It's Me or the Dog TV Poster Image

It's Me or the Dog



Supernanny-style tough love for dog owners.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Stilwell promotes responsible dog ownership, teaching owners how to care for their pets' social, dietary, and fitness needs. Her "tough love" tactics can seem harsh -- and sometimes reduce the owners to tears -- but her dedication to the dogs' welfare is clear, and her methods usually get the point across.

Violence & scariness

Dogs occasionally growl at or bite one another or the people around them.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable

As an author and business owner, Stilwell gets publicity from the series.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the canines featured in this British dog-training series occasionally get aggressive and growl or bite at one another or humans. And the host's motivation methods can be harsh; she raises her voice and lectures owners about how spoiling their dogs leads to poor diets and bad habits. She also uses scare tactics (like visiting animal shelters to show where the pets could end up), and her words often reduce the people to tears. But her advice is spot-on, and dog-loving families will pick up tips on discipline and diet.

What's the story?

In IT'S ME OR THE DOG, Victoria Stilwell -- a self-proclaimed advocate of treating a dog like, well, a dog -- travels the United Kingdom to work with families in desperate need of intervention for bad habits like biting, barking, chewing, and hyperactivity. She interviews family members and learns about the dogs' daily routines and eating habits, as well as the owners' methods of discipline (or lack thereof). After observing the often-chaotic household dynamics, Stilwell works with both the pets and their owners to correct poor behavior. But old habits often prove hard to break -- especially for the softest owners, who can't resist those pleading puppy-dog eyes. After leaving the family to their own devices for a few weeks, Stilwell returns for a follow-up visit. If her subjects have fallen off the wagon, she gives them more lectures about their responsibilities as pet owners and reminds them that their errant ways could eventually cost them their pets.

Is it any good?


Stilwell is to over-pampered pups what the Supernanny is to tantrum-throwing tots, and she's on a mission to change the way that pet owners think about doggie diets and discipline.Her tactics get the job done -- at least within each episode's 30-minute window -- but she often brings owners to tears by yelling at them or scaring them with trips to the animal shelters (where their dogs could wind up if they're taken away). While very young viewers likely won't understand or appreciate her in-your-face methods, older kids will learn something about pet care and discipline.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Stilwell's methods. How does she use body language and voice tones to communicate with the animals? Do they respond to her better than they do to their owners? Why or why not? Would any of her advice work for your family's pets? Parents and tweens can also discuss the educational nature of reality shows like this one. Do you think this series intends to educate or entertain viewers (or some of both)? How is it entertaining? Did watching teach you anything? How real is reality TV in general? Are any reality shows more believable than others? Which ones?

TV details

Premiere date:August 31, 2005
Cast:Victoria Stilwell
Network:Animal Planet
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-G

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Teen, 13 years old Written byTylerReview June 26, 2010


Why do people even watch this show? I agree with the man/woman who wrote the book a few reviews down. Victoria is a actor and entertainer first, not a trainer. She only uses treats to get dogs to obey, kinda like if you gave a baby candy for not crying - they just work for the treats (candy for baby), not because they view you as a leader. She uses shock-and-awe tactics, not true training to get a dog to obey. Skip out on this pseudo-trainer.
Teen, 17 years old Written byabbacus July 2, 2012

Good, but could be better.

Okay for kids.
Parent Written byLightflow June 14, 2013

Good positive role model and training methods.

There are very few women who have television programs like this one. She is using science and positive methods to fix dog problems. Her methods can be very confrontational to get the entire family on board, which is one of the reasons we don't watch her very often. Her methods though could safely be emulated by kids without fear of them hurting the dog or being in an increased danger of being bitten. One thing to keep in mind, this show uses actual science. That means that things like domination and pack theory are not part of it, as most behaviorists would tell you that there is no such thing as an alpha dog, nor any reason to bully a dog to listen to you. The best trainers use the least amount of force necessary, and that's what she does.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence


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