what our clients say about Justin Scher

Dog Training & Behavioral Therapist

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November 5 2013

Justin Scher 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 Separation Anxiety

Our story is a bit of a rocky one. Don't worry though, there's a happy ending, all thanks to Justin :D

Seriously, call him ASAP if you need help overcoming any dog issues - no matter how major the issue seems, there is hope! He's a wonderful, gentle dog behaviorist and an AMAZING human trainer (which is what a lot of dog training is really about). I recommend Bark Busters to everyone; my dog's total 180 speaks for itself.

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Here's my full (long!) story, with the hope that it might help people feeling trapped or hopeless about their dog's behavior/potential:

I adopted a 2-year-old chug (chihuahua/pug mix) from a rescue group. I'm not sure what the story was with his first owner or if he was ever abused, but he definitely wasn't properly socialized. He ended up dumped at a high-kill shelter (72-hours til euthanasia). A rescue group pulled him from death row with hours to spare, and he went to live with a foster family until I met him.

I saw so much potential in him, past the moments of fearfulness (could you blame him for not knowing who to trust?). I could tell that he was smart, motivated to please people, totally wanted to love but was just insecure about his place in the world. He came home with me, because I thought he deserved a real shot at becoming a confident, happy guy. I named him Prince, because I saw the prince charming behind the sometimes growly beast (plus all his stuff was purple).

In the first week, while Prince quickly got comfortable with me, he got worse around just about everything/everyone else. Separation anxiety issues (wanted to be glued to me, cried if left alone) and MAJOR issues with socialization and trusting people: bearing teeth/growling/snarling at strangers (sometimes other dogs but always people), wasn't a fan of anyone but me, definitely didn't want to be petted by anyone else, and would snarl at even me if I got too close to him when he had a chew bone. I couldn't sit with him at a coffee shop patio or he would turn into an unmanageable gremlin.

I've had dogs before so I started crate training for the separation. I have never dealt with fear-aggression though, so I thought it would be worth the money to work with a professional behaviorist. The first time I met with Justin I got a GREAT feeling. I saw that he was fantastic: friendly, easy to work with, gentle but firm, and really knew dogs and loved to help people. Prince snarled at him from under the coffee table, but I'd come to expect that and Justin obviously wasn't fazed. We were on track.

But then another week went by, and I was at my breaking point with Prince. I work from home (which can feel isolating on it's own) but now I had this creature forcing me into total solitary confinement! I had been trying to gently socialize him (asking everyone to ignore him, "don't pet him, he's in training", etc.) but had stopped bringing him most places because it was too stressful. Then I stopped having anyone over to my apartment, after he lunged up and actually bit a friend of mine when she got up to head home. She said she was okay but I was horrified and I had a spike of anxiety. It was late at night, I didn't have anyone to call/anywhere to go, no family, no boyfriend, the best friend I'd usually turn to was the one he had bitten! All I had was this monster; I thought "I should've named him Beast." :(

We had been working on longer and longer separations (but with me still in the house), so I felt trapped: I couldn't leave him by himself at home yet, I couldn't have anyone over, I couldn't bring him places, and now I have a dog that bites.

I was totally in over my head; major buyers remorse. I actually contacted the rescue saying I was afraid I'd have to give Prince back and called Justin asking what sort of refund he gives. I felt like an awful person that wasn't giving Prince the "forever home" I had promised. I already deal with anxiety and this was making it much worse. I was afraid that Prince was also feeling my anxiety, that I was making HIM worse, and that it was just going to keep snowballing like that. I was concerned about what this all meant for my future...In the next 10 years of our lives together, I want to be able to have friends over, bring my dog places, have a boyfriend over, have kids someday, and have my friends able to bring their kids over.

I met with Justin to talk about it, and he was seriously better than a therapist. With newly boosted confidence, I decided to keep at it. After a month with Bark Busters, Prince almost seems like a different dog. These days, he PLAYS with Justin when he sees him, all goofy smiles and waggy tail. I've had friends over with no issues and fewer and fewer issues in public. He respects and looks to me. He RUNS to his crate, and I've caught him voluntarily napping in there. I can leave the house again! Of course there are still things to work on, but I have all the confidence in the world (and I know Prince can sense that). I can't thank Justin enough.


Erin R.
San Diego, California

October 1 2013

Justin Scher 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 Jumping up at visitors or the dog jumps up at people on walks Pulling on the Lead

Justin was awesome. I called Justin because Jenna, 2 years old, is a little crazy. She is a mini pin / pallilion mix and a rescue. She is overly protective and pushes my 2 cats and other dog away from me. She was attacking other white small dogs at the dog park and lunging when I walked with her at other people and dogs. Within 30 minutes of the first visit with Justin, Jenna was under control. She was very submissive around Justin. He showed me how to control her barking, control her aggressiveness and walk her with my other dog without lunging at people. I called him today for a refresher course and I totally get it! Before Justin, I had called Petco and the guy kept missing appointments and so i cancelled training with Petco. I then called a dog obedience person and she taught Jenna how to sit but thats it. She didn't help correct the behavior. I realize that working with Justin the problem was Jenna, it was me. He didn't teach Jenna how to behave but taught me how to behave and take back the alpha male role from Jenna. I'm the boss now and not Jenna. She is a much calmer and happier dog (and Murphy and the 2 kitties are also very heppy). Thank you Justin. I would highly recommend you to anyone!


Brenda P.
San Diego, California

August 15 2013

Justin Scher dealt with: 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 Merissa N.'s dog

My boyfriend and I had adopted a pitbull mix and have constantly worked with her for almost a year, but was really having problems with her fear with males and listening to us. After struggling for some time we decided to call Justin for some help. Thank god we did because Justin helped so much!!! Justin has such an amazing natural way with dogs, which was really important to us because we don't believe in shock collars, prong collars, etc. Justin didn't need any of that!! We saw a difference in our dog Marley's behavior after the first week!!! So happy we called Justin it was seriously the best decision we have made for our pup who is not living in fear anymore. Thanks Justin for the help!! :o)


Merissa N.
San Diego, California

July 3 2013

Justin Scher dealt with: Barking at people, dogs, animals, birds or where the dog barks for attention or at the slightest noise Pulling on the Lead Separation Anxiety

I can't thank Justin enough for training my dog & I. Milo developed separation anxiety a few months ago due to a pack member moving away & us moving to a new apartment. It was just too many changes at once for him to cope with. He would immediately start freaking out when I left & would bark for hours. When it didn't stop on its own & neighbors started complaining... I knew I needed help. Thank goodness I found out about Justin & Bark Busters. The training definitely takes time & patience but the repetition pays off! Only 3 weeks after beginning & I have a much more obedient dog who can sit, stay, knows to walk beside me on a leash AND... no longer barks when I leave. He now accepts me as leader of the pack. I highly recommend Justin & his training - it works!


Ashley G.
San Diego, California

June 19 2013

Justin Scher dealt with: Jumping up at visitors or the dog jumps up at people on walks Other
Photo of Lisabet R.'s dog

When i first got my dog Todd from the shelter i saw that her needed some work, as most dogs from shelters do. I emailed a LOT of dog training companies and I found Bark Busters! My dog Todd was very scared of men and I was worried that Justin (as a man) wouldn't be able to get close to Todd as would needed for training. But, right when Justin walked into my house Todd went straight up to him and sat in his lap! I was thrilled with this experience. Ever since the first training lesson Todd has been a changed dog, well on walks, respectful, and knows who's boss! Thanks Justin for all your help! I'm sure you'll be needed more as he gets older.


Lisabet R.
San Diego, California

March 13 2013

Justin Scher 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 Pulling on the Lead Separation Anxiety

Justin is amazing! We had issues with our 4 yr old Pomeranian, Jack. Like many other small dog owners, we catered to his needs and allowed him to take over. We didn't realize it at the time, but we created a little monster. Jack had severe separation anxiety and socialization issues with other people, kids, dogs, skateboards, you name it. Anytime we would leave, Jack would start to bark and as soon as we would close the door he would howl as if he was calling to his wolf pack. When approaching other people or dogs, he would tug, growl and bark nonstop. We tried everything to address these issues; obedience classes, the Thundervest, aroma therapy (a device that plugged into the wall and released pheromones similar to a mother's), specialized treats, we even turned to doggy Prozac. Nothing worked. Justin was our last hope.

I can't imagine what Justin was thinking watching our 5 lb. Pomeranian jump and run around our loft while barking continuously. Justin started with a subtle approach with the spray bottle to see if this would defuse the barking, didn't work. Justin recognized this right away and changed his approach. To our surprise, Jack seemed to respond to the training immediately and Justin was able to calm Jack down within a matter of minutes. In another session, we worked outside and Jack was put to the test. There was a kid on a skateboard with his father and dog outside, four things that triggered Jack's "crazy" behavior. I admit I was anxious as I started to walk toward them and expected Jack to start his erratic behavior. Jack allowed the dad and son to pet him and didn't budge when the dog approached him, something that rarely ever happens. We were all quite surprised and I was one proud mama!

The only thing we regret is not trying Bark Busters sooner. Justin is a life saver! He is definitely a dog guru. He answered all the questions we had and taught us and Jack to work together. The result is a happier dog and owners. We highly recommend Justin, his passion for dogs shows through his line of work and the end results. Jack isn't completely fixed yet, but we are confident that Jack will be fully cured of his separation anxiety and behavior issues. I guarantee you'll be asking yourself why didn't I try this sooner!

Thanks so much, Justin!


B.N.
San Diego, California

March 8 2013

Justin Scher 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 Jumping up at visitors or the dog jumps up at people on walks Pulling on the Lead Separation Anxiety

My Goldendoodle Oliver has had extreme separation anxiety since I picked him up from the breeder. He gets crazy when crated, and has caused a great deal of damage to my home and car due to his fear of being alone. It escalated to a point where I either had to be with him, have a dog sitter, daycare or board him.

Enter Justin Sher of BarkBusters, known for success with this disorder, as well as dog training in general. Justin has been great. Very professional, knowledgeable and caring. Always makes time for an appointment and is on time.The BarkBusters approach has really worked for Oliver and me. Oliver has now adapted to being in the crate and seems to now feel like its an oasis. I can leave him for long periods of time and he mostly just sleeps. I watch him on my iPad or iPhone while I'm away by use of a videocam, as suggested by Justin. Before Justin and BarkBusters Oliver would become violent and try to rip the crate apart and anything in it. Justin has also helped me with leash walking, and instead of trying to pull me along, Oliver now heals perfectly. We are working on other training issues and Oliver seems to pick things up very fast.Thanks to Justin and BarkBusters I now have a well behaved, much less anxiety ridden companion. He's a pleasure to be with and as Justin says, Oliver respects me as the leader of our pack.


Stephen P.
San Diego, California

March 3 2013

Justin Scher 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 Jumping up at visitors or the dog jumps up at people on walks Pulling on the Lead Separation Anxiety
Photo of Dilara A.'s dog

Justin is amazing. It's like magic. In 2 sessions, Justin had transformed our canine terrorist into a calm, relaxed dog. When we first adopted Huxley, a ~1yr-old schnauzer mix he came with a past of abuse and a fear of tall men and strangers. Whenever friends came to our home, he would bark and attack the front door. The same would happen if anyone came near us on the street. Huxley would go from being a sweet, cute dog into this ferocious beast. My husband was afraid that he would bite someone and then we'd have to put him down. We were at our wits end having tried just about everything. Nothing worked. Thankfully, we found BarkBusters and Justin. It was worth every penny. Now we can have friends over and Huxley stays calm and his entire demeanor has changed. Justin is fantastic with us and Huxley and it is clear that he really loves dogs!

Update: Huxley walks by other dogs without barking up a storm. And our dog walker has noticed a difference. Thanks Justin.


Dilara A.
San Diego, California

February 26 2013

Justin Scher 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 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 Toileting
Photo of Nicole P.'s dog

With the stress of various complaints of our pups barking and crying incessantly whenever we left them at home we decided to give Bark Busters a try. There were also a number of other issues we knew we needed to address, and we're SO glad we found Justin! Our pups have completely different personalities and Justin knows exactly how to handle each of them and taught us the skills we need to effectively train them. After just the first training session, we saw a huge change in their behavior. Though it's still a work in progress, Justin has been extremely helpful and patient. He genuinely cares about the people and the dogs he works with. Thanks for everything, Justin!


Nicole P.
San Diego, California

February 19 2013

Justin Scher 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 Pulling on the Lead Recall or not coming when called

Justin helped me with my dog's aggressive, unpredictable behavior. Before training with him, I did not feel comfortable letting my dog loose at dog parks or dog beach, which was annoying since I lived 1 block from dog beach in OB! Not only did he help train me to train my dog, but I feel that now my dog and I have a better relationship. He's great with dogs and once you see him in action you'll know what I mean. He can teach you to have the same control and respect from your dog, and have to loosen up and fun along the way!


Rex L.
San Diego, California

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