Move over “Supernanny” Jo Frost. There’s a new British taskmaster in town.
Beginning on Monday, Animal Planet will debut the hit British reality TV series, “It’s Me or the Dog,” starring dog trainer Victoria Stilwell. Stilwell, a onetime West End stage actress, offers help to troubled dog owners.
“In my book, training is 80 percent owners and 20 percent dog,” Stilwell told Britain’s K9 Magazine. “Dogs are willing and eager to learn while humans can be a lot harder to deal with.”
Stilwell began walking dogs in 1990 to supplement her actor’s income. Within a month, Stilwell had gone from walking one dog a day to 20.
A chance encounter a few years later with an animal behaviorist in a London park launched her formal education in dog training. “I loved it and became very interested in why dogs behaved in the way that they did,” Stilwell says. “I met many trainers who influenced me greatly and since then I have never looked back.”
In 1999, she moved to New Jersey with her American husband, whom she had met while appearing in the London cast of “Buddy,” a musical based on singer Buddy Holly.
Stilwell quickly became an in-demand dog trainer in the New York area. Three years ago, the former actress was tapped to host “It’s Me or the Dog,” which became an instant hit in the U.K.
“It’s Me or the Dog” airs on Animal Planet beginning on April 16 at 8:30 ET/PT.