ebooks to help people, even if they canʼt sign up for our main courses. Just sign up for my newsletter on my website.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

Definitely postman -- my dogs adore people and when we go walking they barely even notice any wild life that may run by.

What is each dog's best quality?

Buzz: His lack of self awareness. Nothing bothers him, he goes with the flow and negativity can not enter his bubble. I think that has been his secret to living a happy life, now at over 15 years young, still without a gray hair!

DeCaff: Loyalty, she would go through fire for me.

Encore: Her love of people. She greets everyone she meets like they are a long lost love just returning from battle.

Feature: She has so many it is hard to pick one; a gifted athlete, a great mother to Swagger and a character that cracks you constantly with her antics.

Swaggger: His work ethic is off the charts and he has that same athletic ability and personality he inherited from his mother Feature.

If your dogs could change one thing about you, what would it be?

That is easy: they would have me spend less time at the computer.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, who should do their voices?

Buzz - Eddie Murphy; DeCaff - Renee Russo; Encore - Susan Saradon; Feature - Jane Lynch; Swagger - Zac Efron.

If your dogs could each answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?

Buzz - Why did you feel the need to scream at me so much when you worked?

DeCaff -- Why do you feel you must control what the other dogs do?

Encore -- Why do you feel the need to smoother everyone with so much love?

Feature - - Why do male dogs annoy you so?

Swagger -- Does being the focus of the Pup-arazzi ever annoy you? (Swagger is the star of an ongoing video course called “Puppy Peaks.” People have watched him grown up since the day he was born and he gets recognized and photographed everywhere we go.)

Visit the Susan Garrett Agility Training and Say Yes Dog Training websites.

--Marshal Zeringue


  1. Great dogs! Love your posts Marshal. Going to check out the websites as my dogs are hooligans.

  2. great pictures! Action...whooa!
    Benny & Lily