Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Doggone Safe Member, Victoria Stilwell Steps Up!

Today Victoria Stilwell posted the following on Facebook:
I'm worried now that the family is in danger of getting bitten by their JR after the abusive techniques that were used by Jordan Shelley on the BBC's One Show and if so the JR will get put down. If anyone knows who the family is, please tell them that I will come over to England free of charge and teach them how to stop their dog guarding in a humane and beautifully effective way. No point in just complaining, I want to save this dog and this family. Please send this to everyone you know.
Congratulations to Victoria for her generosity of spirit and willingness to stand up for her belief in the power of positive reinforcement training. We are proud to have Victoria as a member of Doggone Safe!

 I hope everyone will pass this on and help Victoria find the name of the family that she wants to help.

You can contact her at or through her website

Here is the video that caused the concern:

Here are some articles that explain the proper and safe way to deal with and prevent resource guarding:


  1. I read your other posts and have a question re: dropping food as you pass by the place the dog is guarding. My question is, when you start out, and the dog is guarding the place, growling when you come near, wouldn't you be reinforcing the behavior and state of mind by dropping treats? Or, is the trick to nonchalantly go up, making no eye contact, and treat before the dog has the opportunity to growl/ get defensive?

  2. This is a great question! The technique of dropping food near the dog while he is eating is to be use to PREVENT guarding. That is, everyone should do this with their dog or puppy while he is eating to teach him that people coming near the food is great news. Treating a dog that is already guarding is more difficult and we recommend that you hire a professional who will use positive methods to help so that you don't inadvertently make things worse. You are right about not wanting to reinforce the guarding behavior. The best way to prevent the dog from practicing this behavior is to prevent the opportunity. That is do not give him toys or bones that he might guard and do not feed him from a bowl at all until he is cured. If you don't have access to a professional we recommend the book "Mine" by Jean Donaldson. Here is a link to an article by Jean that will give you the basic steps for treating a PUPPY (hire a professional if you adult dog is guarding):

  3. As a trainer and shelter worker, watching this video horrifies me. This is the British Cesar Millan! That dog's body language screams anxiety and fear, both for the "trainer" and now for the family! Even the "napping" dog at the end is tense, with pinched ears. But I am so hopeful because of groups like Doggone Safe and trainers like Victoria who speak out. There will always be the bad trainers, but maybe the good will overcome.