Using Positive Reinforcement on Dogs vs People

Everyone knows I use positive reinforcement in my dog training. You’re probably sick of hearing me go on about it. But an issue that comes up more frequently than you might think is the idea of using positive reinforcement in the human side of dog training – and let’s be honest, the human aspect is the biggest part. The dogs are usually pretty easy – it’s the humans that need the most help!

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

Positive Reinforcement

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

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

VSPDT

While her filming and professional schedule unfortunately prevent her from making private house calls, Victoria has responded to the dog-owning public's ever-growing need for more positive training professionals by creating a global network of hand-picked, world-class positive trainers – Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training (VSPDT). Victoria herself personally oversees the recruitment of the very best Read More

Fact vs Fiction, Part II

A couple of weeks ago, I posted the first part of my 'Fact versus Fiction' blog.  There are so many myths and misunderstandings out there about the science and reality of dog behavior, I thought I would try to help clear up a few more things here in part II. (See the Myths & Truths Read More

Fact vs Fiction, Part I

I want to dispel a few myths about positive reinforcement training methods.  There seems to be a great deal of confusion as to what positive reinforcement really is and about which dogs and behaviors it is useful for.  For example, I have heard people say that positive reinforcement trainers only deal with obedience training, but Read More

Positively Contributors

Victoria Stilwell Positively is honored to have the following distinguished guest bloggers contributing regularly to this site.  World-class behaviorists, trainers and veterinarians are among those blogging, as well as some amazing individuals representing organizations and movements helping to make the world a better place for both dogs and people. Here you will get a unique Read More

The Science Behind Positive Training

"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

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

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.

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.

Tips For Decreasing Reactivity in a Competition Dog

In the competition sport of agility, there are many variables to manage. When I created a behavior modification program for my own dog, here were some of the things I considered to help set him up for success.

My Police Dog Bite Accident

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.

Help! My Puppy is Deaf. What Now?

Ultimately, what I’ve realized is that living with and training a deaf dog isn’t harder, it’s just different. Here are a few tips to help new deaf dog pet parents get started. I hope these help ease your anxiety and fears during this transition.

Doggy Daycare – A How-To Guide

A guide to Doggy Daycare. How to choose a safe, fun, behaviorally sound, doggy daycare so your dog will have a Positively good time!

Canine Noise Phobia Series

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

Introducing Dog To New Baby

Bringing home a new baby to a household with an existing dog (or dogs) should be done with great care and a good amount of foresight. Too often, new parents are so consumed with the needs and exhilaration of the new baby that they overlook the impact that this new tiny, loud, smelly creature may Read More

Why Should I Train My Dog?

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

How To Find A Good Dog Trainer

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

In Defense of Harnesses

As dog owners, we are constantly bombarded with product after product recommended for walking our dogs. I cringe when I see dogs choking, coughing, and essentially strangling themselves on walks as a result of their collars. While prong and choke collars are the most obvious offenders, even a flat collar can be damaging to a Read More

Dognition Is Here!

               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

Change is Powerful

I still find it hard to comprehend how anyone can justify teaching a dog through pain, force and fear, when decades of research and a mountain of scientific and observational evidence continues to prove how destructive these methods can be. Teaching people to train their dogs in a humane way is not just a moral issue; it has become an issue of public health and safety.

Human Ego & Dog Training

Check your ego at the door!  EGO, this funny little word has such a huge affect on people, it changes people for the worse. When working with animals you cannot have an “ego” of any kind.  Animals know, they can feel the kind of love and energy your putting off and when ego gets involved Read More

Celebrate National Dog Day!

There are over 78 million owned dogs in the U.S., and 39% of all American households include at least one dog. This Sunday, August 26th, is National Dog Day, giving many of those dogs and the people that love them reason to celebrate. As someone who has dedicated my life to helping people build healthy relationships with their pets based on mutual trust, respect and love, I have one of the best seats in the house on days like this and I honestly believe that I have one of the best jobs in the world.

Victoria’s Interview With Dr. Sophia Yin – Part II

Part two of my interview with Dr. Sophia Yin about her new book, Perfect Puppy in 7 Days:   Victoria:  Perfect Puppy in 7 Days really focuses a lot on early learning and socialization. In fact, John Bradshaw, author of Dog Sense, says “Worth buying for the socialization advice and checklist alone.”  Can you explain Read More

Introducing the Canine Noise Phobia Series!

My husband often asks me, “Do you really get new ideas from hearing other trainers speak at seminars and conferences? How much more can there possibly be to learn about how to be a better dog trainer?”  After having been married to me for the past 11 years, he fully understands that the field of Read More