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Victoria Stilwell Review
What's Good and What's Bad

What's Good

  • Animal Planet channel recruited her to counter the popular Cesar Millan on
    National Geographic channel. American views know her from It's Me or the Dog or the Greatest American Dog shows
  • Her techniques are simple and don't require any tools or techniques that
    should bother a dog owner. Anyone can follow and use her techniques
  • These are tried and true ways to train a dog

What's Bad

  • Not the way I'd go to try to rehabilitate an aggressive Akita or Chow Chow
    (check out Cesar Millan for that)
  • She seems to believe every old-wives tale out there and clearly doesn't feel the need to research or stay current with veterinary medicine

As an example, she recommends neutering/spaying dogs (which is fine) but states that there are no negative consequences and no changes in a dog's behavior afterwards.

That wasn't true when she said it and isn't now as veterinary researchers become more familiar with the consequences of neutering/spaying.

For instance, there's always been a certain percentage of dogs that experience continued incontinence after neutering/spaying. That doesn't mean I'm advocating keeping a dog intact (all of mine are neutered or spayed).

The point is to remind you to research the pros and cons of spaying/neutering dogs and make an informed decision based on the latest veterinary knowledge.

Here's a well written pro-and-con article on spaying/neutering from the Animal Sciences College at Rutgers University.

Here are my recommendations. Four paws are best; one paw is worst.










It's Me or the Dog: How to Have the Perfect Pet

Good basic book for the owner of a new puppy or a dog that merely lacks training.

These techniques are simple to implement and will work on typical dogs. The book could use more images. If you like her style, I'd suggest this book and the video.

Ms. Stilwell, as is the case with other successful dog trainers, has an innate gift for training dogs which goes a long way toward being able to work with some of the dogs in her show.

If you had that innate ability, you probably wouldn't need this book!

Again, it's fine for new owners or those with young dogs. The techniques are simple and effective such as turning your back on a dog that jumps up. If the dog is ignored and not rewarded for his bad behavior, he is going to learn that jumping isn't worth doing.

Recommendation: Three paws but keep in mind its limitations. If you had a dog that would be in prison if he were a human, you need more help than this book. Try Cesar Millan.


It's Me or The Dog: Season 1

From unruly hounds to pampered poodles, renowned British dog trainer Victoria Stilwell has seen them all - but what about the owners who are forced to live with them?

With homes destroyed and marriages in trouble, it's not just the dogs that need help. From across the Atlantic, Victoria is now bringing her unique approach with dogs to American families.

This series follows Stillwell as she tries to restore harmony in homes where the pet is running riot and the family is in the dog house.

Through observation, interviews and secret filming with a 'pet cam', Victoria uses her 10+ years of experience to assemble the evidence and diagnose the problems.

Recommendation: Four Paws. I love her show.

Fat Dog Slim: It's Me or the Dog

This book was written in England. That's not bad but it does mean the author isn't familiar with the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) that establishes standards for American dog food. She doesn't explain as much as an American dog owner should know about dog food.

Most of her ideas are conventional. Unlike the dogs-are-furry-people adherents, she warns against feeding poultry bones to dogs or letting them eat raw meat. Thank goodness!

Oddly, she does support feeding dogs human foods. While she warns against the poisonous foods such as chocolate, she seems too blase about the how difficult it is to feed a dog a balanced diet if you're trying to make his dog food himself using human foods

She does stress the need for exercise and discusses the overweight epidemic among dogs.

Recommendation: One paw. It's not awful but it's not that good either.

Overall: Simple, easy techniques any owner should be able to implement. Like Cesar Millan, she stresses the need to exercise your dog and to remember that he's a dog, not a furry-human. You must be the leader of the pack. That not only enables you to train your dog but makes him confident and secure in his own role.

Confident in-control owner; confident under-control dog.

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