Victoria’s Interview With Dr. Sophia Yin – Part II

Part two of my interview with Dr. Sophia Yin about her new book, Perfect Puppy in 7 Days:   Victoria:  Perfect Puppy in 7 Days really focuses a lot on early learning and socialization. In fact, John Bradshaw, author of Dog Sense, says “Worth buying for the socialization advice and checklist alone.”  Can you explain Read More

Victoria’s Interview With Dr. Sophia Yin – Part I

I recently connected with my friend, Dr. Sophia Yin, to discuss training young dogs and her new book, Perfect Puppy in 7 Days.   Victoria:  There are a lot of puppy books already out there. What made you decide to write this book? Sophia:  I wrote this book because I needed a resource that would Read More

What You Can Do to Prevent Compassion Fatigue

Following the suicide of my friend Dr. Sophia Yin (in 2014), and several higher profile veterinarians – the profession, in unison, said we need to do something about this. It’s out of the closet and I believe that is a good thing.

One Month, Two Great Losses in Veterinary Behavior

Dr. Sophia Yin, an applied animal behaviorist, was one of the first to join my public outcry of a popular dog trainer's emphasis on forceful, aversive dog training as well as conveying misleading messages regarding dog behavior. Yin was never afraid to speak her him, particularly if animals benefited.

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.

Striving for Fear-Free Interactions in All Dog Care Fields

Every dog behavior professional keeps a mental list of other dog care professionals such as dog walkers, pet sitters, boarding facilities, groomers, etc. that meet their own personal care standards. Those standards will likely mirror their own philosophy of how dogs should be treated. Those who practice behavior modification with modern scientific-based methods in their Read More

Becoming a Bite-Free Nation

This is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. The purpose of this week is twofold: to bring awareness to the problem AND to provide information on how to prevent dog bites from happening to you and those you love.

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

Puppy Socialization

Puppies are likely to experience emotional changes as they grow, so providing them with a good learning foundation makes it easier to deal with any challenges they might encounter. Investing time at the beginning of a puppy’s life allows that puppy to become a confident and well-adjusted adult and while most dogs cope well living Read More

Nipping

Nipping or mouthing is normal puppy behavior, but it can develop into a serious problem if allowed to continue into adulthood. An adult dog’s mouth can be very strong, so even when its nipping is just part of normal play, it can still cause significant damage to human skin. If a puppy is not taught Read More

Change is Powerful

I still find it hard to comprehend how anyone can justify teaching a dog through pain, force and fear, when decades of research and a mountain of scientific and observational evidence continues to prove how destructive these methods can be. Teaching people to train their dogs in a humane way is not just a moral issue; it has become an issue of public health and safety.

Barking, Barking, Barking, etc., etc., etc…

Does your dog bark while running in circles, bay at the moon, bark at bugs, or scare your visitors out of their boots? Dogs bark to repel intruders, for attention, during play, as an outlet for energy, or in separation distress. Barking is as natural a vocalization for dogs as speaking is for humans. Basic Read More

How to Greet a Dog

“My dog is great with people most of the time but sometime when strangers rush up to him when we’re on our walks, he backs off and growls. The behavior seems to be getting worse. Why does he do this?”

Low Stress Handling Lab in Chicago at Narnia Pets

This weekend featured another successful workshop and low stress handling lab in Chicago at Narnia Pet, a fantastic positive-reinforcement based dog-training facility. While I have held most of these labs for veterinarians and their staff, most of the attendees at this lab were dog trainers, groomers, doggie daycare providers, as well as some veterinary hospital staff.

Piddling Pooches

Q) Our ten-month-old Cockapoo is adorable; however, he has a problem. Whenever he gets excited, especially when my grown children and grandchildren come over, he pees on them and on the floor. We try very hard to give him lots of attention and everyone greets him on arrival, but the peeing is quite extensive. It 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.

Poop-Eating Pups

It’s one of the most disgusting predilections a dog can develop: poop-eating. You might think that such a foul habit points to a nutritional deficiency or that it means Fido's not getting enough to eat, but actually poop-eating (a.k.a. coprophagia) is a common pastime among dogs.

Teaching Rover to Race to You on Cue

The problem with speaking English instead of using made-up words is that we assume our pets know what we mean. We say, “Sit” and expect Fido to drop his derrier, but the command Fido’s learned is “sit, sit, sit, SIT!” Then once he’s done the deed, we praise with “Goodsit,” when just “Good” would do, Read More

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

Pets Predicting Earthquakes?

With the recent devastating earthquakes that have hit Indonesia, China, and, most recently and destructively, Haiti, many people are wondering, aren't there any earthquake detection systems around? Well, over 3 decades ago, one was proposed to exist. Haicheng, China, 1975. A massive earthquake hits. Buildings are demolished, roads destroyed, but thanks to an evacuation several Read More

Positively Contributors

Victoria Stilwell Positively is honored to have the following distinguished guest bloggers contributing regularly to this site.  World-class behaviorists, trainers and veterinarians are among those blogging, as well as some amazing individuals representing organizations and movements helping to make the world a better place for both dogs and people. Here you will get a unique Read More

Hiding in Plain Sight: The Exceptionally Fearful Dog

The world that we live in, especially in the United States, is a scary world for many dogs but none so much as the exceptionally fearful dogs out there. The expectations placed on dogs here can be exhausting to their emotional state. The amount of fear/anxiety that dogs who are worried about people/things/animals in their Read More

Puppy Housetraining

Successful housetraining is one of the first things parents of a new puppy need to accomplish, and even though the process can be time-consuming, it does not have to be daunting. With a combination of consistency, common sense, and positive reinforcement protocols, you can quickly train any puppy to toilet appropriately. There are a number Read More

Exercise with Your Dog: Burn Calories While Your Dog Plays Fetch!

It's early in the New Year, and no doubt many have vowed to exercise and get into shape. But do you look at your dog and feel guilty that you're working out instead of playing with him? How about incorporating your dog into a cardio, calorie-burning workout? Sure, you could just go running or biking Read More

Why Should You Vaccinate Against Parvovirus?

To some dog owners, the issue of vaccination is controversial—should it even be done? But to anyone living in developing country where most dogs and cats are not vaccinated or to anyone unlucky enough to see an outbreak, the issue is a no brainer. Take the following historical case in point. Unknown infectious agent drops Read More

Why Most Families Should Not Breed Dogs

Breeding dogs for kids to witness the miracle of birth can backfire in many ways. In addition to contributing to pet overpopulation see what other unwanted messages it may unwittingly teach.

Why Dogs Bite Children: A Lesson in Preventing Dog Bites in Kids

This animation may seem shocking to some; however according to studies published in the journals American Surgeon and Pediatrics a majority of injuries in kids are to the neck and face. Furthermore dog bites are not uncommon. Nearly a million people—both adults and kids—are bitten badly enough to require a hospital visit. To some people Read More

Cold Weather Safety in Dogs and Cats

  While winter may be mild in some areas of the United States, in other areas, it’s virtually a wet and windy freezer. We humans have heaters, and special hats and winter clothes but what about our pets? What winter dangers do they face and how can we keep them safe? Keep Pets Inside and Read More

Smooch Your Pooch: A Cute Children’s Book with Unsafe Suggestions

If I were judging this book just on it’s overall cuteness and character, this book would get a top score. The cartoons are engaging, the rhymes catchy, and the overall message of “dogs are fun” is great. It’s clear that the intentions of the books are good. The authors are encouraging children to make the Read More

Does having a bigger brain really mean your dog is smarter?

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

Episode Guide

Below is a list of all It's Me Or The Dog episodes, and their descriptions: Territory Season Ep# Title Air Date Description UK 1 101 Jimi & Duke 8/31/2005 Victoria helps a family of desperate pet owners get their misbehaving dogs Jimi and Duke under control.  She meets a couple whose house has been taken Read More