We chose Maxwell from the SPA refuge in Cherbourg in November 2015. He was a very bouncy and intelligent crossbreed who was social with other dogs. We have had dogs for the best part of 30 years but felt that he needed to have some professional training to keep him out of trouble.
Unfortunately in the Spring of 2016 we sent him to a branch of a training facility near London for their 3 week package. I was able to see updated photos on Facebook and at one stage I became concerned that other dogs seemed to be aggressive towards Max from the photos posted on line. I contacted the company in question but was assured that the dog’s play time was supervised. At the end of 3 weeks Max came home and not only had he not learned the most basic commands sufficiently, he had developed aggression towards other dogs. We split our time between London and Normandy and when in the park in London it was becoming increasingly difficult, culminating in a ridgeback owner calling Max vicious!
Like a lot of the other owners I googled and telephoned a lot of dog trainers, and was impressed with Stephen’s experience. I liked the fact that he also teaches dogs the word “no” which seems to be unfashionable at the moment.
I took Max to be “interviewed” before leaving him for his training and to be honest was worried that I had not passed the test! Max subsequently stayed for 4 weeks and has come home the most brilliant dog. He does not necessarily like all the dogs he encounters but we have been taught how to control him and anticipate problems. As we learnt from the 2 follow up classes, a lot of Max’s training is up to my husband and me. It took us a while to follow Stephen’s from of training but it has paid huge dividends and we are both very proud now of the comments we receive in the park as to how well trained he is. I would certainly recommend Stephen Bulled for your dog, and also for the lessons he gives the owners. I only wish that I had found him a year earlier for Max instead of the previous experience.
I am writing to thank you for all the assistance you have given us with our dogs. Buying Bomber, our spaniel from you was the start of a great experience for my son and myself when it comes to dog handling.
As you know Bomber settled in really well with our two Labradors and Dsh the Dachshund . I would never have believed that a spaniel could be so well trained and calm. I had been on the search for a spaniel for a very long time and only ever expected to get a dog that I could use for hunting , but I am pleased to be able to say that this season I have already taken Bomber out on two days driven shooting and he has performed wonderfully on the peg as well. He is such a steady peg dog and , considering he is only two years old things can only get better. Everywhere I take him everybody is full of compliments about him . My eleven year old son , Oliver , has learnt so much during the lessons with you and has now taken Ginger his , his Labrador , out on two driven days and a number of rough shoot days at home . You have done such a good job of teaching Oliver that he often picks me up on the things I may forget with Bomber and Buddy.
Dennis & Gill Leigh
We arrived for our first training session with a 5 month old Springer Spaniel puppy over whom we had little control. It was extremely stressful. We are leaving after 10 most enjoyable training 5 sessions with Stephen with a transformed dog. To see Barnie blossom was very rewarding and quite extraordinary. In addition we have met some extremely nice people in our group sessions and it has been fascinating to watch their dogs change too.
Stephen has a magical touch with all the dogs we have watched him train and we can thoroughly recommend him to any owner. His approach is very caring, but firm. We are enormously grateful to him for the delightful and obedient dog we now own. Both Barnie and we are much, much happier and very relieved!
Phil and I bought home Dusty, our new 8 week old GS puppy, looking forward to the future as we had not long lost our dear old GSD (Duke) at 10 years of age. We did all the usual things taking Dusty to puppy classes, taking him out with us, meeting the children playing in the street, neighbours, all what we thought were the right things to do.
As Dusty got older (about 8 months old) he was starting to become difficult to manage. Barking and running to the door when the bell rang and not being at all friendly to whoever was there (apart from the family, which was one blessing). Taking him out for walks became a nightmare, leaping up and ‘mouthing off’ at people. Dusty was huge for his age and Phil became the only person in our family that was strong enough to hold him. Car journeys also, Dusty barked at anyone and anything that came into sight, so we found and joined a local dog training school.
We started the classes, and for the first 3 weeks had to meet in a local veterinary surgery and the dogs never stopped barking at each other, even when they did Dusty started it up again. For the next 5 weeks we were outside which was better. The heel work was coming on, the down and sit stays were OK, but no-one could go near him. Dusty even passed his Kennel Club Bronze award, which we were a bit confused about. The KC Bronze award is a good citizenship award for dogs – how can Dusty have passed this when no-one could go near him? He jumped up and lashed out at the instructor, his wife and the class assistant. We arranged for one-to-one lessons. Even when the instructor took Dusty and Phil had to walk towards them, Dusty jumped up and barked at Phil!
We continued with the classes but found that we were becoming more and more excluded. We were even told that some dogs cannot be helped, there may be something wrong with him and have we ever thought of ………., well you can imagine the rest!
The last straw was when Dusty had to go to the vets, he did his puppy classes there and was fine in the waiting room, but as soon as our vet came out to see him, he leapt at him and was just plain nasty – we felt we were losing the battle. We had had dogs before but nothing like this and were now really desperate to find help and support, someone who was interested in helping Dusty.
I did some research on the internet and found some training schools that did residential training, the nearest one to us being Stephen’s, and boy are we pleased it was.
We arranged for Stephen to have Dusty for 4 weeks, as early as ‘next week’. So off we went, and after having a look around the kennels, said good-bye to Dusty. We knew what we wanted for Dusty but had no idea how this could happen, we just hoped that he would improve somehow. Four weeks seemed to take forever, but when the time was up we arranged to meet Stephen, follow him to his training class and take over with Dusty when called to do so.
Well we watched in utter amazement as Stephen got Dusty out of his vehicle, walked with him on a loose lead across the park, have dogs around him, let people stroke him and then lay down on the ground, looking completely relaxed. To say we were over the moon would be an understatement. This was more than we ever dreamt.
Phil went and took Dusty for part of the lesson, I couldn’t as I was in tears. He looked great. We took him home and promised to return for the 3 sessions afterwards, which I must say is vitally important. It would have been so easy for things to have slipped back, but with Stephen’s help both Phil and I feel totally in control of Dusty and Dusty seems happier for it.
Stephen we cannot thank you enough for your help and continued support. Its nice to know that you are on the end of a phone if we need you, and that we can return to a class if we ever feel we have to.
We just want to thank you for training weimaraner Pedro who is doing great in NYC. He is very social, obedient – we roller blade and run with him..he has friends (that never happened before) and occasionally he would love to go for a dominant male but he stops when told so.
We still train him every day and we are very grateful for what you have done.
Maja and Greg
Camilla, Amy and Eli the Doberman
My partner and I bought our first dog together just over a year ago, we spent a long time choosing the breeder as it was important to us that Eli came from a pet/family background and not from a fighting bloodline. We brought Eli home and he had been a perfect puppy. He has a very sweet nature and loves his owners, this being the case we quickly allowed him off of the lead in parks as he always stayed by our side. As he became a big, energetic dog who liked his ball we played throw and catch to wear him out. Instead of teaching him to leave the ball we raced to get it before him so we could throw it again. We thought he enjoyed this not really knowing that it was in fact teasing him.
Eli initially did not like being on the lead on main roads as a puppy, he was stuck to our side if not slightly behind us, he eventually grew out of this and became confident, and began walking properly, it was so refreshing that he was happy and eager to walk on the lead that correcting his slight pulling at his small size didn’t seem necessary at the time. Until it was too late. He had learnt his strength, he had learnt to pull and he became a nightmare on the lead very quickly. Especially when walking in the direction of the park.
We quickly identified 2 main problems, pulling on the lead and an obsession of balls which resulted in recall problems. This then turned into jumping up at us (and other people) when we had the ball in our hand and snatching. Eli’s confidence started growing and he began venturing further and further from us. If we didn’t have a ball in our hand in his eyesight he would quickly lose interest in us and search elsewhere for something more fun.
Eli’s attitude slightly changed, although he was still loving and friendly to both dogs and people, he was boisterous and demanding. He wanted his own way and would bark, jump or ignore as and when he wanted to.
We were fully aware that Eli is a powerful and large dog and many people can be wary or frightened of him. Considering his size and his ability to knock even an adult off of their feet we knew we needed to do something for his benefit incase someone complained about him. We wanted to have complete control of him and feel confident that he would listen to us and most importantly not ignore NO when it meant no!
We contacted a very well known franchise dog training company who seemed to have amazing success rates and good reviews. Each area comes with an assigned dog trainer who does not need much experience in handling dogs at all. We had a consultation at our house and a 3 hour park/home session. The approach to Eli was reward and praise based and unfortunately although Eli is affectionate indoors, he couldn’t care less about being praised whilst outdoors and he didn’t respond well. The methods were more suitable to a nervous Chihuahua and not to a bold Doberman who needed discipline not praise. The trainer gave us a sound to use when Eli did not come back when called or when he did any undesirable behaviour. The sound was “Baaaa” like a sheep. This was apparently meant to sound like a growl which Eli was meant to associate to his mother in his pack warning him (highly embarrassing in the park). Needless to say the methods with lead pulling and recall were completely unsuccessful, we were given so many different commands, instructions and do’s and don’ts that we were more confused and frustrated than ever before.
One summers day i took Eli to a park. After not long at all he had become distracted by a ball game in the distance, he started sprinting over before i could correct or call him. The football belonged to a very small child who was holding it in his arms. He dropped the ball and screamed when he saw the huge dog running towards him, Elis jaw is big enough to pick up a football and he grabbed it and ran off with it. I caught up with him and there were several groups of people staring and shouting at me to get the ball and put my dog on a lead. Eli thought it was a game and came just close enough to me but never close enough that i could grab him. He punctured the ball and I eventually got hold of him and had to leave the park almost in tears.
We had already been recommended Stephen by our vet, and we decided that it was time to call him. We had been reluctant as we really didn’t want to leave Eli and not see him for a few weeks but had decided it was no longer fair on him and we needed some serious guidance before Eli got into some real trouble. Amy called Stephen and made an appointment for a consultation.
Stephen didn’t give any promises nor did he raise our expectations, he is very matter of fact and didn’t need to sell himself. He is confident in what he does and he showed us one of his well trained dogs and demonstrated how Eli should behave with certain things. We could tell that his passion is his dogs and he seemed so knowledgeable about their behaviour and psychology. He also delicately explained that often couples especially without children and of same sex relationships baby their dogs and forget to treat them as animals and not children, we realised we were definitely guilty of this! We were given the option to have a think or leave him there that day. We chose to leave him there and not deliberate over it. We left Eli for 4 weeks.
Eli post-training – Life changing!
We finally collected Eli after the duration, we were anxious to see if he had responded well to training but neither of us had expected just how well! We noticed a difference immediately. Eli seemed more “doggy”. He was alert and was ready for instruction. Stephen demonstrated what he had learnt and we were amazed! He had totally changed his attitude towards the ball, it was no longer a competition but a fun tool that Stephen used with him when he decided to in his own time, not Eli’s. He walked beautifully on the lead and recall was absolutely unreal.
When we got him home we realised he no longer jumped up, we hadn’t asked for Stephen to “fix” this but it was part of his obedience training and we didn’t realise how much he did it until he had stopped.
It has been 3.5 months to date since we collected Eli and we have never been so proud of him! He is an absolute delight, he returns to us immediately when called, with no hesitation and no dithering. He will stop whatever he is doing when we tell him No, and he walks well on the lead. We had a follow up with Stephen to recap lead walking and it was so worth it, it just took a bit of direction from Stephen for us to get it right.
Eli very rarely leaves our sight and when he does we know he will return in seconds if we call him. He leaves his ball and won’t touch anything if he hasn’t been given permission. He has developed a lovely balance with other dogs, he is not too interested and not overly excited as his attention is mainly on us. He has all of the same characteristics as before, indoors he is the same but with better manners. He is an absolute pleasure to take out on long walks and switches off when we need him to.
Stephen brought Eli’s behaviour back to basics and gave us the tools and instructions and we have simply carried it on without altering anything we have been taught. The commands are simple and easy to remember. We have put a lot of effort into maintaining order and not becoming relaxed on certain things so as not to let him slip back. Every dog is different and Stephen seems to analyse each individual dog and not use a generic method of training that doesn’t work on every dog. He identified what Eli’s pros and cons were and used them to his advantage so he could get the best out of him. Eli’s affection hasn’t changed, and in fact he seems so much more settled and calmer knowing that he isn’t in control.
We often get stopped on walks and asked how we trained our dog so well and we always recommend Stephen. I would recommend him to anyone who is having any kind of problem with their dog. Whenever we go on holiday we will be booking him in for boarding with Stephen, it is a great place for dogs to play and learn at the same time and it beats them coming back naughtier than before with people who aren’t sure how to handle them. It is the best money we have ever spent and has given us the dog we always wanted.
Stephen thank you for all your help with Molly,
We were on the verge of having to have her put down due to her aggression with people including family and friends, a month in your care she has come home a balanced friendly dog.
My sister was amazed when she came to visit, for the first time ever she could walk into the house without Molly trying to attack her.
We will carry on reinforcing all your training tips, and are now confident that Molly will have a long happy life with us.
We would recommend anyone that has a dog with behaviour problems to speak with Stephen, he worked wonders with Molly.
Looking at Molly’s photo you would think butter wouldn’t melt, until she went for training with Stephen butter wouldn’t melt but fat would fry is a thought that comes to mind.
Ruby, our 4 and a half month Cavapoo puppy, was not responding to the ‘reward based’ system which we’d embarked on. A highly energetic and alert dog, the promise of constant treats was keeping her in ‘on’ mode all the time, and she was also prone to separation anxiety to the point where you couldn’t leave the room without endless wailing, meaning she was sleeping in our bedroom with us at night. At the other end of the spectrum, she’d also become overly protective about things she thought were hers, like the sofa, and was starting to growl threateningly when we tried to get her off. One day, she tried to bite my wife in a truly aggressive way (not puppy mouthing), and since we have a 3 year old daughter, we decided things definitely needed to change.
We had a meeting with Stephen, where he told us his experience and techniques, and he had a look at Ruby and told us what he thought of her behaviour. Basically, she needed retraining, and to understand that people were the boss, not her. One thing that Stephen said struck a chord with us – that owning a dog should be a pleasure, not a problem. We felt very happy to leave Ruby with him for three weeks, so her new behaviour had a chance to become part of her nature.
Whilst Ruby was away, we certainly appreciated the peace and quiet that had been regained at home, and were perhaps slightly wary of her return, thinking that she may only be a little bit better.
The day we collected Ruby, Stephen showed us how she reacted to a few basic commands. Where before she wouldn’t listen, now she’d obey. She was also happy to sit and just ‘be’ as we talked through how to continue things at home with her, which before was extremely difficult – even taking into account the fact that she was a puppy. Other things were also highly improved, such as walking to heel, recall with a whistle and her interaction with other dogs, who often found her energy irritating.
Ten days after taking her back home, we can honestly say she’s a truly changed dog. The fun hasn’t disappeared from her personality, but she’s obedient and calm, a lot less needy and most importantly shows no signs of aggression. We took her to the pub for Sunday lunch and she just sat there watching the world go by, something we wouldn’t have done before as she would have been jumping up at everybody looking for attention or play time. Walks are also a lot easier, there’s none of the crazed pulling on the lead, and the whistle recall is easy as pie. She’ll still try and do things like jump on the sofa when we’re not looking but a quick ‘No!’ and she’s off again, no growls, no fuss.
Deep down we knew Ruby was never a truly problem dog, as she was very loving and playful, but something has definitely gone wrong along the way. She’s now a well rounded, lovely dog, and we have Stephen to thank for that.
Mrs Furno with Enzo and Dino
Through a series of events after having two well behaved older labs, we found ourselves with two youngsters. Our “Choccie” Enzo arrived first, followed a few a few weeks later by Dino due to the sudden death of our beloved max.
Once they had eaten or chewed half of my kitchen , and nearly pulled us out of our boots on our early attempts at walkies (not to mention snarling and growling at every living thing along the way) we knew we needed some help sharpish.
Through our vets we were given Stephens details. We made an appointment and within 5 minutes Stephen had sized up the situation. Through an easy to follow common sense approach, our two scallywags were transformed to model citizens!
Pauline and Merlin
We had Merlin from a pup and took him to be trained as a gun dog. He was a good housedog but not much good at anything else, as he tended not to obey the whistle if something more interesting came his way. He had shown slight tendencies towards some men that were aggressive. Last December we needed to put him into a kennels for two months. We collected a completely different dog on our return though. He was aggressive towards dogs and bitches of all breeds and very soon became aggressive towards humans except myself.