Control Unleashed: Reactive to Relaxed

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Leslie McDevitt
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Clean Run Productions LLC
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Since 2007, when Control Unleashed: Creating a Focused and Confident Dog was first published, the science—and the art—of Control Unleashed® has been guiding handlers all over the world as they help their "dogs with issues" learn how to relax, focus, and work off-leash reliably in stimulating or stressful situations. In her third book, Control Unleashed: Reactive to Relaxed, Leslie McDevitt discusses her exciting new additions to the Control Unleashed® training program, as well as new perspectives and revisions of the foundation behaviors and core games. The new concepts and techniques will support you in teaching your dog life skills and coping skills so that he is comfortable in the world, building relationships, empowering your dog, and creating a two-way system of communication between you and your dog. 

Rather than being bound to a world where people are taught to think of training as nothing more than cue-and-response, the Control Unleashed® program boldly takes us even further into the realm of conversational training—a style of interaction where both the handler and dog can cue each other to perform a behavior and give feedback, and where the dog takes the driver's seat and directs his counterconditioning process. Letting the dog make choices and actively participate not only gives the dog control over his own learning, but it also establishes trust and fosters a spirit of communication. And, it makes humans more humane.

This book will show you how to ask your dog yes/no questions rather than give commands; for example, you will ask the dog if the conditions he is in will help or hinder his ability to learn the most functional way to behave for that circumstance. If the answer is no, your dog is not wrong about anything; he is just giving you feedback, so you know if he is in the right learning situation. His answer helps you adjust your training plan or change the environment until you get a different answer. The flow of feedback is continual. 

Voluntary behaviors have always played a role in Control Unleashed® games, and now more than ever Leslie is focused on giving dogs a "voice" through their behavior; a voice that handlers can easily recognize and respond to. In all Control Unleashed® training, your dog gets to make choices and actively participate. Not only does this give the dog control over his own learning, but it also establishes trust and fosters a spirit of communication. 

Leslie is a dog behavior consultant, author, and speaker. She specializes in creating operant counterconditioning procedures to empower working, performance, and pet dogs to feel safe and comfortable so they can function confidently in stressful environments. Leslie's books have been translated into multiple languages and Leslie has taught the material from her seminal book Control Unleashed: Creating a Focused and Confident Dog to people and dogs all around the world. Leslie lives near Philadelphia with two kids, three dogs, two cats, one bunny, and one husband. She is a member of the 2019 Clicker Expo faculty.

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  • 5

    Posted by Ciana on 13th Sep 2021

    I love this book so much, it's changing how I relate to my dogs and I think it's going to overall improve their wellbeing so much. I have started with the first couple of lessons with my dogs and it's going well. I can't wait to get to the meatier stuff like the look at that game!

  • 5
    not just for reactive dogs!! an update to CU

    Posted by Pat P on 23rd Jul 2019

    So I would probably have bought this book when it first came out if I'd read the whole summary and stuff... but from the title I'd assumed it was specifically directed at reactive dog issues (which indeed CU is really great for), and since I didn't have a dog of that sort at the time, I was like Oh well that's nice for other people. But then I got this young rescue BC who is moderately reactive to certain things, causing me to actually get off my butt and buy the book, an hey what do you know it is NOT about reactive dogs specifically at all! What it is, is an update "next chapter" sort of addition the the CU system. And I really, REALLY like some of her new ways of looking at and doing things... particularly the idea that CU games (such as look at that) offer a means to what she calls "conversational training" of the dog, where the dog can tell YOU what concerns him and what he needs to do about them, and offer the dog a way of directing and controlling his exposure to situations he finds difficult. (I'm probably not explaining that real well, but, read the book!!) Not only does this make a lot of intuitive sense to me -- athough I never in a million years would have seen it that way on my own -- I have also found that just keeping those concepts in mind has let me be a lot more effective when taking my "project dog" to exciting or difficult places, and he's responded really really well, although I could not tell you *exactly* what I've done differently. As with the previous books it does suffer very slightly from the descriptions of procedures being (despite the author's best intentions) a bit opaque and hard to be sure you're following correctly... but, I think all things requiring tact and judgement (not just dog training) just ARE kind of hard to set down unambiguously in words. So, definitely a must-have for any aficionados of the CU systm (and I really think everyone would benefit from these books, to one degree or another). I'd give it six stars if there were such a thing :)

  • 5
    Control Unleashed Reactive to Relax

    Posted by Robin Minaker on 6th May 2019

    Excellent Book and it arrived soon after the order.