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
“Could he not SEE that my dog was upset?” “My dog was on leash and under control - it was his dog that was out of control!” “Why, oh why, do people let their ‘friendly’ dogs invade the space of my fearful, reactive dog, and then blame me for being a useless dog-owner with Read More
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.
Many dog trainers and behaviorists use counter-conditioning and desensitization as part of a behavior modification program. The average dog owner often has no idea what this means.
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.
I have been seeing too many people misinterpreting a dog’s communication resulting in confused and worried dogs, frustrated humans, and sometimes even a dog bite.
How much do dogs really comprehend us? Lots of work at dog cognition centers around the world are attempting to grasp how much dogs really know.
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.
"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."
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
Just as I think that humans as a society who love dogs are progressing into a more modern knowledge mindset, I get my placidity kicked right out from under me by witnessing so vile a hatred against a certain type of dog, that I struggle to breathe normally. So many cities that once enforced Read More
What is Resource Guarding Resource guarding (also known as 'possession aggression') is behavior a dog may display in order to control access to a valued item or space. A valued resource includes anything of value to that particular dog. Just as people value different items, so do dogs. A dog may feel the need to Read More
Victoria discusses misconceptions about what positive training is (and isn't) in the great debate about dog training methods. Also Dog Behaviour Conference, VSA, courses and Kindness is Powerful
Renowned pet behavior expert Victoria Stilwell will share her #1 secret to getting the most out of your relationship with your dog. Attend this free webinar to get Victoria's top tips on the dog/human connection as well as a powerful special offer just for webinar attendees.
With well over half of all US households having one or more pets, it is more important than ever to be a good pet neighbor. We've collaborated with State Farm® in creating a free 35-minute online course that educates both new and experienced pet owners in how to read dog body language and safely interact Read More
Obedience. Such a loaded word. It makes me cringe when it is used outside of the dog competition world. And quite honestly, I would love to see that word changed in that world as well, to something with a kinder connotation. It’s been the status quo word reserved for dog training for so long that Read More
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).
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.
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
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
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 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.
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
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.
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 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.
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 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
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.
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.