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Tanner and I have just finished a 7 week series of Control Unleashed classes. All I can say is...WOW. I am so glad that we did this. The progress from the first class to this last class was huge.
We actually worked at the same time as another dog, and Tanner was not worried or hyper-vigilant about the other dog. His focus started to shift a couple of times, but he reoriented right back to me.
The first class we attended he was so anxious that even with the other dogs crated and out of the way he was shaking and unable to focus on anything. Didn't respond to his name, wouldn't make eye contact. The instructor told me yesterday that, based on his behavior that first class, she was thinking we might need to go to private classes to get him ready for a group CU class. Thankfully the exercises helped a great deal and he was comfortable enough by the second class to allow us to stay in a group environment. Now he can give me good eye contact, with a nice relaxed body, even when another dog is working 15 feet away.
I brought in another foster dog about 4 weeks ago. This is a young, goofy and somewhat oblivious, recently neutered Golden mix. Nice, happy dog. He is about a year old. I slowly introduced Tanner and this dog over a 2 week period. The first time they were able to meet face to face (off leash, since a lot of Tanner's fear is triggered by being on leash) I was happy to see Tanner do his happy, tongue flapping, butt tucked boogie as he raced around the yard with the foster in pursuit. But I ignored Tanner's concern when the puppy continued to jump on him and be obnoxious in play. A loud fight ensued, which was totally my fault. Everyone was okay, no damage. But it did set back their introduction by another week (since I started all over again).
The second time I gave them face to face access they played really well for a few minutes and then I separated them before Tanner got overwhelmed. This is working well now. Tanner doesn't have the skills to handle a young dog that doesn't listen to him when he tells the other dog to back off, so I step in and stop the play before Tanner loses his mind (or goes "over threshold" for all the CU people reading this). He has even been confident enough in play to tumble over on his back and play mouthy with the foster, which is a huge step for Tanner considering that in the past he would never have given another dog a second chance after the one conflict.
I don't think I would have had the confidence to introduce them a second time if it weren't for the CU work we have been doing.
Tanner might not ever be comfortable in a competition environment, but that is okay. He is trying so hard, and that is good enough for me.
Sheilah
 

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Thrllled for you!

Who was your instructor?

We bought and watched the video and I am reading the book -- using everything I've got out with great success ...

Can you please tell more about how it all went and what worked the best?

Tanya
 

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Hi Tanya,
We worked with Mary Hunter. I had taken an agility class with her several years ago with my older GSD and had stayed on her e-mail list of upcoming classes. When she sent the notice out about the Control Unleashed class, I asked here and got some positive responses about the method.
The first class was a total wash out for my dog. He was trying so hard to take everything in that he was focusing on nothing. But each class built on the one before, and within two weeks he was doing fantastic. It helped that I was getting the hang of it, too. This dog is so much smarter than I am!
I think the thing that really, really made a difference was the fact that every skill was worked on with the other dogs crated and out of the way. So instead of my dog being worried about getting something wrong and being worried about the other dogs moving around at the same time, he was able to relax about the other dogs and focus on me.
That worked the best in that it made the biggest difference. Since everyone in the class had a reactive dog, my dog wasn't "That Dog" any more. We all had "That Dog"! None of us were trying to get our dogs to behave so we could keep up with the rest of the class. So the pressure to "get past it" was gone.
I can't tell you how wonderful that was.
Sheilah
 

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Sheiah,

Very interesting and makes perfect sense!

Did you also try private trainer? We started working with one (had our second class today), and the trainer is fantastic! She specializes in working dogs and agility, and to spend 30 minutes in 1:1 class with someone that knowledgeable and aware makes such a huge difference! I don't think we are going back to the group classes! Money-wise it's better as group class (adjusted for the number of minutes you get instructor's attention) and quality-wise, just no contest!

Tanya
 

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Tanya, would you mind sharing who your trainer is? You can PM me if you'd rather.

Sheilah, sounds great! I'm so glad you're happy with the class and the CU philosophy is helping you and Tanner.
 

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Oh WTG Tanner!!! And Sheilah!

Altho Havoc is not anywhere near as reactive as Tanner(they are half brothers), he could benefit from a class too. There is an trainer in Oklahoma City that does CU classes and I may look into getting into one with him after we are settled.

Hey Deb did you notice the yahoo CU list was made inactive? I wonder why?
 
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