I have never had a dog before Lily and I have not ever before trained anybody to do anything. I couldn’t even train He-weasel to put the toilet seat down. It wasn’t until the second year of marriage in a moment of extreme PMS that I cried, begged and suggested divorce if he didn’t put the seat down that got him to move the toilet seat into the married man’s position.
Miraculously, in just a few short weeks thanks to my personal trainer Victoria Stilwell and her show It’s Me or the Dog, on Animal Planet, I have taught Lily to come, sit, stay, lay down, go to her place and and dance. I am enormously proud and I cannot stop bragging about her. I must sound like a mother who goes around telling everyone how gifted their child is., i.e. annoying But, really, Lily is gifted. I am very proud of myself as well as Lily. I have decided to train Lily all manner of tricks. But how? I ordered 101 Dog Tricks. I am so into it I am even in the market for a hoop to train Lily to jump through. I assure you that when I have taught Lily to play the piano( I am not kidding, the 101 dog tricks teaches you how to do it), say ‘I love you’, play the shell game and to fetch my Diet Coke I will post the video of her brilliant pet tricks.
Why Victoria over the much tauted Dog Whisperer, Cesar Milan? Lots of reasons:
1. I know, I know that people love him. However, I literally feel ill when I watch Cesar work with dogs. I didn’t know why it made me feel sick but something about forcing a dog on its side into submissive posture freaked me out in a big way. After three consecutive episodes of The Dog Whisperer I wanted to scream. When I read Victoria’s book “It’s me or the dog ” she said, “Alpha rolls”( which is the technique of forcefully putting a dog on its side in an attempt to make the dog submit and correct negative behavior). ‘This kind of training has proven not only to be dangerous( many people get bitten as a result) but psycholigcally damaging( most negative behavior is due sot a dog’s insecurity, not dominance, so using harsh punishment serves to heighten that insecurity.” She goes on to say that “Dominance training teaches a dog to respond out of fear.” I certainly don’t want to scare Lily into sitting.
I think Victoria has gone a long way in explaining my gut reaction to Cesar’s style of dog training. Here is a video of how strongly Victoria feels about dominance and submission methodology vs. confidence and security training. It makes me love her even more.
2. I am addicted to BBC America. I watch almost anything if there is a British accent involved, so much so that you would think I am an anglophile and not a francophile. I watch Top Gear, Mistress, Gordon Ramsay, The Dirty Ladies( my pet name for the gals on How clean is your house?), Dr. Who, British mysteries. I even watch BBC news( news of the economy is easier to take when it is told to you in non-hyped British tones. So, that Victoria is in the UK and is teaching me to train my dog is the doggy equivalent of sending her to English prep school and it makes my dog training a little more international.
3. I love Victoria’s style, no not just her style of dog training but also her personal style. She is as strict about her minimalist black and red wardrobe as she is about making your dog work for its treats. There is something almost dominatrix, Avengers, and French chic about her style. She has a black pea coat that I would beg, sit and roll over to have and there are the ever present black boots, black pants and red belts. Her hair is always up in a high pony with face framing bangs and always there is her red lipstick even when visiting a house that is covered with poop and pee. She has a very strong personal style that is at its best in her shows that are taped in Britain. When she brought her show to the states she lost her style and got a bit dowdy. Victoria, don’t let America bring you down. Lose the tee-shirts and get back into your black leather; Good girl.
I don’t wear a black leather jacket, red lipstick, or black riding boots when I train Lily, but I do follow Victoria’s advice and here is proof that even without a black pea coat or a British accent that her training techniques work. Please see for yourself and then let the positive reinforcement, praise and treats begin.