Celebrity trainer coming to Salem

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Trainers who reach international acclaim are few, and opportunities to meet them are rare.  That’s just one of many reasons Victoria Stilwell’s visit to Salem this February is so exciting.  It gets even better when you realize the star of Animal Planet’s It’s Me or the Dog series is also a rock star in animal welfare — active in rescue around the world — and is also a best-selling author.

Stilwell will be in Salem Saturday, Feb. 26 for a series of events, including a visit to work with staff at Willamette Humane Society, a live performance at the Historic Elsinore Theatre, and a meet and greet/book-signing after the show.

Born and raised in Wimbledon, England, Stilwell is one of the world’s most recognized and sought after dog trainers.  She is best known for her role as the host of Animal Planet’s hit TV series, It’s Me or the Dog, through which she demonstrates positive, reward-based training while counseling families on their pet problems.  Certified by the Animal Behavior and Training Associates, Stilwell advocates the use of positive reinforcement training methods that enhance a dog's ability to learn while increasing confidence.  She is strongly opposed to the use of forceful, dominance-based training techniques, which often result in 'quick fixes' but can ultimately cause more long-term harm than good.

Author of Me or the Dog: How to Have the Perfect Pet, and Fat Dog Slim: How to Have a Healthy, Happy Pet, Stilwell is also a regular columnist for Dog World, American Dog and Dogs Today magazines.  She currently lives in Atlanta with her husband, daughter, and dog Sadie.

The morning of Feb. 26, Stilwell will work with staff at WHS on training techniques to enhance shelter dogs’ adoptability.  That evening, she’ll share her experiences and demonstrate training tips using adoptable dogs from WHS in a presentation at The Elsinore Theatre in downtown Salem.  The show begins at 7:30, with a book signing immediately after the show.

Tickets are $22 and $35, and are available by calling 800-992-8499, or online at ticketswest.com. All proceeds from the event benefit the animals at WHS.  Stilwell’s visit is presented by Capitol Subaru and sponsored in part by Spot Magazine.

“We are thrilled to bring Victoria Stilwell to our area,” says Joan Towers, WHS Executive Director. “Like Ms. Stilwell, we are committed to using positive reinforcement training methods in our work with shelter dogs and community dog owners through our behavior and training classes.  We look forward to having her share her knowledge and expertise with our staff and the community.”  Details about the event, WHS and Stilwell can be found at WillametteHumane.org