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Barbara Woodhouse in the news again

Apparently Training dogs the Woodhouse Way 'makes them more aggressive'. Researchers at the University of Bristol have studied dogs at a Dogs Trust centre and re-examined footage of wild dog behaviour. They have found that heavy handed treatment of dogs leads the dogs in turn to become aggressive to avoid that treatment. I do feel that some kind of award for stating that blooming obvious should be given for the sentence, " The team said that pinning a dog to the floor, grabbing its jowls or blasting hooters could make the animal anxious." Crikey - any of that would make me anxious too!

It's significant that after the rise of the theory of "dominating" your dog, magazines and trainers were bombarded with questions along the lines of, "Why won't my dog play with me?" The answer was that the popularity of the advice to ignore your dog and only interact with him on your terms and at times of your choosing caused dogs to lose interest in their owners, while still expressing interest in visitors. Again, I think if someone only wanted to interact with me completely on their terms, I wouldn't have much motivation to continue the relationship.

I have to say that I don't agree with naming Victoria Stilwell as a successor to Barbara Woodhouse's crown. I'm always impressed by the fact that Victoria Stilwell persuades the dogs she helps into cooperating, and uses positive and reward based training. She encourages the owner to do the handling, which is vital, since it's the owner who must maintain the training. She also manages to "fix" a lot of dogs that I'm afraid I would have looked at and said, "Look mate, this dog's broken. You're just going to have to get another one!" If you've seen the episode where she cures David Hamilton's dog's OCD you'll know what I'm talking about.

Who's your favourite dog trainer on television? And who can't you stand?

I blogged a story a friend of mine told me about Barbara Woodhouse here.

Take care,

Julie x


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