It's Me or the Dog is a British television program featuring dog trainer Victoria Stilwell who addresses canine behavioral problems, teaches responsible dog ownership and promotes dog training techniques based on positive reinforcement. The show currently airs in about 50 countries worldwide.
- 1 Beginnings
- 2 Format
- 3 Series and success
- 4 Episodes
- 5 Transmissions
- 6 International broadcasts
- 7 References
- 8 External links
British born Victoria Stilwell was an actor who had built her sideline interest in dog training into a full-time business when she saw the first episode of Supernanny and realised she was doing with dogs what Jo Frost was doing with children. She contacted the producers of Super Nanny, British reality-show producers Ricochet Television, who responded immediately, and production began on It’s Me or the Dog. Stilwell said her motivation was to “highlight positive training because there are so many dominance trainers out there messing it all up”. Stilwell acknowledges that training a dog on television is not the same as training without the cameras and crew.
Most episodes begin with a brief interview with the dog owners on when they first met their dog(s) and how their ordeals began. Victoria observes the dog and owners in their home and in a range of situations. Once there’s sufficient evidence of the bad behavior, she then spends two or more days teaching the owners how to create a better atmosphere for both dog and owner, and how to train specific behaviors. On occasion owners are taken to shelters or training centers to provide them with additional information. Victoria then leaves them to implement her training regimen on their own. After some time (usually several weeks), Victoria returns to evaluate how the dog and owner are progressing, and, when necessary, dispenses more training advice.
This format mirrors the format of Super Nanny.
US Season 3, filmed in New York, took a looser documentary format. Stilwell sometimes implements a technique as soon as she sees a behavior rather than waiting until after the Confrontation.
Series and success
There have been three US seasons and four UK series of It’s Me or the Dog so far, the first running for six episodes from 31 August 2005, and earning record ratings for Channel 4. The second series aired from January – March 2006, running for twelve episodes. The third series transmitted from October to November 2006, and was eight episodes long, which included two-hour long specials wrapped at each end; It’s Me or the Dog – The Event and It’s Me or the Fat Dog. In 2007, a special one-hour show at the Crufts Competition was shown on 13 March, and a fourth series of six episodes aired in July and August.
Victoria Stilwell has also written two accompanying books, published by Harper Collins and titled It’s Me or the Dog: How to Have the Perfect Pet and Fat Dog Slim: How to Have a Healthy, Happy Pet. The first book has also been published in the USA by Hyperion. Stilwell and her husband, Van Zeiler, have established a website titled Positively.com to raise awareness of the benefits of using humane training tools.
The show premiered on Animal Planet in the United States on 16 April 2007. In this version, the first season consists of various British families and their dogs (including the It’s Me or the Fat Dog special) while the second season has American dog owners. Animal Planet’s second season premiered in the fall of 2008.
In 2011, the show attempted a new direction with a New York theme which became US season three. US season 4, also filmed in New York, premiered on 2 June 2012. It included 10 episodes with one released each week. The show attempted a new direction where it focused more on the owners and their personality traits than on their pets. It included such episodes as ‘The Castle Goes to the Dogs’ with Matt Demar and Melissa Ballacchino, a former white-rapper whose clubs later came under investigation for drug sales and his then-girl-friend, and another where a German shepherd’s owner taught his dog to bite trees.
While the show hasn’t been officially cancelled, there is no discussion anywhere of it being continued, and it has been dropped in the UK from Channel 4.[original research?]
Series 1: 2005
Series 2: 2005-2006
It’s Me or the Dog has aired on several networks around the world, including:
- Victoria Stilwell (5 September 2005). It’s Me or the Dog: How to Have the Perfect Pet. Collins. ISBN 0-00-721907-5.
- Victoria Stilwell (3 February 2007). Fat Dog Slim: How to Have a Healthy, Happy Pet. Collins. ISBN 0-00-724920-9.
- Victoria Stilwell Official Site
- UK Channel 4 Official Site
- Animal Planet’s Official Site
- It’s Me or the Dog on IMDb
- It’s Me or the Dog at TV.com