INTERVIEW: For Victoria Stilwell, Problem Dogs Need Positive Reinforcement

Victoria Stilwell, star of Animal Planet’s It’s Me or the Dog, is about as positive as they come. The professional dog trainer, who travels around the world offering advice and guidance to pet owners, keeps busy with live appearances, a TV show and multiple books. A staunch supporter of the positive reinforcement school of thought, Stilwell, born and raised in England, attempts to improve behaviors among both dogs and dog owners.

It might come as a surprise to viewers that It’s Me or the Dog had its origins in another reality series. “I came up with the idea having watched Supernanny on television,” Stilwell said recently on a phone call from her hotel in Italy. “My work was very similar to her approach, firm but very kind. The way of approaching children is the way I approach dogs. So I pitched my idea to the producers of Supernanny, who were a British production company … They picked it up and then we pitched it to Channel Four in Britain, which is a network there, and it ran for four seasons in Britain. And then Animal Planet ran the British seasons, and then it did so well for them that they then commissioned the American series.”…

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