Behind the Scenes at Crufts

Starring myself and dog trainer/heartthrob Nando Brown, my new Crufts web series takes you inside the dog show, and will test how much you know about dogs and the history of Crufts.

Behind the Scenes of Greatest American Dog : The Maze

The Big Dig Our first challenge paired us with Bill & Star. One of our dogs would have to ring a bell and the other one would need to dig through some mulch in order to pull a rope to release their owner in the box below. To prepare for this challenge, we had to Read More

Behind the Scenes of Greatest American Dog: Doggie Photo Shoot

From the time we started shooting, it was obvious that they wanted relationships to start…. and not just with our dogs. Laura and I were pretty much the only single people in the competition, but I’m sure they (CBS) would have been down for anything! Here were some of the rules: 1. No computers, magazines, Read More

Behind the Scenes of Greatest American Dog: Teamwork

Episode 3, TEAMWORK Our first challenge this week was the tangled leash. At the beginning of the competition we were all given a sheet with a list of commands that our dogs needed to know. Things like sit, stay (long distances), jump, go around, role over, shake with both hands etc. There were at least Read More

Behind the Scenes of Greatest American Dog: Part 2

Videos With Commentary! Okay, here we go….. So Michael and Izzy were kicked off because Wendy said this is the Greatest American Dog, not the Greatest American Michael. Debatable… he was pretty cool! The first challenge this week is Doggie Boot Camp. This will test basic obedience skills like sit, stay, back up, turn right, turn Read More

The Science Behind Positive Training

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong" Our understanding of how dogs think, feel and learn is constantly evolving. The more heavy-handed approaches that were so commonly used in dog training decades ago were borne out of an attempt to apply what people thought they Read More

Just back from Crufts

I have just returned from Crufts – the dog show of all dog shows. Every year I go it seems to get bigger and better. There are more things for the average dog owner to enjoy such as agility, flyball, training classes, heel to music demonstrations and trade stands by the hundreds. You could spend all day at Crufts and not see one dog being shown. I love the buzz, the energy and the passion.

Positively Dog Training Episode 802

In this podcast, Victoria and Aly share great ideas on how to provide enrichment for your dog when it’s cold outside. Aly shares some great canine fitness ideas, how to play hide and seek with your dog and making meal times more enriching.

Change Happens

Once upon a time, I was contemptuous of positive trainers. Not because I knew anything about positive training, mind you. At the time, I had two Siberian huskies, both ma...

Do What You Love

The Victoria Stilwell Academy just celebrated its third birthday, and we couldn't be prouder of the place it has quickly earned as an elite learning institution for aspiring dog trainers. VSA allows me the opportunity to scratch my teaching itch, and I truly love it.

The Hand That Feeds: There Are Better Options Than Hand Feeding

It used to be standard operating procedure for some dog professionals to advise new rescue dog parents to hand feed said dog in order to effectively create a bond. In some cases, it still is standard. It depends on who you ask. The same protocol is also suggested by some trainers for dogs who resource Read More

Create your own user feedback survey

Tell It To My Heart: What Heart Dogs Mean To Us.

Heart dog. Say those two words to any dog lover and their eyes will go soft. They will look wistful. They will be fondly thinking of a dog they currently share their life with if they are lucky. If they are less than lucky, there will tears in their eyes. They will be thinking of Read More

Delta Airlines Bans Pitbulls

Delta Airlines is banning service or comfort dogs identified as pit bulls. According to Delta’s own website: Delta, which led the industry in March by updating its service and support animal policy, says it will further enhance its restrictions, effective July 10. The enhancements include introducing a limit of one emotional support animal per customer per Read More

Food Issues

Follow a positive trainer around for a few days and you will quickly come to realize that we humans have food issues. Of course he is doing what you ask. You have food in your hand! (As in, I am paying you for this?) You’re sure giving a lot of treats. (Usually said in a Read More

Introducing Positively TV – The Official Channel for Dog Lovers

The future of dog videos online has arrived! Positively TV – Victoria Stilwell’s exciting new premium subscription video-on-demand service – has officially launched and is available worldwide. Positively TV is a new subscriber-based platform which contains the entire library of Victoria’s Positively video content plus exclusive new videos that will be released only to subscribers Read More

Where You Lead, I Will Follow

Be a leader. Not a phrase that you would expect to be uttered by a positive dog trainer, right? We spend so much time preaching about how to listen to your dog, give your dog choices, respect who your dog is, that it’s unexpected that I should be talking about leadership. It’s the elephant in Read More

Positively Dog Training Episode 707

K9 officer Shawn Humphreys talks with Victoria and Holly about the world of police dog training, its challenges, and the changes he’s noticing with his move towards more positive training. Also, new VSA course dates, how to find a licensed trainer as well as leash-walking and separation anxiety issues.

Consider the Source

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. 

No Need to Declaw

Saving cats claws may also save their lives. There’s increasing data to demonstrate that once declawed, cats wind up at animal shelters due to behavioral problems. Or they may wind up in animal shelters because they do have their claws and are scratching in all the wrong places. To declaw remains an emotional issue, and Read More

Reality Check: Nine Things That Your Dog Wants You to Understand

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

Your puppy is not a blank slate

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

Positively Dog Training Episode 701

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.

Building Tolerance To Frustration

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.

Beyond the Fairy Tale

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

Kindness Is Powerful Award Winners Announced!

After a months-long nomination period, we are honored to announce that the five winners of the inaugural Kindness Is Powerful Awards have been named. The Kindness Is Powerful Awards are granted to individuals doing heroes' work on a daily basis without regular recognition or praise on behalf of animals in the rescue world. Nominees were Read More

Letter From The Dog

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?

Dear Dog Trainer, I See You

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.