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Barbara Woodhouse’s techniques

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by James Smith 1976, Mar 10, 2021.


  1. James Smith 1976

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    I’ve just finished watching quite a few videos of Barbara Woodhouse training puppies and older dogs on YouTube.

    Although she may come across as a strict school teacher waiting for someone to do something wrong and then correct that person, I don’t think that she deserves terms like ‘bully’ or ‘cruel’ to describe her.

    I know that using a choke chain may be controversial for some people, but I think that’s mainly down to seeing other people using the chain incorrectly and actually thinking that an owner is literally choking his/her dog. It is not about yanking a dog, it is simply a quick correction and the chain then becomes loose again. A choke chain is not supposed to be used to create fear or to inflict any pain.

    Like any training tool, a choke chain can be effective if used correctly! Loads of people use a slip lead for puppies and there is essentially no difference whatsoever.

    My father always used choke chains on all of the dogs I had when I was growing up and they walked perfectly for everyone in the family and that was from the 1970s to the early 2000s.

    Whilst I don’t agree with her arguably over the top way of making a dog sit, she was very firm and the dogs listened to her.

    She also helped us use the familiar term “walkies” and she argued that there was no such thing as a bad dog.

    I think a lot of the hatred she seems to generate online is mainly from people who either disagree with her techniques and methods of training a dog or simply don’t understand them.

    She’s much better than Cesar Milan. The former did not want to cause any pain to dogs and demonstrated ways to not cause any back pain or any injury to dogs. The latter has hit dogs before and thinks it all about being the Alpha male.
     
  2. James Smith 1976

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    Maybe it was only in my neck of the woods, but a few decades ago I never saw such badly behaved dogs as I hear of and I have seen in recent years. There are too many irresponsible owners of dogs who don’t have a clue how to look after a dog. I agree with Woodhouse that it is mainly the dog’s owner who is at fault when it comes to the dog’s behaviour. I’m not trying to open up a can of worms about nature versus nurture, but so many of the so-called bad dogs have their behaviours quickly rectified by more experienced dog owners or dog trainers.
     
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  3. O2.0

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    Well I never wore a seatbelt as a child, but my own children not only wear seatbelts but were safely strapped in to car seats as infants.
    What I mean is, when you know better, you do better.

    I don't fault people for using choke chains back in the day before we knew about laryngeal paralysis and collapsed tracheas and the fall-our from punishment based methods in general, but now that we do, why not strive to do better?

    As for dogs listening, well, dogs are bred to listen to us :)
    Most companion breeds are hard-wired to accept punishment and harsh-treatment without complaint and will even try to appease us even more which very often looks a lot like the dog is paying attention. Technically yes, they are paying attention, but mainly to avoid being punished.
    I prefer for my dogs to be attentive because they're excited to work with me and want to know what fun stuff we're going to do next :)

     
  4. O2.0

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    If it's true that dogs are more badly behaved than ever, which I'm not sure is true, but if it is, there are many other factors besides folks not using choke chains. Like the fact that there are more dogs than ever, more people own dogs instead of just those who have time to work/train them, irresponsible breeding that doesn't take in to account temperament, and let's not forget, back in the day, a 'bad' dog was taken out back and shot, and most people were okay with that. Karen Pryor was not being inflammatory when she titled her book "Don't Shoot The Dog."
     
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  5. simplysardonic

    simplysardonic Moderator
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    Definitely all of this, in addition more people are excessively infantilising/anthropomorphising dogs.
     
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  6. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    She says after I post a video of Penny nodding "yes" to me :Hilarious:Hilarious

    But yes, good point :)
     
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  7. James Smith 1976

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    I’m not saying that dogs behave more badly these days because fewer people are using choke chains to train their dogs. It’s a combination of all sorts. If someone can’t even put a choke chain on properly then it’s never going to work, but when one is used correctly, that is a quick correction and then the chain releases, it is an effective way to train a dog to heel.

    What training tools are “better” to train a dog to heel? Every training tool has its pros and cons.
     
  8. James Smith 1976

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    When a choke chain is used properly, a quick jerk is made and then the chain releases itself automatically. It is not designed to hurt a dog in any way shape or form.

    People use a halti, a harness, etc, and every single training tool without exception has pros and cons.

    Even a standard collar can cause injury to a dog if it is used by a person who hasn’t got a clue what to do.
     
  9. StormyThai

    StormyThai Moderator
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    I don't know about "better" but I prefer kinder tools...I personally use a clicker, my voice, rewards (food, toys or environmental depending on the dogs motivators) and consistency to teach Loose Leash Walking and heel work.
     
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  10. O2.0

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    @James Smith 1976 didn't you just post a thread asking about teaching a puppy to walk on a leash?
    Why were you asking that if you already know how to teach a LLW and a heel?

    What is your definition of "effective" when it comes to training?
    For me effective means I get the behavior I want, reliably, without fall-out in other areas that matter to me.
    If all I wanted from my dogs was a heel without pulling, sure a few leash corrections aren't the end of the world. But I want an engaged, happy, eyes up heel, and a dog who's willing to work for me in all contexts, not just on a leash, so for me, leash corrections are not something I reach for.

    I've trained all my latest dogs to heel naked. As in them not wearing anything :D
    The last dog I tried to train with leash corrections taught me a lot. Among them, that there are better ways to get your point across without making yourself an ass to your dog.
     
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  11. Beth78

    Beth78 PetForums VIP

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    I don't know Barbara Woodhouse or her work and have never used a choke chain as I know my dog would hate the experience.

    When I'm training my dog she enjoys the experience of learning, as do I and it's gotten some really good results.
     
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  12. simplysardonic

    simplysardonic Moderator
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    I'm an old fashioned girl & prefer to not jerk my dogs' necks around to get them to do what I want.
     
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  13. StormyThai

    StormyThai Moderator
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    By it's very definition it causes pain, or the correction/punishment wouldn't work or be punishing.
     
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  14. kirksandallchins

    kirksandallchins PetForums VIP

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    Dogs are probably more badly behaved nowadays than they were when I was young. Then they were praised if they did something good and told off for bad behaviour. A bit like my parents brought me up

    We live in a world where political correctness has taken over from respecting people and common sense. This applies in real life as well as in dog training.

    During lockdown I have looked at several free dog training videos or joined training academies which were free or cheap for a limited period. I soon cancelled my memberships as they make dog training sound more complicated than A Level Chemistry☹️

    I have picked up some ideas from all types of trainers and behaviourists and use them if I think they will work. But the books I turn back to are almost always John Fisher, or Barbra Woodhouse. They treated dogs as dogs not human babies.
     
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  15. James Smith 1976

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    I wanted to know what other people use these days to train their dogs to walk properly.

    To me, effective means that the dog listens to me and does what I want him/her to do and is happy to do so.
     
  16. StormyThai

    StormyThai Moderator
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    This wasn't trained by using corrections...FWIW this dog pulled like a steam train WITH a check chain on (it was removed when he came to me)


    And neither was this (although we still have more work to do to get this more fluid it's not bad for 3 weeks of short 5 min sessions)...in fact no leash was used at all to teach this
     
  17. BlueJay

    BlueJay Pack of Losers

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    If choke chains and similar arent causing fear and pain (or at the very least discomfort), could you please explain exactly how they work then?

    Because if they weren't causing some amount of discomfort or distress, then there'd be no point in using them for a "correction", no...?
     
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  18. James Smith 1976

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    Wrong.

    The term “choke chain” is misleading because it implies that the person is literally choking the dog with a chain when that is not the case.

    A quick jerk is made to correct the dog and then the chain releases itself and becomes loose again. Where is there the pain? There is none. The reason people think that a choke chain causes pain is because it’a often used incorrectly!
     
  19. James Smith 1976

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    It’s the noise of the chain more than anything else which makes the dog realise he/she is doing something wrong.

    I’m sure you could quickly Google search how it works but a quick jerk (not yanking and trying to snap the dog’s neck!) causes a correction and then the dog pays attention to you and the chain automatically becomes loose again.

    It’s a load of crap that a choke chain causes fear and/or pain when used correctly. The problem is that it’s been used incorrectly for decades and people have too many misconceptions about it.

    Any type of collar can be dangerous when used incorrectly. How many times have you seen morons literally yanking their dogs back using ordinary collars? I can’t imagine that such an action is comfortable for a dog.
     
  20. O2.0

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    By definition the sensation of the jerk has to be annoying enough to the dog that he/she will stop the behavior of pulling. If the sensation of being jerked on the choke chain was neutral, the dog would not be motivated to change his behavior.

    Essentially there are two ways to motivate a dog to do behaviors. Either the dog wants something that you have and will work to gain it, or the dog is working to avoid something. In the check chain example, the dog is working to avoid being checked. That means the checking is sufficiently unpleasant to the dog for him to want to avoid it.

    IME with dogs (any animal really) behaviors that are taught through working to gain something are far more reliable and strong than behaviors that are taught through avoidance. It's not that avoidance is a bad thing, it can be an effective teaching tool, it just doesn't create the intensity and reliability that I'm looking for in my dogs.
     
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