Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Bark Stops Here Review

As you all know, my dog Carolyn is the light of my life.  We rescued her in June 2013 and she was transported from Tennessee to Connecticut.  She's a westie/terrier mix who loves to play but also enjoys cuddling too.  Carolyn has many good qualities, but since she's a rescue, she also has some emotional baggage too.  She recently started snapping at people which is something I want to correct before it gets worse.  For this, I thought it would be best to consult with a professional dog behaviorist.

The Bark Stops Here is dog trainer and behavior therapist Jody Rosengarten's private practice.  She has been in business since 1980 and makes house calls, teaches small group classes, and provides phone consultations in Fairfield, Connecticut.  She's also a published author and her newest book about rescue dogs will be available soon.  Jody believes in addressing all pooch situations as positively as possible, and encourages praise over punishment.

Jody agreed to do a house call and come to my home to address Carolyn's issues.  Along with her snapping, she also exhibits signs of anxiety from time to time.  I was looking forward to Jody coming over and discussing tips and techniques for remedying the problems at hand.  From the minute Jody walked through the door, she instantly gave Carolyn a treat to reinforce her feeling relaxed and happy.  Of course, Carolyn would never turn down a treat either! Jody was very comfortable with Carolyn and made her feel at ease and Carolyn relaxed around her. My husband and I sat down with Jody to begin our 90 minute session.  At one point my dog laid on her back on the floor, which Jody said was a sign that she was very comfortable with a new person in her home.

I discussed my concerns of Carolyn's snapping and how on a few occasions she snaps when people pet her for more than 10-15 seconds at a time, usually on her head or back.  I was told that it's all about how you approach the dog.  You have to be at ease when you pet them, so they'll be comfortable too.  A great example that Jody gave was alerting someone before they come over to be cautious of Carolyn's behavior.  That person is going to come into your home with a sense of fear wondering if she'll snap.  I would also be on edge about this too. Carolyn senses it and takes advantage of the fear and snaps.  Jody recommended meeting your guest outside and walking in together, so your dog sees that you're with that person and knows it's okay.  The guest will meet Carolyn at the door and give her a treat and make her feel comfortable.  When Jody initially came to my home, my husband met her downstairs and they took the elevator upstairs together.  She then was able to enter my home with my husband and give my dog a treat.  I really think that was a wonderful start to our session.

Jody was extremely easy to talk to and very happy to answer any questions I had.  Her laid-back, calm aura was definitely sensed by Carolyn.  She was surprised at how well-behaved Carolyn was, considering she was a rescue dog.  I was told that the most common mistake people make in upsetting dogs is coming to them and petting them.  If the dog wants to be left alone, being pet is the last thing they desire.  You should always let the dog come to you, especially on their own terms.  Jody recommended having guests let Carolyn come to them and pet her underneath her chin.  This is an area that's much less vulnerable than a dog's head or back.

My husband took a lot of beneficial notes that we will certainly be implementing for Carolyn.  The time just flew by and soon the session was over.  I felt that it was extremely educational and valuable, and I would now be in control of the situation the next time I had company over.

If you're in the Fairfield county area of Connecticut and are looking for someone to help your dog with issues of any kind, I highly recommend Jody Rosengarten.  Her calming and soft-spoken nature is just the right medicine a dog needs.

*DISCLOSURE* I received a complimentary house call in exchange for this post.  All thoughts are my own.

1 comment :

  1. What a neat service. My pugs are very prone to anxiety so going to a new place is always a very anxious situation for them so doing puppy classes at a strange location is far from ideal for us - having someone come to our home would be way better but I had no idea that services like that even existed.