Victoria’s Interview with Italian VSPDT Giorgio

Il Cane Norma’s Giorgio Guglielminotti Garmot is one of the first international members of Victoria’s exclusive global network of world-class positive reinforcement trainers – Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training (VSPDT).  We recently caught up with Giorgio to ask him about the movement towards positive reinforcement training in Italy, his training center outside of Rome, and his upcoming seminar featuring world-renowned ethologist Roger Abrantes in September.

 Leggi in italiano


Victoria:  How long have you been training dogs, and have you always used positive reinforcement

 Are almost ten years now that I train dogs and I always used positive reinforcement methods; this is because my first formation was with the first dog trainer that used this method here in Italy: Carlo Marzoli. Of course I was already sure that we could approach dogs with different methods from those used so far.

VS:  How prevalent are dominance-based, aversive training techniques and philosophies in Italy?   Can you tell a difference in how progressive certain European countries are in their attitudes towards dogs compared to one another?

GG:  In these recent years things are changing in Italy. There are many dog trainers class formation that reject dominance-based and aversive training techniques using positive reinforcement methods so the new trainer have a canine culture based on respect and on relationship with dogs. Unfortunately, there is still a culture based on old conception and on traditional knowledge that produce bad works with dog and no respect of the dog. In Europe I think we have great differences between certain countries: UK, France, and Nordic country (Sweden, Finland and Denmark) are maybe the best country about dog training with positive methods. I don’t know a lot about Germany but the news I have are not so clear. Italy, Spain and Greece are growing up and maybe the majority problems we have are about the facilities for dogs like hospitality in Hotel, bar, restaurants, shops and public transport even if, during a my recent holidays in Spain, I had not problem to find many hotels that accept dogs.

VS:  What made you decide to become a Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Trainer, and how do you feel it sets you apart from other dog trainers in your area?

GG:  The decision to become a VSPDT member was a sort of challenge with myself.  After many years working I wanted to understand if my working methods could be at the same level of other international dog trainers.  Of course have a better chance to disclose a good canine culture and be a member of an important association like this convinced me to try this experience.  Many dog trainers in Italy know Victoria Stilwell and the “It’s Me or the Dog” TV show and they are often surprised when I tell them about the VSPDT and my membership.  They believe that it’s too much difficult to reach, but I think that if we work in the right way we can reach great results.

VS:  Tell us about your facility outside Rome, Il Cane a Norma.  It’s named after your own dog, right?  What types of services do you offer and what message are you trying to convey to the local dog-owning public?

GG:   Yes, Il cane a Norma is sort of pun for my dog training center. My dog (Norma) changed my life and gave to me a job and a future many years ago so she deserved to give the name for my business. We offer base education and advanced training as obedience, rally-o, agility dog, nose works and discdog. More we help our customers to solve behavior problem of their dogs. We try to inform our public that there new methods to educate and train the dogs and that is better to begin immediately, with puppies, without waiting to have problems. Life with our dogs is long and it’s should be a good life for both. Moreover we have class formation for new dog trainer and during the year we plan seminars and courses about specific dog activities.

VS:  What is The Dog Trainers Company?

GG:   The Dog Trainers Company is a new company I have founded with the aim to provide professional service for the dog trainers in Italy. Seminars, events, technical equipments, workshops are the first goals for the DTC.


VS:  You’re hosting renowned ethologist Roger Abrantes at your facility this September.  Tell us a bit about him, why you decided to invite him to your first seminar, and what ethology is all about.

GG:   Yes, our first guest will be Roger Abrantes, one of the most important person that studies animal behavior. PhD in Evolutionary Biology and Ethology, and BA in Philosophy, DHC, DF, MAPBC, born in Portugal in 1951, has lived most of his life in Denmark.He is the author to 17 books in English, German, Spanish, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Italian, and Czech, and innumerous articles on behavior. He is probably one of the most versatile ethologists in the world. He has written popular books with sound advice to pet owners as well as theoretical scientific dissertations. He teaches ethology, anthropology, and epistemology (theory of knowledge), besides his practical work with dogs and horses.

He is a popular guest in TV and radio programs in his home countries and in the US. His English books Dog Language–An Encyclopedia of Canine Behavior and The Evolution Of Canine Social Behavior became hits the moment they reached the US bookshelves. He lectures often in the US.

Dr. Abrantes is especially known for his views on social behavior and its applications to the daily understanding of pet behavior; and for his no-nonsense working methods, a practical and thorough application of Ethology and Learning Theory, teaching the animal the new patterns patiently and efficiently step by step. In our seminar in Rome he will speak about SMAF (signal, meaning and form) his traning method and the second day he will present his last work about the dog behavior problems. Why Roger Abrantes? Because we think that Italy is ready to hear international experts and it’s ready to learn from them.  Download a PDF about Roger’s Seminar at Il Cane Norma here.

VS:  Giorgio, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us today.  I look forward to getting over to Italy very soon and joining forces with you in person to help spread the word that there’s a better way to train… Positively – and that the concept of treating animals with the love, respect and trust that they deserve is a common language that we all share, regardless of nationality.

For more information about Giorgio, Il Cane Norma, dog training in Italy or the Dog Training Company and its upcoming seminars, please visit:


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