She started a successful dog walking business and realized the need for qualified dog trainers to help her clients. She learned from some of Britain’s most respected positive-reinforcement dog trainers and behaviorists, quickly establishing herself as one of New York’s most sought after dog trainers.
She is a vocal opponent of punitive, dominance-based training techniques which often result in ‘quick fixes’ but ultimately cause more long-term harm than good while damaging the owner-dog relationship.
Stilwell summarized her top ten tips:
- Don’t stop training your dog – people think that once they have taught their dog a few basic commands then that’s dog training off the list. Dogs don’t stop learning and training should be reinforced throughout your dog’s life.
- Look at the world through your dog’s eyes from time to time, and use this knowledge to help you with your training.
- Make sure your dog gets enough exercise – as the saying goes a tired dog is a happy dog.
- Give your dog confidence and make him feel secure. You don’t achieve this by being dominant owner, but by being a calm teacher who encourages and rewards good behavior.
- Check your dog’s diet – many behavioral problems stem from a poor diet.
- Dogs easily get bored, so sign up for a fun activity together – agility and flyball are examples.
- Make dog care a top priority – have your dog micro chipped and keep up to date with veterinary checks and shots.
- Playing with your dog is a great way to bond with him.
- Keep your dog safe – with increasing dog theft know where your dog is always and don’t leave him unattended.
- Have fun and enjoy your dog, you should never think of your dog as a burden.
Photo Credit: Jaypeg21