Jolene is half-a-year old now. She has grown into a long puppy with short front legs, like her Fijian sausage dog mama. She is adorable. And challenging. Much more challenging than our first dog, Guthrie, who has a quiet personality and was pretty much potty trained when we got him.
At 6.5 months, Jolene seems to be fully trained when it comes to bathroom behavior. She hasn’t had an accident in the house in some weeks, and she stands by the door when she wants to do her business. I work from home, and I let her out into the yard every couple hours or so to prevent accidents.
I no longer need to watch her all the time or keep her in a crate when I’m not in the room. She still sleeps in a crate at night so she stays crate trained. That will help with her anxiety when the day comes for her to be in a crate on a plane when we move out of Fiji in a couple years.
My current challenges are keeping Jolene’s barking in check and walking her calmly on a leash.
Fijian sausage dogs have a reputation for being excellent guard dogs. Jolene is living up to that, but her behavior is excessive. We live along a main road, and there are a lot of random noises that set off Jolene’s barking, like sirens and other dogs barking.
I’m trying to train her to bark less by saying “no” when she does it too much. I stare at her and hold up an index finger. I repeat this until she calms down. If she doesn’t stop barking, I put her in a crate and leave the room so that she learns to quiet down.
As for walking her on a leash, she’s all over the place because everything is new. It seems to help when I put a harness on her. Also, we got “choke chains” for both our dogs so we can control them better during walks. The objective is not to hurt the dog, but to get the dog to pay attention to you so that you can walk better as a pack. When the dog walks calmly with you, there is no pressure on the chain, but when the dog tries to stray, the chain tenses. The tension is supposed to get them to understand that they should stay closer to you. Guthrie understands this pretty well. Jolene is not quite getting the point yet; she’s a handful, and it’s a work in progress.
On the positive side, Jolene is behaving better at meal times. She used to rush to her bowl and attack the food. Hubby got her to stay away from the food until she’s given permission to eat. I’ve been filling her bowl, making her sit and stay, stepping aside with an index finger up to say “no” or “not yet,” then gesturing toward the bowl to give her permission to eat. This is a huge training gain.
For more puppy training tips, see this video and this post.
And for puppy art, click here.