Born and raised in Wimbledon, England, Victoria Stilwell is one of the world's most recognized and respected dog trainers.
She is best known for her role as the star of Animal Planet's hit TV series It's Me or the Dog, through which she is able to share her insight and passion for positive reinforcement dog training and as a judge on CBS's Greatest American Dog. Having filmed over 100 episodes since 2005, Stilwell reaches audiences in over 100 countries while counseling families on their pet problems.
In the early 1990s, Stilwell began her career in pet training when she created her own successful dog-walking company and immediately recognized the need for qualified professionals to help her clients with the training process. While pursuing a successful acting career (working in London's West End as well as in numerous films, TV series, commercials and voiceovers), she expanded her focus to dog training by learning from some of Britain's most respected positive-reinforcement dog trainers and behaviorists.
After moving to the U.S. with her husband, Stilwell co-founded several successful dog training companies up and down the East Coast, quickly establishing herself as one of New York's most sought after dog trainers. With a particular fondness for rescue animals in need of behavior rehabilitation, Stilwell devoted much of her time and energy to a number of animal rescue organizations in New York and Atlanta, serving as a behavior advisor and giving regular seminars on the subject of dog rescue, training and rehabilitation while becoming one of the leading voices in the field of dog training and behavior.
A passionate advocate for positive reinforcement dog training methods, Stilwell is the Editor-in-Chief of Positively.com which features a roster of Positively Contributors comprised of the world’s leading veterinary behaviorists, dog trainers and behavioral scientists. She is a vocal opponent of punitive, dominance-based training techniques which often result in 'quick fixes' but ultimately cause more long-term harm than good while damaging the owner-dog relationship.
Her first two best-selling books, It's Me or the Dog: How to Have the Perfect Pet and Fat Dog Slim: How to Have a Healthy, Happy Pet, have been widely praised, and they detail her core reward-based training philosophy: “There’s a better way to train… Positively.” Her highly anticipated third book, Train Your Dog Positively, was released to critical acclaim in the US in the spring of 2013.
A regular guest on talk shows, news broadcasts and radio programs in the US, Europe and Asia, Stilwell was named 2009’s Dog Trainer of the Year at the Purina ProPlan Dog awards and was the recipient of the prestigious 2011 Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contributions to the Pet Industry Award. Since its premiere in 2005, Stilwell’s show, It’s Me or the Dog, has filmed over 100 episodes in both the UK and US and has been the recipient of multiple honors including 2011 and 2012 Genesis Award Nominations and a 2009 People’s Choice Award nomination. Stilwell has been a regular columnist for several magazines including The Bark, American Dog, and Dogs Today, and she has been featured in numerous journals, magazines and newspapers including The New York Times, USA Today, Cosmopolitan, Time.com, Oprah Magazine, Rachael Ray Everyday, MSNBC.com, Self Magazine, Shape Magazine, TheDaily Mail, the Sunday Times, The Sun.
Stilwell is the CEO of Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training (VSPDT) – the world’s premier global network of positive reinforcement dog trainers. Since its launch in 2010, VSPDT has become the industry leader in the field of dog training by attracting world-class positive reinforcement dog trainers who share Victoria's dedication to providing the public a brand name they can trust in humane, force-free positive training.
Her Positively Podcast series is available globally, and she serves the Executive Producer of various ongoing television projects in addition to her own popular informative dog training videos series, Teacher's Pet, the 'Ask Victoria' series, various premium dog-related web video series and other content on the new Positively Media Center platform.
Stilwell is committed to helping the cause of animal rescue and rehabilitation and is heavily involved organizations around the world to increase awareness of puppy mills, dogfighting, animal abuse, pet overpopulation, dog bite prevention and other animal-related causes. She is the Executive Director of the Victoria Stilwell Foundation - a non-profit charitable organization committed to providing financial assistance and dog training expertise to small rescue shelters and assistance dog organizations who practice positive training methods.
A co-founder of the national Dog Bite Prevention conference series, Stilwell is a National Ambassador for the American Humane Association and is a member of its ‘No Animals Were Harmed’ Committee. She also serves on the Advisory Boards for DogTV, Dognition, The Grey Muzzle Organization, RedRover, and Canine Assistants, and she is a member of the US Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC).
Victoria currently resides in Atlanta with her husband, daughter and two rescue dogs, Sadie and Jasmine.
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Articles from Victoria Stilwell
- Why ‘Dominance’ Shouldn’t Be a...
- Isn’t It Amazing?
- Letter From The Dog
- VSA’s First UK Course Is Complete. Who’s Next...
- Why I’m Not (and never have been) a Purely...