Happy Dogs. Happy Owners. Mind to Mind.
(aka Sue Eh)
I’m Sue Ailsby, AKA Sue Eh? As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to spend my life with dogs. Early on, I heard one of my mentors say, with respect, of another person, “He’s a dogman!” That’s what I wanted. I wanted to be a dogman. And lo and behold, here I am! Granted, not a man, but a dogman, nevertheless.
I’ve been training dogs since I was about 9 years old (which was a long time ago). That means I’ve tried just about every training method that’s shown up over the years. I learned a lot, I forgot a lot, I deliberately forgot a lot. I’m not left with a method of training but a philosophy of training. A philosophy which asks that I do no harm. That I listen to the trainee and respect her opinions. I discovered that listening, respecting, and doing no harm is an AMAZING training philosophy, and an even better training method. When you listen to a dog, the dog listens back! Who knew?!
60 years in dogs means that I’ve had a lot of dogs. Some dogs were great dogs. Some were breathtakingly smart dogs, some not so smart. One was dumb as a post but a sweet person nonetheless. All were worth listening to. Most of them were Giant Schnauzers (hence the logo picture). Some were Miniature Schnauzers, with a few Australian Cattle Dogs, MinPins, Chihuahuas and others tossed in. Lately they’ve been Portuguese Water Dogs with one more Giant Schnauzer thrown into the mix.
Six decades also gave me lots of time to try things that dogs do with people. Together we’ve explored conformation shows, obedience trials, rally, tracking, drafting, herding, packing and agility, search and rescue, water trials and service work, sled racing and flyball racing and scent hurdle racing, duck hunting and schutzhund. And spent a lot of time together on the couch… Now I’m looking ahead to the possibilities of treiball, nosework, chase instinct, and barn hunt.
My parents taught me what is, I expect, a fairly rare way of looking at the world. A friend recently called it “a 5000-yard stare with close-ups”. What that means is that I don’t see anything by itself. I have to see everything in context. “Oh, this is like THAT” is my favourite phrase. Since I was born a teacher (there doesn’t seem to be much one can do about that), I have to draw parallels, to compare one thing to another, to see how a teaching a dog to sit is related to baking a cake – and then I have to teach it to somebody.
To that end, I wrote the Training Levels – instructions for teaching a dog what it needs to know to live and prosper in the company of humans – and to allow the human to live and prosper in the company of dogs.
That’s me. I hope you enjoy the site!