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We just adopted a 1.5/2 year (best guess) pup from a rescue group. He's a Staffordshire Terrier/German Shepard mix (best guess). We've only had him for a week and I expected behavior issues, just looking for advice to see if I can speed things up.
No, you really can't. It takes a minimum of 6 weeks for a dog to adjust to a new home, sometimes as long as 6 months or longer.

Every time we leave the house, whether it's for an hour or four hours, he pees. He's never once pooped in the house. We always let him out before we leave and multiple times throughout the day. We are doing the basics, bringing him to the spot and firmly saying no, then taking him outside and praising him when he pees outside.
That teaches a dog nothing, telling him NO over a spot of pee. Dogs have no short term memory. By the time you punish him for it, he has no idea how it got there, so from his point of view, you're pissed off about pee on the floor and taking it out on him. Praise outside pottys and prevent inside one. There's nothing you can do to speed it up.

Also, the way we have our living room set up, the couch is between two windows and next to each side of the couch is an end table. He will climb onto the couch, onto the end table and tear up the blinds to look out the window. He does not do this while we are home, but we can see him in the window when we pull up. I'm not sure how to fix this as the behavior doesn't seem to happen when we're around.
Block his access to the blinds somehow. Pen him if you don't want to crate, but you have to block his access to the blinds.

I do not want to crate this dog. Our other dog cannot be crated (and doesn't need to be) and I don't want one dog in a crate and one not while we are gone.

Any suggestions or advice?
Oh. My. You should not have two dogs running around loose while you're not there to supervise. Dogs can fight over anything and everything, and you could very well come home to one dead dog and another dying dog. Please, for the safety of your dogs, at least lock one in the bathroom while you're gone.
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