We Are Not Who You Think We Are

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.

How To Read Your Senior Dog’s Body Language During Walks

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

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.

It’s Me or the Dog Free on YouTube!

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.

Do What You Love

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.

Halloween Anxiety

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.

Can You Dig It?

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.

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.

The Importance of Remembering That You Are Only Human

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

Where You Lead, I Will Follow

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

To Walk or Not To Walk

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

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

Deaf Dog Awareness Week: How a deaf dog changed my life.

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

Kindness Is Powerful Award Winners Announced!

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

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.

How We Can Make the Vet Office a Less Scary Place for Pets

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.

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

What You Can Do to Prevent Compassion Fatigue

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.

Is Your Dog Optimistic or Pessimistic?

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)?

Create Your Dog’s Security Zone Today

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: 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.

What Are You Teaching Your 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?

Helping Your Dog Feel Safe During the Holidays

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.

So…. you want to be a dog trainer?

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.

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!

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

Why You Should Consider Adopting a Guinea Pig

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?

Choices: Do You Offer Them to Your Dog?

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

9 Essentials for Walking Your Dog

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!