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
Ouch, My Puppy is Biting Me! The Importance of Attending Puppy Class to Teach Bite Inhibition and Play Skills
Kari Bastyr, Denver-based VSPDT and owner of Wag and Train, discusses puppy mouthing and the importance of attending a puppy class to ensure proper socialization and bite inhibition before your puppy grows into an adult.
Thankfully, many people know and understand that puppies need lots of training, socialization, and focus on creating good impulse control when they are younger. But many stop at a few puppy classes, and don’t continue through adolescence. This could have dire consequences later on, when the puppy becomes a teenager and starts developing bad habits Read More
LOSING HEART Why do so many clients with fearful or reactive dogs, who often have started off so well, lose heart? The reason is because they just don’t fully accept the time and work that changing fear-based or guarding behaviors in particular can take. Teaching people is the easy bit. A large part of my Read More
It seems like there have been a lot of stories lately where an officer of the law, likely in fear for their personal safety, opens fire and shoots a family’s dog. Sometimes it’s been because the dog has attacked a family member or a neighbor. In other cases it’s because the dog shows aggression towards Read More
With the amount of fear mongering that exists currently regarding pit bull-type dogs, I feel it's important to publish the truth about these dogs. Although most dogs labeled as pit bulls are actually a mix of different breeds with similar physical characteristics, anything that has the appearance of an American Pitbull Terrier is incorrectly labeled as Read More
What do you think of when you think of a leader? Although many people might conjure up a vision of someone powerful or authoritative, a new study shows that the best leaders are humble leaders. It's hard to imagine what it would mean for the world of companion animal training if this concept was applied Read More
There is a fierce debate raging in the dog training world between traditional dominance and punishment-based trainers and the positive training movement. Common Dog Training Myths: There is more than one way to train a dog. Positive training methods don’t work on 'red zone' dogs. Dogs only 'respect' leaders who assert their 'dominance.' Positive trainers Read More
Successful positive training relies in large part on determining exactly what motivates your dog the most. While each dog is different and some may be turned on by praise, play, toys, or life rewards like going for walk, very often food is that primary motivating force and can be a powerful tool for shaping new Read More
The term "discipline" is thrown around loosely in the dog training world. You'll find all kinds of opinions about when and how to discipline a dog, but how do you know what to believe? While you may not believe a trainer's advice not to hit your dog, it's hard to ignore the scientific research that Read More
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
A new study out of the UK sought to find the key factors that contribute to dog aggression. While breed-specific legislation and other discriminatory practices focus on the belief that a dog's breed is the primary factor that causes a dog to be aggressive, the results of this study point otherwise. Check out the top Read More
Renowned TV dog trainer, Victoria Stilwell has enlisted the help of the world’s top canine behaviour experts, lawyers, and educators to create the National Dog Bite Prevention & Behaviour Conference – a national event dedicated to finding practical and workable solutions to this universal problem through education and heightened awareness.
Zeuterin – what is it and what is all the fuss about? Zeuterin is an injectable sterilization product that is labeled for use on male dogs between 3 and 10 months of age. This sounds great, right? Sterilization without surgery? Any product that could potentially decrease the number of stray pets is fantastic. But hold Read More
Whether or not to have a dog spayed (removing the ovaries and uterus) or neutered (removing the testicles) is an important decision you must make with the help of your veterinarian and the collective advice of other animal care professionals. There are many different opinions when it comes to spaying and neutering, and some people Read More
In Her Own Words: Victoria on Dog Bite Prevention: As a mother and a dog trainer, I am dedicated to raising awareness about responsible pet ownership and preventing dog bites. My public platform helps put a spotlight on the issue and my Dog Bite Prevention Task Force, comprised of veterinarians, lawyers, canine bite investigators and Read More
Every dog has their own set of personality traits that make them unique, so you cannot predict a dog’s behavior solely on its breed type. There are many myths surrounding bully breed dogs or 'bullies,' that instill fear in the general public and can cause devastating misunderstandings. Bully breed dogs, such as pit bull type Read More
Breed-specific legislation is being proposed and enacted all over the world, and targets so-called 'aggressive breeds.' German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and pit bull type dogs are common victims of this discriminatory and ineffective legislation. Why Doesn’t BSL Work? Banning specific breeds fails to get to the root of the dog bite problem—irresponsible ownership. Any dog can Read More
When introducing your cat to your new dog, it is important to prepare beforehand. If you are adopting, many rescue groups will be able to tell you if a dog has lived with or been around cats. The younger your cat and your new dog are, the easier it will be for them to form Read More
The wonderful thing about positive training is that when used correctly and at the beginning of a dog’s life, it can prevent all kinds of common behavioral problems from ever developing. If you are about to bring home a new puppy, you have the opportunity to get started on the right track by utilizing positive Read More
Just as the cries of a new baby may make a new parent anxious, they often have the same effect on dogs. This can cause anxiety-related behaviors such as chewing, toileting accidents, and sometimes aggressive behavior. There are things you can do, however, to minimize the stress your dog feels when your baby cries. How Read More
Pet dogs are impressively adaptive. Coping with new environments and situations is a product of domestication, and most dogs do extremely well adapting to the pressures of domestic life. There are some dogs, however, that find it hard to adjust, and consequently live in a constant state of stress, making life difficult for them and Read More
Leash issues are a huge problem for the dog-owning public and a leading culprit for why so many otherwise healthy dogs are doomed to life (or usually more accurately, an early death) in animal shelters. Whether it's simple leash-pulling or more significant leash reactivity and leash aggression, the primary thing to keep in mind is Read More
An electric fence is a wireless, in-ground or ‘invisible’ fence that is installed around the perimeter of a property, creating an invisible boundary. A dog contained within the boundary of the fence wears a ‘shock’, ‘remote’ or ‘e-collar’ around his neck (and sometimes around his groin or at the base of the tail) which consists Read More
Shock or electric collars are devices placed around a dog's neck which connect to a handheld transmitter which remotely delivers varying levels of electric shocks to the dog's neck. Having already been deemed illegal as abusive tools by many countries such as Finland, parts of Canada and parts of the United Kingdom, shock collars theoretically Read More
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
Dogs communicate with the world around them in all kinds of ways. An especially important aspect of canine communication to understand is how they vocalize, which can include barking, growling, and whining. While a dog’s reason for vocalizing in these ways may vary, it's crucial to understand how and why dogs are communicating. Barking Dogs Read More
Positive training does not only work on small dogs with minor obedience issues – it is also by far the most effective way to treat severe anxiety and so called ‘red zone’ aggression cases. (The term ‘red zone’ has become synonymous when describing severely aggressive or reactive dogs.) On It’s Me or the Dog, her Read More
If you treat fire with fire, you will get burned. This concept is not rocket science, but it is still science. A study published in the Journal of Applied Animal Behavior concluded that confrontational training methods such as hitting dogs, intimidating them with punitive force and using techniques of restraint like the 'alpha roll' actually Read More
Dogs are not on a quest for world domination. They are not socialized wolves who are constantly striving to be ‘top dog’ over us, and they are not hard-wired to try and control every situation. Contrary to what traditional training ideologies and much modern media would have you believe, most canine behavior problems stem from Read More
While nuisance behaviors like barking, jumping, and nipping can be troublesome, they generally do not carry the same damaging potential of some more serious behavior problems like aggression and separation anxiety. If you have a dog that suffers from a more severe behavioral issue, the best thing you can do is to avoid the use Read More
People used to think that dog training was only about teaching dogs obedience commands, usually through the use of heavy-handed punishment-based techniques. It was viewed as somewhat of a luxury for pet parents and was often wrongly considered to be something so straightforward and simple to achieve that anyone could do it on their own without Read More
For the majority of modern dog owners, choosing the right dog trainer is one of the most important decisions they will have to make regarding their dog. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most difficult decisions to get right. Assuming you have already determined that you need the help of a trained professional Read More
Dogs and children are two different beings who share one very important trait: they are highly vulnerable and are at the mercy of the decisions made by the adults around them. When you use physical force to discipline either a dog or a child, you're taking full advantage of that vulnerability and are using fear Read More
The Journal of the American Veterinary Association has released the most comprehensive study to date regarding fatal dog bites and the common factors that link them. The authors of the study found that there were some significant errors reported by the media in certain stories, so rather than relying on a potentially biased media source, Read More
It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Christmas decorations are already lighting up homes and businesses, and I even ran into Santa Claus at the mall! The holidays are a wonderful time to spend time with family and friends, but they can also be a challenging time when you have pets. Anxious or reactive dogs are especially prone to stress during the holidays. Here are eight tips for keeping your dog safe and stress-free this holiday season.
Victoria was featured in the August 2013 issue of New York Resident. The one-page editorial feature, written by Victoria, entitled “Teaching Dog Safety” discussed why children are more likely to be bitten by dogs than adults and provided simple rules and signals to keep yourself safe when interacting with dogs. Victoria stated, “In general dogs make Read More
Take advantage of this unique opportunity to meet Victoria in person, learn about cutting-edge training concepts and techniques, and share in Victoria's passion for promoting safe, balanced, relationship-building with dogs based on mutual trust, respect and love.
Who was to blame for the recent fatal attack by a pitbull on a six year old boy in California? The dog, the child or the parent or relatives that were responsible for the child’s care?
The Grazing Game Can Change Behavior and Emotions.The easiest, scientifically endorsed methods to train and socialize your dog involve food. If we couldn’t go to the grocery store and bring home bags of groceries, we would be asking, “Who’s got the food? What can I do for the people who have the food!” Use your Read More