I bought Control Unleashed about a year and a half ago, when my training had hit a wall and it seemed like nothing I did worked for very long, if at all.  In my case, I was dealing with a rescue dog who had some wonderful accomplishments behind him, but he had developed some pretty intense phobias along with generalized anxiety which required that I give him a long break from flyball and agility while I figured out what to do, because clearly, what we were doing just wasn’t fun for either of us anymore.

During this break from all dog sports, I delved into every  book and dvd imaginable.  The one book  that changed my dog’s life the most was Control Unleashed, by  Leslie McDevitt.  I also found it of great benefit  to  watch Leslie’s DVDs:  “Game Demonstrations-A Foundation Seminar” (4 DVD set), and “Control Unleashed- Game Demonstrations” (3 DVD set).   Being able to read the book, then actually see Leslie work with dogs of various personalities, to observe the individual responses and nuances in the dogs’ body language, and to  be able to observe the precise behavior Leslie was clicking for, was invaluable to me.  These DVDs are available at Clean Run in many formats, from eBook to  video on demand for individual  exercises.

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Control Unleashed provides a series of structured exercises or “games” which you do with your dog.  The exercises are simple and easy to learn, but surprisingly effective.  Dogs enjoy and respond to these games quickly, because they are fun and rewarding.  They get totally absorbed in the game, deepening their connection to the trainer.  In fact, when given the opportunity (in fact, told) to “take a break” from the game and be a dog (e.g., sniff the grass, check out that garbage can, etc. …) the dog often chooses to continue working instead.

Why are these games so effective at creating a focused and confident dog?  Well, for many reasons.

First and foremost, they  create a safe and predictable routine in which learning can take place.  It is very critical that  the dog is always doing the exercises and  playing the games “below threshold”.  This means that he is not  barking, tucking tail, freezing,  lunging, staring, stiff,  or “locked onto” the object of his concern (aka the trigger) in any way.  A good distance is where he notices the presence of the trigger, but it isn’t overly consuming his attention.  Your dog still notices that you are alive and is able to work with you.  He isn’t “zoning” or as Leslie McDevitt would say, “off riding the unicorns”.  This is the perfect training distance.

However, what is the perfect training distance one day may not be the perfect training distance the next day. The next important thing you must do is learn to “read” your dog.  Kind of like when your best friend is able to look at you and say, “Something’s bothering you, isn’t it?” and you haven’t even said a word to them.  They know what you normally look like when you are happy and relaxed, and they can recognize minute changes in your demeanor.  We must learn to be keenly observant of our dogs’ body language, because only then can we honor the relationship, the team partnership, with our dog.  And like any friendship, the more we respect each other’s needs, the closer we become.  And truly, isn’t that what we all want?  A close working partnership where our sports dog craves the mental stimulation and connection with us?

The book is clearly written and easy to read.  I found myself using many bookmarks, and referred to it over and over as I would work with my dog to learn a game, then move on to another one.  Control Unleashed games are simple yet powerfully effective, and  would make a valuable addition to anyone’s dog training shelf.  Whether you want to get the most out of your performance dog or just deepen your relationship with your canine best friend, Control Unleashed is the way to go.

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by Brian and Joanne Matsumoto

Ballistic Racers Flyball Team had a banner weekend at Irvine this year. January 15th and 16th were much warmer than usual and turned out to be a stellar weekend for our team. We took a first place in our division with our team “Bullet Dogs” on Sunday. It was so exciting to take home first place knowing that all our hard work has been paying off. Our dogs Zippy, Molly, Blast, Cody, Meika, and Herbie had some of the best turns that our team has ever displayed. Zippy and Robin both had their best times ever at this tournament! Zippy broke into the 3’s with a 3.9 second run and Robin had a 4.7 second run on Saturday for his best time ever. Congratulations to Bullet Dogs on their First Place Win!

Even though first place is great, the most exciting racing of the day was with our team “Cyclones”. It was Domino and Slash’s first time racing. Domino’s best time of the day was a 5.3 second run and Slash also had an excellent time with a 5.6 second run. The highlight of the weekend racing was Cyclone’s win by 5 hundredths of a second. Amber and Geneva figured out that if they switched spots we could shorten the passes and win more races. Their hunch paid off  superbly, and  we tied for third place. In the tiebreaker we lost, but we know we did extremely well for having two new dogs on the team. Congratulations to Dennis, Pooky, Kirin, Slash, Indie, and Domino on their great performance.

Ever since the Winter Games we have been reminiscing about our racing that weekend. We also made a great discovery at the tournament and found a “light tree” for sale. We recently purchased a set and now have our own start lights to use at practice. As usual we had great food, great fun with our dogs, and got really tired! Now we are rested up and ready for another round of racing at Ramona in March, so we can…

GO BALLISTIC!


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Click Here For Slideshow

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It was a cool windy October 4th day for our second annual Bearded Collie Demo. It took place at the Antique Gas and Steam Museum in Vista, Ca. which offers plenty of room. Most of the Ballistic Racers Flyball Team attended the event which was fun for everyone, especially the dogs. As soon as the Ballistic Racers did the demo, it was time for the Beardies. The Bearded Collie Bunch really got into the action as they tried running their dogs on the Flyball course. Some Beardies did well, while others found the course quite a challenge.

Thanks to the Beardie Bunch for providing such a delicious lunch. There were so many types of food to choose from that we had to try them all. It was another one of our “Great Fun Flyball Days” with the Ballistic Racers Flyball Team. Many thanks to our late flyball team member, Lori Fournier, who made this all possible. Lori and her dog Harlow loved flyball and wanted to share it with all the Beardie Bunch.

Thanks to Lori, the fun lives on!
Brian Matsumoto

Click here to see the slideshow!!

Everyone learned something at the Saturday Seminar in October!

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Molly at the seminar.


Click here to see the slideshow.

6269 Ramona 05-23-09

by Brian Matsumoto, Team Captain

In flyball your dog will receive great exercise and mental stimulation, and have more fun than ever before. He doesn’t know the difference between practice and a tournament, other than tournaments have unfamiliar dogs and his master is very excited. Your dog is having fun just running the course and pleasing you, not necessarily noticing that he is even racing against another team and another dog. (more…)

By Brian and Joanne Matsumoto

Touch N Go from Las Vegas, the world’s fastest flyball team, came to share their expertise with our team, Ballistic Racers. It was an all day affair at Skydance Ranch in Oceanside, California, on a Saturday which was warmer than usual. With their three trainers and one helper, Touch N Go dealt with many issues. Several landmark accomplishments were met as our dogs made vast improvements. Katy, Nadine, and Stephanie, used their expert techniques to individualize instruction, helping each dog to be the best it could be.

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By Michele Greer, DVM

Dr. Michele H. Greer is a small animal veterinarian, AVCA certified animal chiropractor, and IVAS trained veterinary acupuncturist.
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"Joe Cool"

What is Veterinary Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the placement of needles into specific acupoints to stimulate the body to heal itself by effecting certain physiological changes. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), medical conditions are believed to be caused by imbalances in the flow of qi (chi) or energy in the body. Acupuncture is believed to balance the qi, therefore able to help resolve medical problems.

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