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

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Nicole's Upcoming Seminars & Appearances

Products from Nicole Wilde

Blog posts by Nicole Wilde

Harleys, Pizza, and the Power of Assocation

As I sit working at the computer, the quiet of our peaceful rural road is broken by the roar of a Harley Davidson. The motorcycle belongs to my neighbor—let’s call him Mike—a large, bearded, tattooed man. Now, this sound could easily irritate me and engender negative thoughts but, in fact, I find it comforting. How, you wonder, could this sound possibly be comforting? Because Mike is the neighbor who, during the near-apocalyptic fires we had not too long ago, came and alerted us to evacuate (the winds were so high we missed the police driving through yelling through a bullhorn). Mike is also the man who appeared like an angel out of nowhere to transport my wolf Phantom in his crate off the fiery road when things had gone awry and we weren’t able to. Oh, and when it was Phantom’s time for that final drive to the vet, Mike is the one who helped my husband to lift him in a makeshift stretcher into the back of my Jeep.


Big Black Dog Syndrome

Big Black Dog Syndrome

My husband and I recently attended a local pet fair (read: I dragged him). There were a slew of dogs up for adoption from a variety of local shelters and rescue groups. We walked around for quite a while, my husband asking here and there what my guess was as to a dog’s breed or whether I thought a particular one would be adopted.

When we passed a young, large white Lab mix, my husband asked whether I thought anyone would adopt such a big dog with all those little ones around. I said, “Sure, he’s white.” My husband looked at me as though I was a few kibbles short of a bag, but I wasn't. Just as many people find little dogs more adorable than large ones, there is a definite prevalence of people attracted to light-colored dogs over their darker cousins. 


Are Parisian Dogs Better Behaved?

Bonjour! There are so many interesting things to see when walking around Paris, from the art nouveau signs on brasseries and cafes, to the lovely architecture and, annoyingly enough, those amazingly well put together, thin, chic French women. (How do they pull that off with all those baguettes and pastries around? But I digress…)

Although I’ve seen some amazing sites in Paris, one that has really struck me as a dog person is the sheer number of off-leash dogs walking calmly alongside their owners. Now, keep in mind these are Paris streets; narrow sidewalks wind sinuously through the city, as manic drivers fly around blind curves with the assumption that pedestrians have the reflexes to get out of the way fast enough. Yet at least a third of the dogs we’ve seen have been off-leash, from tiny Yorkies to the ubiquitous French bulldogs, all the way up to the many Labs and Goldens.


“The Wheel—Now Rounder and Faster!”

Sure, you’d snicker if you saw that claim, but what many dog training websites promise amount to the same thing. New, ingenious methods abound! Your manic mutt will stop misbehaving in a matter of days! Thousands have purchased our manual! Don’t miss out on these fabulous secrets only we can impart!

Okay, let’s get real. Just as there’s no diet that’s going to let you shed beaucoup pounds in a short amount of time healthfully—sorry, it still comes down to those nasty small portions, fruits, and veggies—there’s no magical “secret” to dog training. It takes time, patience, and commitment. But that’s not sexy or provocative; so in the spirit of attention-seeking behavior, allow me to share some of the more fabulous secrets:


Can't We (Trainers) All Just Get Along?

“Cookie-slinging weenies!”

“Punishment trainers!”


“Jerk trainers!”

Know what these epithets have in common? For one thing, they’ve all been slung around the internet with the intention of disparaging other trainers. They also all show the ignorance of the person spewing them.


Why Do So Many Men Say Nuts to Neutering?

My neighbors have three adult dogs: a male mastiff mix, a female cocker spaniel, and a male rottie mix who I wish would leave home and come live with me. I see the footloose trio often during my early morning walks down our dirt road. (Fences? Who needs fences?) I’m not so sure what another person might think if they ran into the three of them, but they’re friendly, and I’m always glad to see my handsome rottie friend.


How to Teach Your Dog NOT to Come

How to Teach Your Dog NOT to Come When Called


Debarking, Defanging, Disarming: “Because We Can” Isn’t Good Enough!


Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about “solutions” chosen by dog owners to address canine behavior problems. They include debarking, defanging (removing the canines), and “disarming,” which involves filing down teeth by 4mm and blunting the incisors. Debarking is, of course, aimed at curbing nuisance barking, while the other two are meant to deal with biting problems.

While these practices are normally considered measures of last resort, they are also sometimes chosen as “easier” alternatives over trainer-recommended behavior modification protocols that require time and effort. Shame on anyone who would rather mutilate a dog than make the effort to understand and help his “best friend.”


Playing Favorites

One of the catch-up projects I’ve been working on this month is downloading footage from my video camera to my computer so it can be edited and preserved on DVD. This isn’t just any footage; it features my dogs, wolves, and wolfdogs who are no longer with us. As some of you know, I lost Mojo (my soul dog), Phantom (my soul wolf) and Heyoka (beloved high content wolfdog) all in the past year. So the video project has been a heartwarming yet difficult one.


Behavior Issues: The Role of Time and Trust

Dog trainers analyze behavior issues and design behavior modification protocols to help clients treat those issues. But allow me to take off my dog trainer’s hat for a moment and offer an owner’s point of view.



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