Choke and Prong Collars

Choke and prong collars are still extremely popular with many dog owners. They are generally made of metal chain material which tightens around a dog’s neck when the handler pulls or jerks back on the leash. Aversive trainers will often use choke and prong collars to perform 'corrections', essentially causing the dog pain any time Read More

Obedience

I don’t participate in competitive dog sports or obedience trials, but I do love watching dogs and their handlers having fun, and appreciate how much time it takes on both sides to become proficient.

How To Manage Aggressive Behavior

If you live with a dog that displays aggressive behavior (lunging, growling, or even biting), using management to keep everyone safe is the first priority, along with a good behavior modification plan. What Is Management? One of my favorite descriptions of management is from the book “Behavior Adjustment Training 2.0: New Practical Techniques for Fear, Read More

How My Dog Inspired Me to Learn to Become a Dog Trainer

I have learned so much over the months I’ve been enrolled in VSA's Online Dog Trainer Course. My dog and I have both grown in confidence and I’ve been able to live my dream of helping adopted dogs stay at home by working with shelters and training dogs and their families in my community. I marvel often about how my dog has blessed my life with love, challenges and a new career. I could never have imagined that day I walked into the shelter that I’d be writing this today.

Fourth of July and Fireworks

It’s not that dogs aren’t patriotic, but many dogs, and also some cats are terrified of the loud and sudden bangs we call fireworks. It’s actually adaptive to be hard-wired to be afraid of sudden loud sounds. We jump at such surprising sounds, and we might also run the other way or hide if we Read More

The Fireworks Have Begun

The fireworks have begun, now what? Yes, I know you realize that by thinking in advance more might have been done to help your scared dog or cat. At this point, obviously anti-anxiety medication taking weeks to kick in won’t help. And it’s exceedingly unlikely that a gradual counter conditioning and desensitization program to the Read More

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

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.

Is Adopting a Greyhound Right for You?

The Greyhound will always hold a special place in my heart. They are a regal, gentle, loving breed. While built for speed, their true gift is their ability to segue from athlete into loving companion and perfect pet!

Why I Train Without Force

If we love our animals, why do people find it acceptable to cause them pain or fear just for the sake of ‘training’?

Positively Success Story: Tia

When I lost my husband 4 years ago, I turned to my 2 yr Boxer Tia for comfort and to share my overwhelming sense of loss. We both grieved together.

Leash Control: It’s Not About Control at All

People go to great lengths to try to achieve what they see as a "gold star level" of leash control using all kinds of questionable methods. But here's the thing: true leash control isn't about control at all.

Love is An Action Word

Make a pledge this year to not only tweak you dog’s diet and exercise activities but to use dog-friendly leash-walking equipment and training methods.

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.

V for Vendetta the Dog, A Success Story

V was a wild child. I got him at 6 weeks old and for the first 2 years of his life he had zero training. The only time I could get him to do something, or stop doing something was by raising my voice. I had no idea what I was doing. I was completely clueless.

Food for Thought: Using Food in Dog Training

There’s a lot of negative talk about using food in training. Even when people are prepared to use it in a class or at home, they often refuse to carry it when taking the training 'on the road'. Comments include; it’s bribery; I want the dog to work for me; the dog ‘knows’ what I Read More

Balanced Dog Training: There’s Nothing “Balanced” About It

If I had to think of an example of a dog that was truly "balanced," it would be a dog that - regardless of age, breed or drive - was confident, had been guided into making the right choices, and was allowed to think and learn without constantly being corrected.

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.

Caring for a Senior Dog

The primary form of communication for dogs is body language. It is important that you learn more about this language, especially if you are caring for senior dogs, in order to understand their changing needs.

Voices Carry But Are They Heard?

When someone hires me to give them advice for the benefit of improving their dog’s behavior, I have to assume that they want their money’s worth.

The Dog Aggression Epidemic

Why is it that our pet dogs are struggling more than ever to cope in our domestic world? Resource guarding, leash aggression, aggression towards other animals, and aggression towards people are some of the most common aggression examples that dog trainers see on a daily basis.

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.

Positively Success Story: Chief

This is Chief, a German Shepherd I rescued March 30, 2012 when he was about 3. I got him from an abusive home. How I knew of the person that had him is somewhat complicated, but the woman offered him to me because she said she hated him. Someone else that lived in the home Read More

Positively Success Story: George

Fifteen years ago when I trained my first puppy of my own the training classes were all about choke collars and rough training. Now I have a new puppy and while puppy classes are gentler and more positive there still have been some questionable techniques we opted out of. The leave it command for example Read More

Positively Success Story: Paisley

First off, thank you so very much for being a ray of light in such a dark world of training methods. I'm 20 , and I've had dogs my whole life, Boxers. So when I decided to get a dog of my own, it had to be a Boxer. To me, it's just not home Read More

Positively Success Story: Inky

One evening in December 2011, my wife, Karen, was picking up our lab Lily from day care and noticed a scruffy little black mutt in the corner of a pen. His name was Inky and he needed a home. Karen was told that Inky had been a stray puppy, that he and his brother had Read More

Positively Success Story: Aulie

We brought my dog home as a 3 month old pup. He hated cars. They made him so nervous, he puked and drooled all over himself to the point of needing a bath every time. As he got bigger, it got harder to get him in the car when we needed to go somewhere. Finally, Read More

Positively Success Story: Sam

I adopted my first dog Sam from my local Humane Society in 2010. I was looking for a younger and active dog, so when the shelter introduced me to this 10 month old heeler mix, I was sold. He was attentive and calm at the shelter, however; when I brought him home it was a very different story.

Heading for the dog park with a dog-reactive dog?

Gaining some insight into how their dog might be feeling can be a big motivator for people who use heavy-handed methods with their dog-reactive dogs, and can potentially make all the difference. They may commonly label their dog ‘aggressive’ and resort to using force, which makes matters even worse. Without realizing it they are giving Read More

How I Stopped My Dog’s Leash Aggression

If you’ve ever had a leash reactive dog, you know the feeling of dread that I had before going on a walk. Learn how I stopped my dog's leash aggression--positively.

VSPDTs Offer Loose Leash Walking Course

Do you have a dog that pulls on the leash? It's a common problem facing dog owners today. Two Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Trainers (VSPDTs)--Dale Ward and Daniela Cardillo--have teamed up to offer a loose-leash walking course for both dog trainers and dog owners. Register Now. *Use promo code EARLY10 to receive a 10% discount Read More

The Truth Behind Positive Training

On Sunday 23rd March 2014 there was a great article about dog training in the Sunday Telegraph as well as in the Telegraph online.  The article highlighted a study that found pets trained using aversive methods were 15 times more likely to exhibit symptoms of stress than those trained using "positive" techniques and that training Read More

VSPDTs Offer Loose Leash Walking Course

Do you have a dog that pulls on the leash? It's a common problem facing dog owners today. Two Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Trainers (VSPDTs)--Dale Ward and Daniela Cardillo--have teamed up to offer a loose-leash walking course for both dog trainers and dog owners. Register Now. *Use promo code EARLY10 to receive a 10% discount Read More

Positively Success Story: Liz H.

We brought my dog home as a 3 month old pup. He hated cars. They made him so nervous, he puked and drooled all over himself to the point of needing a bath every time. As he got bigger, it got harder to get him in the car when we needed to go somewhere. Finally, Read More

Running With Your Dog

Running with your dog is a great workout for you and your four-legged friend. Before getting started with a running routine, check out these tips to make sure your dog enjoys it as much as you do. Do: Use a harness. Harnesses distribute pressure more evenly around your dog’s body and takes pressure off his Read More

Puppy Training Basics

A puppy needs a good learning foundation in order to be a confident adult. But learning is more than just teaching your puppy basic cues such as sit and stay. The most important aspect of the learning process is to introduce your puppy to the environments and situations she is likely to experience throughout her Read More

Loose Leash Walking

Contrary to popular belief, dogs that pull on the leash while being walked do not want to be pack leader, top dog, alpha, or dominant over their human. There is a much simpler explanation: dogs love to be outside, and the walk is a stimulating and exciting part of their day, so the desire to Read More