Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  Having never heard of Thanksgiving before I came to the States I wondered why it was such a big deal, but over the years I’ve come to really appreciate the message that it sends – giving thanks for the good things in your life, connecting with family and eating lots!  (It took me a while to get used to eating roast turkey in November since traditionally in England we only eat it on Christmas day, but I’m not complaining now.)  Fortunately, my family is very understanding when it comes to my lack of cooking talent, so I am never asked to do it.  Who knows, though - maybe one year I will surprise them and pay them back for all of the delicious meals they have cooked for me over the years.

This time of year I like to look back and think about what has happened throughout the year both in my personal and business life.  I’m now home for a while having just finished filming the third American series of It’s Me or the Dog in New York City and am happy to be home with my husband and daughter again while connecting with friends that I haven’t seen for a long time.  The new shows will start airing in early January and I’m excited because I think this is going to be the best season yet.  I have been challenged and tested by the situations I have encountered, but every new experience, however hard, forces me to improve my skills as a trainer and allows me to think outside the box while coming up with new and creative solutions that will benefit the dog and the family.   Hopefully there's a little bit of entertainment that happens along the way as well.  I love being challenged, and  when I started filming the show six years ago I certainly never thought that after 120 episodes I would still be able to come up with new ways of doing things.  That just goes to show how flexible and workable positive reinforcement techniques can be. 

So as I’m giving thanks this Thursday I thank God for my family, for having the chance to work with amazing animals and for giving me the opportunity to help show people in fifty countries the power of force-free training through my show.  And I thank you all for watching because your support helps to spread the word and improve the lives of dogs and their people around the world. 

A blessed Thanksgiving to you all.


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35 thoughts on “Happy Thanksgiving!

  1. Louise Kerr

    While you are on the subject of being thankful , I want to add how thankful I am that you are out there and working hard to show that positive training gets good results. The only downside is that I don't get to see near enough of your shows on free to air sustralian tv. But thanks for being able to do an RSS feed off your website and being able to hear you that way as well as the other good trainers you get to put up matieral as well. My work as a positve reward based trainer would be so much harder without all this.

    Louse Kerr
    Elite Pet Care & Education http://www.elitepetcare.com.au

  2. Maureen O'Connell

    I got my first Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie) as a young woman in 1975. I was aware of obedience training since grade school having gone with an aldult friend. That training was correction and praise type and required "slip" collars, aka "choke"collars. Training has come so very far since then and it is a good thing.

    I only "discovered" Victoria about a year ago but have watch at every opportunity since and recommend it to anyone and everyone who has a dog or dogs. I am constantly amazed at what I see Victoria do with problem dogs but even more so how well she trains the owners and changes their attitudes. I have even used her method of leash training with great success on my rescue dogs. I cannot say enough about this wonderful woman and what she does for so many dogs that may have been discarded as "untrainable" by their owners.

    Thank you so much Victoria!!!!!

  3. vivvienne Taylor

    Thank you for being you. enjoy the show and look forward to next one Have rehomed abitch4yrs old h as been attacked nby brothers and sisters. Then her mum attacke her she shakes with nerves . What can i do to help her settle in she is safe here with me and my daughetr

  4. Kathy

    How kind of you to send out a greeting for Thanksgiving. I have a good friend from England who talks about the difference in not growing up w/the holiday and celebrating it now. She likes pumpkin pie best.
    I wish you many blessings also for the coming year! Thank you for caring about and helping
    animals the way you do. I'm not a trainer, but I'm an animal lover and some of the ways people treat animals as I watch your show is appalling to me. Your solutions are clever and kind.

  5. Monica Felsing


    I am truly thankful for your inspiration which lead me to become a dog trainer. Your method and philosophy is the same as mine and I find positive reinforcement in training is the only way to train ! God bless you and what you do across the country for people who want the best for their dogs. Monica

  6. Linda Michaels

    Hi Victoria,

    Thank you for the beautiful post and for being in my life in a big way, although from afar,

    I am so grateful today to have found my new home with you in your global trainer's network. This is what I've been longing for. I am so thankful for the breath of fresh air and clear guidelines-- no apologies approach you have given to me and other positive reinforcement trainers.

    I too am oftentimes amazed at how much there is to understanding dog behavior and how it seems to go on forever with never a dull moment! Learning about these amazing creatures and finding non-aversive behavioral solutions to help them fit-in has become my lifelong passion. Using my training and experience together with imagination for each case in order to come up with a custom-fit answer for that dog, in that family, in that environment-- is a continually evolving challenge for me. I LOVE it.

    Who would have thought a master's degree in psychology career could bring such joy into my life? I was getting bogged down with the standard subject matter-- and then I discovered I could help dogs!

    Partnering with you is a great inspiration to me and will help me push the work forward. Thank you bringing us all together.

    And thank you for being brave, for not being afraid to go against the grain and not allowing fear or finances to cloud your vision or water-down the message.

    We love you. You've got the IT factor. Thank goodness you came upon our scene-- and not one minute too soon.

    Warmest regards to you and your lovely family on this day of gratitude.

    Linda Michaels, MA Psychology
    Proud Victoria Stilwell Trainer #0011

  7. Dwayne Harborth

    Hi Victoria, I Just want to say me and my family thank you for all you have done for our Labs, we have just adpted a four year old chocolate lab from te animal shelter, we can have many couse we know how to train, exercise, and keep the whole family getting along thanks to you, before you I was getting grey hair with just one lab, Thank you so much IT WORKS ! HAPPY THANKSGIVING, from my whole family !

  8. Karen

    Thank you Victoria, I have 3 dogs and have learned SO much from you and your shows. I will be looking forward to the new season! Have a Blessed New Year.

  9. Marcia Mazuryk

    Thanks so much for taking time to send a message on Thanksgiving. We are thankful for you and all you do! You are an inspiration. I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season.

  10. Rachel

    That's so nice to say happy thanksgiving and my dog boo is getting so much better with the tips she gives on that show it me or the dog but now we got a new dog!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. TSGT Rick

    Excellant idea. I would love to see Victoria do a special show on K=9 and bomb dogs used in police and military jobs.

  12. Loreal

    Happy Holidays to you and your family. I watch and enjoy your show and have even gotten my husband watching it, As we prepare our home for the puppy we will be getting for Christmas, I go back and watch past episodes or the wed site to look for ideas on how to handle different situations that may arise. The show has given me the confidence to take on an addiction to our family.
    Thank you for your insight and positive reinforcements.

  13. Raven Lesmez

    Thank you for the Thanksgiving email! It was very nice and thoughtful of you. Your show has really helped me train my own puppy and I must say, she is extremely well behaved. In fact, we often watch your show together. I really like your methods and I try to encourage other people to watch your show and try to apply those same techniques. Thank you for all you do and doing your part in making a difference! Good luck and best wishes with your show in the future!


  14. Larry Matreci

    Hi VICTORIA so glad to see this opportunity opened for us to take advantage of your expertise. I havent seen "iTS Me Or The Dog" listed on Animal Planet as yet, will it be returning any time soon? I sure hope so! I as you believe in positive reinforcement. I have a five yr. old Cavalier King Charles male breeder puppymill rescue--you wouldnt believe the problems this little fella has endured! Im working hard to gain his confidence and to socialise him. Extreme patience and mountains of love Im hoping will turn the tide for him. Again thanks for the oportunity to communicate with you. Larry M.

  15. Kris

    Happy thanksgiving Victoria I got so excited to receive your greeting I wish my dog can be trained one day and that will be my biggest gift ever

  16. Cristina

    Thank you Vitoria blessed Thanksgiving to you and yours.
    I don't have a dog right now but nevertheless I have watched all of your shows since the first start my favorite is still Teddy Pom Pom I think he's the worst behaved dog of all, although you have shown that it's more about training the owners more than it is training the dogs.
    You're lucky to live in GA, they make the best pecan pies in the country.
    Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, when we get together with family and friends and thank God for all HIs blessings and all the gifts He has betowed upon us throught the year. I had never heard of this holiday until I came to live in the states, and, I realized this is the only country in the world that sets aside one day of the year to thank God for what we have, I think this is a holiday everybody should adopt. And Thank You Victoria from everything we've learned from you.

    God bless you,

  17. Katya

    I am so thankful to you Victoria that you are here in the world to help dogs and teach people about love for dogs. I am definitely thankful for you Victoria! Oh Bless you! You are a doll.

    Love you forever

  18. Jenny

    Today was AWSOME!!! I absolutely love Thanksgiving and I am happy you enjoy it also. The things you do never fail to either amaze me or impress me in some way. Here you are so busy with travel, work, family and everything else yet you drop all of us a line in the middle of a holiday!! I have learned ssoooo much from you and just can't wait to learn more. You have been a major influence in my life for a while now and I am going to take this chance to say THANK YOU Victoria!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Nicola

    Happy Thanksgiving to you too Victoria. I have 2 English Springer Spaniel's age 3 and 4 years old. The oldest (Barney) is hell on legs if I don't use your positive reinforcement techniques. In the past before using your methods we went to a local dog trainer and while his methods worked while Barney was there, when we got him home and he used to run riot. While getting told off for stealing anything he can get, he has bitten my face (but no lasting scars), and gone for my husband, even though having 2hr runs each day and agility once a week. He would have been put down if it wasn't for me watching you on TV and trying your methods with him. So Victoria, on behalf of myself, my husband, our 2 year old son and Barney and his sister Bella, THANK YOU, you saved Barney's life. Barney still thinks up new ways to challenge me but backs down and wags his tail at me when I give him 'the look'. Thanks again for your help, have a lovely Thanksgiving and all the best for the coming year.

  20. Peggy Suits

    Hi Victoria,

    I am so happy that you started this newsletter. Recently, I had to make some cutbacks so I could make sure my pets are well taken care of and one of the cuts was the satellite, so I don't get to watch you anymore. I really miss that. Anyway, I'm thankful I can keep my pets and that you started this newsletter.


  21. angela garcia

    I watch your show, and I do learn a lot from what you teach. I hope that the next time you come to NY, you will look up my brother, He always had had dogs but is not a very good pack leader. He would need your help, especialy on his walks with him. He has an american pit bull terier.


  22. Tammy Jones

    Happy Thanksgiving to all. That was very nice to send out wishes to everyone. I make sure I watch the show ALL the time!!! I will set my clock to make sure i am up to watch the show! Tips from the show has really helped me learn how to train and handle my dogs. I have a Pit Bull, thats a huge baby, but very well behaved and very smart! I also have a chiuahua/daushaund mix that is so loving and also well behaved. The two get along and play wonderful together. I have started using Victoria's tips and just blown away how fast my dogs are learning, and how proud I am when I see their progress. Thanks Victoria for helping all of us learn!!

  23. Ed Cramer

    Hi Victoria, Yes We enjoy your program. We lost our mini-dadhshund, Norman a little while back. I am 72 years old and disabled, My wife Phyllis is 68 and working. We live in a 3rd floor condo. I am home most of the time and we both ,Phyil and I miss Norman terribly. We would like to get another Daxie in the Spring. Norman was our companion for about 16 years. I would be in charge of Indoor paper training him and properly socializing him. This will not be as easy task but I think that with patience and the right time of training it would be doable! We are trying to find out more about selecting the right dog and giving him a great place to live and get him socialized. I have looked at the AKC site and the Dachshund Clubs of America site. They are of some help. We need some specific advice on picking the right dog (male or female, pup or adult, and at the proper time. We have read several books, but not much is given for specifics in socializing or indoor paper training. This is the 2nd time that we have written you. We know that you probably can't read and answer every inquiry, I am hoping that we get lucky and you answer our e-mail. This is going to be our last dog and we want to do it right for both dog and us. Be well and Happy Holidays, Ed & Phyllis Cramer, Evanson,IL.

  24. Bari

    hello.... I love watching it's me or the dog, I tape it and my husband,daughter and I watch it together. My mini daschund he is 2 years old. He has a big problem with my sisters male a german shepard. My parents have a female dog a mutt to be exact and there is no problem there, We dont believe he's threatened by him but what do we know. My daschund goes after the german shepard, and then when the shepard had enough he attacks back, then my dog jumps at him again. We joke its a Napolean complex. It has become very hard to have the dogs together for family get togethers. Can you help us, any suggestions. I am desperate. Thanks.

  25. Another Dog Lover

    So excited to receive this newsletter! Victoria you are highly thought of in our circle and we share your insights whenever we can. And I work in a wonderful shelter where we use positive training in our classes.

  26. Lani

    Thanks for the Thanksgiving greeting and thank you for being you. I have a 6 year old spayed female Lab - my third Lab, who we rescued three years ago. She had been well trained, except for walking on a leash. I am handicapped and watching your methods gave me the tools I needed to slow her down so she and I can walk together.

    We also have a 10 month old Pug puppy. She is mainly my husband's puppy, but I have ended up doing all the trainiung except for housebreaking her. Using your methods has made that process so much more easy than with previous puppies. Now, if you would only run a show as to how to train a husband to train HIS puppy!!!

    Thanks again for just being you.

  27. Shirley Nebel

    I can't wait to see all the neat things you will be including in the newsletter. I can't get enough of all your knowledge, Victoria. You are such an inspiration. Thank you for the Thanksgiving email. I'm so glad you are in the States with us and enjoying our Thanksgiving Holiday. It is such a special time, as we have so much to be thankful for and I'm very thankful for you.

    Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
    Shirley (your biggest fan in Hilliard, Ohio)

  28. Kathy

    Hi Victoria,
    Thanks so much for all that you do for all of us that own dogs. We hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family. Can't wait for the new episodes to start.

  29. Joann

    I am so happy that you have gotten the chance to enjoy Thanksgiving here. It is such a wonderful time to get together with family and count blessings.

    I am trying to get into training some dogs, and would be interested in knowing whether or not you might consider having an apprentice? I just know I could learn alot from you.

    You are definitely an inspiration to those of us who have had canines that seem to be rather strong-willed. Currently I dont have one of my own, but have been helping friends of mine who are having trouble with theirs.

    Thank you and may God continue to bless you.

  30. Megan ONeill

    My name is megan, im 17 yrs old an i just got a little lab puppy. shes 8 weeks old an so adorable! But she is becoming to much for me to handle. shes really aggressive an constantly bites my mom and me. PLEASE HELP ME VICTORIA! ive tried everything,an NOTHING seems to work! I love your show,i watch it everytime its on. i think your so amazing at what you do : ).
    if you can help me please email me at [email protected].

    thank you. i really hope you can help me. i know your busy an all but if you could just take a little time to help me i would gratley appreciate it!

  31. Destiny

    Dear Who Ever Reads This,

    My Thanksgiving was wonderful, except for barking dogs. Next Thanksgiving will be better. I'm training my dog Silvia to behave using much of your methods, and it seems to be working well. My dog is smart. I'm having trouble, getting her to like and let strangers in because shes an over protective german shepherd. She pulls on a leash is another big issue. She drags us through yards and ect.. but all the other training, like table manners, is well. She also has severe Seperation anxiety, and barks reall loud the whole time we're goine and goes on the counter.


  32. Ana Laura

    Hello Victoria! I'm from Brazil and I watch all your programs. I have two dogs of the breed basset (teckel) and its programs have helped me a lot to discipline them.
    I love your program and I love you!
    Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving Day!
    Ana Laura

  33. patricia

    hello vvictoria .thank you soo much for helping familys that have problems with there pet I have learn so much from your dog training show. I just got a new puppy. and because of you my puppy is really learing alot and i am learing to I love your show I watch your show everyday. thank you for caring about dogs.You are wonderful. love ya.

  34. patricia

    helloo victoria.I just got a new puppy and because of you my puppy is learing and so am i.I watch your show everyday..thank you so much for caring about dog , I love people like you that go out of there way to help dogs and there family.you are the best....

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