SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Pat Romanski, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel

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Celebrity Dog Expert Victoria Stilwell Embeds In The State Farm® Arson Dog Training Program For New Web Series

First major series debuts on revamped Positively.com platform

ATLANTA, Aug. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- If arson is an 'under the radar' crime, the dogs and handlers who uncover hidden clues at fire scenes to detect arson fraud are positively invisible. In a major new web series, celebrity dog trainer Victoria Stilwell (It's Me or the Dog, Animal Planet) steps outside her comfort zone of domestic pet training to follow (and sometimes join) a class of new human and canine recruits as they undergo rigorous and intense training to become world-class fire scene investigative teams.

To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please click http://www.multivu.com/players/English/7292851-state-farm-victoria-stilwell-arson-dog-training-program-web-series/

Deputy State Fire Marshal John Galaska with the Delaware State Fire Marshal’s office investigates a grass fire with his new canine partner during training class in Maine.

In her long and distinguished career as one of the world's pre-eminent dog behavior experts, Stilwell has seen just about everything in the dog world, but watching arson dogs develop into fraud-detecting crime fighters left this seasoned canine specialist in awe.

"Like most people, I did not know too much about what arson dogs did or how they worked, but witnessing the awesome power of these amazing dogs' sense of smell and watching the strength of the bond and level of communication between the handler and dog was truly inspiring," says Stilwell. "After just scratching the surface learning about what these unique teams do on a daily basis, I knew right away that I wanted to bring greater awareness and appreciation of their work to my audience and beyond."

Despite the fact that billions of dollars in property and hundreds of lives are lost as a result of intentionally set fires each year, arson remains a difficult crime to investigate and prosecute because of the lack of resources local law enforcement have at their disposal. To help arson investigators gather evidence at fire scenes, State Farm became the only company in North America to sponsor a training program for arson dogs and handlers more than two decades ago. "We're incredibly proud to have developed and maintained this unique program since 1993. To date, the State Farm Arson Dog Program has placed nearly 350 teams across North America," says State Farm representative and arson dog program coordinator Heather Paul. "State Farm is excited that Victoria Stilwell and her Positively team chose to profile our arson dog training program to launch her new online platform."

Stilwell's decision to produce a series about the program was cemented when she learned that the training methods used by lead trainer Paul Gallagher and his team to train these highly-driven working dogs were completely in line with her ideology of reward-based and force-free dog training. "The idea that stronger, more driven dogs need a heavier hand in training is something that I've spent my career trying to debunk, so I am thrilled to show our audience the true power of positive training with even these Ferraris of the dog world," says Stilwell.

The new multi-episode web series, entitled Arson Dogs, premieres Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 exclusively on Stilwell's YouTube channel and her new Positively Media Center on the newly redesigned and recently-launched Positively.com website. Over the course of several episodes, Stilwell explores the dynamic 3-person training team, 8 young arson dogs-in-training and 8 handlers with varying degrees of experience from all over the US. Stilwell steps in as a surrogate trainee as well, getting an up-close view of the high-stakes pressure experienced by the new recruits. Upon their graduation from the program, Stilwell follows a few of the dog/handler teams back to their communities to watch them get to work in real-life situations.

About Victoria Stilwell  
Victoria Stilwell is a world-renowned dog trainer, TV personality, author and public speaker best known as the star of the international hit TV series Greatest American Dog and It's Me or the Dog, through which she reaches audiences in over 80 countries.  The torchbearer for force-free positive reinforcement dog training methods, Stilwell is the Editor-in-Chief of Positively.com and is the CEO of both Victoria Stilwell, Inc. and Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training (VSPDT): the world's premier global network of positive reinforcement dog trainers. A co-founder of the National Dog Bite Prevention Task Force, Stilwell is also committed to helping the cause of animal rescue and rehabilitation, working closely with organizations around the world to increase awareness about puppy mills, dogfighting, animal abuse, pet overpopulation, dog bite prevention, breed-specific legislation and other animal-related issues.  Appearing frequently in the global media, Stilwell is widely recognized as a leader in the field of animal behavior. She serves as a National Ambassador for the American Humane Association and is on the Advisory Boards of DogTV, Dognition, RedRover and Canine Assistants. She is also the CEO of the Victoria Stilwell Foundation, providing animal behavior expertise and funding to smaller rescue shelters and positive training-based canine assistance organizations.

About State Farm
State Farm and its affiliates are the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. and is a leading insurer in Canada. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 18,000 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts – more than 79 million auto, home, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 41 on the 2014 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com or in Canada http://www.statefarm.ca.

The new web series will follow arson dogs and their handlers through their training. Later episodes will include accelerant detection canine teams investigating fires in their communities.

 

All of the dogs in the State Farm Arson Dog Program are Labrador retrievers from disability assistance or guide dog programs, animal shelters, or canine rescue organizations.

                  

Victoria was given unprecedented access to the training process that canine teams go through in the State Farm Arson Dog Program.

 

State Farm.

 

To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please click http://www.multivu.com/players/English/7292851-state-farm-victoria-stilwell-arson-dog-training-program-web-series/

SOURCE State Farm

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