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Hello,

I have adopted a medium size chihuahua chow chow and Australian cattle dog mixed dog from a shelter who is about 26 pounds. I believe that they found him on the road somewhere and a foster took him in. He's about a year old and a half old I've had him for about 4 months now.

He had a younger brother who also gotten adopted. He always has a sad face kinda indoors but outdoors he loves more. He always looks out of the window. I think he likes to play with dogs more because he always whines when walking and sniffing another's dogs pee and seeing another dog he stops and pulls me to the dog. I would like him to transition into a indoor dog and whine whenever he sees another dog or whine to go outside a lot. I do walk him about 3 times a day about 20-30 min each.

He doesn't play fetch he just grabs the ball and takes to another spot. He also does the same with treats. He also likes to bite me when playing or nibble on my hand when I carry him and he never barks only at other dogs or intruders. He always likes to sleep on the top of the couch.

I also think he has a gland issue because he always licks his bottom area of the tail. He also scratches his cheek and ears and when he sleeps or wakes up from sleeping he's like sticking his tounge in and out. I've tried glandex but it doesn't seem to work.

I have been feeding him fromm small breed dog food currently but I feel like there are better ones out there that I can try. I've heard of Orijen, stella and chewy raw kibble and carna4. My vet recommended Purina Pro Sensitive Skin and Stomach and Pumpkin for fiber.

He liked to grab kitchen towels and shoes and takes and runs to the living room.
Aa a first time owner I would love to have some advice on how to help with the behaviors and issues I am having.

Thank you
 

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Boy, that's some mix! Is it a guess or have you had a DNA test?

A lot of dogs get worked up when they see other dogs, but in general it's a bad idea to allow on-leash greetings. They can be high stress and, because both dogs are on leashes, they can escalate very quickly into a fight if one dog doesn't feel safe. Basically they hit a 'flight or fight' point, but because of the leash they can't retreat, so they're stuck with 'fight'. Work on attention games like 'look at me' and reinforcing his name: a few times a day do a round of "Name!" -give a treat, "Name!" -give a treat so no matter how the dog responds to his name now, he'll start spinning to pay attention to you the moment he hears it. The goal is to get him to the point where he just accepts that other dogs are around and might watch them, but doesn't get worked up or stressed around them.

Give him time to adjust to being an indoor dog. Make sure he has safe chews and toys around so he can entertain himself. If he's never lived inside before, he may just take some time to understand what he's supposed to do in a house, but it'll give you more opportunity to bond and is in general a recipe for a happier and more fulfilled dog than one who spends all his time alone in the yard.

What does your vet think about his glands? They'll be able to tell if they're full or impacted (basically both full and clogged, which may need more invasive intervention), and give you an idea of what's best to do next to manage them. The scratching behavior doesn't sound too strange, just a little silly, but you can always record it and run it by your vet just to be sure. Dogs make lots of funny faces when they (or you) scratch a good spot, but if it seems excessive or intense, or he seems to be in a trance you can't snap him out of, it might warrant veterinary attention.

The best dog food is one your dog does well on (nice coat, healthy coat, maintains healthy weight nicely, poops aren't super hard pellets or super sloppy and stinky) and fits your budget and lifestyle. There is no one 'best' dog food out there, just like there's no one diet that works for every human! Fromm's a great brand - used it myself in the past - so if you're not seeing any issues, I wouldn't worry about it. Changing around his diet a lot can cause stress and accidentally create a picky eater who's always waiting to see if a 'better' food appears.

Stealing items is super normal dog behavior. It gets him attention and human things are super interesting and sometimes (like with shoes) stinky. Play a lot of trading games, where you offer him something better than what he has, so he learns giving things to you is awesome. For example, if he likes treats more than toys and he has a ball, offer him a small treat. Take the ball when he drops it, let him eat the treat, then give him the ball back. Giving his things back is important, because he learns that accepting the trade doesn't mean he always loses the thing he already had. Repeat this often with different objects, so that when he grabs something he shouldn't have, you can ask for a trade and he'll give it to you. However, living with a dog often means putting tempting items like shoes and kitchen towels out of reach so he doesn't have a chance to practice bad behavior, so figure out where you can keep these items that's dog-safe.
 

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Thank you for the reply. He had a younger brother in the shelter who also got adopted as well. I think he just likes to play with dogs more. How do I get him to enjoy playing with us more often? When he does play he bites our clothes, hands and feet

Yes I took a DNA test and that was his result. He always looks out the window and wants to go out all the time.

I've tried saying leave it, but he keeps eating everything in sight even dog poop.


He's also very scared if I run to him or try and touch him sometimes he thinks I'm going to put him in the crate and he doesn't let me put any cream or spray on him he gets scared of it and clothes he tries to bite it off. He has gotten use to the collar.
 

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You've got some intense breeds in there, then. I'd love to see pictures!

And it sounds like he just doesn't know how to play - not uncommon with dogs who grew up on the street. Treat him like a baby puppy and end play every time teeth make contact with you, even if that means setting up baby gates you can step over so he can't follow you and keep biting. Don't scold, yelp, or even look at him, just stand quietly facing away so it's very clear that you're withdrawing your attention from him completely when he bites. You can try playing again after a couple seconds, but my general rule with puppies is if they get nippy three times in a row, the game is over and I go do something else instead.

Dogs don't come knowing our languages, sadly, so if you haven't taught a very reliable 'leave it', it won't mean anything to him. Here's a nice video about how to teach 'leave it' so that dogs understand what it means and that it applies to any object at any time in any location:


If he's doing this in the house as well as outside, make sure he has a dog-safe area, like a pen or a room with nothing on the floor or within reach he can eat, chew, or steal, so you can leave him without worrying he's getting into stuff.

He sounds like he's got a lot of adjusting to living with a human in a human house to do. Because you know it scares him, avoid running at him or grabbing him. Keep him in a space where he can't get into anything so you don't have to do these things, and when he's out, always have him on a leash so you can guide him away without grabbing.

Why do you need to put creams, sprays, or clothes on him? If these aren't necessary for his health, I urge you to just stop. It's scaring him and making him distrust you, and you need to concentrate on building that trust and bond with him. Sit with him and do something quiet. Read up on dog body language so you can notice when he's uncomfortable and try to give him space and let him make his own choices. You can reward him for coming to you with a treat or gentle praise or petting (if he likes those, if he ducks away it's not a reward for him), but try not to bribe him to come to you with treats right now because that puts a lot of pressure on him and can make him more anxious about being around you.

He sounds like a challenging dog for a first time owner, with both his background and his current behavior. I'd urge you to reach out to a knowledgeable reinforcement-based trainer who can help you get him out of his shell and more well-adjusted - I suggest looking at the 'find a trainer' functions on ccpdt.org as a starting place.
 
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