FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

 

General
Is coursework involved or is VSPDT purely a marketing tool?
What are my responsibilities to the Victoria Stilwell Foundation?
Can I join VSPDT if I’m not the the US?
When is the next VSPDT Evaluation Day?

Branding
Can I keep my existing business name and brand?
How is the Positively brand marketed beyond the VSPDT program?
What other platforms represent and promote the Positively brand?
What’s the brand philosophy?
I have been in business for 5 years. If I co-brand with VSPDT, won’t my own brand suffer?

Marketing Tools
What kind of Positively website & email will I get?  
How does the VSPDT Client Survey work?

What is the Positively Expert Blog and how does it help me?
What is the Positively Private Print Shop and how does it help me?
Can I be featured on Victoria’s podcasts?
What type of client newsletter can I choose?
How many referrals should I expect from the Positively website?

Applications & Licensing
How much is the application fee?
How much does a Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training license cost?
Can I pay the annual license fee in installments?
Do I have to attend an in-person VSPDT Evaluation Day?
Do you accept multiple VSPDT licensees in one geographical area?

Do you accept dog training facilities or just individual self-employed trainers?

How do I know other Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Trainers will be as qualified as me?

 

GENERAL

Is coursework involved or is VSPDT purely a marketing tool?
The VSPDT program is designed to be the most valuable marketing tool in your arsenal as a small business owner. VSPDT is therefore purely focused on providing you with opportunities to align yourself professionally with Victoria and her brand—opportunities that give you a leg up on your local competition. We also give you access to an invaluable sounding board in the form of other VSPDT members who can tell you how they made the most of their affiliation.

So no, VSPDT is not an educational institution and doesn’t offer educational dog training courses. But all VSPDT members learn from and share ideas with other VSPDT members and Victoria through the members-only Positively web forum and VSPDT events.

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What are my responsibilities to the Victoria Stilwell Foundation?
The Victoria Stilwell Foundation is a US-based, national 501(c)(3) charitable organization founded by Victoria Stilwell. The organization’s mission is to provide financial support, dog training expertise, and fundraising support for canine assistance training and placement organizations and smaller rescue shelters.

A portion of all license fees received by Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training, LLC are donated to the Foundation. So, as a licensee you can advertise a charitable component of your dog training business. All donations to the Foundation are already included in each yearly license fee, and there’s no additional requirement to support the Foundation. Of course, additional contributions to the Foundations are welcome, but by no means required.

Can I join VSPDT if I’m not in the USA?
Absolutely. VSPDT is a global network with members in multiple countries and continents. When you request an application, you’ll let us know where you’re located and we’ll send you the appropriate type of application.

When is the next VSPDT Evaluation Day?
VSPDT Evaluation Days are scheduled approximately every 3 months. Please check the VSPDT home page for a list of upcoming Evaluation Days.

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BRANDING

Can I keep my existing business name and brand?
Absolutely. As a VSPDT member, you are welcome to use the Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training name and logo as part of your business to whatever extent you wish. Sometimes that means completely rebranding a business or creating a new brand identity if you are just starting out. Still others have a strong brand identity in their community already and simply use their association with Victoria as an invaluable co-branding opportunity.

We are here to help your business grow and there are many ways we can achieve that by working together.

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How is the Positively brand actively marketed beyond the VSPDT program?
Victoria Stilwell Positively is Victoria’s cornerstone public identity across many different platforms, projects, and media outlets. The brand enjoys widespread awareness and popularity among the dog-owning public due to its strategic placement in all relevant categories and is anchored by the popular Positively website.

Significant resources from the Victoria Stilwell Enterprises, LLC budget are reserved for marketing and advertising of the brand both online and in the marketplace to ensure that its reach is comprehensive and that it continues to target the appropriate dog-related demographic. VSPDT members enjoy the net benefit of these broader marketing efforts in the form of both increased web traffic and wider general awareness of the Positively brand.

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What other platforms represent and promote the Positively brand?
Victoria has developed multiple programs and opportunities which continue to expand the reach of the Positively brand. These include:

  • The It’s Me or the Dog TV show
  • Consistent high-level media coverage (print, radio, and TV appearances)
  • Live tour events
  • Regular columns in The Bark and Dogs Today magazines
  • Two bestselling books
  • Social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc)
  • Positively podcasts (on iTunes)
  • ‘Ask Victoria’ video blogs
  • Apparel and merchandise
  • The Victoria Stilwell Positively Adoption Support System (PASS) program for shelters

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What’s the brand philosophy?
Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training is truly a team. While Victoria is the world’s most recognizable positive reinforcement dog trainer, she has never claimed to have invented the concept or created an entirely original approach to dog training. On the contrary, on her TV show and in public appearances, Victoria has long been an admirer and proponent of those trainers, scientists, and behaviorists who helped develop the core of what is now known as positive reinforcement.

Nonetheless, the runaway popularity of It’s Me or the Dog, her other TV projects, and various other platforms has created a wide-reaching, global awareness of Victoria and her brand, and she feels compelled to further the cause of those many thousands of fantastic positive reinforcement trainers who are helping to educate the public about science-based dog training.

Victoria views her role in this network as being one member among many, even if she happens to have a more visible platform through which to practice as a dog trainer. As such, she created Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training with the philosophy that all members of VSPDT are equally valuable assets to the overall strength, visibility, and quality of the brand name and have a vital role to play in the global movement to educate the public.

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I have been in business for 5 years. If I co-brand with you, won’t my own brand suffer?
On the contrary. Membership in VSPDT would add a dimension to your own brand that makes it even stronger. If people in your community know and respect your business as the place to go for cutting-edge, positive reinforcement dog training, they won’t be surprised you are now certified and endorsed by Victoria Stilwell, the best-known name in that world.

Aligning yourself professionally with Victoria adds further credibility to the brand values you have established as a positive trainer—and it gives your business the visibility and impact that only comes with a globally recognized face and name. (Also, don’t forget that the level of co-branding can be as subtle or as strong as you want it to be. For more on this, visit How It Works.)


MARKETING TOOLS

What kind of Positively website & email will I get?
As a VSPDT member, you are entitled to a free, fully customizable VSPDT-branded website on the web-based Positively platform at www.trainername.positively.com. Each site features pre-designed webpage templates, which highlight the association between the trainer and Victoria’s Positively brand.

You will be able to maintain and update your own Positively website however you wish within the popular and easy-to-use WordPress framework. That means you have complete control over the placement and appearance of all site content, including class schedules, bio, accreditation, photos, articles, updates, testimonials, rates, and more. You can add, edit, or delete pages according to your needs.

You are also provided with a re-directable Positively email address ([email protected]).

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How does the VSPDT Client Survey work?
As a VSPDT member, you are welcome to invite your dog training clients to complete an online VSPDT Client Feedback Survey. This short survey provides you with valuable feedback directly from your clients about their impressions of your overall experience, training methods, professionalism, and expertise.

The survey has a built-in testimonial generator, which provides you with valuable quotes and recommendations from past clients to use in your future marketing materials. We make it worth your clients’ while to complete the survey by promising them a chance to win a quarterly draw for a signed copy of Victoria’s book (or other similar promotional material).

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What is the Positively Expert Blog and how does it help me?
Victoria has assembled a world-class panel of dog training experts, celebrities, veterinarians, and organizations on her Positively website as Positively Expert Bloggers. These bloggers regularly post entertaining, informative, and inspiring pieces on the site.

As a VSPDT member, you benefit from the public association and from having the live feed from the blog prominently featured on your Positively site. In other words, you have the most well-known and accomplished minds in the field of animal behavior blogging on your site.

[add some names?

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What is the Positively Private Print Shop and how does it help me?
VSPDT has partnered with Printing For Less to create a custom-built Private Print Shop (PPS) exclusively for VSPDT members. The PPS contains pre-designed, customizable templates for all your printing and marketing needs including business cards, car magnets, stationary, envelopes, postcards, tri-fold brochures, and more.

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Can I be featured on Victoria’s podcasts?
Yes. All VSPDT members are eligible to be featured guests on Victoria’s globally available Positively Podcast series. You will join Victoria to discuss topical dog-related issues and work with her to answer listeners’ questions during the popular ‘Ask Victoria’ section of the broadcast. These exclusive segments are available to listeners all over the world and can be used as valuable marketing tools on your website and in other advertising outlets. Listen to an excerpt with a current VSPDT trainer:

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What type of client newsletter can I choose?
You can create custom-built VSPDT-branded client e-newsletter templates to use with your client base. Newsletters provide a terrific way to offer seasonal promotions, update your community about your services and schedule, and promote local appearances and projects. We will work with you to develop the right type of template for your needs and make sure you are getting the most out of your social networking opportunities.

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How many referrals should I expect from the Positively website?

That’s something we can’t predict. The number of referrals our members report getting from the website varies from none to a steady stream. But the referral service on the Positively site was mainly created as a service to the dog-owning public. When people use it, great. That’s an extra bonus for VSPDT members. But it isn’t, and was never intended to be, a pillar of the program.

The primary benefit of the VSPDT program is its members’ ability to align themselves personally and professionally with Victoria—and to trumpet that affiliation to the public.

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APPLICATIONS & LICENSING

How much is the application fee?
The current application fee for individuals is $150, and the fee for facilities is $300 plus the cost of travel expenses incurred by sending a VSPDT evaluator to the facility. All revenue from application fees goes directly towards the processing of applications.

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How much does a Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training license cost?
Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training licenses for individuals cost $825 for the first year, and $500 per year after that. For facilities employing more than one trainer, the license fee is $1,925 for the first year and $1,500 per year after that.

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Can I pay the annual license fee in installments?
In certain circumstances, VSPDT can make payment arrangements, although the initial license fee is usually due in full upon joining the network.

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Do I have to attend an in-person VSPDT Evaluation Day?
No. You are welcome to attend an in-person VSPDT Evaluation Day with Victoria and her team, but it isn’t required. You have the option of preparing a video submission of your dog training work instead. If you choose to submit a video, you will also have a one-on-one video or phone conversation with Victoria.

No preference is given based on whether you choose to attend an Evaluation Day or submit a video.

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Do you accept multiple VSPDT licensees in one geographical area?
The short answer: in certain cases. VSPDT’s primary goal is to help our members increase their visibility and profitability, and having too many VSPDT trainers in one area dilutes their ability to leverage the Positively brand to their unique advantage.

Consequently, we limit the licensee density in any given geographical area. We grant only one VSPDT license in each geographical area whose population numbers 100,000. If a commonly recognized geographical boundary (city or town limit or radius) has a population of greater than 100,000, one VSPDT license will be eligible to be granted for each multiple of 100,000 people.

In certain situations, VSPDT can offer the first licensee in a particular geographical area the right to purchase a Premier License, which ensures that no additional VSPDT trainers will be accepted in that area in the future.

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Do you accept dog training facilities, or just individual self-employed trainers?

We accept applications from both self-employed dog trainers and larger dog training businesses with multiple employees and physical locations. The core criteria for eligibility remain the same for both types of applicant. In larger businesses, the VSPDT team must individually approve all employees responsible for providing dog training services.

The application fee for a facility license is higher than the application fee for an individual license, as the process requires VSPDT team members to personally visit and evaluate each employee and the business’ physical facilities.

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How do I know other VSPDT trainers will be as qualified as me?

Victoria and her team have gone to great lengths to ensure all Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training members are of the highest quality, promote positive reinforcement methods, and are held to the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct.

Victoria has designed the comprehensive and involved application process herself to guarantee that all eventual licensees are worthy team members who operate their business with integrity, skill, professionalism, and a high level of business acumen. All applicants must supply client references, written essays, business documents, and must pass background checks, phone interviews, live or taped training evaluations, and one-on-one interviews with Victoria.

In addition, stringent safeguards are in place to ensure all VSPDT trainers continue to employ positive reinforcement training methods and eschew traditional, dominance-based methodologies.

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TESTIMONIALS

“I don’t have to try to convince new clients about my methods, they are already sold on R+. For this the credit goes to Victoria!” –Ero Merkati, Thinking Dogs, Athens, Greece

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CASE STUDY

Find out how one dog trainer increased her income by 50% percent by adding the VSPDT factor to her marketing.

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FIND A TRAINER

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UPCOMING EVALUATION DAYS

  • Contact us to schedule an Evaluation Day.

MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS

  • Public association with Victoria
  • Rights to leverage that association across all platforms
  • Access to easily customizable marketing tools READ MORE >

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