Author: Leslie McDevitt
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 behaviours 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 behaviour and give feedback, and where the dog takes the driver's seat and directs his counter-conditioning 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 behaviours have always played a role in Control Unleashed® games, and now more than ever Leslie is focused on giving dogs a "voice" through their behaviour; a voice that handlers can easily recognise 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.
About the Author
Leslie is a dog behaviour consultant, author, and speaker. She specialises in creating operant counter-conditioning 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.
"Control Unleashed: Reactive to Relaxed is a welcome new instalment in Leslie McDevitt's Control Unleashed® series. In this highly personal and very useful book, Leslie shares many practical exercises designed to help deal with the common but elusive statements of 'give our animals choice,' 'have a dialogue with your animal,' and 'teach an alternative behaviour.' This is new book is full of new exercises and stories that many trainers will find immediately useful for their own anxious dogs or to help the dogs of clients. Control Unleashed: Reactive to Relaxed is sure to become a must-have resource for trainers at all levels."
-Ken Ramirez, biologist and animal behaviourist with 40+ years of animal care and training experience, Executive Vice-President and Chief Training Officer of Karen Pryor Clicker Training
"I found myself marvelling at this glimpse into the future, a place where communication and choice feature front and center. Well done, Leslie!"
-Denise Fenzi, founder Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, author of Train the Dog in Front of You and Beyond the Back Yard and co-author of the four-book Dog Sports Skills series
"In Control Unleashed: Reactive to Relaxed, Leslie brings refreshing clarity and practicality to a subject as abstract and intimidating as reactivity. From assessing your dog’s behavioral challenges to teaching skills to help your dog cope with the world and learn to function, this book provides the entire training community—professionals, competitors, and enthusiastic pet owners—with much-needed practical tools and realistic intervention strategies to support their dogs' needs.
-Hannah Branigan, MS, Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner and Clicker Expo Faculty, instructor for Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, and owner of Wonderpups