Barbara Woodhouse

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Barbara Woodhouse
Woodhouse book.jpg
Barbara Woodhouse on the cover of her book No Bad Dogs The Woodhouse Way. The book title reflects her no bad dogs motto
Barbara Kathleen Vera Blackburn

(1910-05-09)May 9, 1910
Rathfarnham, Ireland
DiedJuly 9, 1988(1988-07-09) (aged 78)
Alma materHarper Adams University
OccupationDog trainer
Years active1951–1988
Allan George Hill (m. 1934⁠–⁠1937)

Dr Michael Woodhouse (m. 1940⁠–⁠1988)

Barbara Kathleen Vera Woodhouse (née Blackburn; 9 May 1910 Rathfarnham, Ireland – 9 July 1988, Buckinghamshire, England[1]) was a dog trainer, author, horse trainer and television personality. Her 1980 television series Training Dogs the Woodhouse Way made her a household name in the UK. Among her catch-phrases were "walkies" and "sit!", the latter parodied in the 1983 James Bond film Octopussy. She was also known for her "no bad dogs" philosophy.[2]


Barbara Blackburn was born 9 May 1910 in St Columba's College in Rathfarnham, County Dublin, Ireland, to an Irish family. She grew up there until her father, the Warden (headmaster) of the school, died suddenly in 1919. As described in her autobiography, the family had moved to Brighton a few weeks later, and later to Headington in Oxford, where Woodhouse attended Headington School. She was later the only female student at the Harper Adams Agricultural College in Shropshire.

After returning to Oxford to start Headington Riding School and Boarding Kennels, she married her first husband, Allan George Hill, in August 1934 and moved with him to spend more than three years in Argentina training horses. The marriage ended in divorce and she returned to Headington.

In the 1930s, Barbara became a dog breeder and ran kennels until about 1960. She first appeared on television as a contestant on What's My Line, where panelists failed to identify her occupation. She also appeared on CBS 60 Minutes. Her 1980 BBC series made her into a television personality at the age of 70, and she appeared regularly on British TV up until her death in 1988.

She married Dr Michael Woodhouse in 1940 and moved to Wiltshire. They had three children, Pamela, Patrick and Judith. She died on 9 July 1988 after a stroke, aged 78.

Her many books included her autobiography, Talking to Animals, and No Bad Dogs.

Television series[edit]


  • Almost Human (1976) ISBN 0417027303
  • Barbara's World of Horses and Ponies: Their Care and Training the Woodhouse Way (1984) ISBN 0671461419
  • Barbara Woodhouse on How to Train Your Puppy ISBN 094895552X
  • Barbara Woodhouse on How Your Dog Thinks ISBN 0948955627
  • Barbara Woodhouse on Training Your Dog ISBN 0948955570
  • Book of Ponies (1981) ISBN 0722657668
  • Difficult Dogs (1957)
  • Dog Training My Way (1954) ISBN 0900819081
  • Encyclopedia of Dogs and Puppies (1978) ISBN 0812860136
  • Just Barbara: My Story (1986) ISBN 0671462482
  • No Bad Dogs: The Woodhouse Way (1982) ISBN 0671449621
  • No bad dogs and know your dog (1978) ISBN 090081912X
  • Talking to Animals (autobiography, 1954)[4] ISBN 0812816609
  • The A-To-Z of Dogs and Puppies (1972) ISBN 0812815157
  • Walkies: Dog Training and Care the Woodhouse Way (1983) ISBN 0671468928


  1. ^ Barbara Woodhouse on IMDb
  2. ^ Crazy for CrittersIn 1996, I interviewed Brian Kilcommons, dog trainer to the stars and the American protege of the late British trainer Barbara Woodhouse, known for her "no bad dogs" philosophy and "Walkies!" rallying cry.
  3. ^ Trove – National Library of Australia
  4. ^ Stephen Follows, "Woodhouse , Barbara Kathleen Vera (1910–1988)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, UK: OUP, 2004) Retrieved 9 May 2017.

External links[edit]