We ARE just like you. Our dogs are not monsters. They are just dogs, just like any other dogs. Just like people are all individuals, so are dogs.
You may think that as you’ve had your dog for most, if not all their life, you would know them inside out and be able to predict their behaviour in any situation. That may be perfectly true. However, there are certain things to consider as your dog ages and how this can affect how he Read More
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.
We're very excited to share the news that full episodes of It's Me or the Dog are now available on YouTube via the @ItsMeOrTheDog channel. It's been quite a while since we broke ground on that series back in the early 2000's, and I never would've guessed that we'd end up shooting over 100 episodes and have the show airing in over 200 countries.
The Victoria Stilwell Academy just celebrated its third birthday, and we couldn't be prouder of the place it has quickly earned as an elite learning institution for aspiring dog trainers. VSA allows me the opportunity to scratch my teaching itch, and I truly love it.
No one wants their pets to feel afraid – even on Halloween. The good news is that you can do something about it, which is what the international Fear Free initiative is all about.
Let's start with why dogs dig. Dogs belong to the family Canidae, which includes domestic dogs, fox, coyotes, wolves and a few others. What do they all have in common? Well, plenty, including digging as an innate behavior.
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.
Through my work as a trainer and behaviour consultant I work with a lot of dogs. I also work with lots of humans, more humans than dogs, as most dogs have several humans in their lives. I have spent time sharpening my people skills and feel that I do a good job of making people Read More
It has been something of a thing recently in some corners of the dog training world to suggest that keeping an easily over-stimulated and/or reactive dog in his own home environment for a bit of time, along with enrichment toys, is a better idea than taking said dog out into the world to be walked. Read More
Be a leader. Not a phrase that you would expect to be uttered by a positive dog trainer, right? We spend so much time preaching about how to listen to your dog, give your dog choices, respect who your dog is, that it’s unexpected that I should be talking about leadership. It’s the elephant in Read More
Close your eyes and think for one moment what is the one thing that you absolutely love to do? No-one has to pay you for it, no-one needs to ask you to do it….it lights you up, makes you feel alive, excites you…. and if you could do it right now you would do it Read More
To Walk, or Not To Walk – It’s Not Even A Question Is It? All responsible dog owners walk their dogs once/twice/for two hours/three hours/45 minutes… per day. Everyone knows this, it’s what responsible owners do. But have we sometimes lost track of what purpose a walk actually fulfills – I think we frequently have. 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
Deaf dog awareness week began on Sunday, September 24th. The idea behind this week is to highlight deaf dogs and show that they can make wonderful pets! 5 years ago, I had no idea this week even existed. Now, every day of my life is dedicated to deaf dog awareness, thanks to the amazing little Read More
After a months-long nomination period, we are honored to announce that the five winners of the inaugural Kindness Is Powerful Awards have been named. The Kindness Is Powerful Awards are granted to individuals doing heroes' work on a daily basis without regular recognition or praise on behalf of animals in the rescue world. Nominees were Read More
“Could he not SEE that my dog was upset?” “My dog was on leash and under control - it was his dog that was out of control!” “Why, oh why, do people let their ‘friendly’ dogs invade the space of my fearful, reactive dog, and then blame me for being a useless dog-owner with Read More
Should you be concerned about toxoplasmosis in your cat? Steve Dale debunks common myths about the disease and where the real concerns lie.
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.
Imagine being hung half way out a window by your suspenders 30 stories up, or being held up at gunpoint. That’s actually how I believe many of our pets feel at the vet office, or even before they arrive, as they realize that’s where they’re headed and fear begins to ramp up.
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
Following the suicide of my friend Dr. Sophia Yin (in 2014), and several higher profile veterinarians – the profession, in unison, said we need to do something about this. It’s out of the closet and I believe that is a good thing.
When presented with something new or slightly unusual, does your dog respond positively, presuming it to be good (optimism), or negatively, presuming it to be a bad thing (pessimism)?
We can actually make our dog’s feel both calm and confident about their surroundings AND teach them a better way to cope when they do experience those emotions of overexcitement and overarousal.
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.
That 'training sessions must be huge, long and totally organised' way of thinking is what STOPS a lot of us training at times, so what can we do to clarify and simplify the whole training thing?
The holidays can be an exciting and festive time for humans, but for many dogs, they can be a cause of anxiety. It’s important not to forget your dog’s behavioral health during this time.
When someone finds out I work with dogs they always seem to say “you are so lucky!” ... and indeed I am. I wouldn’t choose to do anything other than what I am doing. But it’s not all cupcakes and butterflies.
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.
Now that we're into the hotter temperatures of the summer months, think about how hot sidewalks and roads can get when you take your dog for a walk.
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.
For about a year and a half, I was living in New York City. I went from living in a large house on 2 acres to a small one bedroom apartment near a park. In this three-part article series, I am going to share how I kept agility in my life while living in a Read More
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!
What would it mean to you if you could give one call, and your dog zoomed in and arrived at your feet? Every time! Hard to imagine? Maybe. Possible? Most definitely! Fun? Very much so. (If it’s not fun, your dog won’t do it. So there’s lots of fun!) Little by little The problem is Read More
The mysteries of walking nicely on the leash unravelled! With no nasty gadgets or shouting.
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
I have been an instructor for several years and I never really got the value of tug until I no longer had it with Tricky. Isn’t that always the case—you don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone
Pet guinea pigs can bond as closely to their owners as cats and dogs. March is Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig Month – so if you’re thinking of a new pet, why not consider rescuing a rodent in need?
As a society, humans revel in their ability to make choices. We make them every day, many times a day. Cream or sugar or both? Hot or iced? Shower or bath? Do you want fries with that? Walk this path or hike that trail? TV or book? Cable or Netflix? We decide what time we Read More
Although walking with your dog seems like a routine activity, a good walk always starts with preparation and the right equipment. So here are some tips for having the best walk with your dog!