Team Nigel’s Story


“I recently took all three levels of CCC. I was having trouble with staying connected with my 4 year old Manchester Terrier, Nigel in agility class and competition. I was questioning whether he even enjoyed the sport and if I should continue with him.  Nigel and I have learned how to be mentally aware of each other without direct contact or direct visual focus. Distractions are still present, but Nigel has learned to check in with me. And I have learned what to look for when we are drifting apart. I am happy to report that we are back in competition and having a blast. There are still situations that push him beyond his think and learn zone. Now I know to remove him from the stimulus rather than trying to force the issue. I love the class so much, I am starting my newest dog, Fly on the same program!”

Lee & Nigel
Millersville, Maryland

Team Trouble’s Story

Photo by mike Mcaoe/mcaoe photography

Photo by mike Mcaoe/mcaoe photography

“I first heard the phrase “Connection, Cooperation and Control” when I attended Suzanne Clothier’s Dog Trainer’s Workshop at her farm in NY during the summer of 2017. Cindy Knowlton who developed the CCC program with Suzanne was also in attendance. I had my 3 year old Doberman, Trouble, with me at that workshop.

My background in dogs is that I have been training and competing with performance dogs since 1980. I have always had big dogs and I thought that when you have a big, powerful, drivey dog, pulling on the leash was just a fact of life with those types of dogs. I settled for managing the problem and not dealing with it by training. Management meant head halters for puppies, pinch collars as my dogs got older and sometimes resorting to wrapping the leash around the dog’s waist and hanging on for dear life.

photo by karen mcmillan/fido photography

photo by karen mcmillan/fido photography

So, after 27 years of dealing with the pulling issue this way, I was really skeptical when I heard the claims that CCC could solve this problem. How could using food puzzles possibly solve a problem that I had been accepting for all those years? No way! I watched and participated in the drills at camp and I was still not convinced. But, I am always looking for new tools to put in my dog training toolbox, so I went home and thought about it. And thought about it some more. Cindy Knowlton and See Spot Grin are only 10 miles from my home so in September, 2017, I took the plunge and signed up for CCC Level 1 with Cindy. After the first 6 week class I was hooked. Team Trouble has now completed all 3 Levels of CCC plus a Continuing class and Travel classes. I have been converted and I am a believer. I teach Basic Obedience group classes and have referred students to CCC and they have all been amazed by the results.

Here is what CCC has done for Team Trouble in the performance venues we compete in, especially agility. I had a dog who, as soon as I released him from the start line, was off to the races. He thought agility was a solo sport and I was not involved. He would do his own course, visit everyone in or near the ring and generally do what HE wanted to do. He also could not settle and relax while waiting for his turn at a trial. We somehow squeaked out our Novice Agility titles and then we hit a wall. Our last Q’s were in August, 2017. I was so frustrated that I was ready to give up and quit a sport I love because I felt that my dog and I were not a team. I stopped entering trials and started CCC.

Auto Check-in work and Really Real Relaxation have totally changed our dynamic. My dog and I now have a partnership and are on the same page. I started trialing in agility again in July, 2018 after completing the first 3 CCC levels and Continuing CCC and the Q’s are coming on a regular basis. At the start line, I look into Trouble’s eyes and whisper, “You are so good” and the connection is immediate. In addition, I have a dog that walks on a loose lead and checks in with me if there is a distraction and my 63 year old body is thankful for that. I have a dog I can take anywhere on a flat buckle collar and know that he is not going to drag me around.

 Love this program. It is proof that you can teach an old dog trainer new and better ways of developing a relationship with their dog. Thank you Cindy and Suzanne!

Barbara & Trouble
Pasadena, Maryland