Can a Dog be TOO Food Motivated?

We packed up our stuff and I walked Lola outside to the car, both of our feet crunching down the ice and snow in the parking lot. Lola hopped in the back and I sat in the front seat. I was disappointed. I was somewhat disappointed in myself and in Lola. Lola and I had Read More

5 Ways to Show Your Dog Training Clients Some Love This February

“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.

How I Stopped My Dog’s Leash Aggression

If you’ve ever had a leash reactive dog, you know the feeling of dread that I had before going on a walk. Learn how I stopped my dog's leash aggression--positively.

Using Food in Training

Successful positive training relies in large part on determining exactly what motivates your dog the most. While each dog is different and some may be turned on by praise, play, toys, or life rewards like going for walk, very often food is that primary motivating force and can be a powerful tool for shaping new Read More

Introducing Dog To New Baby

Bringing home a new baby to a household with an existing dog (or dogs) should be done with great care and a good amount of foresight. Too often, new parents are so consumed with the needs and exhilaration of the new baby that they overlook the impact that this new tiny, loud, smelly creature may Read More

Teaching A Leash Reactive Dog To Make The Right Choices

When Sadie first came into my life four years ago, she was what I would call a reactive dog, lunging towards and barking viciously at any dog that walked past or came close to her. Fortunately I was able to temper her reaction and teach her a new way to cope and behave in similar situations. The techniques I used meant I could change her behavior without physically punishing or imposing my will upon her in any way. I just gave her choices.

What to Do When Your Dog Won’t Listen

Punitive training techniques that center on gaining control of your dog by dominating her into obeying can damage the human/animal bond and cause your dog to mistrust you and essentially switch off. You want to ‘matter’ to her by being the source of good things in her life, so that whenever you need her attention, she will give it to you.

“Let’s Go for a Ride!” Desensitization for the Fearful Dog

Wildfire season is upon us, so we want to be sure that your Fifi or Bowser happily hops into the car if you need to evacuate. Although the desensitization techniques highlighted in this article are applied to overcoming the fear of riding in a car - the same principles can be applied to any fear, Read More

Why I Train Without Force

If we love our animals, why do people find it acceptable to cause them pain or fear just for the sake of ‘training’?

Terrier Shmerrier!

I thought I knew how to train dogs. Then I adopted a Terrier/Chihuahua mix puppy and named her…..Tricky! People warned me when I named her Tricky, jokingly and affectionately telling me she would likely embody the name I gave her. They weren’t kidding.

Help! My Puppy is Deaf. What Now?

Ultimately, what I’ve realized is that living with and training a deaf dog isn’t harder, it’s just different. Here are a few tips to help new deaf dog pet parents get started. I hope these help ease your anxiety and fears during this transition.

The Value of Rewards

Identifying and providing high-value rewards for good behavior is a crucial element to positive reinforcement – one of the four pillars of positive training. Often referred to as 'reward-based' training, the appropriate and timely delivery of a reward during training makes a dog more confident and able to manage successfully in a domestic environment. Importantly, Read More

Positively Success Story: Magic

I adopted an 11- month old Yorkshire terrier from a rescue group in March 2009. The rescue group warned me that she was very shy and had not had the best of starts for a puppy. I had trained several dogs and was confident that with a little patience, she would be fine. After only Read More

Watch Me

'Watch Me' is an important cue, but many owners never think about teaching it to their dog. This cue helps to get your dog’s attention when you’re out and about, especially if there are distractions around that might make him nervous. Having a reliable 'Watch Me' is also one of the building blocks needed to Read More

Sit

Teaching the 'sit' cue is the first cue many dog owners want to teach their new dog or puppy. This cue can be used when you need your puppy or dog to focus her attention at certain times; for example, at the curb before crossing the road, in front of a food bowl before eating, Read More

Victoria Develops New Training Products

Victoria Stilwell constantly promotes the power of positive training methods through the many platforms she has developed during her career as a well-known dog trainer. Now she is taking her commitment to helping people and their dogs to a whole new level with the announcement of a new line of dog training products specifically designed by Victoria herself to help dog owners around the world. With her Positively Training Treats, Positively No-Pull Harness, and Positively Double-Connection Leash, Victoria aims to help dog owners tackle some of the most commonly-encountered dog behavior problems.

Why Positive Training Is Not Bribery

To truly comprehend why food is so powerful, you must first understand the influence it has on the dog’s brain. Food has the power to not only enhance a dog’s ability to learn but also helps a dog overcome fear or anxiety by raising the levels of dopamine in the brain and stimulating the desire to seek or move towards the food reward.

Fact vs Fiction, Part I

I want to dispel a few myths about positive reinforcement training methods.  There seems to be a great deal of confusion as to what positive reinforcement really is and about which dogs and behaviors it is useful for.  For example, I have heard people say that positive reinforcement trainers only deal with obedience training, but Read More