How to keep your dog happy and stress free whilst at a dog show

Family dog shows can be wonderful events to attend. They are great places to meet up with friends, spend time around lots of other dogs, show your own dog off and hopefully win some rosettes. Some dogs really enjoy these events and walk round the show ring with a relaxed body, bright eyes and a Read More

Can My Dog Be Stressed? [Part 3]

Here is the third excerpt from my forthcoming book - Building Confidence in your Growly but Brilliant Family Dog - which points out an area which will be affecting your dog much more than you may imagine. You may want to read Part One and Part Two of the series first.  While you’re doing your best to Read More

Can My Dog Be Stressed? [Part 2]

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

Can My Dog Be Stressed? [Part 1]

Those of us who have a reactive, anxious, or fearful dog, work very hard to make life easier for them (and us!). We try this idea and that technique, perhaps with distressingly little success. Some days our dog just seems worse! Here is the first of three excerpts from my next book - Building Confidence Read More

Stress-Free Travel with Pets (Video)

Should you take your pets on vacation with you? In what cases is it a good idea to leave them at home? Victoria and four-legged friend Daisy were featured on HLN's The Daily Share, where Victoria gave tips for safely traveling with pets, both by car and by plane. She also discusses some special precautions that pet Read More

Therapy Dogs Ease Soldiers’ Stress After War

Soldiers often sacrifice their physical and emotional well-being in order to protect their country. Trying to cope with stress and trauma after returning from war can make even the bravest solider feel isolated and alone, but there are four-legged heroes working to change that. Meet Lexy, Fort Bragg's only certified therapy dog. Lexy went through Read More

Study Shows Lower Stress Levels in Dogs Trained Positively

A new study released in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior reveals what many of us in the dog behavior field have long known to be true: that positive reinforcement training is beneficial for a dog's overall well-being and the canine-human bond, and that aversive training has detrimental effects on both. For the first time, trained Read More

Stress

Pet dogs are impressively adaptive. Coping with new environments and situations is a product of domestication, and most dogs do extremely well adapting to the pressures of domestic life. There are some dogs, however, that find it hard to adjust, and consequently live in a constant state of stress, making life difficult for them and Read More

Therapy Dogs Help Ease College Stress

When you think of a therapy dog, you may picture a dog that visits hospitals or nursing homes. But these incredible dogs are taking on a whole new job--relieving the stress of college students during their final exams. Exam week at any university is a tense and stressful time. Students can be found in just Read More

Victoria’s Tips for Keeping Your Dog Stress-Free Over the Holidays

It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Christmas decorations are already lighting up homes and businesses, and I even ran into Santa Claus at the mall! The holidays are a wonderful time to spend time with family and friends, but they can also be a challenging time when you have pets. Anxious or reactive dogs are especially prone to stress during the holidays. Here are eight tips for keeping your dog safe and stress-free this holiday season.

Stress-Free Moving with Your Dog

Earl looked at me with is big brown eyes and his black droopy lips asking, what’s going on?  Where are we?  Howie has been following me from room to room for the last week. No matter how easy you try and make it your pet feels the confusion and stress of a move as much Read More

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.

Puppy-Proofing

Puppies are fun but also require lots of care. Living with a puppy can be time consuming and stressful at times. Puppies require supervision, plenty of exercise, and attention. One common question I receive is "How do I stop my puppy from chewing things around the house?". I have created a puppy-proofing checklist to help Read More

Training Tips: Hand Targeting

Hand targeting is an easy and useful behavior to teach for so many reasons. It's also a great foundation exercise for dogs of all ages.  Hand targeting can be used for: Helping a puppy or a nervous dog become more comfortable with hands reaching towards him Building a pup's confidence around people  Redirecting behavior Helping 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

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

Halloween Anxiety

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.

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

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

Indoor Cats Vs Outdoor Cats

If cats are likely to live longer and healthier lives indoors – why are we still allowing them outdoors? Surprise, living indoors – though – has shortcomings too. Sixty years ago, indoors vs. outdoors wasn’t an issue. Most cats could come and go as they pleased. It wasn’t welfare issues that changed their world, encouraging Read More

Starting out with your new puppy

You’ve been planning for months, and at last your new puppy is here! Your expectations are enormous: this is going to be the perfect dog you’ve always wanted. And maybe that’s right, and your little puppy will become your Brilliant Family Dog. But for many of us - and for many of our puppies - Read More

To Walk or Not To Walk

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

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

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

Your puppy is not a blank slate

Here’s why… Your puppy is a product of its parents’ genes. These provide the blueprint for appearance, temperament and behavior.  This is why a Jack Russell looks and acts like a Jack Russell, and a Labrador looks and acts like a Labrador.  If you want a dog that will look and act like a Labrador, you Read More

Positively Dog Training Episode 701

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.

Do You Walk Your Dogs?

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

Raymond Parke Coppinger 2/7/1937 to 8/14/2017

Raymond Coppinger, 80, professor emeritus of biology and author of various books on dogs and about 50 published scientific papers passed away Monday, August 14, His Ph. D. thesis in biology at the University of Massachusetts is on the effect of experience and novelty on avian feeding behavior. He joined the founding faculty at Hampshire Read More

Why ‘Dominance’ Shouldn’t Be a Dirty Word

It’s understandable that people in the dog training world get so agitated when the word “dominance” is mentioned, even when used in the right context. The idea of dominance in dogs has been so misunderstood by some trainers in popular media for so long that it has now become a dirty word, such that even when trainers and behavior experts use the word correctly, they risk a backlash from people that are – let’s face it - exhausted from having to continually reeducate the public about what dominance really is and what it isn’t, particularly when so much damage has been done because of the way the word has been used by some people in the dog training world.

Beyond the Fairy Tale

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

The Fireworks Have Begun

The fireworks have begun, now what? Yes, I know you realize that by thinking in advance more might have been done to help your scared dog or cat. At this point, obviously anti-anxiety medication taking weeks to kick in won’t help. And it’s exceedingly unlikely that a gradual counter conditioning and desensitization program to the Read More

Are you teaching or testing?

They aren't the same thing. Testing MEASURES what the learner knows/ can do. Test: measure; check the quality, performance, or reliability of something; reveal ... capabilities by putting them under strain; evaluate the abilities, aptitudes, skills, or performance of an individual or group.  A test asks your dog the question; what can/ will you do right now in this situation? Read More

Boundary Battlefields: Dogs, Yards and Walks

Every responsible dog parent who walks their dog(s) in their own neighborhood has a mental list of houses that they strive to avoid. Either because a dog is alone in a fenced in yard barking like a fiend or because a dog is often loose (and unsupervised) in an unfenced or Invisible “Fenced” yard. Either Read More