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.
Question: Venus, our almost 2-year old German Shepherd dog enjoys eating her poop, or eats from the cat box. That doesn’t seem right. What can we do to stop this desire?
We really do have very high expectations for our dogs, sometimes more so than we do for human beings, and many times it’s not fair or realistic.
Fleas may be inevitable, but new improvements in flea prevention can help you and your dog win the war on fleas, no matter where you live.
Therapeutic laser treatments can help manage the joint pain that sets in as your dog gets older, keeping your companion moving, which is an important part of healthy aging.
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
Roo Yori, dad to the late Wallace the pit bull, wanted to find a way to show people what life is like for a dog living in a shelter. An avid fitness lover, Yori created a workout that doubles as a fundraiser. The "Workout of the Day for Dogs" is a Crossfit workout that gyms Read More
WEEK 5 Here we are, four owners and their dogs gone, eight to go! The first challenge in this competition is a skills test. Can the owners guide their dogs across a beam approximately three to four inches wide without them jumping off into a mud pit. As far as Presley and I were concerned Read More
New changes made to the UK's Dangerous Dogs Act could have far-reaching consequences for dogs and their owners. The law has previously made owners liable for dogs that are "dangerously out of control" on public property, but now the law will apply to dogs on private property as well. The law was changed in order to Read More
As reporter on the happenings at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show for five years running, I look forward to wearing all my best winter clothes during my time in New York City for the series of events (business networking, attending dog fashion shows, and more) surrounding Westminster. This year I had the privilege of Read More
"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” ― Mark Twain As a writer, I strive to find the perfect word to communicate exactly what I want to say. Someone can trip, tumble, or slip, and even though those words mean that the Read More
Most dogs jump on people because they are excited and it is an effective means of getting attention, but some dogs jump because they feel uneasy when someone new comes through the door, and jumping is an effective way to cope with that discomfort. Regardless, it is an unacceptable behavior for any dog, and, luckily, Read More
Recently, reports of what seems to be an emerging virus have come from multiple states, including California, Michigan, and Ohio. As of October 3, 2013, circovirus has been confirmed in two dogs that have died in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Another four dog deaths in Ann Arbor are suspected to have been in part due to circovirus related illness.
ABC's 20/20 is looking for New York area dogs that suffer from separation anxiety to be featured on TV and receive help from renowned dog expert Victoria Stilwell. Entries now being considered.
Dogs jump for many reasons. Don’t we like to see people’s faces when we say hello? Jumping while greeting is a great way for a dog to get your attention. Some dogs will jump from sheer excitement. Ever feel so excited that you just want to leap around? Excitement produces physical energy and this energy Read More
NJ Rescue Highlights Significance of New Federal Bill to Crack Down on Puppy Mills In March 2010, The Humane Society of the United States, NJSPCA, Cumberland County SPCA, and Gloucester County Animal Control/Shelter joined forces to rescue 90 dogs from an unlicensed puppy mill in Monroeville, NJ. Since the rescue, many of these Read More
It’s a new year. Time for good resolutions, right? Let’s resolve to stop punishing our dogs by accident.
"But I'm a positive trainer, I don't punish!" you say. Well, I think we sometimes do, and don't realize it. I'm not talking about reprimand. That's a social act. A puppy gets too rough and Mama dog growls. A canine nose gets a bit too near the cheese and crackers on the coffee table, and Read More
I first met Victoria last year while we were both working on a network reality show that featured dog-owners competing with their respective dog-children for the honor of being top dog. Working on a reality show was a new challenge for me. The pace and objectives are entirely different from clinical medicine. Once I figured Read More
The door is the epicenter of some common nuisance behaviors in dogs, particularly door dashing and unwanted barking. With positive training and a little patience, these are both behaviors that can be improved and potentially eliminated. Door Dashing Door dashing is a very common behavior that can have obvious dangerous consequences. The first step in Read More
“R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me.” In the film ‘The Blues Brothers,’ Aretha Franklin sings about her need for some respect. The words of the song are as applicable today in human relationships as they were then, but what does the word actually mean?
Do you have a dog that becomes restless in certain situations? Does she bark, whine, urinate, defecate, or vocalize inappropriately? Does she excessively lick herself, spin in circles or chase her tail? Does she jump up at you or other people, lunge towards other dogs or run up and down the perimeter of your fence?
A trainer’s most important job is to help people live harmoniously with their dogs and sometimes the only thing that is needed to create harmony is effective management.
If you ask a group of dog trainers to define what an aversive means, you will get many different answers as well as some spirited discussion. Regarding behavior modification techniques, an aversive is ‘the avoidance of a thing, situation, or behavior that is achieved by using an unpleasant or punishing stimulus.’
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.
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.
It’s no secret that exercising your dog can lead to a happier and healthier pup – not to mention a quieter house and a happier you. The complication is that exercising your dog takes time and sometimes we struggle to find time to exercise ourselves. However, without safe and effective exercise, your dog can gain weight, risk costly injury, and tear apart the house in response to pent up energy.
You may think that as you’ve had your dog for most, if not all their life, you would know them inside out and be able to predict their behaviour in any situation. That may be perfectly true. However, there are certain things to consider as your dog ages and how this can affect how he Read More
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...
Improper elimination in the home stirs up lots of emotion in humans. Bafflement, anger, frustration, are a few that come to mind. But for some, the explanation that comes to mind is revenge on the part of the dog. Once this explanation enters our thoughts, it becomes our nature to defend our view. We create stories around other events that seem to confirm our perspective and it can be very difficult to unlearn what we think we know.
It’s not that dogs aren’t patriotic, but many dogs, and also some cats are terrified of the loud and sudden bangs we call fireworks. It’s actually adaptive to be hard-wired to be afraid of sudden loud sounds. We jump at such surprising sounds, and we might also run the other way or hide if we Read More
Talking Thresholds When working with clients, dog trainers often refer to “thresholds”. This is a common term in behavior modification work when addressing anxiety, fear, aggression, and stress levels. It is also relevant in learning situations, such as a dog park, a group class or an agility seminar. What does it mean? “Threshold” refers to Read More
The fireworks have begun, now what? Yes, I know you realize that by thinking in advance more might have been done to help your scared dog or cat. At this point, obviously anti-anxiety medication taking weeks to kick in won’t help. And it’s exceedingly unlikely that a gradual counter conditioning and desensitization program to the Read More
I firmly believe that any decent trainer is always learning – we should never feel we know ‘enough’, and I thoroughly enjoy being inspired, educated and challenged by our amazing roster of presenters at this conference year after year. It has developed into one of the most sought-after dog behaviour experiences available in the UK, and I’m incredibly honoured to be able to bring such a diverse, passionate, educated, engaged, and dog-literate group of people together in the name of better understanding our canine companions each June.
Your dog focusing on you off-leash, recalling them away from other dogs or even them just choosing to stick close to you can seem so daunting. All too often, our dogs learn that when the leash comes off… the game is on with everything in the world but us. We teach each of our dogs 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
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?
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.
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.
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)?