Victoria’s Blog

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Positively Expert: Victoria Stilwell

Victoria Stilwell is a world-renowned dog trainer best known as the star of the internationally acclaimed TV series, It’s Me or the Dog. A bestselling author, Stilwell frequently appears in the media as a pet expert and is widely recognized and respected as a leader in the field of animal behavior.


Using Aversives

Posted on: August 11, 2020 - No Comments

If you ask a group of dog trainers to define what an aversive means, you will get many different answers as well as some spirited discussion. Regarding behavior modification techniques, an aversive is ‘the avoidance of a thing, situation, or behavior that is achieved by using an unpleasant or punishing stimulus.’

Avoiding Bites In Shelters

Posted on: August 9, 2020 - No Comments

Working or volunteering in a shelter is a rewarding but sometimes challenging job. No matter how lovely a shelter might be in terms of design, the animals housed within its walls will still experience the stress that comes from abandonment and transition.

Needs and Wants

Posted on: August 5, 2020 - No Comments

The Human-Animal Bond is the connection between a human and a pet and includes the development of emotional attachment to that pet, with genuine feelings of affection and a sense of responsibility for their well-being.

Dogs and Exercise

Posted on: - No Comments

The benefits of good exercise for dogs and people are well known. Exercise improves physical fitness and releases endorphins and opioids in the brain, promoting an overall feeling of wellbeing.

The Most Important Job

Posted on: August 2, 2020 - No Comments

When I first started training dogs I was thrown into the deep end. I had run a successful dog walking business in Wimbledon, but didn’t handle many dogs who had a bite history.

Night Time Vocals

Posted on: July 29, 2020 - No Comments

If you have ever raised a puppy you know what it’s like to have sleepless nights. It’s inevitable that to begin with, some puppies have a hard time adjusting to a new home and vocalize their discomfort and loneliness, particularly at night.

Why We Love Dogs

Posted on: July 26, 2020 - No Comments

I have just returned from walking my dogs, which is always a social experience, judging by the amount of people I talk to while I’m out. I usually walk in the local park, which takes me past a playground.

Confusing Cues

Posted on: July 22, 2020 - No Comments

“Sit! Sit! Sit!” Have you ever asked your dog to ‘sit’ and when she does not respond you repeat the cue again and again, getting louder and louder each time you say it?

Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don’t

Posted on: July 19, 2020 - No Comments

There are many hot button issues in the dog world that cause spirited conversations and disagreements, including what training methods you should use and when you should or shouldn’t use words such as ‘dominance’ and ‘pack.’

How To Not Be a Rude Dog Owner

Posted on: July 15, 2020 - No Comments

I’m a dog lover and I want everyone to be as passionate about these amazing animals as I am. I would also like to take my dogs with me to more places, and I believe if people were a little more responsible, dogs might be accepted in more public areas than are currently allowed.

Managing Your Overwhelmed Dog

Posted on: July 12, 2020 - No Comments

As the modern dog’s role continues to evolve from that of working dog to companion animal, there is more pressure on all dogs to cope and behave well in an increasingly busy human world.

Obedience

Posted on: July 8, 2020 - No Comments

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.

Coping With Fear

Posted on: July 5, 2020 - No Comments

I’m flying to Portland, Oregon, from Los Angeles and the pilot has just told us that there will be turbulence the closer we get to Portland. It is 53 degrees at our destination with rain and gusty winds. He tells us that our descent is likely to be very bumpy.

The Emergency Drop It

Posted on: July 1, 2020 - No Comments

I lived with a Labrador. She was a hungry hound who was on a constant mission to find food wherever and whenever she could get it. When she reached the grand old age of 16 I thought her food obsession might diminish a little, but it remained as strong as ever.

Why I Marched

Posted on: June 7, 2020 - No Comments

I marched today in peaceful support of the change needed regarding the lack of true justice and equality for people of color and minorities. Here's my message to the haters.

Dog Behaviour Conference Now A Global Online Event

Posted on: March 26, 2020 - No Comments

The International Dog Behaviour Conference is a global online event bringing together the most influential, progressive and inspirational pet industry experts with dog lovers, owners, trainers, and professionals from around the world.

“Director’s Cut” It’s Me or the Dog Episodes!

Posted on: September 28, 2019 - No Comments

New versions of early 'It's Me or the Dog' episodes are being released with a “director’s cut”-style commentary by Victoria Stilwell. The world renowned dog trainer is narrating some behind-the-scenes info about those early episodes while also getting the chance to set the record straight about which training methods have evolved since the episodes were filmed – and why.

Should We Even Talk To ‘The Other Side’?

Posted on: May 20, 2019 - No Comments

There’s been a lot of discussion lately about the pros and cons of engaging (publicly or privately) with people in the dog world who hold views different from your own. This can be an especially thorny topic when the opposing (or at least not compatible) viewpoints relate to a core belief of yours – beliefs that we often safeguard and protect more dearly than anything else. This got me thinking about the best ways to handle such situations, and I figured I’d share my thoughts with you here.

It’s Me or the Dog Free on YouTube!

Posted on: April 25, 2019 - No Comments

We're very excited to share the news that full episodes of It's Me or the Dog are now available on YouTube via the @ItsMeOrTheDog channel. It's been quite a while since we broke ground on that series back in the early 2000's, and I never would've guessed that we'd end up shooting over 100 episodes and have the show airing in over 200 countries.

Do What You Love

Posted on: November 24, 2018 - No Comments

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.

Why ‘Dominance’ Shouldn’t Be a Dirty Word

Posted on: July 13, 2017 - No Comments

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?

Posted on: June 26, 2017 - No Comments

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.

Letter From The Dog

Posted on: May 21, 2017 - 1 Comment

Since when does “just a minute” only apply to humans? We dogs say it too, except when we do, you humans get angry. You let us off the rope thing to go run around and play and then you ask us to come back at the most inconvenient of times, just when we are having the best fun – playing with other dogs or chasing small fluffies. When we don’t respond, you get mad and tell us how bad we are, but apparently you don’t understand that when we hear our name, look back at you and then continue with our game, we’re also saying “just a minute”. By the way…..how long is a minute?

VSA’s First UK Course Is Complete. Who’s Next This Summer?

Posted on: April 25, 2017 - No Comments

If now seems like the right time, let us help you on your journey. If you’ve been thinking of a career working with dogs, trust us – it’s worth it. Whether you’re just starting your working career or are stuck doing something you don’t love, join us this summer and allow yourself to chase your dreams. Enroll in the Victoria Stilwell Academy.

Why I’m Not (and never have been) a Purely Positive Dog Trainer

Posted on: March 1, 2017 - 10 Comments

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

Why I Love VSA

Posted on: January 20, 2017 - No Comments

Just last week, we concluded another successful in-person intensive with the Victoria Stilwell Academy’s Dog Trainer Course students. As I sat there in the back of the room, I watched our awesome faculty member, Nichole Smith from Working With Dog, absolutely rocking this super-important lesson and content. Just about every day during our six-month course, Read More

Introducing the Newly-Redesigned Positively No-Pull Harness

Posted on: November 23, 2016 - 4 Comments

The newly-redesigned Positively No-Pull Harness works by utilizing the dog’s natural center of gravity much the same way a harness on a horse does – effectively and painlessly allowing the handler to redirect the dog when she pulls during walks.