Control Unleashed Class

Check out this great video of a Control Unleashed class!

The Ultimate Dog Behavior Class

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Lesley McDevitt has designated me as one of the first "certified" Control Unleashed® instructors in the nation! I now proudly add "CCUI" -- Certified Control Unleashed Instructor -- to my list of certifications.  McDevitt’s Control Unleashed® (CU®) program has successfully helped many dogs since the original book was published in 2007. It is a great fit for pet dogs needing more focus and confidence, as well as performance dogs training for sports such as agility, herding or fly ball. CU® is not an agility class, although it can help your dog perform better in any sporting venue. It is not an obedience class, although it incorporates positive reinforcement training for many skills found in obedience work. CU® is primarily a dog behavior class because its underlying principles are based on the behavior modification techniques of desensitization, counterconditioning and positively transforming the way that dogs process their environments. It is both a dog training philosophy as well as a set of exercises designed to enable stressed, anxious and distracted dogs build confidence, focus and drive. It teaches dogs how to cope with the presence of environmental stressors like other dogs, unknown people, unfamiliar surroundings, fast moving vehicles (or dogs on a course!), and loud noises, just to name a few. This CU® class will offer the familiar building blocks of the original program, like passive and active attention building, mat work, pattern games and box work. It will also present McDevitt’s new model of “conversational” training that emphasizes teaching our dogs how to make good behavioral choices.


 If your dog exhibits any of the following behaviors, then CU® is for you:

  1. Dog gets sniffy (very often, but not always, a stress displacement behavior).
  2. Dog wanders away on course.
  3. Dog is environmentally oriented out of mild concern or normal interest
  4. Dog listens to his handler but his body language continually shows that he feels anxious (for example, the dog yawns, licks his lips, or scratches as stress displacement behaviors.
  5. Dog barks and/or pulls and lunges at dogs or other environmental stimuli that he is worried about, but he can be interrupted before having a reactive response. Or, he has a reactive response, but recovers quickly and is able to continue working.
  6. Dog is mildly sensitive to sudden environmental changes (such as a falling chair, noises or a person entering the far end of the room), but recovers quickly.

If your dog exhibits any of these behaviors, then he is not ready for CU® 

  1. Dog is hypervigilant (can't stop scanning and worrying about everything in his environment) and extremely sensitive to sudden environmental changes.
  2. Dog has low arousal threshold (as in a “hair-trigger dog” that is always ready to go off).
  3. Dog cannot easily or quickly recover from a stressful event. 
  4. Dog barks almost nonstop and pulls/lunges so forcefully at dogs or unfamiliar objects that his handler is in danger of dropping his leash, being pulled off her feet, or being injured.

From my introductory Control Unleashed class:

  "I  endorse and recommend this class to anyone with a reactive dog. It  definitely helped [my dog] with reactive problems at home and at trial  sites, and inside the ring. I learned a lot about how to use positive  methods in teaching him to be calmer and to look at me before he goes  over threshold. Laura is calm and easy to understand. She gives clear  demos and is very in tune with canine behavior."
  (Kathy H.)


 I can definitely endorse this class. My 2 year old bearded collie . . . and I took it this summer and it has made a difference in our ability to function in the presence of exciting people and dogs. Laura uses only positive training methods and works with each team's unique issues. She structures the physical environment in such a way that each dog has its own safe place and then she adds distractions as they are ready....I think the class is perfect for a happy, friendly reactive dog . . . but it would also be great for a dog with aggressive reactive tendencies. 

   (Polley M.)