Head Collars & No-Pull Harnesses

Head collars and harnesses are two effective and humane options for teaching your dog to walk well on a leash, and can be a valuable part of your training toolbox when working with a leash reactive dog. Harnesses There are three main types of harnesses-those that clip on the dog’s back: those that connect to Read More

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

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

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

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

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.

From Fearful to Fear Free

Does it surprise you to know that too much fear, anxiety or stress can cause health problems in dogs? Some dogs are terrorized frequently, such as attending inappropriate aversive dog training classes, or even a sick dog who needs to see the veterinarian frequently. Some caretakers have no clue their dog is even fearful. “From 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?

9 Essentials for Walking Your Dog

Although walking with your dog seems like a routine activity, a good walk always starts with preparation and the right equipment. So here are some tips for having the best walk with your dog!

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 Dog Aggression Epidemic

Why is it that our pet dogs are struggling more than ever to cope in our domestic world? Resource guarding, leash aggression, aggression towards other animals, and aggression towards people are some of the most common aggression examples that dog trainers see on a daily basis.

Positively Success Story: Chevy

Until Wednesday, walking Chev was like walking a plow horse. There's no indication she's had much, if any loose-leash training. We decided to take the time to do it right.

When Good Rescue Groups Make Bad Dog Training Decisions

Dog is abused, abandoned, neglected. Dog is rescued. Dog has behavioral issues stemming from a difficult past. Rescue group calls in a trainer, who puts a shock collar on the dog to "fix" him and make him adoptable. While the above scenario may be oversimplified, it happens all too often in the rescue world. I worked on 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.

Trust

I am lucky to have 35 acres to share with my dogs. But it is wild land. There are chipmunks, deer, elk, and turkeys. There are bears. There are mountain lions. It is a thick wood of shrub oak, aspen, fir and spruce with an under brush of various shrubs and flowers. My 35 acres Read More

Cycling With Your Dog

Cycling with your dog is a great way to exercise, especially if you have a high energy breed. Care should be taken, however, to ensure your dog does not get over-tired or over-heated as keeping up with a bicycle requires going at a faster pace than most dogs are comfortable with. Before you cycle check Read More

Pulling On The Leash

Leash issues are a huge problem for the dog-owning public and a leading culprit for why so many otherwise healthy dogs are doomed to life (or usually more accurately, an early death) in animal shelters. Whether it's simple leash-pulling or more significant leash reactivity and leash aggression, the primary thing to keep in mind is Read More

Choosing the Right Leash

What’s in a leash? These days, there are all kinds of leashes on the market. How do you choose the right leash for you? Standard Leashes Nylon leashes are relatively popular these days, and they are an easy and inexpensive option for most dog owners. If you have a strong puller or a leash reactive 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

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

Holiday Smells: The Nose Knows

Holiday Smells: The Nose Knows!    The aromatic heralds of the holiday season are coming to your dog's home soon; roasted chestnuts, eggnog lattes, cranberry sauce, hot pumpkin-spice pie, gingerbread cookies and turkey, scented candles and pine tress. Yum! Pet parents often believe dogs can learn to see things from the human point of view. However, Read 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

Finding a Good Dog Trainer

FINDING A GOOD TRAINER One of the most important decisions you will make in paving a path to happiness with your pet is choosing a competent and kind dog trainer. The absence of standard credentials required by law, or established professional ethics, makes it problematic for pet parents to find a great trainer in an unregulated field. However, Read More

Dealing With Fireworks Anxiety

Here comes the big one! I get tons of emails from people asking how to deal with dogs (and cats) that are terrified of fireworks, especially near the 4th of July.  Like early November in the UK (Guy Fawkes Night) and New Year’s Eve everywhere, Independence Day can be a fantastic time for us humans, 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

Positive method dog training – why to use it and how it works

If you adopted a pound-puppy or an all-grown-up dog, brought a puppy home from the breeder, or have a family dog you'd like to get on the training bandwagon, be sure to consider positive method dog training. It's not only dog-friendly, but also the most effective method for training behaviors that last a lifetime, if Read More