Victoria Stilwell on Training Dogs: Stay Positive

Whether she’s teaching a Pomeranian not to bite his owner when he gets in bed with his wife or treating a Wheaten Terrier with severe OCD, trainer Victoria Stilwell always thinks positive.

The star of Animal Planet’s It’s Me or the Dog and a judge on CBS’ Greatest American Dog, Stilwell — coming to town for two local events — preaches the virtues of training dogs through positive reinforcement. Think praise and treats instead of shock collars and physical punishment.

“People want quick fixes,” says the author of Train Your Dog Positively (Ten Speed, $14.99 in paper). “If you’re teaching dogs something, you can do it quickly. But changing a habit takes longer. You can suppress those behaviors with punishment, but they’re still there.

In the book, which she’ll sign from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Books & Books in Coral Gables, Stilwell offers solutions for behavioral problems including separation anxiety, housebreaking, leash pulling and excessive barking. (One tip: A walk each day does wonders for your dog’s well-being — and yours, too.)…. [MORE]

Victoria Stilwell with her dog Sadie

Victoria Stilwell with her dog Sadie