Do you ever feel like you have one of those Catch 22 situations, where you want to allow your dog to have more freedom but as soon as your dog gets any kind of freedom you worry that soon enough he or she will likely disappear to… Run in the woods Scent in the grass Read More
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The secret to teaching your dog to 'stay' is to not move through the stages too fast. Build the cue up gradually, lengthening the time and distance of the stay. This cue teaches your dog impulse control skills and can be used in a variety of situations, such as the front door, before crossing a 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
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
We resolve to remember, if only for a moment, to observe and appreciate the joy our dogs bring us simply by being alive.
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...
Pets, livestock, and wildlife are particularly vulnerable when disaster strikes.
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.
It has been something of a thing recently in some corners of the dog training world to suggest that keeping an easily over-stimulated and/or reactive dog in his own home environment for a bit of time, along with enrichment toys, is a better idea than taking said dog out into the world to be walked. Read More
In some of my other worlds, parenting and school teaching, the idea of Growth vs Fixed Mindsets has taken off. You can read more here, but in a nutshell, you avoid labeling children as smart or not smart. You look for and acknowledge behaviours like effort, persistence, thoughtful choices, small steps taken and achieved; and Read More
For over a decade, I’ve been blessed to work with all types of animals. People and institutions contact me to assist them with their domestic animals, farm animals and sanctuary animals. I work with them in numerous ways but, what I’m probably best known for is my work with missing animals. I have worked with Read More
Be a leader. Not a phrase that you would expect to be uttered by a positive dog trainer, right? We spend so much time preaching about how to listen to your dog, give your dog choices, respect who your dog is, that it’s unexpected that I should be talking about leadership. It’s the elephant in Read More
A client of mine rescued a dog from a local county shelter. The dog was cute and scruffy tan terrier mix. Sort of similar to the famous movie star dog Benji. My client had gone to the county shelter hoping to find the perfect furry companion for her and her family. She didn’t have any Read More
Betty White recently celebrated her 96th birthday. Privately, she’ll tell you that she’s glad she became an actress because she loves her work, but also because it’s given her a platform to advocate for animals. And, boy, does she adore animals, and she been advocated for animals – both wildlife and pets for about as Read More
To Walk, or Not To Walk – It’s Not Even A Question Is It? All responsible dog owners walk their dogs once/twice/for two hours/three hours/45 minutes… per day. Everyone knows this, it’s what responsible owners do. But have we sometimes lost track of what purpose a walk actually fulfills – I think we frequently have. Read More
Talking Thresholds When working with clients, dog trainers often refer to “thresholds”. This is a common term in behavior modification work when addressing anxiety, fear, aggression, and stress levels. It is also relevant in learning situations, such as a dog park, a group class or an agility seminar. What does it mean? “Threshold” refers to Read More
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
I spend much of my time as a trainer working with young puppies. They’re little sponges, absorbing every bit of information we send their way – both good and bad. You’ll hear the same puppy training advice over and over: make sure to socialize your puppy, start potty training immediately, and the like. But in Read More
Victoria and Holly reconnect after a few months away and discuss how to recognize signs of pain in your older dog, keys to curbing rambunctious dog play, managing noisy nighttime behavior, overcoming anxiousness when guests visit your dog, and how to get dogs used to water.
Our dogs have a big fenced back yard with plenty of grass, plants, bushes and fun places to enjoy their time outside. They even have some bird feeders, where they promptly chase the birds away when running out of the house to their big back yard. It’s a wonderful sanctuary for them to play, lounge, Read More
Veterinarians assumed, based on symptoms, it was the dog flu that is still spreading through Bozeman, MT. And it’s happening in epidemic proportions. Imagine over 200 sick dogs in a community of 40,000 people. Dr. Jarrod Moss in Bozeman estimates that that 20 percent of community’s dogs became ill, and some died. Moss says, “I Read More
And they all lived happily ever after… I’m a sucker for those stories too. I love to see the heroes and heroines overcome adversity and wander off into the sunset for their fabulous forever. Sadly we all know that happy ever after is just a fairy tale ending to a fairy tale. Neither are real, Read More
It’s nothing to sneeze at, an outbreak of dog flu affecting at least 11 states. After inundating Chicago with flu and bouncing around the country in 2015 into 2016, the H3N2 virus, which arrived from Southeast Asia, took a lower profile. Last month, the virus appeared on radar, and in a big way. The epicenter Read More
Protecting our dogs from the world and the world from our dogs can sometimes feel like a full-time operation. Not with middle! It’s the portable safe place that you can take anywhere and it’s the mainstay of our Leash Off, Game On off-leash reliability games that we show in our free DVD: https://game.absolute-dogs.com/leashoffgameon The benefits of Read More
After a months-long nomination period, we are honored to announce that the five winners of the inaugural Kindness Is Powerful Awards have been named. The Kindness Is Powerful Awards are granted to individuals doing heroes' work on a daily basis without regular recognition or praise on behalf of animals in the rescue world. Nominees were Read More
In addition to daily over-the-counter antihistamines, which I’m not a big fan of, here are a few tips to controlling allergies to animals that have worked for us...
That 'training sessions must be huge, long and totally organised' way of thinking is what STOPS a lot of us training at times, so what can we do to clarify and simplify the whole training thing?
Just last week, we concluded another successful in-person intensive with the Victoria Stilwell Academy’s Dog Trainer Course students. As I sat there in the back of the room, I watched our awesome faculty member, Nichole Smith from Working With Dog, absolutely rocking this super-important lesson and content. Just about every day during our six-month course, Read More
As a dog trainer, what I can do is teach you how to set your dog up so that the right choice becomes more obvious and comfortable to him. What I need for this is your help.
The holidays can be an exciting and festive time for humans, but for many dogs, they can be a cause of anxiety. It’s important not to forget your dog’s behavioral health during this time.
Victoria and Holly chat about the Thanksgiving holiday and what they're thankful for. They also talk about why the month of November is the month with the most amount of car collisions with deer, and how you can stay safe.
The ageism that causes seniors to be passed over is a prejudice without merit, as oftentimes it’s the older dog that is best suited for a happy household and a lasting marriage of dog and family. Here’s why...
Bringing a new puppy home is a very exciting experience from your family, and it's very important that from day one, you're armed with the best possible positive training information.
A dog that is coming off as "stubborn" is actually a dog that is either unmotivated or has no idea what is being asked. There are a couple ways to motivate your dog.
Here is the second of three excerpts from my forthcoming book - Building Confidence in your Growly but Brilliant Family Dog - which points out an area which will be affecting your dog mightily. Read the first excerpt here. While you’re doing your best to improve the situation and you take a look at what may Read More
"She's a rescue." I found myself wanting to say the words out loud as I walked my Labradoodle past a girl who looked at us disapprovingly and then shot me a judgmental glare. Why did I feel the need to justify anything to this complete stranger? Why have "purebred" dogs become so vilified?