Touch

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

Habituating Puppy To Human Touch

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

Hiding in Plain Sight: The Exceptionally Fearful Dog

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 Prevention in Puppies

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.

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

The “Easy” Dog

A tribute to a very special 10 year old dog who should have never been given up, but boy are we glad she was! I don’t deserve to have an “easy” dog because I can handle a difficult one. I love the scaredy dogs, the ones who don’t love to be touched at first, the ones Read More

Food Issues

Follow a positive trainer around for a few days and you will quickly come to realize that we humans have food issues. Of course he is doing what you ask. You have food in your hand! (As in, I am paying you for this?) You’re sure giving a lot of treats. (Usually said in a 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

Betty White Interview at 96

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

The Replacement Dog

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

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

Isn’t It Amazing?

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

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.

Consent: It’s Not Just for People!

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.

“She’s a Rescue”: The Vilification of Purebred Dogs

"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?

Deaf Dogs & Their Stereotypes

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.

2017 UK Dog Bite Prevention & Behaviour Conference

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

Teaching A Deaf and Blind Dog to Sit

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.

See the Victoria Stilwell Academy In Action!

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!

Teaching a Dog Not to Be Scared of a Leash or Collar

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

5 Ways You Make Deaf Dog Parents Crazy

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

Don’t Do Me Wrong: Rescue Groups and Dog Behavior Knowledge

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

Positively Dog Training Episode 504 – Thanksgiving!

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.

Give Your Dog an Instant Safe Haven On Walks

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

4 Ways To Help A Reactive Dog Relax This Holiday Season

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.

I Loved This Dog

As long as there are good people out there fighting for better lives for animals, her life, and her death, will not have been meaningless.