what our clients say about Jo & Graham Milgrew

Dog Training & Behavioral Therapist

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30th December 2013

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

We had our first session with Jo on the day that Lola arrived. I'd never had a puppy so was really daunted by the prospect, as well as excited. Jo was a wonderful, soothing presence from the minute she walked in. She immediately calmed me and the puppy down without seeming to do anything. The puppy had been dashing round the flat, obviously terrified and confused by her new surroundings but by the end of that first visit, she was practically purring in my arms. Jo's style really suited both me and the puppy, encouraging both of us along with real dedication and care. I was and still am, very impressed! Her tips on toileting worked wonders, as did her instructions on how to get Lola used to her crate. Jo spent a lot of time with us that first session and I honestly could not have done without it.

Since then I have been in touch with Jo many times either by email or by phone and she was always extremely helpful. It is really good for me to know that there is someone there whom I can call and whom I trust, for advice as the puppy was growing and developing. So for example when Lola started nipping at me and practising little bites on me, Jo's advice literally put a stop to it within 24 hours.

We had a second visit from Jo just before Christmas, and again that was a much needed and extremely useful session. She taught me a special massage to perform on Lola when she is anxious and the puppy absolutely adores it. She also helped with Lola's lead reactivity and we are currently working on that.

In sum, I really really recommend Jo! She is so caring and loving with the animals and a complete professional.

Trainer note from Jo & Graham:
Lola is a gorgeous little Westipoo puppy who has not been a straight forward puppy for her owner. Her owner has done absolutely everything right. She goes to puppy day care and is very well socialised with other dogs. She meets lots of people and has walking companions. She loves learning new things and is delightfully well behaved. However, she has had health issues and can be very anxious at times so it has often been 2 steps forward and one step back for her owner. Throughout all of this her owner has not tried to second guess anything - she simply asks for advice and puts it into practice. Because of this Lola is growing into a confident and happy little dog and I am looking forward to continuing working with her owner as Lola matures from puppy to adult dog.

Z.K.
london, London

17th December 2013

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

Jo seemed to understand Ben and me right from the start…she helped us work together. Thank you for saving our relationship and I write this in appreciation for the excellent training work you suggested for separation anxiety and being an anxious puppy brought on by an electronic collar. While Ben has started to become well behaved the additional structure you have given him through training has benefited him and us. My husband and I are truly appreciative for your fine work.

Trainer note from Jo & Graham:
Ben is a Bernese Mountain Dog who lives on a farm near very busy main roads. After a previous dog was killed on the road an electronic collar was fitted as his owners want to keep him safe. Unfortunately these type of collars can malfunction and his owners have had to undertake training to deal with anxiety and fear after a malfunction. He has severe separation anxiety and as he is a big dog he was using his bulk and his teeth to try and stop his owners leaving. This was perplexing to his owners but now they understand why he was behaving so badly they are teaching him to be comfortable, safe and secure when on his own. It is a delight to visit and be greeted by a truly happy Ben.

R.M.
Billericay, Essex

15th December 2013

Jo & Graham Milgrew dealt with: Destructive chewing that results in destruction of furniture, woodwork etc Puppy Management Separation Anxiety
Photo of L.C.'s dog

All very helpful and instructive

Trainer note from Jo & Graham:
This owner has a lovely Cockerpoo girl puppy. This is her first dog so we covered everything including general training such as sit, stay, come when called and walk nicely on the lead. The importance of good socialisation and how to deal with problem behaviours such as chewing and biting. Like many puppies she is suffering from some separation anxiety and is now learning how to be comfortable resting and playing on her own. She really is a delightful puppy and I am looking forward to seeing her grow and mature over the next year.

L.C.
LEIGH-ON-SEA, Essex

12th December 2013

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

We were all made very welcome into a safe and secure area.

Ttouch was demonstrated and we tried it and although the dogs were distracted, we could see the positive effect straightaway and it revealed how our dogs were feeling which was an eye opener. We have been practicing it since.

It was amazing to be with non reactive dogs as I was so worried about them getting injured by mine, especially Dobby as he shot toward Blue and seemed to really go for him but Blue took no notice of him.

Both me and my husband hadn't been well all week but we didn't want to miss the opportunity of getting together with other dogs and we really got so much out if it and we were so glad we went. It was a very positive experience with much encouragement and praise for the dogs and us! I wish we could have something like this every week but Jo gave us written advice which we can refer back to and we will try and find some company for the dogs to help with the socialising. Jo really helps us to understand our little pack and we are always learning and we will get there with her help.

Trainer note from Jo & Graham:
These owners have four Dachshunds and first saw me for help with their barking, separation anxiety and occasional toileting issues at home. They have made amazing progress with this and have now attended a workshop I run for clients so they can practice in a safe and secure environment when they need help with dog or people reactivity, recall (coming when called) or over enthusiasm. The owners were shown how to calm their dogs down and get their dogs focus and then we practiced with non reactive dogs so their dogs could experience socialising with dogs in a non threatening environment. It was lovely to see all their dogs settling down and listening to their owners and after a while simply enjoying running around and even playing ball. It was a great achievement and their owners should be truly proud of what they have achieved. Managing four dogs is not an easy task for the most experienced of owners, but these owners prove that it can be done with practice.

L.E.
East Tibury, Essex

4th December 2013

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 Hyperactivity Jumping up at visitors or the dog jumps up at people on walks Sibling Rivalry - aggression or fighting between dogs in the same household Other
Photo of C.L.'s dog

Jo has been a godsend in helping me train my German Shepherd, Coby, who from a very early stage has felt the need to guard me from everything. Jo spent a long time with me in my home observing Coby and advising ways to train him. More than that, she has also come to the Doggie Day Care I run to see how Coby interacts with the other dogs. She has guided me in many directions which have not been limited to simply helping Coby to become a more confident and social dog but in addition has been enormous help in showing me how to read body language and allowing me to spot possible problems before they arise. At every step of the way, whenever I have encountered a new situation with which I have found difficulty, I have simply given Jo a call and she has either explained how to best deal with this over the phone or come again to give me more hands on help. Jo has been the equivalent of a dog care encyclopaedia and never fails to give me sound advice and guidance on any problem that arises. If I had not called upon Jo for her help I would definitely be floundering still.

Trainer note from Jo & Graham:
This owner is very skilled when it comes to dogs and has had years of working in dog day care both as an employee and later as a business owner. She has a very well behaved Labrador and Coby was extremely well socialised and trained as a puppy. It was therefore a bit of a shock to find she needed help with her young German Shepherd. Dogs have their own personalities and although they may have many or all the characteristics of their breed, each dog is different and will behave differently depending on what circumstances they find themselves in. Coby is nervous of things that "look different" and can be "spooked" when this happens triggering guarding behaviour when he doesn't need to actually guard. To counter this his owner has had to work hard to make sure he is prevented from being scared in the first place and has a huge range of positive experiences to enable him to build his confidence so he can make the right decisions for himself. A nervous dog cannot be turned into a confident dog overnight, but his owner has made huge progress so far and Coby is fast growing into a dog she can be truly proud of.

C.L.
Billericay, Essex

25th November 2013

Jo & Graham Milgrew dealt with: 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 Separation Anxiety
Photo of E.H.'s dog

It had been a very long time since I had last had a dog never mind a puppy, but Jo was amazing, training me as much as Pancho! Thanks to Jo he now listens to me and (mostly) does as he is told. We are both still very much a work in progress, especially his separation anxiety but we are getting there.

Trainer note from Jo & Graham:
This owner rescued her puppy from Spain and he is now a European traveller moving back and forwards with his owners. Although proving to be a great traveller he was very excitable with dogs and people - jumping up, mouthing, nipping, pulling on the lead, not coming back when called and very unenthusiastic about our damp English weather. His owner has made amazing progress with Pancho who has grown into a rather large dog so she can safely take him everywhere with her. Owing to his rotten start in life he had severe separation anxiety but her and her husband are slowly but surely convincing him that he is safe on his own and they will be coming back. I am looking forward to seeing Pancho’s future progress with these special owners.

E.H.
London

23rd November 2013

Jo & Graham Milgrew dealt with: Jumping up at visitors or the dog jumps up at people on walks Pulling on the Lead Recall or not coming when called Separation Anxiety

Very helpful. I hope Lucy continues to learn the lessons we have learnt!

Trainer note from Jo & Graham:
Lucy is a West Highland White and I first saw her as a 16 week old puppy. Like a lot of terriers she has a mind of her own and her owners were struggling to get her to focus and listen to them. She loves attention and gets very excited when she meets dogs and humans so ongoing work has been needed with her owners to teach Lucy how to behave appropriately. Although she seems a very confident dog, Lucy developed separation anxiety after her owners went on holiday and they are currently teaching Lucy to be settled and happy when apart from them. Separation anxiety is not a "quick fix" but she has patient owners and I am confident that Lucy will continue to learn the lessons her owners have been taught!

S.C.
Tunbridge Wells, Kent

1st November 2013

Jo & Graham Milgrew dealt with: Aggression to a dog or other animal or where the dog is aggressive to the owner or a stranger 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 Sibling Rivalry - aggression or fighting between dogs in the same household Separation Anxiety

Brilliant day Jo was with us for 5 hours and got the whole family involved. We had lots of fun & learnt lots and lots, have been putting what we learnt into practice and it has really helped. Using the “watch” technique has really helped with Hendrix’s fear and aggression towards Chloe. Chloe is improving daily and family life is much improved. Now that the issue of the incorrect e-mail address has been sorted out the follow up help has been really good too. Thanks Jo we are all looking forward to the next session.

Trainer note from Jo & Graham:
This family had 2 dogs, Hendrix and Chloe and when they got a lovely new puppy Roxy they decided it was time to get some help for Hendrix and Chloe so Roxy wouldn’t copy their behaviour. Hendrix is very noise sensitive and when triggered by noise he would turn his frustration onto Chloe and the two dogs would squabble and fight. This can be viewed as sibling rivalry, but the source of the aggression is not actually rivalry and requires a different type of management within the family so the dogs don’t fight. The family have made great progress to date and I am looking forward to continuing to work with them on tackling all of their doggy issues.

A.M.
Rayleigh, Essex

29th October 2013

Jo & Graham Milgrew dealt with: Other
Photo of D.A.'s dog

We did really thought we tried it all, but after a sleepless thundery night with the dog jumping on the bed scratching us etc I decided to e-mail Barkbusters. We'd never get rid of our dog, but we definitely needed help with his fear of noises.

Our Border Collie Darcy is now 11 years old and over recent years developed fears of fireworks and thunder. He always had a hate for noise, as when he was a pup he had to deal with refurbishing works a couple of houses down, which probably progressed over the years to this. I did try the famous noise desensitizing, but our dog seemed to know it was fake. I thought I was going mad, but Jo confirmed I wasn't. Being a Border Collie he is too smart for his own good in a way and indeed knows fully well it isn't real and therefore doesn't feel the same threat. Hence a cd becomes useless, instead we got the advice of using something else that triggers him to train him. Eg the hoover, the one thing all dogs appear to hate. He expressed his fear differently (barking, trying to nip it), but in the end it's fear.

We tried DAP before but didn't appear to get the result the product claimed we would have. Turns out the only thing we did right with it was plug it in. What is needed together with the product is someone that helps with how to use it all round to get that success. We created him a safe space as advised by Jo around the Dap diffuser, leave his treats in there every night and noticed this area is now his own chosen safe place. He retreats to this area when he hears a bang and we won't see him till he is ready to return. We put on his thunderjacket everyday as well and this also appears to have a calming effect on him. Again it is a tool that only works if you know how, which we now know. :) The dog needs to associate it as "wonderful" first, not as "I am terrified and now I am dealing with my owner as well trying to put something I don't know on me!"

T-touch was explained to us as well and this really calms him down. Similar to a massage or meditation with humans.

I don't think we're out of the woods yet (we were told honestly there are no quick fixes), but we are definitely on our way. Still not looking forward to bonfire night, but I think we will actually cope better than other years.

Day by day, step by step we'll get there.

Trainer note from Jo & Graham:
Border Collies are known for noise sensitivity. They are bred to have acute hearing and in some poor dogs this very acuteness can mean that any crash bang and wallop can send them into a frenzy of fear. Darcys' owners really had tried it all in their bid to help their dog. Much of the advice was correct - using CD's or other "noises" that trigger him so he can become de-sensitised, but that doesn't work with all dogs (Darcy being a case in point) and they really were at their wits end. Fortunately for Darcy he had owners who were willing to work on a whole program to provide a true safe place for him and the use of a range of calming exercises (where to go when frightened), techniques (calming touch) and products (a DAP diffuser and Thundershirt). They have had great results with all the recent Thunderstorms and are now fully prepared for fireworks (including already dealing with the early bangs we always get from keen firework buyers!) You can't stop a noise sensitive dog being noise sensitive, but you can prevent the extremes Darcys owners were dealing with (trying to dig his way through walls for example)and make Thunderstorms and Fireworks night a lot less frightening for a dog. It has been a real pleasure to get Darcy's owner updates and hear how well he is doing. It proves that even an older dog can have a much better quality of life when he has caring and thoughtful owners willing to help their noise sensitive dog.

D.A.
Billericay, Essex

29th September 2013

Jo & Graham Milgrew dealt with: Barking at people, dogs, animals, birds or where the dog barks for attention or at the slightest noise Hyperactivity Pulling on the Lead
Photo of T.S.'s dog

George our deaf boxer was becoming increasingly vocal and frustrated. He was barking constantly and this would in turn antagonise our older steady boxer Bogey. On her first visit, George put on a really good show for Jo, barking and constantly play fighting with Bogey. She taught us that our efforts to correct George were perhaps misguided and she focused our training on both dogs, not just the 'troublemaker'. We were given a variety of different techniques to use and all were flexible to adapt to the needs of each individual dog. After two weeks we had seen a real change in George's behaviour and also Bogey was much happier with the new situation. We still have a little way to go, especially with lead work, but we have ongoing support from Jo who is constantly available via all forms of communication. She gave us advice regarding all aspects of having dogs in the family, and was a factor in deciding to AstroTurf our garden to great effect. Many thanks xxx

Trainer note from Jo & Graham:
Deaf dogs are just as trainable as normal dogs. They simply need a different form of communication. All owners of deaf (and blind) dogs will tell you that this soon becomes second nature, but at the start it is a case of learning a new language and then teaching your dog what this new language is. Dogs are not robots and one size doesn't fit all, so it is working out a strategy to deal with your dog based on how your dog responds to you. In Georges case he is fortunate to have an older more experienced Boxer, Bogey, to learn from as well as his owners, but Bogey was getting just as carried away with playtime as George and forgetting to listen to his owners, so it was a case of double trouble. His owners have now been working with both dogs establishing sign language, touch and floor vibrations for George and sign language plus vocal commands for Bogey so both dogs know what they can and can't do and what is expected from them. Instead of two huge Boxers running around creating havoc they now have a calm household where the dogs look to them for guidance. As George is young and a typical bouncy Boxer this will take time, but no more time than a normal hearing Boxer now he understands what is wanted from his owners. A truly great result.

T.S.
Brentwood, Essex

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