Nicole Wilde

Nicole Wilde is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) who specializes in behavior issues. She is a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), the recipient of the prestigious Ian Dunbar Member of the Year Award for 2006, and a popular speaker at the organization’s national and international conferences. Nicole is also an Instructor and on the Advisory Board for the Companion Animal Sciences Institute, the educational branch for the International Institute for Applied Companion Animal Behavior.

Nicole is an internationally recognized author and lecturer. Her 11 books include So You Want to be a Dog Trainer, Help for Your Fearful Dog, and Don't Leave Me!. She has presented seminars both domestically and internationally for APDT conferences, training clubs, and other groups.

Nicole writes training and behavior articles for various newspapers and magazines, including an ongoing training column for Modern Dog Magazine. She co-stars in the DVD “Train Your Dog: The Positive Gentle Method,” co-hosted the “Dog Talk” radio show, and was featured in the Paul Owens DVD “The Dog Whisperer.”

Nicole’s experience includes a position as Volunteer Coordinator for the City of Los Angeles’ Animal Services, where she instructed volunteers in canine handling and behavior, handled hundreds of dogs, and served as adoption counselor. She served as Executive Director for Villalobos Rescue Center, a sanctuary for rescued wolves/wolf hybrids, pit bulls and exotic animals. Nicole’s specialty was socializing fearful wolves who were to live out their lives at the center. She also trained wolves and other canines at the center, and presented seminars for animal control officers, schools and specialty groups. Nicole’s experience is rounded out by having worked at a doggy daycare (supervising 40-50 off-leash dogs daily!), a veterinarian’s office, as Editor/Chief Writer for a Get-A-Pet magazine, and teaching group classes as well as private instruction.

Nicole owns and operates Gentle Guidance Dog Training in Southern California. With warmth, humor and positive techniques, she trains owner to train their dogs. Nicole continues to teach seminars for professional dog trainers, rescue and shelter workers, veterinary groups and others, and to educate the public on canine behavior issues.

Nicole's books and DVDs can be purchased through Phantom Publishing

You can find Nicole on Facebook at

and follow Nicole on Twitter at

Nicole's Upcoming Seminars & Appearances

Products from Nicole Wilde

Blog posts by Nicole Wilde

20 Ways to Help Dogs in Need

There is a well-known quote by Gandhi that says, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” So many of us are dismayed when we hear stories about dogs in need. We want to help, but how best to do that can be daunting. I’d like to share some ideas with you. The offerings in this post are fairly concrete and straightforward. In a future post I’ll offer more creative ideas.


1. Volunteer at your local shelter. If you don’t want to be in the shelter environment, you can still participate in community adoption days.

2. Donate blankets, food, or crates to your local shelter or rescue group. Check the organization’s website to see what they need. You could even spearhead a blanket drive in your community.

3. Take it a step further: Ask if you can post the organization’s wish list to your website, and/or make signs for local pet supply stores. Collect the goods and deliver them.


The Killers that Surround us

There’s a woman who walks her black Lab around the park early in the mornings. As we passed them with our dogs the other day, my friend informed me that the poor dog was recovering from his third round of surgery. He’d almost died. The cause? A tiny, insignificant-looking bit of nastiness called a “foxtail.”

Foxtails aren’t technically plants, but “diasporas” or “plant dispersal units.” They’ve got a hardened tip and a bunch of barbs that point away from the tip, and are so named because they resemble the tail of a fox. The barbs cause the foxtail to cling to fur, and the movement of the dog allows the foxtail to burrow into the fur. Unfortunately, especially in long-haired dogs (the only kind we ever seem to have), the foxtail can work its way into the skin and become irreversibly lodged.


Grandma and the Toddler

Imagine you’re an 88-year-old grandmother with a live-in caretaker. One day your children decide it would be a great idea for a toddler to come and live with you. Your peaceful world is suddenly turned upside down. The noise! The chaos! The constant bids for attention from the rambunctious tyke! What’s happened?

What’s happened is exactly what happens to many older dogs when their owners decide to bring home a puppy. Sometimes owners feel the tincture of youth will infuse the senior dog with a new lust for life. Others simply can’t stand the thought of losing their older dog and the house becoming deafeningly silent, and feel a puppy would ease the transition. And sometimes owners (or more often, their children) want a puppy, and don’t consider the impact it might have on the original four-footed resident.

A typical training call might go like this:

"We’d like some help with our new four-month-old terrier puppy.”


Throwing Away the Box

Trainers and owners alike are taught that there are specific ways to solve canine behavior problems. But one method, regardless of how scientifically sound or effective, won’t work for every dog. Sometimes it’s necessary to think outside the box; and sometimes, it comes to throwing the box away altogether.


Separation Anxiety: A View from Both Sides

Canine behavior specialists know that separation anxiety can be a challenging behavior problem to “fix” due to the level of owner compliance and commitment required, and because of the nature of the problem itself. I’ve worked with a large number of dogs with separation issues over the years, and have been able to help in the majority of cases. But never did I truly understand what owners are living with until I adopted Sierra.


The Media, Heartstrings, and Pet Adoption

An interesting story appeared today on BBC News. A man had taken his dog for a walk, and then headed back to his car. He drove off—without the dog. The dog, who had a limp, was unable to catch up. This type of scenario is, unfortunately, not at all unusual. In the desert area where I live, dogs are dumped all the time. What made this different was that it was caught on video and broadcast on television. Hundreds of people across England, Scotland, and Wales stepped up to offer to adopt the dog. No doubt Ginger, a cute mixed breed, will find a home.



Recently at the dog park, I observed a woman scolding her dog for humping another dog. She’d pulled her own dog away, forced him into a sit, and then proceeded to waggle her finger in his face while reciting a litany of reasons why that sort of behavior was inappropriate for the dog park. Had the dog been a five-year-old child who’d been caught doing something naughty, the lecture would have been understandable. But do you really think the dog was sitting there thinking Ah, now I see! My behavior was, in fact, inappropriate and I won’t be engaging in it again. Thank you for calling it to my attention! …I don’t think so.


Standing Up to Your Dog Trainer

A wide range of training methods and styles exist, and how well they are implemented depends on the person doing the training. When owners attend a group class, the assumption is that the trainer is an expert, or at least a professional with plenty of experience, who will help them to train their dogs in a positive manner. Lately, though, I’ve been hearing story after story that has reignited my desire to spread the word about being an advocate for your dog.


"Purely Positive?" "Balanced?" Another Perspective

It keeps cropping up on training discussion boards. I’ve heard the term used proudly, and I’ve also heard it slung at other trainers as a slur. I’ve even seen it associated with my own name on blogs—and not ones that were written by me. Who knew I was a “purely positive” trainer? I sure didn’t. Besides, what exactly does “purely positive” mean in the real world?


Engage Your Dog's Natural Instincts

As dog owners, most of us are aware of how important it is to give our dogs plenty of exercise. Despite our busy schedules, we make an effort to take them for walks, let them chase balls or Frisbees at the park, and perhaps play with other dogs. Some of us take part in dog sports, or participate in other competitions or fun events. What many of us never consider, though, is what our dogs were actually bred to do. Engaging in activities that allow their natural instincts to come into play is bliss for dogs; their eyes shine, their tails wag, and they appear to be in a zen-like state of happiness.



Subscribe to The Dog Blog
Are you a dog breeder? Sign up for the Dog Breeder Behavior & Training Program