Using Food in Training

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

Food for Thought: Using Food in Dog Training

There’s a lot of negative talk about using food in training. Even when people are prepared to use it in a class or at home, they often refuse to carry it when taking the training 'on the road'. Comments include; it’s bribery; I want the dog to work for me; the dog ‘knows’ what I 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

5 Little-Known Puppy Training Tips You’ll Be Glad You Found

I spend much of my time as a trainer working with young puppies. They’re little sponges, absorbing every bit of information we send their way – both good and bad. You’ll hear the same puppy training advice over and over: make sure to socialize your puppy, start potty training immediately, and the like. But in Read More

Lure Reward Training

Lure-reward training is a highly effective way to teach your dog new behaviors. It is easy and fun for both dog and human, and dogs can learn new behaviors quite quickly with this training. This type of training simply involves using a food reward to guide the dog into the desired position or behavior.  If Read More

What Is Positive Training?

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

The Truth Behind Positive Training

On Sunday 23rd March 2014 there was a great article about dog training in the Sunday Telegraph as well as in the Telegraph online.  The article highlighted a study that found pets trained using aversive methods were 15 times more likely to exhibit symptoms of stress than those trained using "positive" techniques and that training Read More

Clicker Training

Clicker training is a method that uses a unique sound, a click, to tell a dog that he has done something right. Because the click sound is hard to replicate in daily life it is a distinct sound that can be used to mark any action or behavior a dog does. The sound is made Read More

Victoria Develops New Training Products

Victoria Stilwell constantly promotes the power of positive training methods through the many platforms she has developed during her career as a well-known dog trainer. Now she is taking her commitment to helping people and their dogs to a whole new level with the announcement of a new line of dog training products specifically designed by Victoria herself to help dog owners around the world. With her Positively Training Treats, Positively No-Pull Harness, and Positively Double-Connection Leash, Victoria aims to help dog owners tackle some of the most commonly-encountered dog behavior problems.

Positively Dog Training Episode 315

Holly's CNN shoot in Jerome, AZ, Victoria's resolution to for eat more healthily, how to feed your dogs a better diet, animal cruelty, MN-based VSPDT trainer Amy Sandmann talks about her therapy dog work with Pet Partners & more.

Why Positive Training Is Not Bribery

To truly comprehend why food is so powerful, you must first understand the influence it has on the dog’s brain. Food has the power to not only enhance a dog’s ability to learn but also helps a dog overcome fear or anxiety by raising the levels of dopamine in the brain and stimulating the desire to seek or move towards the food reward.

Positive method dog training – why to use it and how it works

If you adopted a pound-puppy or an all-grown-up dog, brought a puppy home from the breeder, or have a family dog you'd like to get on the training bandwagon, be sure to consider positive method dog training. It's not only dog-friendly, but also the most effective method for training behaviors that last a lifetime, if Read More

Click and Cluck: Lessons on Animal Training from Chickens

By Sophia Yin, DVM, MS  April 21, 2010 I went through the picture in my head. Chicken number one climbs up the ladder onto a one-foot-wide platform, makes a 180-degree turn and tightropes across a narrow bridge to a second platform, where it pecks a tethered ping-pong ball, sending the ball in an arc around Read More

Positive Training

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

Myth vs Fact

There is a fierce debate raging in the dog training world between traditional dominance and punishment-based trainers and the positive training movement. Common Dog Training Myths: There is more than one way to train a dog. Positive training methods don’t work on 'red zone' dogs. Dogs only 'respect' leaders who assert their 'dominance.' Positive trainers Read More

Is It Mouthing Or Biting?

The difference between mouthing and biting It is not at all uncommon for puppies to use their mouths in nearly everything they do. This behavior is called 'mouthing' and is a completely normal part of development. Though this is very similar to biting, the intention is different. Distinguishing between the two is very important.  Why 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

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

Shocking Answers to Shocking Questions

After an article about the use of shock collars in dog training appears, the same questions inevitably come up. Usually, the person asking the question is not really seeking an answer. Instead, they are posing the question as a rebuttal to our position, which is that shock has no place in dog training. Here are a few of the actual questions we receive, edited for clarity, with answers.

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

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

Positively Success Story: Kerry

Thank you for enabling me to have the dog of my dreams, and helping me form a strong bond with my boy (he is my baby, but he's definitely my dog not humanised!) It was hard work, but worth it.

Wolf In A Dog

I am sick of seeing commercials, print ads and even suggestions made on pet food packaging itself, about caring for the wolf in your dog. There isn’t as much of the wolf in your dog, at least advertised. In fact, there is very little grey wolf in any domestic dog! Several studies, including one from PLOS 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.

What It Means To Be Your Dog’s Leader

We’re told as dog guardians that we need to be the "leader of the pack" and let our dogs know who runs the show. But, being a true “Leader” when it comes to our dogs may be very different than what you’ve been led to believe.

Why I’m Not (and never have been) a Purely Positive Dog Trainer

First of all, I’ve certainly never referred to myself as a ‘purely positive’ dog trainer, but I’ve heard many others – usually pretty vocal opponents of humane modern dog training – label me and others with that description. It seems to be somewhat of a dog training unicorn, in that there are those who still Read More

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.

Creating a Kinder Future for Elephants

Is it possible that that today’s elephant species – long persecuted by man – will one day go the way of the mastodon? Sadly, the answer is yes.

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

Why I Train Without Force

If we love our animals, why do people find it acceptable to cause them pain or fear just for the sake of ‘training’?

Teaching Your Dog Calmness & Focus

In part one of this blog series, I introduced you to what a “Naughty But Nice” dog is and shared with you the first tip to training and living harmoniously with them! Now, the next tip - calmness!

5 Ways to Celebrate the New Year with Your Dog

Parties and other celebrations can be overwhelming and ultimately fail to meet expectations. However, our dogs never disappoint us when we chose to spend time with them. So today I would like to share with you 5 ways you can ring in the New Year with your dog!

No Cue November

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.”