How To Choose The Right Dog Food

Finding the right food to feed your dog has never been more difficult. Ironically, this is because we live in an era when we have never had so much to choose from in the dog food aisle. Manufacturers both giant and small are producing more and more variations of foods theoretically targeted at everything from Read More

Dogs Want Us To Know: The Reality of Choosing to Live With Dogs

We as humans have made such progress with how we view dogs, but it seems with so many steps forward, we take a few more steps back At one time, dogs were given far more freedom than they have now, many having at least the daytime run of their neighborhoods. But that freedom also came Read More

Do You Feed Your Cats Premium Food?

I’ve been keeping an eye on and educating myself on the changes and improvements in the pet food industry. I’m seeing more premium brands being introduced, raw foods, grain free, limited ingredients, organic and many more options I believe this is a good for our animals but, can be a bit overwhelming. There seems to Read More

My dog can’t keep still – he’s wild all the time!

“He’s always leaping about like a mad thing,” Jan said, as her large young labrador Jimmy thudded her in the stomach with his paws and jumped to try and nip her nose. Jan dodged her face just out of his reach, so he resigned himself to scraping her arm and chewing her cuff. She squawked, waved her hands about, pushed and pulled, shouted …

5 Ways You Make Deaf Dog Parents Crazy

It’s Because of You that We Need to Drink For some pretty obvious reasons, living with a deaf dog is different than living with a hearing dog. Communication is an important example. Humans instinctively depend on our voice to communicate but since our deaf dogs can’t hear us, we forge ahead and learn to use Read More

Teaching Your Dog Calmness & Focus

In part one of this blog series, I introduced you to what a “Naughty But Nice” dog is and shared with you the first tip to training and living harmoniously with them! Now, the next tip - calmness!

The Trails Are Calling You and Your Dog

Hiking is not only good physical exercise for your dog, it’s a great mental stimulation experience as well. It’s also a really fabulous bonding experience.

4 Ways To Help A Reactive Dog Relax This Holiday Season

Whether it’s from trick or treaters, visiting relatives, or the other flurries of activity that come with the holiday season, a reactive dog is dealing with lots more stress during the holidays. Here are a few ways to promote relaxation and calm with your dog.

A Dog Died Today. Because of a Trainer.

Or trainers. I can't clearly put this in any one person's lap. Let's back up and see where we are. First off, I am not going to identify the trainer(s), the dog, or the family. My purpose is not to belittle or attack anyone. Instead I want this to be a learning experience for other trainers and a warning to owners.

Dog Ownership: A Learning Experience

We’ve all been there, the day you bring home your new dog or puppy and they pee all over your floor, chew up something they weren’t supposed to and your find yourself suddenly questioning, “What did I get myself into!?”. I’ve done it, twice. But I can say that our two dogs are more than Read More

Introducing New Dog To Existing Dogs

Tension between dogs that live together is very common, especially when a new dog is introduced into the mix.  Existing dogs are not able to choose their new ‘brothers and sisters’, so it is up to you to ensure introductions go as smoothly as possible by following some general guidelines. Tips for Safe Dog-to-Dog Introductions: Read More

Dog/Dog Aggression

Dog-to-dog aggression is a common occurrence and one that causes extreme stress for dogs and owners. Multi-dog households frequently experience some kind of 'sibling' rivalry with short squabbles and disagreements, but these are usually mild and happen infrequently enough to maintain a comfort level that allows for everyone to live safely and peacefully. If violence Read More

Why Should I Train My Dog?

People used to think that dog training was only about teaching dogs obedience commands, usually through the use of heavy-handed punishment-based techniques. It was viewed as somewhat of a luxury for pet parents and was often wrongly considered to be something so straightforward and simple to achieve that anyone could do it on their own without 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

A Positively New Year (pssst, it’s not just for dog training)

  Victoria Stilwell has the most awesome fans. You are passionate about animals, care deeply about promoting positive approaches to animal training, and want to make this world a more compassionate place. Take a moment and congratulate yourself (in our culture, it isn’t always easy to follow the positive path.) Many of my clients (I’m Read More

Victoria’s Tips for Keeping Your Dog Stress-Free Over the Holidays

It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Christmas decorations are already lighting up homes and businesses, and I even ran into Santa Claus at the mall! The holidays are a wonderful time to spend time with family and friends, but they can also be a challenging time when you have pets. Anxious or reactive dogs are especially prone to stress during the holidays. Here are eight tips for keeping your dog safe and stress-free this holiday season.

Victoria’s Top 10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Adopting a Dog

October is "Adopt a Shelter Dog" month, and you're likely hearing all the reasons why you should bring home a new addition to the family. But are you ready for the commitment and responsibility of a new dog? Have you done your research yet? Check out Victoria's top ten questions to ask yourself before you add a new dog to your home.

How Does Your Dog Think?

The researchers at Dognition are making all kinds of fascinating discoveries in dog cognition. One such discovery is an interesting connection between the strategies used by mixed breed dogs in comparison to those used by purebred dogs. Their research shows that purebred dogs rely more on their owner's pointing gestures, while mixed breed dogs rely more on their own memories.

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.

Wise Food Choices

Wise Food Choices. What’s more important to your dog than food? Chances are, not much. The experts do not agree about nutrition, however, Dr. Doug Knueven, veterinary lecturer on dog nutrition, tells us that poor diet is the biggest obstacle to achieving canine health: Many illnesses, skin, and behavioral problems are directly affected by diet. Read More

Top 10 Things to Teach Your Dog

After falling in love with a dog that melted your heart at the local  shelter or carefully selecting  a puppy from the breed-specific rescue, you’re now faced with some very real challenges at home. What’s the quickest path to making your new bundle of joy a member of the family with whom it’s a joy Read More

Dog Park Etiquette

While dog parks are ace playgrounds for Rovers to romp and Spots to socialize, without proper supervision, squabbles can break out like pimples on a teenager. Luckily physical injury is relatively rare, but sometimes the damage delves deeper than skin. A few bad experiences in an impressionable pooch can progress to a lifelong fear of other Fidos.

Nutrition

You are what you eat – and the same goes for your dog. If you eat a low quality diet or consume too much food, chances are you are going to put on weight and not feel so good. When a dog is showing stress or anxiety based behaviors such as aggression or is highly Read More

Halloween Anxiety

No one wants their pets to feel afraid – even on Halloween. The good news is that you can do something about it, which is what the international Fear Free initiative is all about.

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.

Owner or enthusiast?

I have a car. I love my car and I look after it well. I drive it carefully, clean it, get it serviced regularly and always enjoy looking at it and driving it. The thing is…I really know very little about how it works. I can check the water and oil and top them up. Read More

Starting out with your new puppy

You’ve been planning for months, and at last your new puppy is here! Your expectations are enormous: this is going to be the perfect dog you’ve always wanted. And maybe that’s right, and your little puppy will become your Brilliant Family Dog. But for many of us - and for many of our puppies - Read More

Your puppy is not a blank slate

Here’s why… Your puppy is a product of its parents’ genes. These provide the blueprint for appearance, temperament and behavior.  This is why a Jack Russell looks and acts like a Jack Russell, and a Labrador looks and acts like a Labrador.  If you want a dog that will look and act like a Labrador, you Read More

Consent: It’s Not Just for People!

Consent is a right of every living being. We expect to be asked prior to being touched. But we give consent to strangers to touch our dogs without asking the dog.

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’?

Shelter Work: It Takes a Village

There is only so much you can address behaviorally in a shelter environment, and it takes very committed people working together to make the biggest impact.

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.

Let Them Stop and Smell the Roses

The language still used today when referring to dogs and training is still quite archaic and often times indicates an almost slave-master relationship. But what if we encouraged choices?

So You Want a Puppy? Are You Sure?

I recently became the proud owner of a 10 week old Border Collie. Having had two previous Border Collies that passed away at the age of 14 I surmised I was savvy enough to do it again. The reality of my decision bit me pretty hard!