Understanding Dogs

The first and most important step to building a strong, healthy relationship with our dogs is to truly understand how they think, feel and learn. Thanks to the ongoing advances in the scientific community, our understanding of our canine companions is constantly evolving, providing us the opportunity to look deep inside the dog’s mind and Read More

Why We Love Dogs

I have just returned from walking my dogs, which is always a social experience, judging by the amount of people I talk to while I’m out. I usually walk in the local park, which takes me past a playground.

Tell It To My Heart: What Heart Dogs Mean To Us.

Heart dog. Say those two words to any dog lover and their eyes will go soft. They will look wistful. They will be fondly thinking of a dog they currently share their life with if they are lucky. If they are less than lucky, there will tears in their eyes. They will be thinking of 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

Understanding Diabetes in Pets

The bad news is that diabetes is way up in dogs and cats. The good news is that diabetes is considered treatable (as mentioned, cats may even go into remission). However, in order to treat, appropriate diagnosis is necessary.

“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?

Sundowner Syndrome In Dogs

Sundowner Syndrome, a disorder that can affect older dogs with dementia, causes anxiety and other behavioral issues that get worse toward the end of the day.

What is Arousal in Dogs and Why Should I Care?

A "Naughty But Nice" (NBN) dog is exactly how it sounds - they are nice, beautiful, lovable dogs underneath but sometimes they make bad choices! In fact, many of the things that NBN dogs do are often motivated by high arousal!

Understanding Heartworm Disease in Cats

Many decades ago, veterinarians didn’t really know the significance of heartworm disease in cats. It turns out that cats are about as likely to be affected by the disease as dogs - though the disease is totally different in cats.

How Well Do Our Dogs Understand Us? (Part 1 of 2)

So, how much do dogs know? Humans have lived side-by-side with dogs for thousands of years, yet even today this big question continues to baffle science – even as dogs have become family members.

A Positive Take On Deaf Dogs

When I attempt to research about deaf animals, either for articles or for my own information, there are always numerous sources that only show the negative side of caring for a deaf dog. So let's look at the positive side.

Science Shows Similar Love Between Moms and Their Babies, Dogs

Many people describe their dogs as their 'kids.' But a new scientific study out of the Massachusetts General Hospital for Comparative Medicine showed early signs that mothers feel a similar bond with their dogs as the bond they feel with their babies.

The Remarkable Connection Between Dogs and Autistic Children

New research shows that children with autism tend to develop strong bonds with dogs. This is particularly remarkable when you consider that many children with autism spectrum disorders have a hard time with social interactions and making friends. The judgment-free, pressure-free love of a dog can help autistic children form a bond not only with Read More

Music for Dogs

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

Developing a Common Language to Set Our Dogs Up to Succeed

"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” ― Mark Twain As a writer, I strive to find the perfect word to communicate exactly what I want to say. Someone can trip, tumble, or slip, and even though those words mean that the Read More

Introducing New Dog To Existing Dogs

Tension between dogs that live together is very common, especially when a new dog is introduced into the mix.  Existing dogs are not able to choose their new ‘brothers and sisters’, so it is up to you to ensure introductions go as smoothly as possible by following some general guidelines. Tips for Safe Dog-to-Dog Introductions: Read More

Understanding Dog Play

All too often, dog owners misread the language of dogs interacting with one another. Whether it's incorrectly defining innocent play as dangerous fighting or taking too lightly what is actually aggressive behavior, it is important to learn what dogs are saying to each other through their play. Dog-to-dog play is a series of active and Read More

Dogs vs Wolves

Many people assume that since dogs evolved from their wolf-like ancestors, we can and should easily draw parallels between the two, and use what we see in wolf behavior to help explain how to understand our domesticated dogs. Bad idea. Even though dogs and wolves are genetically similar, they are separated by at least fifteen Read More

Victoria Discusses Dealing with Aggressive Dogs on Examiner.com

Victoria was featured in the “Pets” section of Examiner.com, which went live on June 21, 2013. In the feature entitled, “Victoria Stilwell speaks out about dog attacks and more,” Victoria gave her expert advice on to how to deal with aggressive dogs following a recent fatal dog attack on June 18, 2013.

Giddyup! The Differences Between Horses and Dogs

Even though I spent a good portion of my younger years around horses, I don’t know them as well as I know dogs. Dogs have been my life’s work, while horses were my hobby, but while I was out west spending so much time on horseback, I found myself wondering how the relationship between human and horse differs to that of a human and domestic dog, if at all.

Why Are Dogs Aggressive

Defining what aggression means is not easy, because there are so many variables associated with what is a highly complex behavior. But by investigating the function served by an aggressive act as well as why it occurs and what result it achieves from the dog’s point of view, we can begin to gain a better understanding.

Victoria Announces New ‘DogSmarts’ Seminar in the UK (Nov 9-10)

Victoria is very excited to announce an all-new two-day seminar -  DogSmarts - Unleash Your Dog's Intelligence - to be held in Shrewsbury, England on November 9-10, 2013. Delve deep into the dog’s mind and learn how you can enhance your dog’s learning and cognitive abilities using the latest discoveries made by modern science. This Read More

Positively Success Story: Scarlett

After losing my longtime canine companions, I decided to bring a new dog into our home when the time was right. I was looking for an older pup who was already trained and a breed that did not have many well-known health issues. I like to say that I found Scarlett but I really think Read More

Dog Training

Jump to: Find a Dog Trainer Positive Training Myths & Truths Understanding Dogs Methods & Equipment Become a Dog Trainer It's a whole new world for dog training. The days of people thinking about training their dog as simply teaching them to sit, stay or down are thankfully fading. Instead, we're using the power of Read More

Confusing Cues

“Sit! Sit! Sit!” Have you ever asked your dog to ‘sit’ and when she does not respond you repeat the cue again and again, getting louder and louder each time you say it?

How To Not Be a Rude Dog Owner

I’m a dog lover and I want everyone to be as passionate about these amazing animals as I am. I would also like to take my dogs with me to more places, and I believe if people were a little more responsible, dogs might be accepted in more public areas than are currently allowed.

Obedience

I don’t participate in competitive dog sports or obedience trials, but I do love watching dogs and their handlers having fun, and appreciate how much time it takes on both sides to become proficient.

Looks are Deceiving: Why Breed Bias is Wrong

Just as 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

What is Resource Guarding?

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

Relationship Goals: Precision or Good Parenting?

Obedience. Such a loaded word. It makes me cringe when it is used outside of the dog competition world. And quite honestly, I would love to see that word changed in that world as well, to something with a kinder connotation. It’s been the status quo word reserved for dog training for so long that Read More

How My Dog Inspired Me to Learn to Become a Dog Trainer

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.

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.

Should We Even Talk To ‘The Other Side’?

There’s been a lot of discussion lately about the pros and cons of engaging (publicly or privately) with people in the dog world who hold views different from your own. This can be an especially thorny topic when the opposing (or at least not compatible) viewpoints relate to a core belief of yours – beliefs that we often safeguard and protect more dearly than anything else. This got me thinking about the best ways to handle such situations, and I figured I’d share my thoughts with you here.