what our clients say about Jo & Graham Milgrew

Dog Training & Behavioral Therapist

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16th August 2014

Jo & Graham Milgrew dealt with: Barking at people, dogs, animals, birds or where the dog barks for attention or at the slightest noise Jumping up at visitors or the dog jumps up at people on walks Recall or not coming when called

Ted is a 10 month old cross Jack Russell/Pekingese and Jo obviously has an excellent rapport with dogs and a very friendly approach to the dog owners. Despite Ted jumping all over her, licking, barking and nuzzling when they first met, Jo managed to quieten him down very effectively. We were shown many training methods to calm Ted down, spent a session in the garden with a long recall rope and told strategies to stop attention seeking barking. We have since bought the recommended clicker, which is having the desired effect on getting to come when called so we will persevere with this in the house and garden. It is fairly difficult to ignore constant barking but Jo told us of various methods to cope with this.

We felt we could ask Jo questions that we would not necessarily ask a vet and were given straightforward answers - so we will now arrange to have Ted neutered!

It is very helpful to be given the fact sheets and training instructions to follow at the end of the session and pleasing to know we can call Jo at any time for assistance.

Trainer note from Jo & Graham:
Ted is a very active little dog who loves people and loves attention. His owners called me in after he escaped from the house and they couldn't get him to come back to them for some period of time. His owners had previously tried several methods to get him to come when called to them including a whistle and Ted had learned to ignore all of them. The habit of running free and ignoring his owners had become more rewarding than returning to them. Introducing a clicker for Ted was specifically to help with recall (come when called) and using a long recall rope was introduced for safety so his owners could practice without worrying about him running off. This is always started with minimum distractions as it is not fair to ask a dog to learn something new when there are lots of interesting new things happening nearby.

S.B.
Croydon, Surrey

7th August 2014

Jo & Graham Milgrew dealt with: Aggression to a dog or other animal or where the dog is aggressive to the owner or a stranger Barking at people, dogs, animals, birds or where the dog barks for attention or at the slightest noise Destructive chewing that results in destruction of furniture, woodwork etc Hyperactivity Jumping up at visitors or the dog jumps up at people on walks Puppy Management Recall or not coming when called Toileting
Photo of S.W.'s dog

My husband actually contacted Bark Busters as I was in a terrible state and felt that we had to re-home Toddy as he was so badly behaved. He was aggressive, toilet training was just not happening, we were not getting any enjoyment at all from having a pet, it was basically a disaster. The appointment was booked and if I am honest I really was not holding out much hope, I felt that I was the only person in the world with such a badly behaved dog.

From the moment Toddy and I met Jo I felt at ease, she was so reassuring and helpful from the start, we have had two home visits to date with Jo and I was quite proud as Jo was really pleased with Toddy's progression on the last visit. Toddy is becoming a very well behaved Patterdale Terrier, I have had so many individuals make such negative comments about the Patterdale breed and Toddy before they even interact with him, yes he has loads of character but I wouldn't change him for the world.

I would have no hesitation in recommending Jo at Bark Busters, thank you so much Jo for all your help with Toddy.

Trainer note from Jo & Graham:
Toddy is a full on feisty Patterdale Terrier. There is no getting away from the fact that this breed needs lots of exercise and stimulation or they will start to play up which is why they have the reputation for being hard work. However, they do make great family pets provided you know how to handle them and with these owners it was just a case of knowing what to do. Toddy has responded brilliantly. He is keen and quick to learn and now his excess energy is properly channeled he has stopped being snappy and disobedient. He will always be very lively and playful which can make him hard work, but it also makes him lots of fun to have around. There is never a dull moment when you own a Patterdale!!

S.W.
London

6th August 2014

Jo & Graham Milgrew dealt with: Aggression to a dog or other animal or where the dog is aggressive to the owner or a stranger Barking at people, dogs, animals, birds or where the dog barks for attention or at the slightest noise Jumping up at visitors or the dog jumps up at people on walks Pulling on the Lead

Jo was very thorough in observing Rosie and her behaviour. We were pleased that she felt Rosie would improve if we followed her training methods. We were surprised how quickly we could see a difference in her behaviour. The workshop we recently attended was particularly good and everyone involved on the day seemed very committed to helping us resolve Rosie's issues. When we left we felt really hopeful that Rosie will eventually be able to be off-lead and tolerate other dogs so that she can socialise with them and enjoy herself. Hopefully making it easier for us when taking her for a walk.

Trainer note from Jo & Graham:
Rosie is a Husky/German Shepherd cross who was dumped with her new born puppies on an apartment complex in Cyprus where these owners have a holiday home. The puppies all found new homes, but Rosie didn't and her owners went to a lot of trouble and expense to bring her back to the UK with them. She has had to learn from scratch what it is to live in a house and to listen to her owners rather than making her own decisions. She has also had to learn to walk on a lead which is totally alien to her and to cope with living in a noisy and busy suburban area. She loves people so did want to jump on everyone, but it now learning to sit when approached. She also felt that she had to protect the house and garden and bark at the slightest noise, but will now stop and come away when called. She has come on in leaps and bounds and is now only really struggling with her fear of other dogs. To start with she would react to any dog she saw but can now walk past them without reacting and is slowly gaining her confidence. Street dogs do make truly wonderful pets and Rosie is well worth the time and effort her owners are devoting to her.

P.D.
Romford, Essex

31st July 2014

Jo & Graham Milgrew dealt with: Barking at people, dogs, animals, birds or where the dog barks for attention or at the slightest noise Other

Jo is fantastic. She has a real understanding of dogs and explains everything in simple terms regarding our dogs behaviour re barking, snatching and holding items in his mouth, chasing our cats and attention seeking behaviour. Jo has really helped me gain an insight into what Ralph is thinking and helps me when training with the excellent guide sheets Jo has provided as back up to all the she advice gives. She is a star and I would recommend her readily to others.

Trainer note from Jo & Graham:
Ralph is a very happy Cavalier King Charles spaniel who I first saw at 5 months old. He was getting into all sorts of mischief as young dogs do and was severely testing the patience of his owner with his determined chasing of the family cats. He just saw everything as a game and wanted to either be chasing or to be chased. If his owners wouldn't pay attention he would make sure they did by finding something to grab and running around with it. His owners have worked with Ralph so that he listens to them and he can now live alongside the cats (one even likes him now). His owners have taught him to drop it and leave it where he knows that if he does he gets something better and he now gets to play other much more fun games with them.

J.E.
Romford, Essex

31st July 2014

Jo & Graham Milgrew dealt with: Aggression to a dog or other animal or where the dog is aggressive to the owner or a stranger Barking at people, dogs, animals, birds or where the dog barks for attention or at the slightest noise Puppy Management Other
Photo of D.L.'s dog

We've been given excellent advice by Jo. We followed all of Jo's advice and seen brilliant results. We now have a happy and calm older dog Louie after changing our routine. He shows much less aggression and is now excited for his walks! Louie has shown so much improvement that we we've been able to introduce a second dog Tilly to the pack - which didn't seem possible earlier in the year! Jo also picked up on an underlying health issue which has been promptly solved. We highly recommend Jo!

Trainer note from Jo & Graham:
Louie is a little Chihuahua who wasn't a very happy dog when I first met him. He didn't like dogs or strangers, was grumpy with his owners at times and reluctant to go on walks. His owners wanted the absolute best for him and were doing what they thought was right for him as good dog owners, but were getting increasingly worried as they were getting conflicting advice and nothing seemed to be working. When I see a dog like this I always consider health because a dog in discomfort or pain can be aggressive. Louie was not walking properly, but it was not obvious - just a slight kick movement in his leg and an odd gait, but this proved to be a knee problem that needed Vet treatment. His owners have made a lot of changes to help Louie and he is now a totally different dog. It was a delight to see him happily greet me and to see him settling down with their new dog Tilly.

D.L.
London

31st July 2014

Jo & Graham Milgrew dealt with: Aggression to a dog or other animal or where the dog is aggressive to the owner or a stranger Barking at people, dogs, animals, birds or where the dog barks for attention or at the slightest noise Jumping up at visitors or the dog jumps up at people on walks Pulling on the Lead Recall or not coming when called Sibling Rivalry - aggression or fighting between dogs in the same household Separation Anxiety

Jo has been very helpful, showing us techniques that have enabled us to improve the behaviour of our dogs immensely and also reinforced the training when we have let things lapse a bit. This has given us more confidence in how we work with our dogs in a friendly and supportive manner. We would thoroughly recommend Jo and Bark Busters to other dog owners.

Trainer note from Jo & Graham:
These owners have 2 staffordshire bull terrier girl and boy siblings. They had a lot to deal with. Squabbling dogs who fought for their owner attention and with each other to get out of the front door. Crying and whining when left on their own. Jumping up and nipping/licking visitors. Pulling heavily on the lead and having a go at some other dogs. Barking madly at people going past and when the doorbell rang. What made it harder is that there was always two of them to deal with. They are now very good on the lead, rarely squabble, have stopped nipping visitors and the jumping and licking can be controlled a lot better - if not perfectly. They will also stop barking on command. The owners are now working on leaving them safely without using a crate. They worry that they are not doing a good enough job, but I see two much better behaved and much happier dogs and that is a major achievement.

S.B.
London

29th June 2014

Jo & Graham Milgrew dealt with: Pulling on the Lead Recall or not coming when called
Photo of S.E.'s dog

We booked a session with Jo to help re-train recall and reduce lead pulling with our 18 month old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Willoughby. It was a complete revelation as Jo was about to establish in a few short minutes that Willoughby is almost certainly deaf. Willoughby had previously been very good with recall and I had spent a lot of time training him since he was 8 weeks old, but over the last 6 months or so he had rapidly gone downhill and was at the point where he wasn't listening at all any more. Well, no wonder - he couldn't hear a thing we were saying!

Discovering our lovely boy was deaf was upsetting, but Jo was so reassuring and was able to adjust her training plan seemingly instantly - she talked us through alternative training methods and ways to communicate with Willoughby so that he could understand and that we wouldn't feel frustrated. After a bit of trial and error we discovered he could hear a whistle and Jo gave us the knowledge we needed to get him back into the swing of training. It was so lovely to see him alert and wagging his tail, responding to commands again like he used to. Jo gave us a lovely gift, and that was the gift of confidence in our dog again - he was capable and was willing we just needed to learn new ways of communicating with him.

With regards to lead pulling, Jo was fantastic in demonstrating how to better control Willoughby with our ezydog harness and delivering some home truths about the problems of walking a puller on a flexi lead! We've taken these lessons to heart and have taken away the flexis, and are dedicated to following her plan and are confident with some perseverance we will begin to see great results. Thanks Jo!

Trainer note from Jo & Graham:
Willoughby is an exceptionally well trained Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. When a dog has hearing loss it is not always obvious to an owner. It is very rare that a dog will have complete hearing loss (just like humans) and loss is often gradual so a dog will develop coping mechanisms to deal with it. An intelligent dog like Willoughby looks for visual cues and responds as though he can hear when he can't. In Willoughbys case he couldn't hear any high pitched noises and that included a normal dog whistle. He did react to very loud banging and could hear a loud low pitch police whistle his owner fortunately had, but not to clapping and floor stamping. Stamping often does work as a dog can feel vibration through floor boards, but his owners floors were concrete so vibration didn't carry.

There are several methods for training deaf and hard of hearing dogs which we discussed. Willoughbys owner had already done a great job of teaching hand targeting (teaching a dog to touch your hand with his nose) so this could be adapted and used as a hand signal for recall. Normally you would call your dogs name and then use your hand to get your dog to come back to you and touch it. In this case the whistle was used instead of calling him vocally followed by the hand signal. Lead walking is more complex as Willoughby couldn't hear any vocal guidance so it was combination of using a 2 point harness to communicate physically with him and food to lure him to pay attention to his owner.

Training a deaf or hard of hearing dog can be just as much fun and just as effective as training a hearing dog. A bonus is that very often a deaf dog is more attentive to its owner once an owner knows how to communicate with their dog.

S.E.
Romford, Essex

25th June 2014

Jo & Graham Milgrew dealt with: Aggression to a dog or other animal or where the dog is aggressive to the owner or a stranger Barking at people, dogs, animals, birds or where the dog barks for attention or at the slightest noise Pulling on the Lead Recall or not coming when called
Photo of K.S.'s dog

I found there was a lot to take in on the first lesson Jo explained everything very clearly but i think it will take a few sessions until I get things right.

It was also interesting watching Jo interact with the dogs and how well they responded to her only wishing I could do the same. Jo gave some very good advice on Alfies diet which was very useful and I am very much looking forward to learning from Jo's training methods for my dogs and hope that one day Alfie can walk down the road without wanting to have a go at every dog he see's.

Trainer note from Jo & Graham:
This owner has 3 dogs. Two Jack Russell Terriers and a Jackapoo (a poodle terrier cross). Three dogs doesn't mean triple trouble, but it does mean that when there are problems an owner has to dedicate individual time to help the dog or dogs concerned. These little scamps are absolutely delightful but a move to a new home with foxes in their huge garden and lots of new dogs around the place threw Alfie and he got very concerned and consequently barky at anything and everything. Taking 3 dogs for a walk with one barking and another starting to copy him is stressful for anyone and does make you feel as though you are losing control, but this owner does have a great relationship with his dogs and a combination of time and practice will work wonders with his little family pack.

Update: Owner has reported that Alfie is much more settled now and is listening to him when out on walks. All the dogs are enjoying their garden and the foxes are starting to give it a wide berth!!

K.S.
Eltham, London

22nd June 2014

Jo & Graham Milgrew dealt with: Aggression to a dog or other animal or where the dog is aggressive to the owner or a stranger Separation Anxiety
Photo of M.B.'s dog

Jo first came out to see us when we first took on our rescue Vizla Hugo, in November 2011. Hugo had some serious issues with dog aggression and we were finding it very difficult to come into contact with any dogs. Jo came out to our home,listened to our concerns, spent time with us and Hugo to really get a sense of the negative behavior Hugo was displaying. Jo was brilliant and spent lots of time explaining the reasons why Hugo may be behaving in this way, and what steps we can start to take to change and improve this behavior. Jo took us through some initial training and left us with lots of tips and tricks in our pack to start to work on Hugo dog aggression.

More recently, on June 1st 2012, my wife, Hugo and I all attended one of Jo's workshops. Working with Jo were some wonderful helpers and trainers, along with a number of dogs which (real and stuffed!) we used to work with Hugo and practice being up close with other dogs. The session was brilliant, the people Jo had helping were so good and it really helped Hugo to realize that not all dogs are to be attacked! We would like to personally thank Georgia the trainer and behaviorist, her granddaughter Amber for all your help, Jenny the T-touch practitioner (who Hugo was very fond of!) and Graham for all your help. We personally also left with a new confidence and felt that with further work, and taking all the great advice and guidance we had been furnished with, all is not lost!. Both my wife and I would recommend attending these types of sessions, along with the professional advice and guidance Jo is giving us, Hugo is coming on very well. THANKS GUYS!

Trainer note from Jo & Graham:
When I first saw Hugo a good description would be "a bag of bones". He was very under weight and very nervous. When a dog is put under pressure adrenaline kicks in and they have two options - fight or flight. Despite his lack of confidence he had learnt that "fight" worked and scared other dogs off so his default action meant that he would "attack first ask questions later". This made it impossible for his owners. He only had to see a dog and he would start to get aggressive. His owners have done a huge amount of work with him and got him to point where he could be let off around other dogs and not immediately go for whatever dog bothered him. In fact he took a shine to one of our dogs and she had to tell him to leave her alone! With a dog with as many problems as Hugo it isn't a case of "ok he is fixed". He still doesn't trust other dogs and his nervousness means that his owners will always have to keep a close eye on his signals and if he is not coping, take him away and let him calm down. He is now the most spectacular Vizla to look at and looks to his owners for guidance rather than making his own decision. His owners have done a tremendous job with a dog that many people would simply have given up on long ago and they can be truly proud of both theirs and Hugo's achievements.

M.B.
Southend on sea, Essex

15th June 2014

Jo & Graham Milgrew dealt with: Other

What a fantastic morning. We (and Sammi our dog) learnt so much. I had a dog on a muzzle (not dog friendly at all) working with people she had never met (apart from Jo) and in no time at all they had identified Sammi's issue. Found the start of the solution and within a couple of hours Sammi was running around with no muzzle and totally ignoring the other dogs that were around her. Her love of the little Pond kept her occupied. We have a way to go but we are feeling very positive about how this is going to go. Sammi will now sniff around some other dogs rather than attack them. We still have a few issues but with further workshops we are convinced it will all come good. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. We can only thank you for what you have done so far and I’m sure Sammi thanks you too !!

Trainer note from Jo & Graham:
Sammi is a lovely Staffordshire Bull Terrier who was adopted from Battersea Dogs Home. Like many rescue dogs she came with lots of little quirks like her love of sitting on tables and chairs and her determination to look out of the window, but the thing that her owners really struggled with was her dog aggression. She is a very fearful dog and had learned that the best form of defence was offence and would attack dogs if they came to close. We started off with muzzle training for safety and then her owners started working at a distance getting her focus onto them and getting her used to dogs walking nearby. They had practiced this diligently and by the time she came to the workshop Sammi was ready for practice in a controlled environment with "friendly" dogs. Dog aggression is not an overnight fix, but these owners have proved that with hard work and determination you can make a difference to your dog.

Update: Sammi has been to a second workshop and is now being let off lead in open spaces and comes back to her owner on command if she is worried or concerned. She is still fearful and will react to dogs so is kept muzzled for safety unless her owner knows the dogs are friendly. This is an excellent common sense approach as her owners can then relax and enjoy being out and about with their dog.

S.R.
Laindon, Essex

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