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.

3 Ways You Can Celebrate Your Veterinarian

As someone who worked in the veterinary profession for a few years and had an opportunity to see first-hand how hard veterinarian’s work, I am so excited that World Veterinary Day is recognized each year!

You Can’t Duct From Social Media!

The best twist that came out of this whole situation was a young man who photographed his Rottweiler being offered a peanut butter stuffed bone, with the caption that “this is what happens when you won’t shut up”. Win/win for both sides of the equation.

Less Adoptable Pets and How You Can Help Them

Pets that are considered by society as “less adoptable” are just as loving, sweet, and kind as all of the other pets. However, they aren’t blessed with the natural poster child adoptability as the other pets in the shelter.

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

Separation Anxiety? What You Can Do

Separation Anxiety? What You Can Do. Dogs are social creatures and can over-attach to a pet parent or canine housemate and become habituated to continual contact. When left alone these dogs may experience what is akin to a panic attack in humans. A well-structured change in routine may break the cycle of anxiety if practiced Read More

This holiday season you can help shelter pets! You’ll love it.

Why not start a holiday tradition and share the joy of the season with your local animal rescue group? It’s the perfect time of year for pet lovers to give back to the animals. This holiday season, there are more dogs than ever in need of help. You can foster, volunteer, adopt, or donate skills, Read More

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.

“I Can’t. You’re Making Me Nervous”

Have you noticed that there are times when your dog can't respond to a cue that is normally easy? It may be the environment is different or too distracting. Or, it may be you.

Can You Really Trust Your Dog Trainer?

A common theme I've heard from pet parents who fell victim to "bad egg" dog trainers is that they all had a feeling that something wasn't right. But they trusted their trainer (they were a professional after all, right?), and assumed they knew what they were doing.

What You Need to Know About Canine Influenza

A dog flu epidemic has blown into the Windy City, sickening over a thousand dogs and has been responsible for the death of at least five dogs since mid-March. Is your dog at risk?

Can Your Dog Tell Time?

Are dogs capable of telling time? This question has long been debated in the scientific world as well as in the dog training world. Many dog owners have experienced their dog's ability to seemingly recognize when it's dinnertime or time to go for a walk. But are dogs truly able to understand time in the Read More

Can Your Puppy Follow Your Voice to Food?

While past studies have shown that a dog is able to follow a pointed finger or a person's gaze in order to find food, new research is showing that their abilities don't stop there. The research shows that dogs, particularly puppies, are adept in following the direction of a person's voice in order to find Read More

Can Your Dog Recognize a Picture of Your Face?

We know that dogs are incredibly attuned to us and that they study our face and body language constantly. But new research shows that a dog's connection to its owner may be more powerful and complex than originally thought. A new study out of Finland tested dogs to see if they could recognize an image Read More

Can You Smell Your Dog?

Can you smell your dog? Yes, you read that question correctly! A new study out of Queen's University in Belfast was designed to figure out whether a dog owner could sniff out his or her individual dog's scent. The researchers placed a blanket in the dogs' beds for three nights to infuse the blanket with Read More

Have You Been Bathing Your Pet with a Cancer Causing Shampoo?

We all want the best for our canine and feline companions, but sometimes we owners may unknowingly be sickening our pets. One of the most glaringly obvious circumstances where pets were sickened or died as a result of the recommendations of animal-health professionals is the 2007 melamine pet food crisis. Dogs and cats that consumed dry Read More

What you Don’t Know about Bloat can Kill your Dog

 How much do you know about canine bloat? It’s a life-threatening condition, and yet many dog owners don’t even know it exists. Bloat is also known as GDV, or gastro dilation and volvulus. Gastro dilation refers to the dog’s stomach filling with air or food, and expanding. Volvulus, which occurs as well in many cases, is Read More

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.

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

Keep A Close Eye On Your Animals At All Times

For over a decade, I’ve been blessed to work with all types of animals. People and institutions contact me to assist them with their domestic animals, farm animals and sanctuary animals. I work with them in numerous ways but, what I’m probably best known for is my work with missing animals. I have worked with 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

Change a Dog’s Life…and Yours Too!?

A client of mine rescued a dog from a local county shelter. The dog was cute and scruffy tan terrier mix. Sort of similar to the famous movie star dog Benji. My client had gone to the county shelter hoping to find the perfect furry companion for her and her family. She didn’t have any Read More

Starting out with your new puppy

You’ve been planning for months, and at last your new puppy is here! Your expectations are enormous: this is going to be the perfect dog you’ve always wanted. And maybe that’s right, and your little puppy will become your Brilliant Family Dog. But for many of us - and for many of our puppies - 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

Your puppy is not a blank slate

Here’s why… Your puppy is a product of its parents’ genes. These provide the blueprint for appearance, temperament and behavior.  This is why a Jack Russell looks and acts like a Jack Russell, and a Labrador looks and acts like a Labrador.  If you want a dog that will look and act like a Labrador, you Read More

5 Little-Known Puppy Training Tips You’ll Be Glad You Found

I spend much of my time as a trainer working with young puppies. They’re little sponges, absorbing every bit of information we send their way – both good and bad. You’ll hear the same puppy training advice over and over: make sure to socialize your puppy, start potty training immediately, and the like. But in Read More

Do You Walk Your Dogs?

Our dogs have a big fenced back yard with plenty of grass, plants, bushes and fun places to enjoy their time outside. They even have some bird feeders, where they promptly chase the birds away when running out of the house to their big back yard. It’s a wonderful sanctuary for them to play, lounge, Read More

Do You Feed Your Cats Premium Food?

I’ve been keeping an eye on and educating myself on the changes and improvements in the pet food industry. I’m seeing more premium brands being introduced, raw foods, grain free, limited ingredients, organic and many more options I believe this is a good for our animals but, can be a bit overwhelming. There seems to Read More

Are you teaching or testing?

They aren't the same thing. Testing MEASURES what the learner knows/ can do. Test: measure; check the quality, performance, or reliability of something; reveal ... capabilities by putting them under strain; evaluate the abilities, aptitudes, skills, or performance of an individual or group.  A test asks your dog the question; what can/ will you do right now in this situation? Read More

Your new puppy – 9 steps to get it right from the start

“I wonder if I’ve done the wrong thing … Perhaps I’m not capable of looking after a dog.” I don’t know exactly what had caused such a devastating loss of confidence in what 30was clearly a capable individual. But Gwen voiced a sentiment I come across from time to time. Her family had left home Read More

How to keep your dog happy and stress free whilst at a dog show

Family dog shows can be wonderful events to attend. They are great places to meet up with friends, spend time around lots of other dogs, show your own dog off and hopefully win some rosettes. Some dogs really enjoy these events and walk round the show ring with a relaxed body, bright eyes and a Read More

4 Ways to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Your Dog

Today is Cinco de Mayo! This holiday is in recognition of the Mexican Army’s unlikely victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. While not a holiday commonly associated with pets, if you are anything like me, you are always looking for an excuse to celebrate any holiday with your dog.

Dear Dog Trainer, I See You

Dear Dog Trainer, I see you. I see you caring for everyone around you, sometimes forgetting to care for yourself. You're a caretaker, a teacher, a guiding light - sometimes a therapist - to your clients. You then go home and provide the same nurturing care to your own family and friends.