Reality Check: Nine Things That Your Dog Wants You to Understand

Knowledge in all forms seems to wax and wane according to the dynamics of the times that we live in. This is consistent on all subjects but in particular, with dog behavior knowledge. We have come so far with an understanding of dog behavior and how to modify it, yet old school techniques and thought Read More

Understanding Diabetes in Pets

The bad news is that diabetes is way up in dogs and cats. The good news is that diabetes is considered treatable (as mentioned, cats may even go into remission). However, in order to treat, appropriate diagnosis is necessary.

Understanding Heartworm Disease in Cats

Many decades ago, veterinarians didn’t really know the significance of heartworm disease in cats. It turns out that cats are about as likely to be affected by the disease as dogs - though the disease is totally different in cats.

How Well Do Our Dogs Understand Us? (Part 1 of 2)

So, how much do dogs know? Humans have lived side-by-side with dogs for thousands of years, yet even today this big question continues to baffle science – even as dogs have become family members.

Veterinarians Are Standing Up Against Puppy Mills

"I don't understand how in a country of animal lovers, puppy mills can be tolerated," says Chicago veterinarian Dr. Scott Rovner. "Now, we've finally begun to speak up and do something about it; we need to."

Dog Training vs. Dolphin Training: Why the Double Standard?

A recent dolphin training video has the public outraged. While it seems to be an accepted fact that dolphins are highly intelligent and worthy of humane training, I think the general public is still in the process of accepting the same about their dogs.

The Value of Understanding Value

Our four legged companions have a much simpler value system based on the most basic aspects of life: food, water, shelter, territory, a mate. Then there are the secondary aspects: chasing things that move just because, following their nose because they can, shredding our belongings because it's fun, and on and on.

How Does Your Dog See and Understand the World?

Scenario: A pleasant neighborhood on a sunny day, we observe a human and her dog taking a walk together. All of a sudden, the dog strains on leash, barking and lunging. The human tries to calm the dog down to no avail. She keeps looking around and sees nothing that should make her dog react Read More

Do Dogs Understand the Concept of “Less is More”?

Those of us with ravenous, perpetually hungry dogs might find it hard to believe that dogs could understand the concept of "less is more" as it pertains to food, but new research is showing just that. Researchers at the University of Kentucky wanted to see if hungry dogs chose the option that led to more Read More

Dogs May Help Us Better Understand Breast Cancer

Answers to some of the most puzzling questions about breast cancer might walk on four legs. Veterinary oncologists working with a program at the University of Pennsylvania are treating mammary tumors in shelter dogs with the hope of learning about the progression of breast cancer in humans. Mammary tumors are extremely common in female dogs, Read More

Stand

The 'Stand' cue is an interesting, rarely-taught tool which can be useful when you want your dog to effectively do the opposite of 'sit', but don't necessarily want her to come to you. This teaches the dog to rise from a sitting or lying down position, but not to move after standing. Whether you need Read More

Understanding Dog Play

All too often, dog owners misread the language of dogs interacting with one another. Whether it's incorrectly defining innocent play as dangerous fighting or taking too lightly what is actually aggressive behavior, it is important to learn what dogs are saying to each other through their play. Dog-to-dog play is a series of active and Read More

Understanding Dogs

The first and most important step to building a strong, healthy relationship with our dogs is to truly understand how they think, feel and learn. Thanks to the ongoing advances in the scientific community, our understanding of our canine companions is constantly evolving, providing us the opportunity to look deep inside the dog’s mind and Read More

Optimism

Developing optimism involves many positive experiences, but also fair challenges (so the dog can practice successfully stretching its comfort zone, working through manageable difficulties and recovering from failure to try again).

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.

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

How To Read Your Senior Dog’s Body Language During Walks

You may think that as you’ve had your dog for most, if not all their life, you would know them inside out and be able to predict their behaviour in any situation. That may be perfectly true. However, there are certain things to consider as your dog ages and how this can affect how he Read More

Is It Mouthing Or Biting?

The difference between mouthing and biting It is not at all uncommon for puppies to use their mouths in nearly everything they do. This behavior is called 'mouthing' and is a completely normal part of development. Though this is very similar to biting, the intention is different. Distinguishing between the two is very important.  Why Read More

Possession Prevention in Puppies

Possession behaviors, also known as “resource guarding”, is a natural survival behavior that all animals display, including humans. These behaviors can be normal and mild, but they can escalate and become quite dangerous if not addressed appropriately.

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

Should We Even Talk To ‘The Other Side’?

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.

It’s Me or the Dog Free on YouTube!

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.

Positively Dog Training Episode 803

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?

The “Easy” Dog

A tribute to a very special 10 year old dog who should have never been given up, but boy are we glad she was! I don’t deserve to have an “easy” dog because I can handle a difficult one. I love the scaredy dogs, the ones who don’t love to be touched at first, the ones Read More

Do What You Love

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.

New Industry-Changing Online Professional Dog Trainer Course Launched

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.

The Hand That Feeds: There Are Better Options Than Hand Feeding

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

Why Is My Dog Peeing On My Pillow? (Or Revenge Of The Turds)

Improper elimination in the home stirs up lots of emotion in humans. Bafflement, anger, frustration, are a few that come to mind. But for some, the explanation that comes to mind is revenge on the part of the dog. Once this explanation enters our thoughts, it becomes our nature to defend our view. We create stories around other events that seem to confirm our perspective and it can be very difficult to unlearn what we think we know.

Introducing An Older Dog To A Puppy

Preparation is key. Start by picking up any toys or chew items from common areas. Then decide where the puppy will be during rest times or times in which you cannot supervise. Depending on the size of the puppy, this can be a repurposed playpen or an ex-pen with a crate inside, or even a small room.

Can You Dig It?

Let's start with why dogs dig. Dogs belong to the family Canidae, which includes domestic dogs, fox, coyotes, wolves and a few others. What do they all have in common? Well, plenty, including digging as an innate behavior.

Tell It To My Heart: What Heart Dogs Mean To Us.

Heart dog. Say those two words to any dog lover and their eyes will go soft. They will look wistful. They will be fondly thinking of a dog they currently share their life with if they are lucky. If they are less than lucky, there will tears in their eyes. They will be thinking of 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.

Fourth of July and Fireworks

It’s not that dogs aren’t patriotic, but many dogs, and also some cats are terrified of the loud and sudden bangs we call fireworks. It’s actually adaptive to be hard-wired to be afraid of sudden loud sounds. We jump at such surprising sounds, and we might also run the other way or hide if we Read More

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