Training Dogs the Woodhouse Way

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Training Dogs the Woodhouse Way
Presented byBarbara Woodhouse
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of episodes10
Producer(s)Peter Riding
Production company(s)BBC
Original networkBBC2
Original release7 January (1980-01-07) –
10 March 1980 (1980-03-10)
White dogs on hind legs.jpg

Training Dogs the Woodhouse Way is a British television series presented by Barbara Woodhouse first shown by the BBC in 1980.[1] It was taped in 10 episodes at Woodhouse's home in Hertfordshire, England.[2] The show was also internationally syndicated.[3]

In the show she often used two commands: "walkies" and "sit"; the latter of which was parodied in the 1983 James Bond film Octopussy where James Bond does a Woodhouse impersonation, puts his hand up in a command posture, repeats Woodhouse's catch-phrase to a tiger and the animal responds to it by obeying.[4] Her ten-part series had been shown at over one hundred stations in the United States and in Britain it proved so popular it was run twice.[5] In 1982, singer-songwriter Randy Edelman wrote a song about her and her show, "Barbara (The Woodhouse Way)", which he released in a single 45 rpm record.[6][7]


The series was produced by Peter Riding and first shown on BBC2 between 7 January and 10 March 1980.[1] It made Woodhouse famous and enabled her to popularise her dog-training ideas widely among pet owners in Britain and abroad. She believed that there is no such thing as a bad dog but simply inadequate owners who did not assert their position in the pecking order of dog society. Her approach influenced other dog trainers such as Victoria Stilwell, who advocated similar ideas on her show It's Me or the Dog.[8] Although her show was very popular, her advocacy for better-designed and more humane cages for dog transportation was slow in gaining widespread acceptance.[9] In her show she was known for issuing abrupt commands to the owners, and for her on-air criticism of their behaviour.[10] More often than not, the owners looked terrified rather than the dogs.[11]


The show achieved cult status in the United States and millions of people accommodated their schedule around the showtimes of its broadcast in a similar manner to the successful Upstairs Downstairs. At the same time they widely and cheerfully adopted her vocabulary using her commands "walkies" and "sit".[12][13] The show was broadcast in the United States by PBS in 1983.[14]

Her show has been criticised since the time it aired.[11] In a 2009 article in the Daily Mail it is mentioned that while in the 80s everyone listened to the show's advice and readily accepted Woodhouse's ideas and instructions, it would have been better perhaps not to follow them so readily. The Daily Mail article quotes a study performed by the University of Bristol where experts have determined that the idea that dogs always respect owners who place themselves high on the pecking order of their society is flawed. The experts have further determined that assertive owner behaviour may in fact lead to anxiety for dogs and even aggressive behaviour. Further, experts have dismissed the idea that dog behaviour is dominated by the instinct to control people and other dogs by trying to position themselves high on a pecking order as frequently advocated on TV-shows about dog training.[8]


  1. ^ a b "Training Dogs the Woodhouse Way". Film and TV Database. British Film Institute. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  2. ^ "Training Dogs the Woodhouse Way". TV Guide.
  3. ^ Current Biography Yearbook. H. W. Wilson Company. 1989. Retrieved 7 May 2013. 1910-July 9, 1988 Animal trainer; began career in 1930s as trainer of horses; later trained animals for motion pictures; won great popularity with her internationally syndicated BBC-TV program Training Dogs the Woodhouse Way, launched in ...
  4. ^ Sinclair McKay (7 October 2008). The Man with the Golden Touch: How the Bond Films Conquered the World. Aurum. p. 237. ISBN 978-1-84513-355-9. Retrieved 7 May 2013. ...brushing, he continues on his way. Next up is a sudden brush with a prowling tiger. 'Sit!' he commands, hand held high, in a reference to cult dog-handler Barbara Woodhouse.
  5. ^ Chronicle of the Horse. 45. Chronicle of the Horse, Incorporated. October 1982. p. 52. Retrieved 7 May 2013. Over 100 stations in the United States have scheduled her ten-part series, "Training Dogs the Woodhouse Way," which was the BBC's surprise hit of 1980, so popular it was repeated twice there, and it promises to have as rabid a following in ...;
  6. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (20 February 1982). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. pp. 67–. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  7. ^ "Randy Edelman – Barbara (The Woodhouse Way)". Discogs.
  8. ^ a b Fay Schlesinger (22 May 2009). "Training dogs the Woodhouse Way 'makes them more aggressive'". Mail Online.
  9. ^ Judith Summers (18 November 2010). Il mio dolce George [My Sweet George] (in Italian). Newton Compton Editori. pp. 111–. ISBN 978-88-541-2691-6. Retrieved 7 May 2013. che, grazie alla serie televisiva Training Dogs the Woodhouse Way, ben presto fu praticamente sulle labbra di ogni proprietario di cani del paese, le idee della Woodhouse riguardo alle gabbie per il trasporto dei cani attecchirono con lentezza
  10. ^ Fred Hauptfuhrer (15 February 1982). "Barbara Woodhouse Says She Can Train a Dog in Six Minutes, but Cats? They Take Bribery". Vol. 17 No. 6: People Magazine.CS1 maint: location (link)
  11. ^ a b "Training Dogs The Woodhouse Way". I Love 1980 TV. BBC. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  12. ^ MONICA DICKENS. "A WOMAN'S BEST FRIEND Book Review". The New York Times.
  13. ^ "Barbara Woodhouse, Dog Trainer Who Became TV Celebrity, at 78". AP. July 10, 1988.
  14. ^ Tamar Brott (May 1, 2009). "Unleashed". LA Magazine.

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