what dog owners say about Graham Milgrew

Dog Training & Behavioral Therapist

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2nd 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 Recall or not coming when called
Photo of C.W.'s dog

We came to Jo and Graham feeling like we were at the end of our tether with our 8 month old Chow Chow Indiana. She had started out as a very normal happy and playful puppy who loved interacting with new people and was very loving towards us. Then at about 5 months old she started to become very different, wary and aggressive towards new people, which led to her biting on multiple occasions. We were quick to realise that we needed to work on her behaviour immediately, so we sent her away to residential training in Kent, hoping for him to help with her people aggression. However the Trainers uncommunicative style and lack of openness about training methods wasn't suitable for us. Thankfully soon after this we found Jo and Graham at Barkbusters, who were helpful and reassuring with tips and advice even on our first phone call which was just to enquire about their training methods. They have continued to provide advice and information that has helped us in the journey towards sorting Indy's aggression problem. She still has a long way to go, as hers is not a problem that you can fix quickly and overnight, but we are making progress and we are thankful for the support that Jo and Graham have provided. We highly recommend.

Trainer note from Graham:
It is common to blame owners if they have an aggressive dog and especially if the breed is known to be wary of people like a Chow Chow is. The thing is that you can do everything right and still have a problem. It is how you tackle it that problem that is the most important. These owners have gone the extra mile. As well as training, they have been doing behaviour modification to convince Indy that people are not as threatening as she thinks. As she looks like a beautiful Teddy Bear people are still not respecting her and ignoring instructions even with a muzzle on, but over time she is becoming less scared and is now having good interactions. This is entirely down to the diligence of her owners who have made every effort to help Indy cope.

London (Testimonial)

17th December 2020

Graham Milgrew dealt with: Pulling on the Lead Puppy Management Recall or not coming when called Separation Anxiety
Photo of G.K.'s dog

Jo and Graham have not only been very helpful but also great fun. They both obviously have a great depth of knowledge and experience and they pass it on in a very clear and easy to understand way. I felt like an experienced dog owner but wanted advice on introducing a puppy to my older dog. Jo not only helped with the transition phase but also taught me a LOT about both the new and the old dogs. My wife and I actually felt empowered after speaking to her. Graham is the one who visits and he also has a lovely manner and a calm, sure way of explaining things. He got INSTANT results with the puppy and in seconds he solved the problem of our old dog pulling on the lead. This has been bothering us for 9 years!!! I can't recommend Jo and Graham enough and we will be continuing to work with them over the coming months/years as I now see how expert advice has improved our relationship with our dogs.

Trainer note from Graham:
These are wonderful owners with two amazing dogs.  The puppy Lurcher Elvis is a bouncing bundle of fun while the older dog Spike is like an elder statesman.  Spike was really nonplussed when Elvis arrived, but after a bit of hard work from their owners, in true elder statesman style he has decided that the young upstart can stay.  These owners are genuinely experienced including with Gun Dogs in the field but for anyone a new puppy can turn family life upside down - especially while so many of us are working from home and the puppy wants full time attention.  These owners have got it right and we look forward to seeing Elvis reach his full doggy potential.

Ealing, London (Testimonial)

9th December 2020

Graham Milgrew dealt with: 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
Photo of Z.R.'s dog

We have been very impressed by Jo & Graham. Jo gave us a thorough virtual interview for our first session to understand our outcomes and to ensure that we had all of the relevant info needed for keeping a puppy happy and healthy. She was able to give us immediate guidance and advice about a number of issues specific to the border collie breed. We have since had two face-to-face sessions with Graham, and on both occasions he was very professional, a good listener and got to work straight away to help Sacha and us with simple and easy to understand techniques. It has been reassuring to understand what we are doing that is effective and what we are doing that is ineffective. We have seen significant improvements in the areas he worked on and so would highly recommend.

Trainer note from Graham:
It is generally considered that Collies should not be in an urban environment, but this is not the case provided the owners fulfil a dogs breed needs.  Sacha's owners researched and chose carefully and then made sure they did everything right when it came to bringing up their puppy who is now an adolescent.  As a result they have really happy and fulfilled Border Collie happily living in London who has loads of doggy friends and is a delight to take out.

London (Testimonial)

2nd December 2020

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

Having had dogs all my life as a child and adult... getting new dogs didn’t seem such a big deal. Having trained our own dogs I would consider myself an experienced dog handler. We got a puppy first and then a few weeks later got a rescue pup and found ourselves out of Depth, 2 dogs in different rooms one being very aggressive towards the other I didn’t know what to do ... thanks to the help and advice from both Jo and Graham... we have 2 very happy dogs

Trainer note from Graham:
This owner really does know about dogs and was well organised and did everything right.  However, the rescue dog came earlier than planned, she had a puppy that wasn't easy to handle, and despite introducing them correctly the dogs were not getting on together.  She has now turned this completely around and it is a delight to see the dogs happy together.

Abbeywood, London (Testimonial)

24th November 2020

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 Recall or not coming when called Other

Both Jo and Graham have been extremely supportive in helping us work with our 2 year old Bedlington/Patterdale terrier. We came to them with a number of problems and they listened, offered encouragement and provided us with a wealth of knowledge and practices we have been able to put in place with Loki. With the pandemic we were limited to zoom for our sessions with Jo however this didn’t cause a problem, we were still able to work together to confirm Loki had stress and anxiety issues and Jo provided us with various solutions and training to help combat this. We have since had an in person meeting with Graham who also made us feel at ease and provided a number of techniques which we are already seeing results with. Loki has taken to the training very well and we are already seeing a major improvement in his behaviour. I would highly recommend Jo and Graham, we have seen great results and are continuing to work with Loki daily.

Trainer note from Graham:
Loki has ongoing serious ear issues which means he has experienced a lot of pain and this was affecting his behaviour as he was very reluctant to be handled. He was also resource guarding toys and chews, plus where he was resting.  This is common in dogs who have health issues as they feel under threat and want to protect themselves.  His owners have been very sensitive and have been carefully training him that he has nothing to fear.  They have made huge strides in training Loki and he is a different dog now.

Carshalton, Surrey (Testimonial)

21st November 2020

Graham Milgrew dealt with: Puppy Management Separation Anxiety
Photo of L.B.'s dog

Our 3 month old Miniature Long Hair Dachshund puppy Ruben struggles with severe separation anxiety. He would scream so loudly whenever we had to leave him alone in his crate. Our 7 month old Darcy (same breed) didn’t have these issues. So we needed to find a way to train him in a way she would find fun to join in too! Jo gave us easy but detailed games to play with both of them to encourage time in the crate. They both enjoyed the games, and while for Ruben it was good training, it was good fun for Darcy also! And it was also a relief being given such precise instructions as it got rid of our worries that we were making mistakes! It has only been 2 weeks but already we are seeing huge improvements with Rubens behaviour. As I type Ruben and Darcy are currently taking an afternoon nap in their crates peacefully while I get jobs done around the house! We are slowly building up to leaving him alone in the house and going out, but with Jo's advice and encouragement we are happy to take each day as it comes!

Trainer note from Graham:
Separation anxiety is common in puppies, but this is the perfect example of how some pups have it worse than others and that is why some owners needed help.  Ruben and Darcy's owners did exactly the same with both puppies and were very careful about separation, but Ruben is one of those puppies who are often called "velcro" because they are needy and struggle to be away even from their attachment person even for a minute.  Their owners are working through a proven program at the moment building up time which are based around games that help a puppy adjust and build confidence.  This has to be done very carefully when crating or play penning a dog for safety so they don't feel trapped and react as a result.  These owners are doing really well and it has been a delight to see Ruben sleeping in his crate where before he would be screaming is distress,

Hornchurch, Essex (Testimonial)

4th November 2020

Graham Milgrew dealt with: Other
Photo of L.G.'s dog

Our dog Dudley has come such a long way since we first got him back in August. He was a rescue from Romania - completely traumatised and depressed on arrival. I was an experienced dog owner, however, was at a loss as to what to do to help our poor Dudley. He was terrified of everyone and everything, hiding and running away from us. It was very upsetting to see him so unhappy. Thankfully, after the invaluable help and advice Jo provided, a bit of time and lots of patients Dudley is now a very loving well-adjusted pet. I'm so pleased with his progress, his personality has come out and we have now met our real dog - cheeky and playful! We are now able to enjoy our Dudley, but most importantly, he is now enjoying himself!

Trainer note from Graham:
My heart went out to these owners when I saw Dudley. They had taken on this dog who just hid away and couldn't cope and it was such a shock to them as the rescue said that he was happy-go-lucky dog.  It was exactly as his owner said, Dudley was traumatised and had retreated into himself. This had to be taken very slowly and his owners worked with me over the months to break it down into numerous small steps. They committed to frequent zoom conversations so we could make adjustments as we went along so Dudley was not overwhelmed.  It was a delight to see him slowly come out of his shell.  Best of all, his owners are now supporting other owners who have dogs that come over badly traumatised because Dudley is proof that these dogs can recover and become wonderful pet dogs.

LONDON, London (Testimonial)

12th September 2020

Graham Milgrew dealt with: Puppy Management Other
Photo of J.D.'s dog

From scared little pup to confident young dog! We first called on Jo and Graham’s expertise when Ochre was only 9 weeks old and we had just got her from the breeder and noticed she was a very scared little dog who’d freeze, hide or back away from strangers. We had to do a lot of work with her following the advice from these skilled trainers and over time she’s become a confident 5 month old dog who’s confident enough to walk through busy Paris Montmartre streets, who can be taken through busy markets and restaurants and will become friends with people a few minutes after meeting them. She is still a little shy deep down, but we now know that we’ve been given the tools to enable her to live her life stress-free. Thanks to these trainers’ help, we’ve taken steps to ensure that she was correctly socialised and given confidence in previously stressful situations, and have no fear about what the future holds as we now have a well rounded, appropriately socialised and cared for confident little dog who’s got all the support she needs going forward. Jo and Graham have been very available to help guide us along the way, in person, on Zoom, by email, or on the phone and we would highly recommend them for any behavioural issue one may encounter.

Trainer note from Graham:
These owners had a genuinely serious problem.  Dogs like Ochre need very careful management as a scared puppy can have numerous bad experiences and get worse rather than better over time.  Ochre is a Golden Retriever and came from an excellent breeder background so it was shock when she couldn't cope from the outset.  There is a tendency to blame owners when this happens, but it is often simply the genetics of the dog, You can have a shy anxious dog, just as much as you can have a shy anxious child.  The great thing is that owners who socialise and train their puppy as Ochres owner can turn them around with the right advice and support.  As they have proved, it doesn't mean it is a long term problem.

London (Testimonial)

19th August 2020

Graham Milgrew dealt with: Puppy Management Recall or not coming when called

Have had one zoom call first and then a visit where Jo brought her dog for my dog to have a play date to see her reaction to other dogs and practice lead training.

Trainer note from Graham:
This owner had a Romanian rescue and had been instructed by her rescue not to take her dog out for walks as they thought she was overwhelmed by seeing dogs and people outside.  Her owners were also scared that she would escape their garden as she had a history of escaping so had been taking her onlead in the garden and were worried she would slip her lead outside.  I was able to get her off lead in the garden and practice getting her back to the family which she was really good at.  It proved that she pretty good with other dogs and her problem was she wasn't used to being outside on a lead which is why she was overwhelmed. For safety she was attached to two leads.  One on her collar and one on her harness.  Graham has since done a further lead walking session so she can be managed on the lead when pulling and they are doing really well with her.

Bexleyheath, Kent (Testimonial)

2nd April 2020

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

Jo Came to see me for my 6 year Shitz shu Poppy. Poppy responded to the calming coat and commands. Jo was very helpful and informative.

Trainer note from Graham:

Poppy has always been a barky dog reacting to outside noises and people moving in the flat.  Her owner had tried many ways to stop this, but Poppy would still have episodes of excessive barking which her owner couldn’t stop.  This got much worse when her owner’s partner bought his rambunctious Labrador Leo to visit.  By the time I saw him at eight months old he was typical of many frustrated adolescent boys and was mounting, jumping up and mouthing both Poppy and her owner.  It seemed as though he didn’t mean any harm, but Poppy wasn’t coping, and it was difficult for both owners to work out how to handle the situation.  Her owner has done an excellent job of training Poppy to come to her rather than trying to deal with Leo herself.  Her barking is triggered by noise sensitivity rather than territorial barking so a calming “Thundershirt” is being used to help Poppy to be a little less sensitive.  Visits from Leo have been stopped now during Covid-19, but I have been speaking to Poppy’s owner remotely and will be guiding them remotely when they are able to visit their holiday home again.      


Swanley, Kent (Testimonial)

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