As soon as a puppy is born, it relies on touch to find its mother, to stimulate milk flow for feeding, and as a source of comfort. Mothers in turn lick and nuzzle their puppies from birth, improving the puppies’ circulation and encouraging them to eliminate waste in order to stay healthy. Touch helps form Read More
It is vital to habituate a puppy to human touch as soon as the puppy is born. A new pup relies on touch to find its mother, to stimulate milk flow for feeding, and as a source of comfort. Mothers in turn lick and nuzzle their puppies from birth, improving the puppies’ circulation and encouraging 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
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
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
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
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
Sometimes we have the amazing fortune of owning that awe-inspiring dog, the one you barely have to train, the one that knows your thoughts and feelings just by the way you move your body or a look in your eyes. No words are necessary to communicate with this dog and we feel they are incredible 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
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
I firmly believe that any decent trainer is always learning – we should never feel we know ‘enough’, and I thoroughly enjoy being inspired, educated and challenged by our amazing roster of presenters at this conference year after year. It has developed into one of the most sought-after dog behaviour experiences available in the UK, and I’m incredibly honoured to be able to bring such a diverse, passionate, educated, engaged, and dog-literate group of people together in the name of better understanding our canine companions each June.
Dear Dog Trainer, I see you. I see you caring for everyone around you, sometimes forgetting to care for yourself. You're a caretaker, a teacher, a guiding light - sometimes a therapist - to your clients. You then go home and provide the same nurturing care to your own family and friends.
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...
Consent is a right of every living being. We expect to be asked prior to being touched. But we give consent to strangers to touch our dogs without asking the dog.
Planning in dog training is an important skill to master; this skill applies to basic life skills, to obedience, to behaviour modification and also fun tricks.
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.
"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?
Those of us who help modify dog behavior for a living have to try and not see things during the course of our daily life.
Every dog and every breed or mix of breeds come with their fair share of stereotypes. When you take on a dog, you take on their stereotypes. It's up to you whether or not you dispel them.
Registration is now open for the fourth annual UK Dog Bite Prevention and Behaviour Conference which will be held on the south London campus of Kingston University on June 24-25, 2017. Now in its fourth year, this annual gathering of the leading minds in the animal world has become the UK’s preeminent dog training and behaviour-related Read More
Those of us who work professionally with dog behavior cannot turn off our skills. Sometimes the things that we see make us twitch and want to intervene.
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.
When it comes to training a deaf and blind dog, there is very little information available. This video is a simple how-to for training a deaf and blind dog to sit.
In the third and final part of this series, I will share some of the games I played that involved actual equipment, as well as the foundation equipment I used to build behaviors and understanding.
In part two of this series, I will share with you some of the activities I focused on to support playing the game of agility.
Our first class of students are past the halfway point in their Dog Trainer Course, registration is underway for VSA’s next US-based class this fall, and spaces are quickly filling up in our first UK-based class this September. And we’re just getting started!
Desensitisation and counter conditioning are valuable skills to use with fearful dogs and great care must be taken when using these tools in order to make sure that we don’t push dogs beyond their limits, making their fears worse
It’s Because of You that We Need to Drink For some pretty obvious reasons, living with a deaf dog is different than living with a hearing dog. Communication is an important example. Humans instinctively depend on our voice to communicate but since our deaf dogs can’t hear us, we forge ahead and learn to use Read More
Cue the wistful music before starting the video rolling and many dog lovers just see what they want to see in a video making the internet rounds. When you accompany sweet music with an overlay of words meant to convey what you want people to see, as long as the opposite isn’t glaringly obvious to Read More
For the third straight year, renowned TV dog behaviour expert Victoria Stilwell has enlisted the help of the world’s top canine behaviour experts, specialists and educators to create the National Dog Bite Prevention & Behaviour Conference.
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.
OK, let’s be honest here: Can positive training really work with an 11-year-old feral dog? Yes. Yes, it can.
In this special Thanksgiving edition of the podcast, Victoria and Holly welcome back Dr. Paula Bloom, who peppers Victoria with questions about her new puppy, Suki. Victoria catches up with the Positively mailbag in Ask Victoria, and Alex makes a guest appearance to stump the grownups with some tough questions in the (not so) Animal Academy.
As a committed champion for oldies, and passionate collector of good books, when I spotted the release of one that celebrates the lives of senior canines, of course it had to find its way into my collection.
We’ve all seen a small child clinging to Mom’s neck while he safely views the world from under her hair. A little puppy has the same need for a safe haven. You may have seen your own puppy hurtle in from the garden when there’s an alarming noise, and dive into her bed. Plunging into the Read More
Whether it’s from trick or treaters, visiting relatives, or the other flurries of activity that come with the holiday season, a reactive dog is dealing with lots more stress during the holidays. Here are a few ways to promote relaxation and calm with your dog.