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 I’m Trying to Say

Positively Contributor and Colorado-based VSPDT Louisa Morrissey discusses dog body language and communication, and how you can better understand what your dog is trying to tell you.

Why I’m Not a Purely Positive Dog Trainer

First of all, I have certainly never referred to myself as a ‘purely positive’ dog trainer, but I have heard many others – usually pretty vocal opponents of humane modern dog training – label me and others with that description.

Social Bullying

Have you ever received negative comments or been bullied on social media? If you have then you understand how bad it can make you feel and how damaging it can be. This week’s post is not about dogs, but this is a conversation we all need to be having right now, and that is why I am sharing what has happened to me since I became known in the media world.

Labeling Dog Behavior

Every dog lover uses labels to describe their dog’s personality – my dog is ‘aggressive’, ‘stupid’ ‘highly driven,’ ‘lazy,’ ‘stubborn,’ ‘happy,’ or ‘dominant,’ but labels can be misleading and limit a dog’s potential.

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.

Isn’t It Amazing?

I firmly believe that any decent trainer is always learning – we should never feel we know ‘enough’, and I thoroughly enjoy being inspired, educated and challenged by our amazing roster of presenters at this conference year after year. It has developed into one of the most sought-after dog behaviour experiences available in the UK, and I’m incredibly honoured to be able to bring such a diverse, passionate, educated, engaged, and dog-literate group of people together in the name of better understanding our canine companions each June.

Letter From The Dog

Since when does “just a minute” only apply to humans? We dogs say it too, except when we do, you humans get angry. You let us off the rope thing to go run around and play and then you ask us to come back at the most inconvenient of times, just when we are having the best fun – playing with other dogs or chasing small fluffies. When we don’t respond, you get mad and tell us how bad we are, but apparently you don’t understand that when we hear our name, look back at you and then continue with our game, we’re also saying “just a minute”. By the way…..how long is a minute?

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)?

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.

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

Creating & Sticking to a Dog Training Plan

I spent the first two articles of this three-part series talking about Tricky’s drive, what I did that caused her to lose it, and the things I did to build it back. Now I will talk about what I’ve done to keep it and suggestions to help others to do the same.

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.

How To Change How A Dog Feels About Scary Stuff: Step Two

Many dogs are constantly scared and startled by objects or events in their environment. Sometimes we have control over those things, often we don’t, but we can still help the dog learn to feel better, safer and more comfortable, around them.

How Not To Groom a Biting Dog

Every now and then a video crosses my desk from people either amazed, dismayed or generally seeking my opinion on something. Such was the case when I was shared this video, and I felt it was a great learning opportunity to highlight some of the misconceptions and ‘teaching moments’ of what should not be done when teaching a dog with a history of biting while being groomed.

On Dieting and Dog Training

I have a lot of habits to break and a lot of new behaviors to learn. This got me thinking about my work in animal behavior and how amazingly similar it is to what I am trying to accomplish with my diet.

Forcing Hugs on Dogs Can Amount to Punishment

When we hug our dogs we are sending out our affection and sharing our love. What we are giving out isn’t necessarily what the dog is receiving. To a dog, a hug is very bad canine etiquette, pushy behavior associated with establishing social status, an invasion of space, threatening.

A Positively New Year (pssst, it’s not just for dog training)

  Victoria Stilwell has the most awesome fans. You are passionate about animals, care deeply about promoting positive approaches to animal training, and want to make this world a more compassionate place. Take a moment and congratulate yourself (in our culture, it isn’t always easy to follow the positive path.) Many of my clients (I’m Read More

Making Manners Fun: Counter-Surfing (Holiday) Edition

With the holidays rapidly approaching, many dog owners are going to be faced with GREAT opportunities to work on counter-surfing with their dogs. As we have family over to celebrate the holiday season, there will inevitably be mouthwatering treats and other great smells out on the countertops. It’s so important to remember that our dogs Read More

My Busy October!

I don’t know why, but October always seems to be one of the busiest months of the year for me. It’s also one of the most fun and rewarding, and this October has not let me down! Between my filming schedule, the Hero Dog Awards in LA, my trip to Savannah for a school and jail dog program visit, a cat training session in Denver for the winner of the InFURvention contest, the APDT conference, ongoing development of new projects, my work with VSPDT, and of course being a wife and mom, it’s been a pretty full few weeks.

How to Become an Animal Communicator!

Ever get the feeling your dog is talking to you? You’re right. If you’ve longed to know what’s going on in your dog’s heart and mind, and to communicate back, here’s a surefire way to connect. Learn to read what your dog is saying to you, and speak to your dog in a language your Read More

Pets Add Life!

The Christmas Puppy.  We’ve all heard it before, and most of us know someone who has actually done it.  Despite the best efforts of humane societies and shelters around the world, the holiday season is still among the busiest times of the year in terms of people adding new pets to their household.  And regardless Read More

A Conversation with Victoria Stilwell

In my recently published interview, Victoria Stilwell discusses the major differences in dog training methods... and explains why "methods matter" to all pet parents and to every dog. Victoria goes directly to the heart of a "hot" issue in dog training that is too often misrepresented to people searching for help with their beloved pup. Read More

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

I recently connected with my friend, Dr. Sophia Yin, to discuss training young dogs and her new book, Perfect Puppy in 7 Days.   Victoria:  There are a lot of puppy books already out there. What made you decide to write this book? Sophia:  I wrote this book because I needed a resource that would Read More

“Let’s Go for a Ride!” Desensitization for the Fearful Dog

Wildfire season is upon us, so we want to be sure that your Fifi or Bowser happily hops into the car if you need to evacuate. Although the desensitization techniques highlighted in this article are applied to overcoming the fear of riding in a car - the same principles can be applied to any fear, Read More

A Heartwarming Tale in the Winter Cold

During a cold spell in Atlanta, Georgia, when the whole city shut down and no one could go out for a week, we rescued a dog. For those of you who do not live in Atlanta – this was how crazy it got. We only had about five inches of snow, but what made the roads so dangerous was the sheet of ice that developed on top of the snow from the freezing rain that fell afterwards.

Let Your Dog Think

I’m baffled sometimes by the fact that we don’t let our dogs “think.”  If it rings true that whatever our dogs are allowed to practice that that is what they will get good at, why don’t we let them practice “thinking!” It is a concept that I always try and instill in my students, but Read More

Hooray for Puppy Mills!!

I’m not a politician, and I have never claimed to be interested in or able to comprehend what I’m sure are the delicate intricacies of how to create and enforce effective legislation. I’m not big on telling people what they want to hear just for the sake of a few egos, and no one has ever accused me of being too soft on those I don’t necessarily agree with. What I do know about is common sense, and as disinterested in politics as I may be, I get pretty passionate about injustice and cruelty, especially towards those who can’t protect themselves...

Welcome to Positively!

Hello and welcome to the new online home of positive reinforcement dog training!  I’ve been planning the development of this website ever since it became clear to me that a unified voice was needed to help let the public know that there’s a better way to train their dogs… Positively! For the past five years, Read More

A Wiser Concept of Animals; On Training Dogs, Dolphins and Humans

I first met Victoria last year while we were both working on a network reality show that featured dog-owners competing with their respective dog-children for the honor of being top dog. Working on a reality show was a new challenge for me. The pace and objectives are entirely different from clinical medicine. Once I figured Read More