what dog owners say about Graham Milgrew

Dog Training & Behavioral Therapist

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6th April 2021

Graham Milgrew dealt with: Other
Photo of J.M.'s dog

Our Miniature Goldendoodle, Indie, is a resource guarder. As our first dog, training a puppy was utterly new to us, and while we were successful in some areas, we were also struggling in others. It wasn’t long before our lack of understanding showed, and our puppy soon developed a possessive aggressive nature over things she would pick up and find. We were at such a loss on what to do, and it was causing us a lot of stress and anxiety; cue Jo & Graham Milgrew, who – quite literally – came in and rescued us from this downward spiral. They showed us that it wasn’t an issue with her alone but with how we were handling the situation and that we needed to change to help Indie. Indie’s guarding was quite severe to give you some background, although it never happened with food or toys, her resource guarding came into play whenever she picked something up on her walk or if she found something around the flat. Instead of growling to warn us off, she would go straight to biting and with every episode, we knew the situation was getting worse. In our initial meeting with Jo, she talked us through resource guarding, explained the situation from Indie’s point of view – which was eye-opening – and gave us some steps which we could take to help the situation. We immediately followed those steps, which centred around getting Indie to trust us again, and since then, she has completely changed. It took some time to build up that trust, but it was like a sudden switch in her behaviour one day. She would allow us to stroke her when she had something she would typically guard, and then she learnt to drop and swap it for something else. Which was just amazing and a point I’d never thought we’d get to. We understand that Indie is and probably always will be a resource guarder, but we don’t take anything away from her as she listens to us and swaps it for something else. A key takeaway from the training was learning to remain calm and relaxed when she had something; if we got stressed, her guarding would worsen. We know now that dog training is not a linear process, but with both Jo & Graham’s help, it can be an easier thing to tackle. We’d highly recommend getting in contact; it’s a decision you and your best friend would never regret.

Trainer note from Graham:
Resource guarding only happens when a dog is guarding something he or she prizes.  It can be food, toys, items they like the look of (and steal), where they sleep and in some cases people they prize like their owner or owner's children.  In many cases, this can be managed successfully like leaving a dog to eat in peace.  However, that is not always possible, as in the case of Indie.  Her owners took the time to do the work to ensure that Indie no longer feels threatened by an approach from them and is happy to give up items on request.  It is well worth doing as a dog can be trained successfully and you can live in harmony with your dog.

Croydon, Surrey (Testimonial)

20th March 2021

Graham Milgrew dealt with: Pulling on the Lead Separation Anxiety
Photo of B.G.'s dog

We initially got in touch because Finzi had separation Anxiety and we couldn't leave him alone for any length of time without him becoming distressed. Jo met with us several times on Zoom and talked us through some techniques we could use. Our routine has been changing because of lockdown but the work we have put in has paid off. Finzi has had a very good week- I’ve been back on the school site for 2 weeks now and he is getting into the new routine with me not there and Tim coming and going or in meetings in another room. It was really good to see Graham last week and get some advice on walking Finzi. The specialist lead arrived during the week- what a difference it makes. We have had a few walks with it now and this morning I took him across the Heath and into Greenwich park without getting my arm pulled out of its socket! It has made such a difference. Every now and then he tries to get to off, but mostly is not bothered by it Let’s hope it continues.

Trainer note from Graham:
These owners had particular work setup difficulties which made it impossible to do the normal graduated separation program.  They were happy to be quite creative and work with me to find what worked.  There have been recent changes that disrupted Finzi because they were both at home again when the schools closed, but they have followed the advice and he has settled again.  He is a beautiful looking and very powerful Lurcher which made lead walking difficult, but he is doing really well using a specific type of lead and head collar which ensures a dog can be walked safely and over long distances.

Lewisham, London (Testimonial)

16th March 2021

Graham Milgrew dealt with: Puppy Management
Photo of L.A.'s dog

Jo and Graham have been so great. I had a long chat with Jo on Zoom to discuss training/biting and everything in between and then Graham has been to see us twice, both times have been so useful especially with leash training, it really has given me the confidence to ensure Winn and I working together. I'm really so pleased with their knowledge and helpfulness.

Trainer note from Graham:
Winn is a whippet puppy. What many people don't realise is that young whippets can be a real handful - cheeky, nervous and very, very fast! Winn and his owner responded very well to their training and doing really well now.

London (Testimonial)

10th March 2021

Graham Milgrew dealt with: Aggression to a dog or other animal or where the dog is aggressive to the owner or a stranger Destructive chewing that results in destruction of furniture, woodwork etc Hyperactivity 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

We contacted Bark Busters as we were new to owning a puppy and felt we needed guidance on all aspects associated with being a new dog owner. We found Graham to be a very calming influence to us and also Murray. His techniques for training Murray were excellent and covered all aspects of dog behaviour etc. It was great to see that after only a few minutes with Murray Graham had brought him under control. The instruction and face to face contact with Graham enabled us to see for ourselves what we should/should not be doing. Graham was always to hand when we were having a problem we could not deal with and he guided us through what to do. We found the notes he supplied to be very comprehensive and helpful. Murray is progressing with training, walking and recall work - not quite the finished article yet but we are getting there. He has said that should we need his help he is always at the end of a phone which we found reassuring. We were asked recently who our trainer was and we had no hesitation in recommending Bark Busters as we found Graham to be of great help to us.

Trainer note from Graham:
Murray is a fantastic little fellow who just needed a guiding hand on his journey from puppy to fully grown dog. He's currently doing well in his teenage phase and his owners are coping brilliantly.

Orpington, Kent (Testimonial)

4th March 2021

Graham Milgrew dealt with: Aggression to a dog or other animal or where the dog is aggressive to the owner or a stranger Hyperactivity Pulling on the Lead

Started my training way back in September 2019 with Jo and from the moment of meeting Jo I just knew I was in good hands. Jo was so knowledgeable, confident and put me and Gypsy at ease very quickly. The training tips she showed me helped so much with my feelings of despair. Gypsy was a rescue dog having been dumped in my daughter's front garden spray painted blue and her tail had been docked so she had a lot of issues. Fast forward to 2020 and COVID. Jo has always been ready and happy to help with any “niggles” whether by phone or text or email or video. Now in another new year and some problems have been causing me concern; in comes Graham and must say our meeting yesterday was “spot on” he had such simple answers to what I thought were big problems. All his ideas and answers have been so helpful. Jo and Graham thank you and you two are amazing.

Trainer note from Graham:
This owner has had to deal with issues that not many owners have.  The spray paint mentioned is used in the illegal world of dog fighting so Gyspy had a lucky escape whether from this or from general neglect where someone thought it would be fun to put paint on a puppy.  Gypsy has many issues and her owner has always stayed in touch and got help when needed with Gypsy.  As a result, she has brought Gypsy up to be a really lovely happy girl who has a great life. It has been a total pleasure to help.

Beddington, Surrey (Testimonial)

28th February 2021

Graham Milgrew dealt with: Aggression to a dog or other animal or where the dog is aggressive to the owner or a stranger Hyperactivity
Photo of S.B.'s dog

We are delighted with the progress made with Harley, and look forward to further, beneficial support from Bark Busters. We would certainly recommend them.

Trainer note from Graham:
Harley is a 4 year old lurcher who is very friendly and affectionate to his human owners, who adopted him 6 months prior to asking us for some help. The main problem that they encountered was that Harley was very reactive to other dogs outdoors and would try to attack them. Walks were not fun or calming! After a couple of sessions we had reached the stage where the owners could go for a relaxing walk with Harley who, is now stand-offish rather than aggressive to other dogs. He still has his moments but things are progressing well.

West Wickham, London (Testimonial)

16th February 2021

Graham Milgrew dealt with: Barking at people, dogs and animals or barking for attention or at noises Hyperactivity Pulling on the Lead
Photo of C.P.'s dog

The 3 sessions we have had with Jo and Graham have been so helpful. Jo helped us with a long zoom call to go through our concerns about Vita and gave us some helpful training strategies and also sent us notes. Graham came to visit us and went through training techniques and when I was concerned about Vita's behaviour came to see us very quickly and gave us some really useful advice. I have found them very supportive and not at all judgemental and would recommend them. Graham’s calm approach had an almost immediate effect on our dog's challenging behaviour.

Trainer note from Graham:
These owners have a wonderfully energetic young Miniature Schnauzer.  Unfortunately, Vita found children particularly exciting and had started to chase after them barking which was scary for both the children, their parents, and Vita's owners.  Chasing starts out as a novelty whether exciting or scary.  It can be very difficult to control as it is natural dog behaviour and can also turn predatory with a dog trying to nip at feet and legs as they would if chasing an animal. Vita's owners have taken action while she is still young and they are having success at managing and retraining Vita.  She is still an adolescent so this will take time, but they are progressing in the right direction and will have our support on the way to deal with any glitches in the process.

London (Testimonial)

30th January 2021

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 and animals or barking for attention or at noises Hyperactivity Sibling Rivalry - aggression or fighting between dogs in the same household Separation Anxiety Other
Photo of T.C.'s dog

Our Springer came to us as a rescue, with multiple issues, 5 years ago. At the time we had a lot of help from both Jo and Graham and due to their patience and advice we managed to settle her with our 2 other dogs. Fast forward 5 years and following major surgery poor Geri had a major meltdown, starting with not wanting to sleep at night and escalating into not being able to stop running around during the day unless restrained, really heart breaking. I called up Jo, and there were her and Graham ready to help with a whole new problem. Geri is a long way from fixed but with Jo and Graham’s help we are taking little steps every day and moving in the right direction. Without them I am pretty certain i would have lost my girl by now. As you can imagine I can’t recommend Bark Busters highly enough.

Trainer note from Graham:
Geri had serious behavioural issues after her surgery.  This was brought on by needing to be crated to recover from surgery when she has separation anxiety.  The stress of this unbalanced her and once she recovered from her surgery she was unable to settle either in or out of her crate. Geri's owner is not exaggerating about losing her dog. The Vet had advised considering euthanasia the circumstances were so extreme. Fortunately we were able to advise on a behaviour program supported by Vet medication that alleviated the crisis. Geri's road to mental and physical recovery will be slow but she is on the way now.

Basildon, Essex (Testimonial)

17th January 2021

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 and animals or barking for attention or at noises Puppy Management
Photo of J.W.'s dog

Absolutely FANTASTIC. Both Jo & Graham are total experts. They analysed instantly what was going on with Obi's body language and where the root cause of his anxious behaviour was coming from. Jo spent hours at the initial zoom meeting really getting in depth with Obi's history and daily routine. She gave us really useful information about change of diet and other helpful tools to help us progress. Graham came over to our house and spent over two hours working with us and Obi to train us into better routines. Obi struggles with fear of the neighbours children and would growl and bark at them. Within ONE hour of graham working with them, Obi was happily sitting on the sofa with the little girl from next door. We've seen great improvement since then. Haven't stopped telling everyone I know with a dog what a god send these two are!

Trainer note from Graham:
Obi is a lovely dog but he is not confident and becomes easily unnerved. His owners got on really well with their neighbours and were concerned at his fears around their children. Many dog are fearful of young children because they are unpredictable. They can cope with older children and adults because they know what is going to happen next.  With young children it is helping a dog observe a child so they can get used to them without feeling under threat.  This does have to be undertaken carefully as it can backfire and scare a dog more.  This is why putting training in place first was so important with Jo before a hands on follow up with Graham.  Obi's owners practiced and gave Obi the best chance they could of success. It will need ongoing work, but Obi is looking to his owners now for support and help when he is scared and this will reap rewards going forward.

bromley, London (Testimonial)

4th January 2021

Graham Milgrew dealt with: Barking at people, dogs and animals or barking for attention or at noises Puppy Management Recall or not coming when called Separation Anxiety Toileting
Photo of L.O.'s dog

I had training on my Puppy panic! from Jo and Graham. Their service is exceptional. When they say "We will offer follow up sessions and advice whenever needed" they actually mean it! As a first time dog owner I found it reduced my anxiety a lot to know that I could keep asking questions and get help throughout Piglet's first year and that there would be continuity so I could just listen to one person (or in this case two) who knew what they were talking about. It seems anyone and everyone I came across had an opinion on what I should do with Piglet and they all contradicted each other so I was feeling overwhelmed and guilty before I signed up with Jo and Graham. I'm trained with a science background so I really appreciated having clear explanations from Jo in particular, of why and how the training tips work as this helped me have faith that things would improve - which they did! Piglet has got so much better with toilet training, crate and pen training, sleeping through the night, walking on the lead and recall. I've gone back to Jo and Graham recently only because now he's entering adolescence Piglet has started the typical things (e.g. territorial barking) and they are again being fantastic! The combination of Zoom sessions with Jo and in-person with Graham works really well. We are soon likely to do completely online sessions too with me providing live video of Piglet, which I think will work just as well. They are really flexible with appointment times and always send emails with notes and helpful documents at the end of the session. That means you don't have to scribble down your own notes you can focus entirely on what they're teaching you and you have a good resource to go back to afterwards. I have nothing but praise for this service and have already recommended it to several other new puppy owners in my local park. It is extremely good value for money. If like me you're keen to the 'right' thing by giving your dog the best experience of you as an owner, and you don't want your dog to be a pain to anyone else and you don't know which books/people/free YouTube advice to trust....just call Jo and Graham!

Trainer note from Graham:
This owner has a miniature Dachshund. Piglet has not been the easiest of puppies and his owner has had to consistently work with him to overcome his fearfulness including walking issues, alarm barking plus separation problems as well as everything else required to bring up a puppy successfully  When you do have puppy or dog issues it is natural for people to give advice and some people can scare owners no matter how well meaning the advice is.  It is particularly difficult when it come to the breeder or other people experienced with dogs, for example in rescue, giving advice on behaviour, as they are still only giving it from their own point of view and not because they work and study in the field as we do.  We know that there is no "one way" and that every dog and owner is an individual unit so any advice must be tailored to their circumstances.  It is also not as simple reading a book or reading on the internet either because it can only be general advice, even though that advice might be excellent.  Recently Piglets separation problems have re-occurred and online is invaluable for that as we can either watch live or see video of Piglet, plus also coach his owner live via phone video when he is territorially barking in his garden. This is not to replace face to face. It is the better choice in these circumstances. A dog is not going to exhibit separation problems when you are there plus he loves people so is not going to territorially bark when the Trainer is there and distracting him.  Our combination approach means that owners get the help they need delivered in the most effective way possible,

South East London, London (Testimonial)

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