We love to watch Victoria Stilwell work. And we’re glad we’re not the dog owners who must often endure her wonderfully British form of tough love. In any event, Stilwell has built up a nice following, partly because she’s so darned entertaining and devoted to the positive-reinforcement philosophy of training that has helped countless canines. She’s on a mission to help dogs and their owners find balance in their relationships — and it’s always an interesting ride. She’s sort of a cross between the Dog Whisperer, The Nanny and, well…maybe Julie Andrews as an updated, leather-clad Mary Poppins…on a sort of semi-irritable day and…oh, never mind. The bottom line is that Stilwell’s unique take on dog training makes for great TV. We plan to keep on watching. But if she starts to fly around with an open umbrella, we’ll know we’ve entered The Twilight Zone.

Honorable Mentions:

Cesar Millan, Dog Whisperer, National Geographic Channel: We love Millan and his addictive style that hinges on the tenet that he rehabilitates dogs and trains people. In show after show, he delivers. And with every new situation, he tackles the problem with a determination that’s hard to match. Hail, Cesar!

Jai Rodriguez, Groomer Has It, Animal Planet: In continuing this category’s apparent canine theme (angry letters from the cat people are pending), we salute Rodriguez’s ability to herd, uh…dogs…as he oversees this three-ring circus of emotionally volatile groomers and judges.

Fast Fact

  • Stilwell began as a dog walker in the early 1990s and branched out to training — all while pursuing an acting career in London’s West End. She supports numerous animal-rescue groups, including several organizations devoted to fighting puppy mills.


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