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

Does Your Dog Respect You?

“R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me.” In the film ‘The Blues Brothers,’ Aretha Franklin sings about her need for some respect. The words of the song are as applicable today in human relationships as they were then, but what does the word actually mean?

Managing Your Overwhelmed Dog

As the modern dog’s role continues to evolve from that of working dog to companion animal, there is more pressure on all dogs to cope and behave well in an increasingly busy human 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.

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)?

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!

Is Your Dog Naughty But Nice?

A Naughty But Nice (NBN) dog is exactly how it sounds - they are nice, beautiful, loveable dogs underneath but sometimes they make bad choices! Over the following blog posts, i’ll share with you 5 tips to focus on in training, living with and enjoying your NBN dog.

The Problem with the “Pack Leadership” Mentality

The "pack leader" label just won’t seem to die a natural death. Instead of analyzing why people are so attached to being pack leaders, I decided it would be easier for me to uncover why I dislike it so much. Here is my interview with myself.

5 Traits That Will Make You A Good “Leader” For Your Dog

Dogs are animals. Without proper training, (teaching) a dog will act, for lack of a better way to describe it, like a dog. This means that they will jump on counters, run away from home, eliminate where they please, bark, chew things, and the list goes on. When we bring dogs into our homes, we Read More

What NOT To Do When Your Dog Is Lost

In a previous article on this site, I listed things to do when your dog is lost. Implementing each of the steps on the list will increase your chances in being reunited with your lost dog. However, there are also things that you shouldn’t do when searching for your lost dog.

You Can’t Fool the Dog: Kids Are Litter Mates

Some trainers (or television personalities) will tell you that you can teach your dog that your 6 year old is a “Pack Leader”. For the love of kibbles and bits! It’s good to help your child learn to give cues to the dog. Teaching a simple hand signal for sit is a great way for Read More

Commonly Found Dangers in Your Backyard

Whew - that was close. After a fraught couple of days, it became clear just how close we came to losing our precious little newest addition – our rescued Chihuahua mix Jasmine. What happened to us could happen to anyone, so I wanted to be sure to pass along our experience in the hopes that Read More

Celebrity Dog Row–Strut Your Mutt LA a Success!

Celebrity Row--Strut Your Mutt LA, Best Friends Animal Society's (BFAS) first Coast to Coast dog walk-a-thon was a big success, raising more than $200,00 for homeless pets. I decided to attend just for the fun of it, to network, and to let Hollywood know that Victoria Stilwell dog trainers are "in the (dog) house" and Read More

That’s Cheating!

'That's cheating!’  ‘That’s cheating!’.  I looked up to see a man shouting over to me.  He continued: ‘When your puppy came back to you then, you gave it a treat.  That’s just bribing: they should do things because they want to please you.’  He walked off saying: ‘A pat on the head should be enough’. Well, Read More

Becoming a Dog Trainer

Since It’s Me or the Dog first aired back in 2005, I have received thousands of emails, letters, social media messages and phone calls from dog lovers around the world who saw me working with dogs on TV and wanted to do the same (but usually not on TV).

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.

Today I Was Called a Snowflake

A new study led by biologist Ana Catarina Viera de Castro of the Universidae do Porto in Portugal reveals that shouting at dogs and using punitive methods to train them does short and long term damage, while using reward based methods yields better results both for learning and emotional health.

The Allure of the Damaged Dog: Why We Rush Towards Danger

Aggressive dogs. What a trigger topic for so many! Humans, as a species, are so often attracted to danger. You see it in our hobbies and our choices of heroes. For many dog lovers there is so often nothing more attractive than an aggressive dog. This scenario not only appeals to our nurturing instinct, but Read More

The Power of Management

A trainer’s most important job is to help people live harmoniously with their dogs and sometimes the only thing that is needed to create harmony is effective management.

Avoiding Bites In Shelters

Working or volunteering in a shelter is a rewarding but sometimes challenging job. No matter how lovely a shelter might be in terms of design, the animals housed within its walls will still experience the stress that comes from abandonment and transition.

How To Not Be a Rude Dog Owner

I’m a dog lover and I want everyone to be as passionate about these amazing animals as I am. I would also like to take my dogs with me to more places, and I believe if people were a little more responsible, dogs might be accepted in more public areas than are currently allowed.

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.

Delta Airlines Bans Pitbulls

Delta Airlines is banning service or comfort dogs identified as pit bulls. According to Delta’s own website: Delta, which led the industry in March by updating its service and support animal policy, says it will further enhance its restrictions, effective July 10. The enhancements include introducing a limit of one emotional support animal per customer per 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

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

No Need to Declaw

Saving cats claws may also save their lives. There’s increasing data to demonstrate that once declawed, cats wind up at animal shelters due to behavioral problems. Or they may wind up in animal shelters because they do have their claws and are scratching in all the wrong places. To declaw remains an emotional issue, and Read More

The Magic Hand Game For Focus And Concentration

The Magic Hand game involves placing food in the palm of your hand and gently pushing individual treats through your fingers for your dog to catch.   Focus and concentration win the day! The more your dog develops the ability to focus and concentrate, the more likely she will succeed in learning tasks involving moving Read More

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?

Fleeing the Fort McMurray Wildfire [Our Evacuation “Tail”]

May 3, 2016: Our home, the city of Fort McMurray, Alberta, an approximate 90,000 people, are under a mandatory evacuation. We all had to leave, with the exception to those who were fighting this raging beast and leading us all to safety. This day will be forever burned into my memory.