No Bad Dogs
Jody Rosengarten teaches Fairfielders how to be better dog owners
Jody Rosengarten, a professional dog trainer and behavior therapist, explains that the Fairfielders who come to her are a joy to work with because they love their pets and are committed to integrating them into their families. “Most of my clients have the best intentions, but training a dog requires a great deal of commitment,” explains Rosengarten. “People want dogs that don’t soil the house or chew on furniture, but they also need a dog to come when called in a dangerous situation or refrain from jumping on people. These behaviors must be taught lovingly—and continually reinforced—but it takes time,” she says. Nothing breaks her heart more than people who give up on their dog. To combat this, Rosengarten has devoted her life to helping pet owners train their dog and to rehabilitating shelter dogs to ensure that their adoptions are successful.
Rosengarten has had a life-long relationship with animals. As a young girl, she stashed injured birds under her bed and then lovingly nursed them back to health. From her student days working with elephants in Tanzania to her more recent work with temple monkeys in Sri Lanka, Rosengarten’s philosophy on animal studies has always been an up-close and hands-on approach. No matter the animal, Rosengarten finds a way to communicate. “My training with big mammals and primates was invaluable in showing me how to communicate with all types of animals, including dogs” says Rosengarten.
One of her first canine success stories occurred when she found a troubled stray roaming Central Park. Quickly bonding to Rosengarten, the dog soon suffered from acute separation anxiety—once chewing through a wall in her apartment while she was out. At the time, punishment was considered the best way to solve behavioral issues in dogs, but Rosengarten recognized that consistency and positive reinforcement was more humane and infinitely more effective. When her techniques proved successful, Rosengarten realized her true passion lay in canine training and behavior therapy. From that moment on, she focused on building a business where she could do just that.
In 1982, Rosengarten moved to Connecticut and founded The Bark Stops Here, a multi-faceted, private, dog-training practice that specializes in behavioral problem-solving and the rehabilitation of rescued dogs. Her in-home training tailors individual instruction to the needs of a dog and its owner in their own environment. She is also on staff at the Southport Veterinary Center where she teaches group classes and offers workshops.
Rosengarten claims that she has rarely met a dog with a problem she can’t fix—as long as both owner and dog are on the same page. “One of the biggest mistakes in dog training is inconsistency. With a dog, as with a person, it creates a lot of insecurity, which, in turn, fosters bad behavior,” she says. Samantha Mooney of Southport was worried when her five-month-old, yellow-lab pup was running their household and asked Rosengarten to make a house call. “Rosengarten immediately identified Casey’s issues, and helped us employ consistent and effective techniques to regain control,” says Mooney.
Rosengarten attributes a good part of her success to the fact that she has empathy for both dogs and humans—and finds a common ground for the two to connect and compromise. She admits that her clients are amazed at how well she connects with the dogs and their responses to her methods. “My hunches, backed by science and experience, usually prove true,” she says.
Rosengarten’s book Rover, Don’t Roll Over: A Compassionate Training Guide for Dogs and Their People, which details much of her philosophy and training tips, is available at the Southport Veterinary Center or by contacting Rosengarten.
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