Before I started my career as a dog trainer, I studied broadcast journalism in college. I remember one of my professors constantly repeating the phrase "consider the source." That phrase has stuck with me throughout the years, and I've found it to be quite relevant to my work as a trainer.
Knowledge in all forms seems to wax and wane according to the dynamics of the times that we live in. This is consistent on all subjects but in particular, with dog behavior knowledge. We have come so far with an understanding of dog behavior and how to modify it, yet old school techniques and thought Read More
Why dogs and Halloween don’t mix, November’s pet awareness holidays, how to detect signs your dog is in pain. Also, consistency when paper training pups, mouthing puppies, constant barking, issues that come with adopting street dogs.
Here’s why… Your puppy is a product of its parents’ genes. These provide the blueprint for appearance, temperament and behavior. This is why a Jack Russell looks and acts like a Jack Russell, and a Labrador looks and acts like a Labrador. If you want a dog that will look and act like a Labrador, you Read More
Victoria and Holly reconnect after a few months away and discuss how to recognize signs of pain in your older dog, keys to curbing rambunctious dog play, managing noisy nighttime behavior, overcoming anxiousness when guests visit your dog, and how to get dogs used to water.
As a behavior specialist, I am always thinking ahead: how does what is happening today influence how the dog may behave in the future? An always-important aspect of dog training is to teach tolerance to frustration and to build impulse control.
There is no lack of division in the dog world; training methodologies, training tools, cropping and docking, spaying and neutering are but a few potentially explosive topics. Complementary therapies however, are way up on the list of hot buttons to discuss. One person mentions something that even *might* fall into that category and everyone else Read More
And they all lived happily ever after… I’m a sucker for those stories too. I love to see the heroes and heroines overcome adversity and wander off into the sunset for their fabulous forever. Sadly we all know that happy ever after is just a fairy tale ending to a fairy tale. Neither are real, Read More
They aren't the same thing. Testing MEASURES what the learner knows/ can do. Test: measure; check the quality, performance, or reliability of something; reveal ... capabilities by putting them under strain; evaluate the abilities, aptitudes, skills, or performance of an individual or group. A test asks your dog the question; what can/ will you do right now in this situation? Read More
Every responsible dog parent who walks their dog(s) in their own neighborhood has a mental list of houses that they strive to avoid. Either because a dog is alone in a fenced in yard barking like a fiend or because a dog is often loose (and unsupervised) in an unfenced or Invisible “Fenced” yard. Either Read More
We’ve all seen it. Person and dog are walking along the street. Dog spots another person or dog and goes ballistic. Barking, lunging, ducking and diving, in a flurry of teeth and claws, looking for all the world as if she wants to eat everyone in her path. Then we see the poor owner trying Read More
“I wonder if I’ve done the wrong thing … Perhaps I’m not capable of looking after a dog.” I don’t know exactly what had caused such a devastating loss of confidence in what 30was clearly a capable individual. But Gwen voiced a sentiment I come across from time to time. Her family had left home Read More
“Could he not SEE that my dog was upset?” “My dog was on leash and under control - it was his dog that was out of control!” “Why, oh why, do people let their ‘friendly’ dogs invade the space of my fearful, reactive dog, and then blame me for being a useless dog-owner with Read More
Family dog shows can be wonderful events to attend. They are great places to meet up with friends, spend time around lots of other dogs, show your own dog off and hopefully win some rosettes. Some dogs really enjoy these events and walk round the show ring with a relaxed body, bright eyes and a Read More
Since when does “just a minute” only apply to humans? We dogs say it too, except when we do, you humans get angry. You let us off the rope thing to go run around and play and then you ask us to come back at the most inconvenient of times, just when we are having the best fun – playing with other dogs or chasing small fluffies. When we don’t respond, you get mad and tell us how bad we are, but apparently you don’t understand that when we hear our name, look back at you and then continue with our game, we’re also saying “just a minute”. By the way…..how long is a minute?
Today is Cinco de Mayo! This holiday is in recognition of the Mexican Army’s unlikely victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. While not a holiday commonly associated with pets, if you are anything like me, you are always looking for an excuse to celebrate any holiday with your dog.
Dear Dog Trainer, I see you. I see you caring for everyone around you, sometimes forgetting to care for yourself. You're a caretaker, a teacher, a guiding light - sometimes a therapist - to your clients. You then go home and provide the same nurturing care to your own family and friends.
Veterinarians have known about the increasing instances of many tick diseases, including Lyme, for years. In fact, many veterinary parasitologists call the situation at epidemic or near epidemic proportions.
If now seems like the right time, let us help you on your journey. If you’ve been thinking of a career working with dogs, trust us – it’s worth it. Whether you’re just starting your working career or are stuck doing something you don’t love, join us this summer and allow yourself to chase your dreams. Enroll in the Victoria Stilwell Academy.
In addition to daily over-the-counter antihistamines, which I’m not a big fan of, here are a few tips to controlling allergies to animals that have worked for us...
Essential oils are effective, natural substances which are ideal for pet grooming. What are essential oils? Essential oils have been used for more than 5,000 years around the world. There’s evidence that the ancient Egyptians, Chinese and Greeks, among others, used essential oils for cosmetic, medicinal and ritual purposes. With the rising popularity of natural Read More
Does your dog value you = Does your dog hate you? Big question, right? It’s at the root of so many of the struggles with dogs and relationships that we’ve come across. It’s the question we have to think about when there may be a recall problem, struggles with chase, lack of focus or even lack of self-control.
As a trainer I have helped many clients prepare for their coming baby, but in going through this myself, I have adjusted my expectations, and also what I will be teaching from now on.
Does your dog really love going to the dog park? In some cases, the answer is yes! For highly social pups, the dog park can be a mostly fun and stress-free experience. But if you've noticed that your dog spends most of his time at the dog park glued to your side or pawing at the exit door, it's worth considering some other alternatives.
Your dog will feel the Luck of the Irish if you make one of these 17 DIY St. Patrick's Day dog treats. Choose from frozen, baked, and even doggy drink treats!
We’re told as dog guardians that we need to be the "leader of the pack" and let our dogs know who runs the show. But, being a true “Leader” when it comes to our dogs may be very different than what you’ve been led to believe.
Imagine being hung half way out a window by your suspenders 30 stories up, or being held up at gunpoint. That’s actually how I believe many of our pets feel at the vet office, or even before they arrive, as they realize that’s where they’re headed and fear begins to ramp up.
Here are some pointers for dog owners about finding a home that doesn’t create problems and some ideas to prevent barking if you already live in a house with an “un-dog-friendly” yard.
First of all, I’ve certainly never referred to myself as a ‘purely positive’ dog trainer, but I’ve heard many others – usually pretty vocal opponents of humane modern dog training – label me and others with that description. It seems to be somewhat of a dog training unicorn, in that there are those who still Read More
Does your reactive dog seem to be getting more fearful, anxious, or aggressive? Here are key strategies for change that you can put in place very easily.
When presented with something new or slightly unusual, does your dog respond positively, presuming it to be good (optimism), or negatively, presuming it to be a bad thing (pessimism)?
Got a reactive dog? A fearful, anxious, or aggressive dog? A dog who barks and lunges at everything she sees? This is just for you!
We can actually make our dog’s feel both calm and confident about their surroundings AND teach them a better way to cope when they do experience those emotions of overexcitement and overarousal.
The whip-it game involves building real desire and harnessing your dog’s desire to chase, using a horse lunge whip with a toy attachment! We then apply real-life impulse control to it! We show you how to play it in our latest training video.
On this jam-packed episode of the Positively Podcast, Holly and Victoria first chat about Victoria's new book and some of the fascinating research that's being conducted on canine cognition. Here are a few of the questions they discuss: Do dogs dream? How can you tell if your dog is in pain? Why do small dogs Read More
Naughty but nice dogs are often termed aggressive, reactive, angry, overconfident, EVIL - but - you know your dog isn’t any of those things really, they just need to be taught to make better choices and be happier about the things in their life! In fact, many of the things that NBN dogs do are often motivated by FEAR!
Consent is a right of every living being. We expect to be asked prior to being touched. But we give consent to strangers to touch our dogs without asking the dog.
“Should I send previous clients thank you cards?” “How often should I send them?” “What should I say in a thank you card?” I often hear these questions from new or even experience dog trainers. While they are well intentioned, we can and should strive to create better ways of showing our support than a thank you card every once in a while.
Victoria and Holly chat about the Victoria Stilwell Academy and the latest news from the program. They also answer your most pressing dog training questions!
That 'training sessions must be huge, long and totally organised' way of thinking is what STOPS a lot of us training at times, so what can we do to clarify and simplify the whole training thing?