Trying this Control Unleashed Thing on Muffit

Muffit So the new big hit in the dog sport, behavior, and training world is Control Unleashed by Leslie McDevitt. It’s a book, and the author has also been doing seminars around the country. She is coming here to Salt Lake City, Utah, in October of this year. She started her program by teaching classes to humans and their dogs in order to help the dogs calm down, focus, and work smarter.

I am reading her book. She has a lot of good points. There is a lot of trouble in the dog sport world, especially in agility now, where dogs are pretty darn wild and out of control. They don’t focus very well, and they have been coined ‘train wrecks’ a time or two. This can be dangerous, too. Especially if a dog falls off the dog walk in uncontrolled haste to get to the other end. Or the A-Frame, or flies off the teeter unsafely. In agility, not only do we want speed, we want control and accuracy. A balance of these things are critical for a fun, safe sport.

Anyway, so I have been taking Muffit to some dog events to get him used to the situations. However, he is very overstimulated. He is frantic. Especially when he sees other dogs. He doesn’t pay much attention to me, and he’s quite unable to focus on anything but the other dogs. He is nice to them, he just wants to say hi to all of them. And when there are 80+ dogs there, that’s pretty impossible.

So I’m about half way through Control Unleashed. I guess I don’t really get the passive exercises. Either that, or I find them boring. But the theory is, as I understand it, to teach the dog to be able to relax and be calm. Because a calm dog can think. And learn. And then transport this calmness to other situations.

Muffit CampingSo Muffit and I sat on our mat today and I stroked him, rubbed his ears, and did some TTouch on him. He relaxed and seemed to like it. Then we got up and did some sits and downs and shakes, things he knows really well. He did get pretty excited when he was doing these and would paw at me and be cute. And I know he loves to learn and clicker train, and I really want to give that to him, too. So I’m not sure if I should practice calming exercises and teach him things in the same training session, or different training sessions. But I really, really don’t want to stop clicker training him. He works just fine at home, he is learning the jump for flyball, and the spring over and back over the jump, and he likes it. And he’s not frantic.

I guess it’s hard for me to see moving the calming exercises from inside the boring house, to outside. If we do this and get good at it, then i move outside… if a dog walks by he still, I think, will get frantic. I’m not sure. But if he does get frantic, we would go inside (remove him from the situation) and then do some calming exercises to calm him down again. And see what distance he can take from another dog before he gets too excited, barking and jumping and pulling at the leash. Then always keep him under that threshold.

I will try this and see what happens. I’m impatient, I will admit it, and want quicker results than this. So I’m asking lots of opinions on what I should do with Muffit. I want him to be happy and calm and well adjusted. Which he is not.. yet. He is happy and calm at well adjusted at home, and he does love walks, but the stimulating environments of flyball and agility are a bit much for him… as a border collie he has a lot of energy, and I will work with that. And I think he has some Australian Shepherd in him, too. It’s sad that we got this broken dog we now have to fix. And he’s about five years old. Poor guy. but we’ll fix him up, no doubt!

He’s different from the collies. I’m glad that Tatum, although she’s frightened in new situations, she is not frantic and she’s pretty much able to think.

Like I have said in the past, it’s really hard for me to learn from a book. But I will try. And I will keep talking to people about all this, too.

30 thoughts on “Trying this Control Unleashed Thing on Muffit”

  1. Sounds an interesting book. (Personally I don’t mind learning from books, but I do have to read and reread. And read again.) Good on you for persevering – I’m sure you’ll get there eventually. Keep us posted about how you get on!

    Guss last blog post..1

  2. Sounds an interesting book. (Personally I don't mind learning from books, but I do have to read and reread. And read again.) Good on you for persevering – I'm sure you'll get there eventually. Keep us posted about how you get on! Guss last blog post..1

  3. Wish you could attend my CU Class up in Ogden on Tuesday evenings. Not with Muffit, but with Tatum and get to know how to be patient. CU is not only for dogs like Muffit, but also for fearful dogs like Tatum. It builts confidence and trust in the owner. Leslies number one goal is to get a dog ready for live without fear and the ability to stay bellow threshold. Leslie is great by putting all the exercises into one book that is actually easy to read. I can’t wait for October. My book goes everywhere with me, even to class. It is great for a reference.

    Astrids last blog post..1

  4. Wish you could attend my CU Class up in Ogden on Tuesday evenings. Not with Muffit, but with Tatum and get to know how to be patient. CU is not only for dogs like Muffit, but also for fearful dogs like Tatum. It builts confidence and trust in the owner. Leslies number one goal is to get a dog ready for live without fear and the ability to stay bellow threshold. Leslie is great by putting all the exercises into one book that is actually easy to read. I can't wait for October. My book goes everywhere with me, even to class. It is great for a reference. Astrids last blog post..1

  5. Awesome site! Wow, just took my breath when I got here. 🙂

    Braggers last blog post..JACQUE replied to the discussion PLEASE PRAY FOR MY BROTHER IN LAW….UPDATE!!

  6. Sounds interesting but I have my reservations about the off the leash. I know Deacon will go after cats, dogs, etc. He is just being friendly. Essex is pretty good on our walks and blocking things out, unless we are standing still. I find that my two feed a lot off of my emotions and feelings. Since I am calm about most things, so are they.

    Key West Colliess last blog post..Key West Sun Halo

  7. Sounds interesting but I have my reservations about the off the leash. I know Deacon will go after cats, dogs, etc. He is just being friendly. Essex is pretty good on our walks and blocking things out, unless we are standing still. I find that my two feed a lot off of my emotions and feelings. Since I am calm about most things, so are they. Key West Colliess last blog post..<a href="http://keywestcollies.blogspot.com/2008/04/key-we…rel="nofollow">Key West Sun Halo</a>

  8. Sounds interesting but I have my reservations about the off the leash. I know Deacon will go after cats, dogs, etc. He is just being friendly. Essex is pretty good on our walks and blocking things out, unless we are standing still. I find that my two feed a lot off of my emotions and feelings. Since I am calm about most things, so are they. Key West Colliess last blog post..<a href="http://keywestcollies.blogspot.com/2008/04/key-we…rel="nofollow">Key West Sun Halo</a>

  9. Hi Gus.. yeah, I have a hard time learning from books. I love to read theory, but practice.. sometimes I need someone to ask questions of. You can’t ask a book a question! And all dogs are so different!

  10. Hi Gus.. yeah, I have a hard time learning from books. I love to read theory, but practice.. sometimes I need someone to ask questions of. You can't ask a book a question! And all dogs are so different!

  11. Hi Linday, I do love behavior books. I’ll keep blogging about what I learn about this one. And other things I do, too!

  12. Hi Linday, I do love behavior books. I'll keep blogging about what I learn about this one. And other things I do, too!

  13. That is great you are calm about most things Key West Collies! I get pretty nervous. My dogs all have to be okay off leash, for the dog sports we do. And I figure all dogs at one point or another will get off leash, so I always work that a lot so they are used to it and will come back to me. Of course it doesn’t always work, because things like squirrels are so interesting!

  14. That is great you are calm about most things Key West Collies! I get pretty nervous. My dogs all have to be okay off leash, for the dog sports we do. And I figure all dogs at one point or another will get off leash, so I always work that a lot so they are used to it and will come back to me. Of course it doesn't always work, because things like squirrels are so interesting!

  15. I haven’t finished reading the CU book to be honest, but I got alot out of the part I did read. I’ve been working on a calm on cue for Moxie to use in therapy when we transition from an active activity to a quiet activity. She’s catching on quick! Good luck with Muffit.

    Rachaels last blog post..I’m back, poor Moxie

  16. I haven't finished reading the CU book to be honest, but I got alot out of the part I did read. I've been working on a calm on cue for Moxie to use in therapy when we transition from an active activity to a quiet activity. She's catching on quick! Good luck with Muffit. Rachaels last blog post..<a href="http://riverflower.blogspot.com/2008/05/im-back-p…rel="nofollow">I'm back, poor Moxie</a>

  17. I haven't finished reading the CU book to be honest, but I got alot out of the part I did read. I've been working on a calm on cue for Moxie to use in therapy when we transition from an active activity to a quiet activity. She's catching on quick! Good luck with Muffit. Rachaels last blog post..<a href="http://riverflower.blogspot.com/2008/05/im-back-p…rel="nofollow">I'm back, poor Moxie</a>

  18. I have a hard time being relaxed and calm when I am around others as well. It is probably just my personality, self improvement books don’t seem to help me either.

    CoCos last blog post..China Fur Trade Killing Dogs

  19. I’ve got to admit that I enjoyed the start of the book but then found it a bit hard going. I’m not a huge reader though.

    It did make me go and take a seminar though and I found it SO useful. I guess if you can’t make a seminar and your the sort of person who doesn’t get distracted too easily when reading then I’d recommend the book
    .-= Jared B´s last blog ..How to Jump Higher in Basketball updated Thu Jul 9 2009 4:11 pm CDT =-.

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