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Has anyone read Competition Obedience: a Balancing Act by Judy Byron & Adele Yunck? If so, what did you think? Was it helpful? How does it compare to Control Unleashed?

It was recommended to me as being useful for increasing focus and attention in my distractable dog (who has no aspirations of anything beyond being a well-mannered pet).
 

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Has anyone read Competition Obedience: a Balancing Act by Judy Byron & Adele Yunck? If so, what did you think? Was it helpful? How does it compare to Control Unleashed?

It was recommended to me as being useful for increasing focus and attention in my distractable dog (who has no aspirations of anything beyond being a well-mannered pet).
If you are seriously into competition obedience and training for it, Competition Obedience would be a good addition to your library. It is hightly recommended by experienced trainers and competitors.

Competition Obedience is really a compendium of methods and a reference manual for teaching the exercises. Often different methods are presented - either directly or by reference - for each exercise. The authors are careful to point out that no one method is "best" for all dogs - a lot depends on the dog and the handler- so you have a choice. It's this 'collegial' approach that makes the book so useful, IMO.

Honestly speaking, every trainer has methods that they 'prefer' to use and are most comfortable with, but having a book like this on the shelf keeps you open to using different ones when necessary.

The book covers pretty much everything about obedience, beginning with choosing the right puppy.

Focus and attention games and techniques are well covered, of course.

However, this book is somewhat overkill as a "pet obedience" book. It's more of a reference manual for serious obedience competitors and trainers.

Control Unleashed is really a different kind of book entirely. It is more-or-less specifically targeted to "problem dogs" and dogs with issues. It also puts a lot of emphasis on agility exercises - hence the 'unleashed' in the title - although other sports like obedience are covered to some extent.

It's hard to compare the two - because they start from different premises. In a sense, they are complementary. Speaking personally, I found Competition Obedience to be somewhat more useful based on where I was coming from. YMMV.
 

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Poly - Thanks so much for your reply and the clarification on the two titles. My confusion stems from the fact that both have been recommend to me as resources for teaching attention and focus. If I explain what's going on, would you be willing to offer your opinion of which text (or completely title) would be more appropriate?

Katie has taken two levels of obedience training plus two one-day special topics classes. The trainer for the special topics class suggested that she repeat the level two class because Katie has trouble focusing and staying calm when we're not directly working with her. During the classes, she was bored? impatient? frustrated? when the trainer and I were talking. Katie picked up the exercises quickly, but barked, jumped, and was generally annoying.

She's almost 16 months; we got her at 5 1/2 months and she hadn't had much previous training. She's exceptionally calm and quiet in the house (except when there are critters outside the window), we take her places all the time and she's initially excited, but calms down quickly.

Is this something that teaching a "settle" cue would help?

Thanks!

Do you teach training classes? North or South Jersey (if you don't mind my asking)? I'm outside Philadelphia.
 

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Poly - Thanks so much for your reply and the clarification on the two titles. My confusion stems from the fact that both have been recommend to me as resources for teaching attention and focus. If I explain what's going on, would you be willing to offer your opinion of which text (or completely title) would be more appropriate?

Katie has taken two levels of obedience training plus two one-day special topics classes. The trainer for the special topics class suggested that she repeat the level two class because Katie has trouble focusing and staying calm when we're not directly working with her. During the classes, she was bored? impatient? frustrated? when the trainer and I were talking. Katie picked up the exercises quickly, but barked, jumped, and was generally annoying.
Repeating a group class is very common. Don't look at it as a failure or anything like that. In fact, if you ever get into more advanced training, repeating classes is expected and the classes are actually set up for that.

Anything that works on improving attention is going to be a positive. Actually, either book has material in it to help you do that.

Which one you should get depends a lot on where you think your training is headed. But keep in mind that what you think now could change as you go on.


She's almost 16 months; we got her at 5 1/2 months and she hadn't had much previous training. She's exceptionally calm and quiet in the house (except when there are critters outside the window), we take her places all the time and she's initially excited, but calms down quickly.

Is this something that teaching a "settle" cue would help?

Thanks!
It might - but a high-drive dog is a high-drive dog. There's no magic spell you can do - just work and more work.

Also, doggy adolescence is a challenging time even for experienced folks.

OTOH, stay with it and you'll have a great, hard-working dog that can focus when other dogs are 'losing it'.
 
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