Becoming a Dog Trainer

Since It’s Me or the Dog first aired back in 2005, I have received thousands of emails, letters, social media messages and phone calls from dog lovers around the world who saw me working with dogs on TV and wanted to do the same (but usually not on TV).

The Replacement Dog

Sometimes we have the amazing fortune of owning that awe-inspiring dog, the one you barely have to train, the one that knows your thoughts and feelings just by the way you move your body or a look in your eyes. No words are necessary to communicate with this dog and we feel they are incredible Read More

How to keep your dog happy and stress free whilst at a dog show

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

Reactive Dog? Play The Cone Game (With Video)

I often get asked what games should I play with my dog if they maybe lack confidence, are anxious or fearful or reactive or just need some fun injected into their lives. Well, the answer to all of those is something I call the cone game.

Teaching a Dog Not to Be Scared of a Leash or Collar

Desensitisation and counter conditioning are valuable skills to use with fearful dogs and great care must be taken when using these tools in order to make sure that we don’t push dogs beyond their limits, making their fears worse

My Police Dog Bite Accident

I’m writing this to clarify the events that led up to the bite I experienced from a police dog and to hopefully re-inject a bit of sanity into the online discussions surrounding the event.

3 Behaviors Your Dog Should Know Before His First Road Trip

While crates and pet seatbelts are important safety products that can help your dog in a car accident, most pet-related emergencies are caused by unruly behaviors displayed by untrained, uneducated dogs. Road trips with your dog can be a ton of fun if they know some important life-saving behaviors like these.

Why I Don’t Use “Commands” In Dog Training

I often find that people think using the word "cue" instead of "command" in dog training is just a semantic difference that doesn't have any implication on the training process. I disagree.

How to Keep Your Dog Calm During Fireworks

Dogs have no way to understand what the those unpredictable explosions are all about. If the fireworks happen to be nearby, dogs may be able to smell them and even feel their vibrations, adding to their fear factor.

Becoming a Bite-Free Nation

This is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. The purpose of this week is twofold: to bring awareness to the problem AND to provide information on how to prevent dog bites from happening to you and those you love.

Why Does My Dog Hump Everything?

Clients frequently ask me what to do when their dog is humping. First, look at the situation. Why is your dog humping? The whys becomes important, because it will determine how we will work with the behavior.

The Dog Aggression Epidemic

Why is it that our pet dogs are struggling more than ever to cope in our domestic world? Resource guarding, leash aggression, aggression towards other animals, and aggression towards people are some of the most common aggression examples that dog trainers see on a daily basis.

The State of Positive Gun Dog Training: Who Will Take Up the Gauntlet?

I truly believe the only way for positive gun dog training to gain any kind of ground in this country is by developing good hunting dogs, strong hunt test results and some field trial wins. There are indeed positive trainers already making strides, but the numbers comparatively are very small. This must change, and it is fair for those who advocate traditional gun dog training to demand proof.

A Dog Died Today. Because of a Trainer.

Or trainers. I can't clearly put this in any one person's lap. Let's back up and see where we are. First off, I am not going to identify the trainer(s), the dog, or the family. My purpose is not to belittle or attack anyone. Instead I want this to be a learning experience for other trainers and a warning to owners.

How Does Your Dog See and Understand the World?

Scenario: A pleasant neighborhood on a sunny day, we observe a human and her dog taking a walk together. All of a sudden, the dog strains on leash, barking and lunging. The human tries to calm the dog down to no avail. She keeps looking around and sees nothing that should make her dog react Read More

Reality Check for Carers/Owners of Dogs with ‘Issues’

LOSING HEART Why do so many clients with fearful or reactive dogs, who often have started off so well, lose heart? The reason is because they just don’t fully accept the time and work that changing fear-based or guarding behaviors in particular can take. Teaching people is the easy bit. A large part of my Read More

A Behind-the Scenes Interview with ‘Arson Dogs’ Handler Roman Ray

In episode 3 of 'Arson Dogs,' we learn more about Roman Ray, Arson Investigator with the Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Office. Roman was paired with black labrador 'Billy,' and the pair had an instant connection that was captured on camera. Find out what Roman and Billy are up to today, and find out how Roman Read More

Why Should I Train My Dog?

People used to think that dog training was only about teaching dogs obedience commands, usually through the use of heavy-handed punishment-based techniques. It was viewed as somewhat of a luxury for pet parents and was often wrongly considered to be something so straightforward and simple to achieve that anyone could do it on their own without Read More

Do You Have Time For Your Dogs?

I know I don’t always hit the mark for my dogs, but where enrichment is concerned, I do my best to make sure they have as many outlets as they need. That is why I waited so long before I had dogs of my own, because I wanted to give them the best life possible. Sure, my dogs complete me and make my life better, but I work as hard as I can to do the same for them.

Being Nice to Your Dog is Good Science!

All living things thrive on positive feedback – people, dolphins and very importantly, your dog! Positive training for companion animals is fast becoming the preferred method of dog training. One of non-aversive dog training's most prominent advocates, The Journal of Veterinary Behavior (2006) in their article, "Good Trainers: How to Identify One",  recommends dog-friendly dog Read More

Is My Dog Just Being Bad…or Is It “Re-Entry”

Do dogs suffer from re-entry issues after having been separated from their owners or been boarded?  I have been pondering this question recently due to several calls and interesting conversations with clients recently regarding their dog’s behavior after coming home from a trip. One such conversation took place with a client whose rescue dog had Read More

The Most Important Job

When I first started training dogs I was thrown into the deep end. I had run a successful dog walking business in Wimbledon, but didn’t handle many dogs who had a bite history.

Social Bullying

Have you ever received negative comments or been bullied on social media? If you have then you understand how bad it can make you feel and how damaging it can be. This week’s post is not about dogs, but this is a conversation we all need to be having right now, and that is why I am sharing what has happened to me since I became known in the media world.

Obedience

I don’t participate in competitive dog sports or obedience trials, but I do love watching dogs and their handlers having fun, and appreciate how much time it takes on both sides to become proficient.

How To Manage Aggressive Behavior

If you live with a dog that displays aggressive behavior (lunging, growling, or even biting), using management to keep everyone safe is the first priority, along with a good behavior modification plan. What Is Management? One of my favorite descriptions of management is from the book “Behavior Adjustment Training 2.0: New Practical Techniques for Fear, Read More

Your new puppy – 9 steps to get it right from the start

“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

Rescuers or Fanatics? The Dark Side of Animal Rescue

Say the phrase "animal rescue" in any given circle of people and watch for a variety of reactions. Some people’s eyes will light up with hope and delight and others will start backing away with narrowing eyes, faces drawn with suspicion. The latter is unfortunate, but the truth cannot be denied that some of the Read More

Why I Went Positive

Almost 17 years ago, I adopted a Pit bull. Her name was Claire. She came into my life like a cannon shot and left this world the same way. BOOM! Claire made such a significant impact on me that I created a whole career out of my experiences with her.

Shelter Work: It Takes a Village

There is only so much you can address behaviorally in a shelter environment, and it takes very committed people working together to make the biggest impact.

Medical Before Behavioral

When veterinary behaviorists and well-schooled trainers are attempting to understand a behavioral issue, they will always be thinking "medical before behavioral". Why, you ask? Well, because our dogs are just like us. When we are uncomfortable or in pain, we tend to behave less appropriately then we might otherwise. Same for our pups.

Myth vs Fact

There is a fierce debate raging in the dog training world between traditional dominance and punishment-based trainers and the positive training movement. Common Dog Training Myths: There is more than one way to train a dog. Positive training methods don’t work on 'red zone' dogs. Dogs only 'respect' leaders who assert their 'dominance.' Positive trainers Read More

Canine Emotion

There is much debate on whether a dog’s experience of emotion is similar to that of a human’s or if a dog’s behavior is simply influenced by an inner drive to survive. While we cannot claim to have all the answers yet, science is helping increase our understanding of how the dog’s brain works, producing Read More

Victoria Stilwell Book Review: The Pet Professionals Guild.

Victoria Stilwell Book Review: The Pet Professionals Guild. Victoria Stilwell, star of the hit Animal Planet TV show, It's Me or the Dog, and CEO of Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training, unleashes the power of Positive Reinforcment training with her new book, Train Your Dog Positively (TYDP). Stilwell, the passionately vocal dog training expert, delivers Read More