Hand Target Training

The 'Touch' cue teaches dogs that an approaching hand is not a threat and therefore does not require a negative response. Many advanced behavioral issues can often be traced back to seemingly innocuous beginnings like a puppy reacting nervously to an outstretched hand or general human touch. The key to avoiding the escalation of such Read More

Training Tips: Hand Targeting

Hand targeting is an easy and useful behavior to teach for so many reasons. It's also a great foundation exercise for dogs of all ages.  Hand targeting can be used for: Helping a puppy or a nervous dog become more comfortable with hands reaching towards him Building a pup's confidence around people  Redirecting behavior Helping Read More

Positively Dog Training Episode 511

Exclusively in this podcast, you'll hear the firsthand account of Victoria's police dog bite accident: what happened, why it happened, and what she's doing to prevent another accident from happening in the future.

Creating & Sticking to a Dog Training Plan

I spent the first two articles of this three-part series talking about Tricky’s drive, what I did that caused her to lose it, and the things I did to build it back. Now I will talk about what I’ve done to keep it and suggestions to help others to do the same.

Positively Dog Training Episode 507

Victoria and Holly talk about the viral story of a military working dog and his handler that were injured during a building search and chat with founder of Mission K-9 Rescue, an organization helping similar dogs and handlers.

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.

Food for Thought: Using Food in Dog Training

There’s a lot of negative talk about using food in training. Even when people are prepared to use it in a class or at home, they often refuse to carry it when taking the training 'on the road'. Comments include; it’s bribery; I want the dog to work for me; the dog ‘knows’ what I Read More

Positively Dog Training Episode 410

On this special episode, Victoria and Holly dedicate the entire show to answering Ask Victoria dog training questions. From what to do if your dog bites someone to how to improve a dog's fear of loud noises, this episode covers all your most pressing training questions.

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.

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.

Choice Training

Choice training involves catching actions and behaviors that you like in your dog and marking them with rewards your dog finds motivating. These actions and behaviors can then become your dog’s ‘default’ behaviors that he or she can choose to use in certain situations. A default behavior gives your dog an alternative to unwanted behavior Read More

What Is Positive Training?

Positive training is not a scientific term. You will not find it in any scientific journals, and you will regularly hear it being mischaracterized by those who do not fully understand it. When we at Positively refer to the power of positive training or you hear Victoria describe herself as a positive trainer, we are 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

Clicker Training

Clicker training is a method that uses a unique sound, a click, to tell a dog that he has done something right. Because the click sound is hard to replicate in daily life it is a distinct sound that can be used to mark any action or behavior a dog does. The sound is made Read More

Training Methods

There are many different methods when it comes to training dogs and everyone has a different idea for the best techniques to use, but what is now becoming clear to much of the dog loving public is that even though there is more than one way to train a dog, there is a right way Read More

Jasmine’s Favorite! Victoria Announces New Line of Dog Training Treats

Finally! As a world-renowned dog trainer famous for being the torchbearer of positive training methods on TV, Victoria Stilwell is regularly bombarded with questions, but one question in particular has a most familiar ring to her. "Yes, I'd say without a doubt one of the most frequently asked questions by people on my website, Facebook 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.

Do Some Dogs Need a Heavier Hand?

It never fails—someone always says it. In a recent online discussion about a trainer known for using less-than-gentle methods, someone made a comment that sounded a lot like this: “Positive training is fine for smaller dogs and puppies, and maybe even some adults, but there are some dogs that need a heavier hand.” Really? Because that sounds an awful lot like justification for jerking, yanking, shocking, and other things done to dogs in the name of training.

Positively Dog Training Episode 306

Recaps of the Hero Dog Awards and preview of the Denver Dog Bite Conference, child/dog safety tips, the opposition to BSL in Savannah, Holly's pizzas for charity and Ask Victoria questions.

Positively Dog Training Episode 305

Victoria & Holly catch up on overdue Ask Victoria questions, talk about how to help military working dogs in Afghanistan, and Victoria's canine forensic investigation work with Jim Crosby.

Positively Dog Training Episode 303

Victoria & Holly talk to the director of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center & the handler of a 9/11 working dog. Also discussed: the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, resource guarding, nipping, play drive in dogs and coexisting cats.

Positively Dog Training Episode 210

Victoria & Holly recap the Reindog Parade, Holly's work on CNN and Homeless Pets Clubs. Filmmaker Jemima Harrison calls in to discuss breed standards issues.

Click and Cluck: Lessons on Animal Training from Chickens

By Sophia Yin, DVM, MS  April 21, 2010 I went through the picture in my head. Chicken number one climbs up the ladder onto a one-foot-wide platform, makes a 180-degree turn and tightropes across a narrow bridge to a second platform, where it pecks a tethered ping-pong ball, sending the ball in an arc around 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

Basic Cues

Regardless of whether you have a new puppy or an older dog, it is never too late to start teaching your dog basic cues. From beginner cues like 'sit' and 'touch' to more advanced cues like 'stay' and 'heel' which require more impulse control, your dog should be taught using fun, force-free methods and every Read More

How My Dog Inspired Me to Learn to Become a Dog Trainer

I have learned so much over the months I’ve been enrolled in VSA's Online Dog Trainer Course. My dog and I have both grown in confidence and I’ve been able to live my dream of helping adopted dogs stay at home by working with shelters and training dogs and their families in my community. I marvel often about how my dog has blessed my life with love, challenges and a new career. I could never have imagined that day I walked into the shelter that I’d be writing this today.

Victoria’s New Puppy Book Now Available!

Victoria Stilwell’s 5th book entitled “The Ultimate Guide to Raising a Puppy: How to Train and Care for Your New Dog” will be released on October 1, 2019 in the US. The book is available to preorder now.

Shocking Answers to Shocking Questions

After an article about the use of shock collars in dog training appears, the same questions inevitably come up. Usually, the person asking the question is not really seeking an answer. Instead, they are posing the question as a rebuttal to our position, which is that shock has no place in dog training. Here are a few of the actual questions we receive, edited for clarity, with answers.

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

Isn’t It Amazing?

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 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