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Control Unleashed for high strung pup?

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Can someone give me more details about the Control Unleashed book than what's written on the Amazon site?

I've noticed from previous posts on this site and several posters have used the book with varying degrees of success. Before I spend more money, I'd like to know if it might be helpful for myself and my pup. It appears to be geared toward people who are or plan to be involved in agility training or off-leash activities. Between my recent health issues and my pups behavior, I don't think that's something we'll be doing. But I'm still desperate for a better behaved pup.

This pup has cost me a fortune in toys, treats, training, leashes, playpen, etc and at 7 months does not show any sign of being trusted to have full run of the house without constant supervision. Unless I've played her to exhaustion, locked her in her playpen or crate, or am in the process of training, she goes on a counter/bed/dresser/table/desk/sink surfing spree for something she's not supposed to have. I've started calling her "Nosey Girl" because she's the most curious dog I've ever owned.

But the real problem is her excited play biting, which we've unsuccessfully tried to stop for months. As a pup, we yelped "ouch" whenever she bit in an attempt to teach soft mouthing. Instead, she saw it as fun and became more aggressive in her play. Next, we tried redirecting, with limited success. She knows "sit" and "down" but when she's in play-bite mode it takes treats in hand to get her to stop biting and sit. She does not initiate this behavior with strangers, but she will attempt to greet them by jumping on them.

She *can* be very good in her covered playpen (in the living room) but if she hears me talk on the phone or messing around in the kitchen, she gets agitated and starts to bark or jump against the sides of the playpen. She will settle into her crate for a quick 45-minute nap and will be okay in there if I leave the house (not separation anxiety). But if she knows I'm home while she's in the crate she has a fit. She barks and lunges against the side of the crate, actually scooting it from the wall to the side of my bed. (Yes, I ignore and won't let her out until there's a break in the barking. I've tried covering her crate but she pulls in the cover and tears it up.) At night, she sometimes gets agitated if I take too long to come into the bedroom but gets quiet once I climb onto my bed and turn off the light.

As best as I can tell, she is not abnormally fearful, though she does stop and put her ears back and looks at me for assurance if she hears an unexpected, loud noise (like yesterday's thunder or the painter power washing the house).  She enjoys the experience of being around other dogs--sniffing, greeting, following but is not that interested in playing with them. (puppy class, my son's chihuahuas, doggy daycare -- No Dog Parks)

We attend training class almost every week and my girl is pretty good about following through with lessons in the house (except "stay" which she mostly refuses to do). She's less inclined to train in the backyard but I still do some training with her out there to get her used to it. Anywhere else it can be a challenge to get her to do a simple sit or down.

Any suggestions or ideas? I wanted to do Karen Overall's Relaxtion Protocol but my girl won't "stay" long enough for me to walk away two steps. Is Control Unleashed something that might help my high-strung girl? Or can you think of another program that would be better for us. FYI, physically, I do have some limitations. Recently, I've developed some dizziness issues that become worse with bending or head movement. So training that I can do from a sitting position would be best.

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Hi! I cannot possibly recommend all of Leslie's books and programs highly enough. It completely changed how I approached training my dog, my relationship with her, and her self-confidence and focus. And I started out doing R+ training, so this wasn't a pivot away from collar pops. This is definitely not just for competition dogs. I'd argue that almost everything she teaches is giving a dog life skills for living with people in a loud, confusing, sometimes overwhelming world. Control Unleashed will absolutely help with "high-strung" and "won't relax". The best part is it elicits the dog's cooperation so that it's their choice to do it and figure it out. She recently published an update to her book (https://www.amazon.com/Control-Unleashed-Book-Reactive-McDevitt/dp/1892694441/ref=sr_1_1?qid=1558712654&refinements=p_27%3ALeslie+McDevitt&s=books&sr=1-1&text=Leslie+McDevitt), which is excellent. I also love her puppy book (https://www.amazon.com/Control-Unleashed-Program-Leslie-McDevitt/dp/B0077BTNFS).

Full disclosure: Zucchini and I spent ~6 months taking lessons from her. It was hands down my favorite animal training class I've ever taken, ever.

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For 'stay' tether her to something she can't move if she pulls. Make sure it's someplace she's comfortable and familiar with to start. 

Tell her 'sit' and take a couple steps away. The instant she breaks the sit, move out of range, out of site if possible. Wait her out, when she sits or lays down again, approach. Again, the instant the stands up remove yourself. Repeat until you get a second or two of sitting/laying down. Give her a treat/some low key praise and then release her to do something else.

You'll gradually build up duration of her stay, then move it around your home and yard. This process takes a while, but you're able to communicate with the dog very effectively what works and doesn't work.

When she's solid on 'stay' in her home environment then you can take it out and about with you. Expect some slippage, but she should learn faster once she's got the basic concepts installed.

Good luck!

Ruth & Gibbs

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Alexandzucchini:
Is the third book a true "update" (revamp, etc) of the original? Or is it a continuation (new ideas or new games) that is to be used in addition to the original?
My girl is 7 months old, a "puppy" in many respects but more of an adolescent pup than an infant pup. Would we do best to start with an adult book or do you think we need to start with a puppy version?

Ruth:
Tethering her is a good idea. Waiting her out could be a challenge, though. Her determination and stamina is far greater than mine! LOL

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The first thing I want to say is to remember that she is still a puppy. I know you know this! But sometimes it might help just to take deep breaths and remind yourself that she is only a child, maybe about like a 6 year old human, whom you couldn't trust left on her own either.

What I like to do is make it impossible for the dog to do the thing that I don't like. So: cover the crate with something tied down that she cannot reach or pull off to chew. Put crate in the other room with closed door. Tie down the crate so she cannot scoot the whole thing.

Biting : every single time, put her in her crate for a time out and (as you are doing) don't let her out until she calms down. If she goes ballistic in the house, same thing. But be careful never to put her in the crate as a punishment. By this I mean, be sure you handle her gently while putting her in, don't do it with anger in your heart or with any corrective words. In fact, don't say anything at all or else say, in a normal and neutral tone of voice, "Uh-oh. Time for the crate" or "time out" or whatever is your preferred phrase. Just say it as if it were a way of the universe, the way you would say to a toddler Uh-oh, you fell down.

For stay, I would never tether the dog because that doesn't teach the dog to stay on her own. Everyone has a preferred method, of course. What I do takes a lot of time and repetition but it does work. Use good treats, or use her breakfast one piece at a time. Tell her to stay and wait only 2 seconds, then click or use your marker word, and give food. Repeat many times over the course of a few days. Then make it to the count of three seconds. And so on. When she will sit and wait for 5 seconds, move one step away from her and go back to waiting only 3 seconds. Very gradually build up. The more gradually you do it the better it will work.

And finally, take heart. She will learn and grow and mature. It sounds as though you are doing good things with her, and it just takes time. I do recommend Control Unleashed very highly.

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6 hours ago, HerePupPup said:

Ruth:

Tethering her is a good idea. Waiting her out could be a challenge, though. Her determination and stamina is far greater than mine! LOL

So, two things ~ make a plan for yourself. Get yourself a comfy spot of your own, a good book or something else to do that allows you to keep one eye on her and the other on your own activity. If you like, you can even do something that involves moving around a bit, just not much. Handwashing dishes, working at the computer, that sort of thing. Just be sure you can see her easily. 

AND, you'll want to add in D'Elle's observation - if she's still for 2 seconds, that's a win and you need to acknowledge that. You'd also add in, very slowly, just a bit more activity on your part, so that she gets used to staying when you are moving around.

Yes it takes a while, and you may have to return to the 'start line' a couple times. Shoshone caught on fairly quickly, and it's worked for a couple other people I shared it with. All 3 of my other border collies came to me with basic obedience already 'installed', so Shonie's my only real-life example. She was semi-feral when she got taken into rescue, so everything was from scratch with her.

As far as crating for bad behavior, like biting, one of my early trainers suggested practicing saying very calmly, "Oh, you must need a break right now. Let's go." Saying those words helped me stay in a calmer mind-set. Very helpful.

Ruth & Gibbs

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I seriously believe that you can train good manners (and many other things) in to almost any dog by using positive reinforcement and a very slow and gradual buildup. I say this because I have trained many dogs using this method, some of them coming from knowing nothing and being wild and/or aggressive and/or frightened and it always worked. It takes being utterly patient and persistent and never giving up or giving in until you get the desired result, no matter how long it takes. Worth it.

I only say "almost any" because there can be a dog so damaged, whether from birth defect or accident or from terrible and prolonged experience, that it will never be reliably trained. I hold that these dogs are pretty rare, and many of them can still live with a person if that person is willing to do what must be done to accommodate the dog.

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On 5/25/2019 at 7:24 AM, D'Elle said:

The first thing I want to say is to remember that she is still a puppy. I know you know this! But sometimes it might help just to take deep breaths and remind yourself that she is only a child, maybe about like a 6 year old human, whom you couldn't trust left on her own either . . . And finally, take heart. She will learn and grow and mature. It sounds as though you are doing good things with her, and it just takes time. I do recommend Control Unleashed very highly.

To be honest, I sometimes forget that she's a puppy. After all, she's almost the full height & weight of an adult BC. She's quick to catch on to the things SHE wants to learn. And puppy class ended when she turned six months. So, there's a part of me that sometimes feels that we've left the puppy stage behind. But you are so right. She's still has much to learn and is depending on me to teach her.

On 5/27/2019 at 8:32 AM, D'Elle said:

I only say "almost any" because there can be a dog so damaged, whether from birth defect or accident or from terrible and prolonged experience, that it will never be reliably trained. I hold that these dogs are pretty rare, and many of them can still live with a person if that person is willing to do what must be done to accommodate the dog.

When I first joined this forum, someone posted about an "aggressive" puppy and how they had it euthanized. That post sent me into a panic. I thought that I, too, had received a "damaged" dog and that was why the normal bite inhibition techniques were not working. Since then, I've learned that my girl is NOT aggressive, not in the least. Yeah, I refer to her as a "Wild Child." She can be downright stubborn at times. She bites hard, but in her mind it's just rowdy puppy play. And she has a serious problem with self-control, like a child with ADHD. But she's doesn't have a mean bone in that slender little body. Now and then, I think back to that post and sadly wonder if that woman's "aggressive" pup was just a happy-go-lucky Wild Child like my freckle-faced girl, Bodie (now pictured in my avatar).

I plan to purchaseControl Unleashed in the next two weeks. I have not made up my mind which of the three books will be best. Maybe the puppy book will be the right place to start. That way, we'll have an adult CU to look forward to later

BTW, as I type this, my Bodie girl is resting calmly on the floor next to my chair. To look at her now, nobody would ever know that deep inside she has a wild streak that runs from her nose to the tip of her tail. :-)

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Self-control needs to be learned like everything else, of course. One doesn't expect a human child of the same comparative age to have good self control yet. You are doing fine, and clearly love your dog. Just remind yourself that she is a child and with patience and kind firm training she will mature. Perhaps another class would benefit both of you if you can do it?

I know sometimes people say that their dog is stubborn. But to me dogs are really not stubborn, and puppies in particular are not stubborn; they just haven't learned yet. My experience says that if a dog doesn't do what you want there is a reason for it.

Maybe the dog had a negative experience one time when she did that thing when you asked for it. The negative experience might not even be something you did or noticed; could be some tiny thing. Maybe the dog actually doesn't understand what you want, even if you are sure the dog has learned it. Maybe she forgot what that cue means. Maybe she is tired or feeling confused. Maybe distracted at that moment. You just never know.

 I find that thinking in terms of trying to find out why the dog is not responding, and correcting that, or else simply getting the dog to do it by repeating the same things I did when training that behavior, and then of course rewarding the behavior when I do get it, is the most effective approach. Stubbornness is a human trait and I think it's best not to ascribe human traits and behavior to dogs. Just my opinion.

Best of luck with your wild child!

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Pretend to talk on the phone or call a friend who doesn't mind talking when you work with the dog and drop food in the dogs bed while you're talking, initially at a quick pace and then slowing down to build duration. I really love a treat and train (aka manners minder) for this and it worked wonders for so many behavior troubles with my dog. It taught her how to settle and has been an absolute life saver.

I thought I was on your other post when I wrote this, sorry about that, but still I think a treat and train could be really helpful for you 

Edited by Rigby
Wrong thread

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