what our clients say about Jo & Graham Milgrew

Dog Training & Behavioral Therapist

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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

9th 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

I have been seeing Jo with my 3 year old German Shepherd Candy who had been attacked three times when she was a young puppy by my neighbours' dogs. I noticed after that she became aggressive when meeting other dogs and it became so problematical that I could not take her out during the day and took her out for a walk in the early hours of the morning.

I have just attended a workshop that Jo ran along with Georgina from the German Shepherd rescue and Jenny who showed me more TTouch exercises to do with Candy to help calm her prior to going out for a walk. I had learnt the basics of TTouch with Jo and have been practising this for a while.

At the end of the training session I was able to walk Candy round an enclosure with another 2 dogs inside and 4 other dogs outside the enclosure that Candy could see. I discovered that Candy was not as aggressive as I first thought, as although she appeared aggressive to me whilst out when she was barking with her hackles raised, she was observed by Jo to actually retreat rather than advance towards the other dogs.

I realise that the 'problem' also lies with me and that I have to be more confident when meeting other dogs whereas before I tended to avoid this in case Candy attacked them. It is early days and I have been walking Candy during the day. We have encountered other dogs and I have been practising the skills and commands that I learnt and am gradually building up my confidence too. Thanks Jo and team.

Trainer note from Jo & Graham:
This owner has two large powerful dogs. A beautiful white German Shepherd Candy and an elderly German Shepherd Collie Cross. For safety she had got to the point where she would only take her two dogs out at 5am in the morning so that she could minimise the chance of meeting any other dogs. She had worked hard on getting the control she needed and when she came to the workshop she had the chance to practice in a safe environment and did a wonderful job of helping her dog cope with other dogs around. Dealing with dog to dog aggression is not a quick fix. It is a combination of getting a dogs focus on the owner, keeping them calm and then working with them so that they do not feel under threat and can actually focus on learning. This owner is prepared to go the extra mile with her dog and do everything she can to help her be less fearful and cope with seeing other dogs.

T.H.
Southend on Sea, Essex

1st June 2014

Jo & Graham Milgrew dealt with: 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 Separation Anxiety
Photo of N.S.'s dog

Jo was wonderful and really understood Leo. After one consultation our dog went from destroyer due to separation anxiety to perfect pooch. He had bitten through doors, windows, crates, chairs and was starting to become slightly aggressive to other dogs. Once the issues were ironed out he was much happier and that's what it is about. Thank you for everything Jo we may need to again when we next move just to make sure everything stays well. Thanks very much from Tash Greig and Leo

Trainer note from Jo & Graham:
Leo is a extremely well trained Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Dogue De bordeaux cross. His owners knew they had a powerful dog and were very responsible when it came to every aspect of his training. They were therefore taken unawares when they moved house and Leo became very distressed about being left on his own. In his desperation to get to them he tried to break through windows and doors. They researched what to do and bought him a crate but he broke out of that breaking a tooth and tearing his face in the process. This is common advice but can actually make dogs with separation anxiety much worse. There is not a "one size fits all" with dogs suffering from separation so I worked with his owners to find what worked for him which also included training for his other more minor issues. His owners did all that was advised and I am delighted that Leo has responded so well. They can truly be proud of what they have achieved with him.

N.S.
Chelmsford, Essex

13th May 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 Jumping up at visitors or the dog jumps up at people on walks Puppy Management Recall or not coming when called Separation Anxiety Toileting Other
Photo of B.C.'s dog

Bernie and I had a session with Jo today and I have to say a big thank you, Jo was friendly but also very thorough and professional. As a first time dog owner I was able to ask all kinds of questions without feeling I should know the answers. Jo was brilliant, she went through everything and left plenty of reading material to reinforce everything we covered. Her advice was invaluable and she backed up advice with explanations or examples. I already feel I have made progress and look forward to putting her advice into action. Just knowing I can contact Jo again if I do have problems is reassuring. Five star service and I am happy to recommend Jo and Bark Busters.

Trainer note from Jo & Graham:
Bernie is a lovely Basset Hound puppy who is currently spending his time stepping on his own huge ears until he grows into his body a bit more. He is fearful of the car so we spent time playing with him while it was stationery and then switching the car engine on so he can learn to enjoy spending time in the car. As with many puppies he is mouthing and nipping a lot which has resulted in breaking of skin on his owners legs. It is important that a puppy learns to control the force of his mouthing and how to play nicely so I showed his owner how to teach him to play nicely and to chew on something other than her! We also started to put the steps in needed when he gets very over excited and jumpy at food time. Bernie was very responsive to the training and keen to engage with his owner. She had done some excellent work with him already and simply needed practical guidance to deal with the difficulties she was having. I am looking forward to seeing him grow up into a powerful and no doubt stunning looking adult Basset Hound.

B.C.
Rainham, Essex

8th May 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 Other
Photo of M.C.'s dog

We had our first appointment with Jo a couple of days ago after seeking some help for our French Bulldog Napoleon. We had previously used the Australian Bark Busters team to successfully get Napoleon walking better on the leash, and so were relieved that the international guarantee could be used here in London. After recently arriving in London with us, Napoleon had started barking at every passing pedestrian, truck, squirrel, bird and especially other dogs. He'd also mounted our neighbour's dog which was pretty embarrassing.

Jo came over as soon as possible which we really appreciated as we were having a tough time - almost immediately she could see what the problem was and started to give us practical actions we could take to minimise the stress on our dog and start improving his behaviour. We also did some training exercises with Napoleon inside and outside our flat.

Jo is easy to talk to and obviously loves dogs of all shapes and sizes; by the end of the night it was like we were receiving advice from an old friend. Jo left us with written notes and a sense of relief that we would eventually be able to sort out Napoleon's issues in time. Of course it is early days and we haven't yet tried all of Jo's suggestions (some aids we ordered online are yet to arrive) but the first tip - which was to block Napoleon's view of the street until he is more settled - worked a treat (a few cardboard boxes across the bottom panes of glass and he hardly barked all day yesterday - a more permanent solution of frosting the glass is also underway). Jo will be available for follow up visits and mentioned that Napoleon definitely needs one, so watch this space!

Would absolutely recommend the service to anybody with doggy difficulties.

Trainer note from Jo & Graham:
Napoleon is a lovely French Bulldog who has travelled half way around the world with his owners. Moving home can be just as stressful for a dog as for its owners and in Napoleons case, he came from a quiet suburb and is now in the hustle and bustle of London. He is struggling to adjust to the new environment and the stress he is under means that he has become very noise sensitive and not behaving as he normally does when it comes to meeting dogs and people. There are lots of things that can be done to help a dog struggling in this way and he has very committed owners who are prepared to put their dog first and do all that is necessary to reduce his stress and get him settled into his new busy London lifestyle.

M.C.
London

26th April 2014

Jo & Graham Milgrew dealt with: Digging Jumping up at visitors or the dog jumps up at people on walks Pulling on the Lead Puppy Management Recall or not coming when called Toileting
Photo of N.K.'s dog

Jo was extremely helpful and spend a good few hours talking to us about managing Max's behaviour, offering some practical advice including demonstrations of the more complex instructions. Max had an excellent time (especially with the socialisation section with Smudge) and Jo engaged all family members with everyone walking away with an exciting task to work on over the next few weeks! We can't wait to see Jo again - we ALL had a great time with first class advice! Thanks Jo for being such a patient, knowledgeable and excellent teacher!

Trainer note from Jo & Graham:
Max is an adorable Labrador puppy. This is the families first dog so we covered the importance of good socialisation so that Max is happy and comfortable around people, dogs and other animals and confident going out and about in the world. He met my dog Smudge and had a great time running around the garden with him and learning how to relate in nicely to an older dog. We also did general training including sit, stay, come when called and walk nicely on the lead so the family could focus on the most important aspects of training a young puppy. They had previously struggled getting him to walk on the lead. Like many puppies he found the lead a very alien thing and plonked his bottom on the floor and didn't want to move. It is important to always encourage puppies to walk rather than dragging them and the family did a great job of getting Max excited and willing to walk with them. It was a delight to see him walking up the road happily by the end of the session.

N.K.
Gidea Park, Essex

8th April 2014

Jo & Graham Milgrew dealt with: Barking at people, dogs, animals, birds or where the dog barks for attention or at the slightest noise Hyperactivity
Photo of L.C.'s dog

When I contacted Barkbusters my pug puppy was 9 months old and had acquired a habit of barking at everything and anything … cars, birds, people etc. In the garden and house she would territorial bark and when out on the lead would get extremely nervous and bark at passersby.

I had tried several techniques but all to no avail. Then one day I came across the Barkbusters website. Feeling I had nothing to lose I contact them and was put in touch with Jo Milgrew. This was the first step to a happier and contented pug.

After just a few hours with Freya, Jo was able to let me know why Freya was behaving the way she was and how to avoid or handle this behaviour going forward. Just understanding why Freya was acting this way helped us both deal with situations better and although Freya will always be a nervous dog she is so much happier and confident now.

There is still a long way to go, with continuous reinforcement needed but Jo is always there to answer my questions and deal with anything new that arises. The training notes provided are a constant source of reassurance, allowing me to refer back to Jo’s advice as and when needed.

Jo is a fantastic trainer and never once made me feel inadequate as an owner. She provided practical advice that fitted in with our lifestyle and gave several alternatives so we could find what works for us. And the most important thing … Freya adores her!

Trainer note from Jo & Graham:
Freya is not a confident dog and gets distressed when out on walks and in the garden. She feels the need to bark to alert her owner to "danger" and to try and keep anything away that might possibly be a threat. This type of behaviour can get worse over time because the dogs thinks it is successful. Birds will fly away, people will jump back so all that barking works from the dogs point of view. Dealing with this takes time and patience. The owner has to build her dogs confidence and at the same time let her know that she doesn't need protecting from possible dangers. Anyone who has tried to break one of their own habits will know that this isn't something you can do overnight, but can be done. Freya is making amazing progress and I am looking forward to continuing to work with Freya and her owner.

L.C.
Southend-on-Sea, Essex

5th April 2014

Jo & Graham Milgrew dealt with: 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 Sibling Rivalry - aggression or fighting between dogs in the same household Separation Anxiety

Jo spent 3 hours with us and identified problems I hadn't spotted, particularly with my older dog. Everything she told, and showed, me was excellent and made so much sense - I felt so much more relaxed when she left and my two dogs are getting on so much better with the instruction she gave me.

Trainer note from Jo & Graham:
This owner got her new dog from Serbia. Street dogs generally make wonderful pets, but can take time to settle down to living in a home and understand what is expected of them. When an owner gets a new dog it totally natural to assume that any problems occurring are caused by the new dog, but it is very often a combination. The existing dog has to make just as many adjustments as the new dog and is just as capable of misbehaving! Knowing what to do is half the battle and I have every confidence that this owner will do a brilliant job with both her lovely dogs.

G.T.
London

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