The Bark Stops Here

Here's where I'll post odds and ends of interest: Upcoming local events, health bulletins and announcements. Periodically, I will post an original article addressing dog training and behavior. In addition, please visit the Southport Veterinary Center Blog page by clicking here, where I am a guest author. So check back often to see "The Inside Poop".


Book Review/Mention

Please visit the link below to read about Imp, The Imperfect Pup on Goodreads for the month of November by clicking here.


Please visit the link below to read the article "No Bad Dogs" in the November-December 2012 issue of townvibe.


"No Bad Dogs - Jody Rosengarten teaches fairfielders how to be better dog owners" by Robin H. Phillips

The Daily Westport

I will be writing a recurring column for The Daily Westport addressing various dog behavior problems as well as answering questions from pet owners. Please visit my column at The Daily Westport by clicking here.

Radio Show

I am a sit regular guest on the phone-in radio show, David Smith's Exchange, WICC 600AM. I will be live usually the first Monday of every month from 3:00pm to 4:00pm. You are welcome to call with questions at (203) 333-WICC (333-9422) or toll free at (800) 922-6060 or via the internet at If you would like any additional information please email me by clicking here, and please be sure to include your contact information and email address.


New Articles

Kids & Dogs

(Posted March 7, 2018)

I know of no more special relationship than the one between a child and her dog. When the two click, magic happens. Life's most essential lessons: compassion, generosity, responsibility, consequences, forgiveness, humor, patience, unconditional love and more can be learned through caring for a dog. So, if you're thinking about getting a puppy for the kids, think again. Get a puppy because you want one. If it works out well for the children, color that a bonus.

More often than not, puppies drive kids crazy. And vice versa. The puppy's constant mouthing hurts, tears clothing and destroys treasured toys. Jumping is frightening and potentially dangerous. The addition of a puppy can cause a lot of strife within the family as members determine who takes responsibility for what. No matter how genuine your child's intention to care for the pup is, it has been my experience that the onus of responsibility falls on the adults. And there's the matter of sibling(ish) rivalry, especially between the youngest or only child and the pup.

To minimize future conflicts and ensure that this most special of relationships is fully realized, please make sure the family's expectations are reasonable by discussing the following guidelines before Imp is even brought home.

  1. Let sleeping dogs lie. I'm guessing that whomever coined this adage did so because a child was bitten while disturbing a sleeping puppy. With awake puppies can be so annoying; children (and many adults) are often attracted to them when asleep. Managing this dynamic can be tricky in that you don't want to turn the child off while also recognizing Imp's rights. Try having your child color a picture for, or of, the sleeping puppy. Tell him a story or read him a book. The good news is that puppies grow up fast and they'll soon need way less sleep.
  2. Never crawl under a bed, table or chair after the puppy. Chances are that Imp's there because he is tired and wants to be alone. If the puppy has something he shouldn't have, like a sock or Lego, he may guard it and could bite the interloper invading his den. In the spirit of picking one's battles, with a brand new puppy where bonding and confidence building are paramount, if the object is neither dangerous to him or valuable to you—a paper towel, for example—I'd simply let Imp have it. If you must get the item away from him, try luring him out with a goodie and trading the contraband for the treat.
  3. Do not run after the puppy. While dogs adore being chased, it can actually teach them to run away from you to perpetuate the game. This can be both frustrating and dangerous. I have known of two dogs who were playfully chased right in front of moving cars. The more subtle mistake in running after Imp is that it conveys that he is the lead dog and the child is the underling. Another problem with chasing is that we often inadvertently teach Imp to steal our stuff to elicit being chased.
  4. Greet the puppy calmly. Shrieking, wild gesticulations and backing up are all invitations for Imp to jump. Simply stepping into a pup before he becomes airborne will take up the space and preempt his jumping.
  5. No hugging around the neck. Most dogs hate this.
  6. Minimize time spent sitting on the floor. Being on the floor makes us doglike, and there is nothing dogs like more than mouthing. Standing up may be all that is needed to change this dynamic.
  7. No roughhousing. Puppies either respond to rough housing by playing too roughly or by being scared. There are fun, safe ways to eventually teach Imp to play tug-of-war, but for now, let's don't do it.

We all have this Normal Rockwell image of a boy and his dog. And while that type of relationship may eventually happen, it takes time. As with all friendships; this one should be fostered not forced.

Good luck!

Jody Rosengarten
The Bark Stops Here
(203) 372-BARK

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