Yesterday was a day filled with entertainment at the expense of the famous or rather now “Infamous” Ms. Stilwell. As many of you might know Ms. Stilwell started shooting her new series “Guardians of the night” not to long ago in which she rides along with the an American Sheriff K9 team, going deeper into the dangerous world of K9 teams and their work than any before her ever have. Her words on the introduction video for the new series could not have been more true when she says “I thought I knew what it would be like, I was wrong…”
March 22nd, 2016 proved that fact to her, and the rest of the world in a way she most likely never imagined… It was the day that Ms. Stilwell got bit, went into a rant of anger, blamed the handler for it happening, and then posted about it on Facebook for the whole world to see as she shrugged of her own responsibility in the event.
Her post on Facebook read the following:
It was within a matter of hours that she removed the post as the replies she received on them were clearly not to her liking. Ms. Stilwell had most likely hoped for some form of comfort from others, telling her how sorry they felt for her, when at this point all she received was scorn from the working dog community for something that all in the working dog community felt they had warned her about on more than one occasion. The problem with the internet is tho, once posted, it is there to haunt you forever…. People screenshotted Ms. Stilwell’s post and it started circulating on Facebook, and the internet at an extremely rapid rate doing damage to her credibility like nothing else could. Her true colors were slowly coming to see the light and anyone posting anything not to her liking on either her Facebook page, or Twitter account immediately got blocked and or banned. Mayhem erupted as it became clear that in fact the handler of the dog that bit Ms. Stilwell was not in error, as most had already expected, but Ms. Stilwell herself had managed to place herself in such a position for nothing more than “A good shot for TV” As I understand it the whole event took place inside of a Helo and the dog bit her on the leg as opposed to what he should have bitten, which is what I presume to be a decoy.
Several actual witness accounts attested to that fact on Facebook posts.
So what does this tell you about Ms. Stilwell? That she is a caring dog lover? That she is a good dog trainer? That she is knowledgeable about dogs, and or the working dog world? Or does it tell you that she placed herself in a position of danger simply for ratings on a TV show that she is filming? That she refuses to take responsibility for her own actions? That she is less than lacking in knowledge when it comes to working dogs, the working dog world, and reading working dogs as a whole?
When the first promotional video for “Guardians of the night” got posted back in January 2016 she made it clear that she wanted a firm footing inside the working dog world to spread her ideas of how dogs should be trained. Her own words on this subject are:
“ While training is a component to the project, including a healthy debate on how K9 training can move forward without the use of aversive training tools and methods, I want to emphasize that our bigger goal is to show the viewer the day in, day out lives of these guys and their dogs to show that it’s not all about the calls and the action. “
While claiming the bigger goal is to show the everyday lives of the teams involved in the show she still does manage to put out there that her other goal is to start changing the training regimes and ways of working dog handlers and trainers.
This, to me, is a dangerous development indeed. Why? Well that much proved itself already did it not? She dipped her toe into the working dog water and boy did it get wet, only not with water as she had hoped, but with her own blood…..
Who is this woman? Who made her gods gift to dogs? Well, of course she did that herself and if you go to youtube you can find the evidence of such as she proclaims to be “the god of dog training” Does this make her so tho? No it doesn’t! Ms. Stilwell insists on pushing her agenda on anyone and everyone owning a dog. Does she have license to do so? Nope, she doesn’t! Why do I say that? Simple. Any dog trainer that claims that they know it all, is not a dog trainer to begin with. Any dog trainer that claims that all dogs will adhere to the very same style of training is not a dog trainer but a fool. You suit your training to the dog in front of you. You do not push your personal human views on the dogs, but you relate to the dog in a dog respectful and dog worthy manner so that it understands you and wants to work for you, and more importantly, with you!
Ms. Stilwell is just such a person tho. Actrice with not much of a career to show for herself, dog-walker, former model…. Walking around on set in her leather and heels, picture perfect makeup as she plays dog trainer. Her only real claim to fame is having dogs put to sleep for her inability to be able to help the dogs as they should be helped. She can not adjust her mindset to what the dogs need, she expects the dogs to follow her mindset which is “I do not want to deal with aggression so it does not exist”
But aggression does exist in dogs! Some of it natural aggression, some of it built up by wrong handling of the dog, some of it trained into the dogs to do a job. Just because Ms. Stilwell refuses to acknowledge that aggression doesn’t mean it does not exist or that it will go away, or that the dogs in question are bad dogs that need to be put to sleep. It only means that Ms. Stilwell is completely lacking in knowledge of what a dog really is, how it should be treated and how that treatment should take place to begin with.
If we start following Ms. Stilwell’s ideas of how a dog should be, should be raised, should be treated, should be trained, we will soon have veterinarians working overtime due to the high numbers of euthanasia that now will become more a rule than exception for a dog with behavioral issues, or even a strong minded dog.
A dog does not naturally conform to the picture you have built up in your head of it. A dog is what a dog is. It has its quirks and you will have to deal with those. Just because you feel that a dog feels bad when you correct it doesn’t make it so! A dog is not a child, or a human being, and it does not relate or respond in the same way that we do. A dog is a reactionary creature that learns through action/reaction and action/consequence. Just as in the human world, the dog world has a whole range of characters and attitudes and none are the same or conform to the very same thing each and every time. A good dog trainer realizes that, works with that, uses it to his or her advantage and creates a happy and well balanced dog in the process. A good dog trainer looks at what the dog needs and not at what the handler wants. A good handler trains a dog with whatever tool they have available to him or her, be it a treat, a toy or a device of correction if needed. A good handler knows not to push his or her own views upon a dog only to discard the dog if it does not conform to their views. A good trainer knows that if the dog is showing strange and or unwanted behavior, the trainer should adjust his or her training to suit the dog in front of them. Not just toss cookies at it, say you love him, pat him on the head and blatantly ignore everything else….
So… did you answer the question yet? Is Ms. Stilwell a savior or a danger to the working dog world? I know what I think, and I know that after reading this you all know what I think…. As for the answer to that question tho… I will leave you all to decide for yourself what the answer is….
Authors note: I welcome a healthy and open discussion with Ms. Stilwell on the subject of working dogs, dogs, and training of dogs in general. I doubt it will ever come to pass but the invite is out there for her to accept.