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
We’ve heard the phrase “work like a dog” but how many of us really understand what that means? I know and from my first-hand experience I’ll tell you why.
Annual pet exams aren’t just for administering vaccines; they also provide an important opportunity to develop a customized veterinary wellness plan for our pets.
This series of blog posts recounts topics drawn from the Pet Professional Guild Radio Show, featuring Linda Michaels. Question: What are some of the benefits of using Positive Reinforcement (+R)? Answer: The benefits of using Positive Reinforcement training with our companion animals are pretty much the opposite of the drawbacks of using aversive punishment. Goodness, today, all progressive Read More
There is perhaps no greater experience than participating in an activity with your dog that satisfies you both. The bonding experience created is unparalleled.
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.
If reliability means the dog does what you say, when you say it, every time you say it, then the "do as I say attitude" seems to make sense on the surface. However, as a positive gun dog trainer, I have become convinced that the "do as I say" attitude misses the mark.
When we hug our dogs we are sending out our affection and sharing our love. What we are giving out isn’t necessarily what the dog is receiving. To a dog, a hug is very bad canine etiquette, pushy behavior associated with establishing social status, an invasion of space, threatening.
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
Ever wonder what dogs are saying to each other while they chill out in the laundry room? Or our cats when they tire of the scratching post. How about why lizards lie around on rocks all day? I think these videos from Pets Add Life really hit the nail on the head. Of course, I'm Read More
New study says that dogs have bigger brains relative to their body compared to cats. But does that mean that dogs are actually smarter? Or that cats are dumb? The study published by researchers at Oxford University charted the evolution of mammal brains over the last 60 million years. They scientists found that mammals such Read More
Training is a critical component of our relationship with dogs. Training isn’t about teaching dogs to do tricks for our amusement or about bending them to our will; it’s about enhancing communication between species and assuring good outcomes for everybody. And it’s another way to enhance the human-animal bond, and the particularly special relationship we Read More
You have likely heard the word suppression used to describe the effects of punishment on the target behavior. You may also have heard some people scoff at this word because they believe punishment can permanently eliminate a behavior. I'd like to clarify that a bit.
Hello everyone, it’s so nice to have been asked to blog for Victoria’s site. I have watched her show often and thoroughly approve of her training methods. Positive training is the right way to go and, as you can see on the show, allows you to train a dog to do practically anything without resorting Read More
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
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
There’s been a lot of discussion lately about the pros and cons of engaging (publicly or privately) with people in the dog world who hold views different from your own. This can be an especially thorny topic when the opposing (or at least not compatible) viewpoints relate to a core belief of yours – beliefs that we often safeguard and protect more dearly than anything else. This got me thinking about the best ways to handle such situations, and I figured I’d share my thoughts with you here.
We're very excited to share the news that full episodes of It's Me or the Dog are now available on YouTube via the @ItsMeOrTheDog channel. It's been quite a while since we broke ground on that series back in the early 2000's, and I never would've guessed that we'd end up shooting over 100 episodes and have the show airing in over 200 countries.
Those of us who get paid to help dog parents with their dog’s behavior issues need to be able to accurately and understandably convey to those dog parents that how they respond to each situation helps determine the outcome.
We resolve to remember, if only for a moment, to observe and appreciate the joy our dogs bring us simply by being alive.
Aly and Victoria discuss how you can make your dog feel more comfortable during the holidays. Whether your dog is shy of people or a social butterfly, discover great ways to prevent overwhelm and set your dog up for success. How can you teach visiting children to understand what your dog needs and to respect your dog’s space? Can you feed your dog table scraps?
In this podcast, Victoria and Aly share great ideas on how to provide enrichment for your dog when it’s cold outside. Aly shares some great canine fitness ideas, how to play hide and seek with your dog and making meal times more enriching.
Some pups would bark “bah humbug!” if they could. They just don’t appreciate the Christmas spirit.
Victoria is joined by Victoria Stilwell Academy's Curriculum Manager, Aly Lecznar, to talk about VSA's newly-launched Online Dog Trainer Course and the introductory Fundamentals of Dog Training & Behavior Course, including what makes VSA such a groundbreaking new learning opportunity both for dog owners and aspiring professional dog trainers.
It's time we start talking seriously about puppy mills.
Love truly is ageless. While this is the last day of Adopt A Senior month, we would say that every day is a great day to bring love and companionship into your life.
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...
The Victoria Stilwell Academy just celebrated its third birthday, and we couldn't be prouder of the place it has quickly earned as an elite learning institution for aspiring dog trainers. VSA allows me the opportunity to scratch my teaching itch, and I truly love it.
Pets, livestock, and wildlife are particularly vulnerable when disaster strikes.
Following years of development, renowned dog behavior expert Victoria Stilwell and her Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training & Behavior educational arm announce the launch of the Online Dog Trainer Course – a game-changing new online-only course designed to teach those aspiring to become professional dog trainers.
It’s scary. And you’re not alone - over 4.2 million dog-owning households and nearly two million cat-caretakers will be treating their furry companions to ghoulish goodies and ghoulish toys this Halloween, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). Also, according to the NRF, pet “moms” and “dads” will spend over $440 million on Halloween. That’s Read More
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.
It used to be standard operating procedure for some dog professionals to advise new rescue dog parents to hand feed said dog in order to effectively create a bond. In some cases, it still is standard. It depends on who you ask. The same protocol is also suggested by some trainers for dogs who resource Read More