"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong" Our understanding of how dogs think, feel and learn is constantly evolving. The more heavy-handed approaches that were so commonly used in dog training decades ago were borne out of an attempt to apply what people thought they Read More
Almost 17 years ago, I adopted a Pit bull. Her name was Claire. She came into my life like a cannon shot and left this world the same way. BOOM! Claire made such a significant impact on me that I created a whole career out of my experiences with her.
Working with a positive trainer is one of the best things that you will ever do for your dog. Below is a list of 5 things that may surprise you about your trainer followed by a list of 5 things you may want to remember when you hire a positive trainer.
Successful positive training relies in large part on determining exactly what motivates your dog the most. While each dog is different and some may be turned on by praise, play, toys, or life rewards like going for walk, very often food is that primary motivating force and can be a powerful tool for shaping new Read More
Positive reinforcement in dog training can go by many names, most of which are valid and worthy: reward-based training, science-based training, force-free or pain-free training, etc. Regardless of the terminology, the general theory behind this line of thinking remains the same. So what exactly is positive reinforcement? If you give your dog a reward (praise, Read More
Positive training is not a scientific term. You will not find it in any scientific journals, and you will regularly hear it being mischaracterized by those who do not fully understand it. When we at Positively refer to the power of positive training or you hear Victoria describe herself as a positive trainer, we are Read More
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
The power of positive training is undeniable both in terms of scientific proof and when considering the countless dog owners who have contacted Victoria and many other positive trainers over the years to express their relief that they discovered positive training. Both for their own and for their dogs' well being, many people may have Read More
If you treat fire with fire, you will get burned. This concept is not rocket science, but it is still science. A study published in the Journal of Applied Animal Behavior concluded that confrontational training methods such as hitting dogs, intimidating them with punitive force and using techniques of restraint like the 'alpha roll' actually Read More
Take advantage of this unique opportunity to meet Victoria in person, learn about cutting-edge training concepts and techniques, and share in Victoria's passion for promoting safe, balanced, relationship-building with dogs based on mutual trust, respect and love.
Join Victoria and her co-host (and It's Me or the Dog alum) Holly Firfer as they discuss everything from the hottest dog-related topics of the day to the inside scoop from the set of It's Me or the Dog and everything in between. A fun, and informative look into Victoria's life and work, the Positively Read More
Do you want your dog to follow you because she wants to or because she’s scared of what will happen to her if she doesn’t? To most people, the answer to that question is clear. Positive training is the only way to develop a common language based on mutual trust, respect and love which guides Read More
Victoria recently conducted her very first webinar, a 1.5 hour webinar with Dogington Post. She discussed her positive training philosophy, the science behind positive training, and debunks the "alpha dog" myth. In addition, you'll get the answers to commonly asked questions about positive training and learn the important differences between positive training methods and the more traditional punitive methods.
Just when 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 BSL Read More
New versions of early 'It's Me or the Dog' episodes are being released with a “director’s cut”-style commentary by Victoria Stilwell. The world renowned dog trainer is narrating some behind-the-scenes info about those early episodes while also getting the chance to set the record straight about which training methods have evolved since the episodes were filmed – and why.
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.
There is no lack of division in the dog world; training methodologies, training tools, cropping and docking, spaying and neutering are but a few potentially explosive topics. Complementary therapies however, are way up on the list of hot buttons to discuss. One person mentions something that even *might* fall into that category and everyone else Read More
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.
I’m writing this to clarify the events that led up to the bite I experienced from a police dog and to hopefully re-inject a bit of sanity into the online discussions surrounding the event.
This is Part 1 of Bobbie Bhambree's agility series. Check out Part 2 here and Part 3 here. One of the main reasons I am an effective dog trainer and have strong mechanical skills when teaching and handling dogs is because of my many years as an student of agility. This dog performance sport takes the Read More
We have a new game at my facility called “cue fasting” and we now require a “cue fast” for all of our clients when they begin training with us. We’ve decided to take the game up a notch in what we are calling “No Cue November.”
The science behind why training an emergency recall with P+ (punishment such as a shock collar) is never preferable to using R+ (reinforcement, such as a treat or affection).
This is not about dog training and behavior. This is about human sympathy. And a mission. And justice. A couple of days ago, I was forwarded a public YouTube video of a dog trainer working with a dog who had previously bitten and shown aggression, especially while being bathed and groomed. I'm writing this to express my sympathy for the trainer. I mean that without an ounce of insincerity – I truly feel bad for him and what he has gone through since the video of him working with that dog has gone viral.
Victoria Stilwell discovers the power of Arson Dogs - amazing detection dogs trained to sniff out accelerants like gasoline and propane, and to alert their handler to the presence of the accelerant.
The Canine Noise Phobia Series (CNP) is a 4-CD compilation of specialized audio recordings and innovative training protocols specifically designed to reduce and prevent noise phobias and anxiety in dogs. “In my work as a dog trainer both on TV and in private practice over the past 15 years, I have seen countless dogs suffer Read More
It has become somewhat common for dog owners to leave music or TV's on when they leave the house in the hopes that the constant sound will help soothe their lonely pets. While the intention behind this technique is noble, behavioral science has now uncovered enough about the way our dogs process sounds to know Read More
I have often wondered which side I would take in the greatest historical injustices throughout history. Would I have been for slavery or against it? Would I have fought for civil equality or against it? If I had grown up in an upbringing that encouraged immorality, would I have gone with the social norm or Read More
Dognition is a user-friendly, scientifically-based online tool designed to identify the cognitive abilities and key personality traits in individual pet dogs while providing users ongoing support specifically tailored to their dog’s unique strong suits. It is the brainchild of Dr. Brian Hare, assistant professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University and the driving force behind Read More
Dog-to-human aggression can be unpredictable and dangerous, especially when there is an extensive history of aggressive behavior. Dog bites account for a large number of hospital admissions each year and cost insurance companies millions in claims. While most dogs live in harmony with their families, dogs of all breeds and breed mixes have the capacity Read More
An electric fence is a wireless, in-ground or ‘invisible’ fence that is installed around the perimeter of a property, creating an invisible boundary. A dog contained within the boundary of the fence wears a ‘shock’, ‘remote’ or ‘e-collar’ around his neck (and sometimes around his groin or at the base of the tail) which consists Read More
There is much debate on whether a dog’s experience of emotion is similar to that of a human’s or if a dog’s behavior is simply influenced by an inner drive to survive. While we cannot claim to have all the answers yet, science is helping increase our understanding of how the dog’s brain works, producing Read More
People used to think that dog training was only about teaching dogs obedience commands, usually through the use of heavy-handed punishment-based techniques. It was viewed as somewhat of a luxury for pet parents and was often wrongly considered to be something so straightforward and simple to achieve that anyone could do it on their own without Read More
For the majority of modern dog owners, choosing the right dog trainer is one of the most important decisions they will have to make regarding their dog. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most difficult decisions to get right. Assuming you have already determined that you need the help of a trained professional Read More
SPECIAL LIMITED-TIME OFFER EXCLUSIVELY FOR POSITIVELY BLOG READERS! *Offer valid through July 31, 2013* I receive a lot of calls, emails and letters from companies and people asking for my opinion or endorsement of their new product or service. Very often, the idea behind what’s being pitched Read More
Victoria is very excited to announce The Power of Positive Training - a rare, two-day training seminar to be held in Manchester, England on April 6-7, 2013. Attendees to this limited-capacity, intimate event will learn about how to apply Victoria's proven, science-based, force-free training techniques to their relationships with their pets by emphasizing ways to Read More
When she really puts her mind to it, my chocolate lab Sadie can whip up what I truly believe must be the most injured and woeful countenance any living being has ever forced another to look upon. It’s not that she thinks I don’t love her, or that she’s in any physical pain. It’s just Read More
Toward the end of March, I traveled to Pasadena, California to give a three-day seminar on cat and dog behavior (one day on cats, two days on dogs). The dog days were better attended than the cat days because, I suppose, there are more dog trainers than cat trainers but either way the event was Read More