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

Raymond Parke Coppinger 2/7/1937 to 8/14/2017

Raymond Coppinger, 80, professor emeritus of biology and author of various books on dogs and about 50 published scientific papers passed away Monday, August 14, His Ph. D. thesis in biology at the University of Massachusetts is on the effect of experience and novelty on avian feeding behavior. He joined the founding faculty at Hampshire Read More

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.

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

Raising Awareness About FIP in Cats

“The time is now because we’re at a turning point, with an excellent understanding of the disease process,” says Gingrich. “So much has been discovered over the past couple of years. We’re so close. But still so far.”

Get a whiff of nature’s science

Essential oils are effective, natural substances which are ideal for pet grooming. What are essential oils? Essential oils have been used for more than 5,000 years around the world. There’s evidence that the ancient Egyptians, Chinese and Greeks, among others, used essential oils for cosmetic, medicinal and ritual purposes. With the rising popularity of natural Read More

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.

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

Rescuers or Fanatics? The Dark Side of Animal Rescue

Say the phrase "animal rescue" in any given circle of people and watch for a variety of reactions. Some people’s eyes will light up with hope and delight and others will start backing away with narrowing eyes, faces drawn with suspicion. The latter is unfortunate, but the truth cannot be denied that some of the 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.

Raising Awareness for Lyme Disease in People & Pets

Increasingly, human and veterinary medicine are working in tandem. This year, I began a one health campaign called Stop Lyme in conjunction with the American Veterinary Medical Association and the non-profit Global Lyme Alliance.

2017 UK Dog Bite Prevention & Behaviour Conference

Registration is now open for the fourth annual UK Dog Bite Prevention and Behaviour Conference which will be held on the south London campus of Kingston University on June 24-25, 2017. Now in its fourth year, this annual gathering of the leading minds in the animal world has become the UK’s preeminent dog training and behaviour-related Read More

Striving for Fear-Free Interactions in All Dog Care Fields

Every dog behavior professional keeps a mental list of other dog care professionals such as dog walkers, pet sitters, boarding facilities, groomers, etc. that meet their own personal care standards. Those standards will likely mirror their own philosophy of how dogs should be treated. Those who practice behavior modification with modern scientific-based methods in their Read More

See the Victoria Stilwell Academy In Action!

Our first class of students are past the halfway point in their Dog Trainer Course, registration is underway for VSA’s next US-based class this fall, and spaces are quickly filling up in our first UK-based class this September. And we’re just getting started!

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!

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.

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.

Terrier Shmerrier!

I thought I knew how to train dogs. Then I adopted a Terrier/Chihuahua mix puppy and named her…..Tricky! People warned me when I named her Tricky, jokingly and affectionately telling me she would likely embody the name I gave her. They weren’t kidding.

Don’t Do Me Wrong: Rescue Groups and Dog Behavior Knowledge

Cue the wistful music before starting the video rolling and many dog lovers just see what they want to see in a video making the internet rounds. When you accompany sweet music with an overlay of words meant to convey what you want people to see, as long as the opposite isn’t glaringly obvious to Read More

My Husband is NOT a Dog Trainer

Living with him has been a great learning lesson for me. He is helping me to gain a better understanding of what a typical dog owning couple deals with.

The Many Gifts of Sharing Your Home with a Dog

Pet parents often don’t realize that effective dog training can be very hard work, and that behavior change in their dog will only come after behavior change in themselves. Doing anything well isn’t usually easy.

10 Things to Consider When You Hire a Positive Dog Trainer

Working with a positive trainer is one of the best things that you will ever do for your dog. Below is a list of 5 things that may surprise you about your trainer followed by a list of 5 things you may want to remember when you hire a positive trainer.