Choke and Prong Collars

Choke and prong collars are still extremely popular with many dog owners. They are generally made of metal chain material which tightens around a dog’s neck when the handler pulls or jerks back on the leash. Aversive trainers will often use choke and prong collars to perform 'corrections', essentially causing the dog pain any time Read More

Why I’m Not (and never have been) a Purely Positive Dog Trainer

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

On Dieting and Dog Training

I have a lot of habits to break and a lot of new behaviors to learn. This got me thinking about my work in animal behavior and how amazingly similar it is to what I am trying to accomplish with my diet.

Choosing the Right Collar or Harness

Keeping a regular collar (also known as a flat collar) on your dog is must for any dog owner. In addition to a microchip, your dog should be wearing a collar and ID tags at all times. Even the most responsible pet owners might have to face the devastating situation of a lost dog, and Read More

Is Adopting a Greyhound Right for You?

The Greyhound will always hold a special place in my heart. They are a regal, gentle, loving breed. While built for speed, their true gift is their ability to segue from athlete into loving companion and perfect pet!

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’?

Leash Control: It’s Not About Control at All

People go to great lengths to try to achieve what they see as a "gold star level" of leash control using all kinds of questionable methods. But here's the thing: true leash control isn't about control at all.

Love is An Action Word

Make a pledge this year to not only tweak you dog’s diet and exercise activities but to use dog-friendly leash-walking equipment and training methods.

Balanced Dog Training: There’s Nothing “Balanced” About It

If I had to think of an example of a dog that was truly "balanced," it would be a dog that - regardless of age, breed or drive - was confident, had been guided into making the right choices, and was allowed to think and learn without constantly being corrected.

Can You Really Trust Your Dog Trainer?

A common theme I've heard from pet parents who fell victim to "bad egg" dog trainers is that they all had a feeling that something wasn't right. But they trusted their trainer (they were a professional after all, right?), and assumed they knew what they were doing.

Heading for the dog park with a dog-reactive dog?

Gaining some insight into how their dog might be feeling can be a big motivator for people who use heavy-handed methods with their dog-reactive dogs, and can potentially make all the difference. They may commonly label their dog ‘aggressive’ and resort to using force, which makes matters even worse. Without realizing it they are giving Read More

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.

VSPDTs Offer Loose Leash Walking Course

Do you have a dog that pulls on the leash? It's a common problem facing dog owners today. Two Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Trainers (VSPDTs)--Dale Ward and Daniela Cardillo--have teamed up to offer a loose-leash walking course for both dog trainers and dog owners. Register Now. *Use promo code EARLY10 to receive a 10% discount Read More

The Truth Behind Positive Training

On Sunday 23rd March 2014 there was a great article about dog training in the Sunday Telegraph as well as in the Telegraph online.  The article highlighted a study that found pets trained using aversive methods were 15 times more likely to exhibit symptoms of stress than those trained using "positive" techniques and that training Read More

VSPDTs Offer Loose Leash Walking Course

Do you have a dog that pulls on the leash? It's a common problem facing dog owners today. Two Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Trainers (VSPDTs)--Dale Ward and Daniela Cardillo--have teamed up to offer a loose-leash walking course for both dog trainers and dog owners. Register Now. *Use promo code EARLY10 to receive a 10% discount Read More

Running With Your Dog

Running with your dog is a great workout for you and your four-legged friend. Before getting started with a running routine, check out these tips to make sure your dog enjoys it as much as you do. Do: Use a harness. Harnesses distribute pressure more evenly around your dog’s body and takes pressure off his Read More

Puppy Training Basics

A puppy needs a good learning foundation in order to be a confident adult. But learning is more than just teaching your puppy basic cues such as sit and stay. The most important aspect of the learning process is to introduce your puppy to the environments and situations she is likely to experience throughout her Read More

Loose Leash Walking

Contrary to popular belief, dogs that pull on the leash while being walked do not want to be pack leader, top dog, alpha, or dominant over their human. There is a much simpler explanation: dogs love to be outside, and the walk is a stimulating and exciting part of their day, so the desire to Read More

Training Equipment

Punitive training techniques hurt dogs psychologically and physically and so do some pieces of equipment. Prong, choke and shock collars are very popular, but the damage they do to your dog’s neck, spine and internal organs is profound. Electric fences are another frequently used tool, and while the salespeople behind them tell owners that  when Read More

Humane Discipline

Positive does not mean permissive. Discipline is an important part of the learning process, but the form of discipline used in positive training differs greatly from the types of discipline used in dominance training. Traditional trainers often argue that positive trainers do not believe in or effectively use appropriate discipline in training, but that is Read More

Positive vs Punitive

If you treat fire with fire, you will get burned. This concept is not rocket science, but it is still science. A study published in the Journal of Applied Animal Behavior concluded that confrontational training methods such as hitting dogs, intimidating them with punitive force and using techniques of restraint like the 'alpha roll' actually Read More

How To Find A Good Dog Trainer

For the majority of modern dog owners, choosing the right dog trainer is one of the most important decisions they will have to make regarding their dog. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most difficult decisions to get right. Assuming you have already determined that you need the help of a trained professional Read More

In Defense of Harnesses

As dog owners, we are constantly bombarded with product after product recommended for walking our dogs. I cringe when I see dogs choking, coughing, and essentially strangling themselves on walks as a result of their collars. While prong and choke collars are the most obvious offenders, even a flat collar can be damaging to a Read More

Jingle Dogs — Top 10 Gifts

Top 10 “Thank You” Gifts for your Jingle Dog. Our precious pups bring such joy to our lives and deliver unconditional love all year long. Consider saying “Thank You” with gifts that keep on giving throughout the year. Some of these may make you smile-- all of them will make your dog smile.   Adopt Read More

Making Manners Fun Series: Loose-Leash Edition

As a dog trainer, one of the most common problems I get asked for help with is getting a dog to walk without pulling on the leash. Loose-leash walking is just like any other trick we may teach our dogs. It’s about finding a way to make it fun for the dog. Walking with a Read More

Dogs May Be Used to Make Schools Safer

In light of the tragic school shootings that have taken place across the country, one organization is sniffing out a new level of security: the use of specially trained gun and drug detection dogs.

K9s4Kids is a new branch of a K9s4Cops, a company that provides trained K9s to law enforcement agencies. K9s4Kids is seeking to create a safer learning environment for children by providing approved schools with a fully trained dog, free of charge.

Respect the Fear, Change the Perception

We all have fears. Every single person has them, even the toughest of the tough and the baddest of the bad. We're supposed to have fears, it's what allows us as a species to survive. The problem is that many of us are mocked, or worse, for our fears, which only begets a higher level of fear or creates new ones. However, if we had the opportunity to work with someone we TRUST, who could TEACH us how to CHANGE our perception of what we fear, we could lessen or overcome that fear, thereby ENJOYING life even more.

Snake Avoidance-Making Wise Choices

How can you keep your dog from being bitten by a venomous snake? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer and there are no guarantees. Seal Your Yard Neither your family nor your dog is safe from venomous snakes. Many snake bites to dogs occur on their own property. Remove food sources, such as: rodents, mice, Read More

Gifts That Last All Year

Reward your dog for all the joy and love you get all year! Say "Thank You" you with gifts that keep on giving.  Some of these may make you smile — all of them will make your dog smile. 1) Adopt or donate. There is no greater gift. Consider adoption to fill that special place Read More

Human Ego & Dog Training

Check your ego at the door!  EGO, this funny little word has such a huge affect on people, it changes people for the worse. When working with animals you cannot have an “ego” of any kind.  Animals know, they can feel the kind of love and energy your putting off and when ego gets involved Read More

If Your Dog Could Talk: Reward vs Punishment Dog Training

There's a raging controversy in the field of dog training centered around dog training collars and methods--Reinforcement vs Correction and Treats vs No Treats. What's a pet parent to do? If your dog could talk, your dog would surely ask you to listen to the experts in animal behavior. As it turns out, it’s scientifically Read More

Celebrity Dog Row–Strut Your Mutt LA a Success!

Celebrity Row--Strut Your Mutt LA, Best Friends Animal Society's (BFAS) first Coast to Coast dog walk-a-thon was a big success, raising more than $200,00 for homeless pets. I decided to attend just for the fun of it, to network, and to let Hollywood know that Victoria Stilwell dog trainers are "in the (dog) house" and Read More

Is Punishment Really a Quick Fix?

I’ve just gotten off the phone with a distressed dog owner. His year-old beagle has recently taken to barking at other dogs and people on walks, and has a long-standing habit of barking in the yard when left alone. After a bit of discussion, the man divulged that the dog had been wearing a shock Read More

Dogs that jump

I am fortunate to receive letters from dog owners all over the world. My show- ‘It’s Me or the Dog,’ has been broadcast in over twenty countries and fortunately the message of responsible ownership is also spreading to far off places such as Brazil, Dubai and Hong Kong. If I personally answered all the training questions I receive from dog owners I would be spending the next two years on my computer. I don’t have the luxury of time, so I will attempt to answer some frequently asked questions via this blog.