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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys! So I recently adopted a mixed breed pup from my local shelter they had no idea what he was but they believed he was a terrier. After my own research and taking him to my local vet for vaccinations and a check up I found out he’s a Belgium malinois and terrier mix. We absolutely love him and adore him but training has been a nightmare! I was hoping that my fellow doggo lovers could help me out with some good advice, tips, and tricks to breaking all his bad behaviors. He is house trained extremely well but still has times when he just looks me dead in my face and will use the bathroom in the house, he is also chewing and destroying anything he can when no one is home or supervising him. He’s generally a really good boy but has these bad habits from his previous household. He is also terrified when he does something he shouldn’t have if I try and tell him no that’s not okay he runs and whimpers most likely from being physically abused he’s warmed up to us but is still extremely cautious and timid I would love any kind of ideas and suggestions thank you in advance!
 

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It would help if you could tell us how old the pup is, and how long you've had him. Many "bad" behaviors are just a puppy being a puppy and totally normal for that age. It would also help if you could describe your specific issues, but here is some general puppy raising advice:

1. If he's less than a year old, he's probably not actually potty trained. It seems most dogs really don't develop a great brain to bladder connection until they hit that 1 year mark. They literally don't know they have to go until seconds before it's coming out of them! They certainly get better and can hold it for longer the older they get, but...immature dogs are dumb, haha! Until then, you need to make sure you are giving the dog frequent potty breaks, praising him for going in the right spot, and supervising or crating when you can't supervise to prevent accidents.

2. Destructiveness is very common in young dogs. You need to limit his freedom by either crating him when you can't supervise, or putting him in a puppy proof room. Provide plenty of appropriate toys and chews and praise him for using them. Puppies don't come knowing what they can and can't use to satisfy their natural desire to chew, so you must provide appropriate outlets and prevent them from using inappropriate items.

3. Your pup sounds sensitive. It does not necessarily stem from abuse, it's genetic. My dog has never been abused a day in his life, and if my posture becomes too stern for his delicate sensibilities he'll cower. Scolding or correcting him turns him into a puddle. Your pup does not sound like one who can take any sort of corrections, either, so instead of scolding him after he's already done something bad, prevent him from doing the bad things through management and praise him for the behaviors you do like.

For example, if he's counter surfing, you block his access to the kitchen with baby gates while you're cooking and occasionally feed him a treat ON THE FLOOR for staying out of the kitchen. You remove food items from the counters when you're not cooking. This method 1) physically prevents him from practicing the bad behavior, 2) makes doing an opposite behavior more rewarding, and 3) makes practicing the behavior completely unrewarding. This way, you're not stressing out the dog or making him scared of you. You're teaching him what he needs to do instead of simply reacting to his bad behaviors and scolding him, which he likely doesn't understand.

We can help you more if you describe specific issues.

4. Lower your expectations, limit the dog's freedom. Dogs don't come knowing much of anything, so it's important to manage them to prevent bad habits from starting. Don't expect them to behave the way you want them to until you've shown them what you want them to do!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It would help if you could tell us how old the pup is, and how long you've had him. Many "bad" behaviors are just a puppy being a puppy and totally normal for that age. It would also help if you could describe your specific issues, but here is some general puppy raising advice:

1. If he's less than a year old, he's probably not actually potty trained. It seems most dogs really don't develop a great brain to bladder connection until they hit that 1 year mark. They literally don't know they have to go until seconds before it's coming out of them! They certainly get better and can hold it for longer the older they get, but...immature dogs are dumb, haha! Until then, you need to make sure you are giving the dog frequent potty breaks, praising him for going in the right spot, and supervising or crating when you can't supervise to prevent accidents.

2. Destructiveness is very common in young dogs. You need to limit his freedom by either crating him when you can't supervise, or putting him in a puppy proof room. Provide plenty of appropriate toys and chews and praise him for using them. Puppies don't come knowing what they can and can't use to satisfy their natural desire to chew, so you must provide appropriate outlets and prevent them from using inappropriate items.

3. Your pup sounds sensitive. It does not necessarily stem from abuse, it's genetic. My dog has never been abused a day in his life, and if my posture becomes too stern for his delicate sensibilities he'll cower. Scolding or correcting him turns him into a puddle. Your pup does not sound like one who can take any sort of corrections, either, so instead of scolding him after he's already done something bad, prevent him from doing the bad things through management and praise him for the behaviors you do like.

For example, if he's counter surfing, you block his access to the kitchen with baby gates while you're cooking and occasionally feed him a treat ON THE FLOOR for staying out of the kitchen. You remove food items from the counters when you're not cooking. This method 1) physically prevents him from practicing the bad behavior, 2) makes doing an opposite behavior more rewarding, and 3) makes practicing the behavior completely unrewarding. This way, you're not stressing out the dog or making him scared of you. You're teaching him what he needs to do instead of simply reacting to his bad behaviors and scolding him, which he likely doesn't understand.

We can help you more if you describe specific issues.

4. Lower your expectations, limit the dog's freedom. Dogs don't come knowing much of anything, so it's important to manage them to prevent bad habits from starting. Don't expect them to behave the way you want them to until you've shown them what you want them to do!
Thank you so much ! I do not have an exact age we are waiting on the vet but we believe he is about 5 to six months old, He has been in our care for just under two months, I only speculated abuse because the shelter said he may have been, and when you approach him to quickly even for a simply pat or rub he full sprint runs or cowers and starts shrieking as if he’s afraid. I also explained to my wife that it’s most likely just the facts that he is a young pup and he doesn’t intentionally mean to break things or chew them up. He is also unaware of his size and loves to jump on people when out for walks or at the park, he is extremely social but given his age and size most other dogs steer clear of him because of his abundance of energy and want to play 24/7 which is proving to make socializing him kind of difficult it all depends on the breed of dog that he’s meeting. I’ve had big dogs in the past never an issue but I have been told by multiple people that his breed tends to be a bit more difficult and we are just trying to make sure we are prepared for any challenges that will accompany the little guy!
 

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Then yes, many of your issues are simply because he's a pup who needs restricted freedoms and time to mature.

Socialization doesn't mean "meet all the people/dogs". It's about getting out and experiencing new things, being exposed to new sounds, etc. The key socialization period is over for your dog, anyway. It's time to focus on him building a bond with you and learning that you are the most rewarding thing in the entire world. That doesn't mean you keep him sequestered away. You should still go for walks and to new places, but he does not have to meet every new person or every new dog you see (and he really shouldn't, or you're going to create other problems). Since he's timid, you especially shouldn't be willy nilly about who he meets.

If I were you, I would begin teaching him to ignore other dogs and people. He is going to get bigger, and he is going get stronger, and if he decides he REALLY wants to meet another dog or person, he's going to get vocal and act like a lunatic about it. Many of us on this forum have dealt with a reactive dog, and it is no fun! Teach him to ignore other dogs when he is on leash (dogs really shouldn't meet on leash anyway, it's very unnatural). If he's going to meet other people, he will keep his feet on the ground and be polite.
 
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