Catching Up with 'It's Me or the Dog' Trainer Victoria Stilwell
Her 2010, so far: a new foundation, a new season of her Animal Planet show and a People’s Choice nod!
Thanksgiving may be over, butIt’s Me or the Dog trainer Victoria Stilwell still has a lot to be thankful for: a second season of her hit show, a new foundation in her name and a People’s Choice Award nomination! The British import – who lives in Atlanta with her husband, daughter and “well-behaved” chocolate Lab Sadie, 6 – spoke to PEOPLEPets.com about how she’s using her success to help rescue animals and children with disabilities.
On season two of It’s Me or the Dog: It’s craziness in a word, literally craziness! I think with every season I do, the situations tend to get even worse. This year, there are a lot of multi-dog households so I’m going into situations where there are up to nine dogs that are out of control. It’s a massive task, but it’s great when it ends well.
On the show’s success: To be quite honest, I never thought the show would take off as it has! About five years ago, I was watching an episode of SuperNanny and thought, “I do that with dogs!” So I contacted the producers, and that’s how the show came about. It was so exciting to get the first year going in Britain, then we ran through five seasons and eventually came to America, and that was more than I could’ve ever dreamed of.
On her developing foundation: We’re in the process of setting it up, and it should be running in 2010. It will specifically fund various U.S. organizations that train assistance dogs for the disabled. We’re going to pay particular attention to training dogs for children with disabilities – everything from physical limitations to autism. And we’d also like to be able to put some money toward smaller rescue shelters that don’t get a lot of funding. I’m really excited to be able to do that!
On her People’s Choice nod: I think it’s a real testament to the show’s durability, and also the fact that it’s getting a bigger fan base all the time. People want to see a show that gives them advice about how they can train and relate to their own dogs in a positive way. They can learn techniques that are kind, rather than those that are dominance-based. For me, that shows that there is now a bigger desire for people to learn how to train their dogs without using punitive techniques.
Vote for It’s Me or the Dog through Dec. 8 at peopleschoice.com! And for training tips, check out Stilwell’s book, It’s Me or the Dog: How to Have a Perfect Pet. Season two of her series kicks off Jan. 2 on Animal Planet.
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