Hi. This is gonna be long, because I don't know how to tell short stories. Sorry in advance.
My family and I have 4 dogs, all male. One Lhasa Apso, 17, and 3 Pugs, 8, 5, and 4. We've had our Lhasa since he was about 6, and our 8 and 5 year old Pugs we raised from puppies. Our most "recent" addition, our 4 year old/soon to be 5 in April white Pug, we got when he was about 6 months old. He is the center of this post.
He had a rough beginning. His first owner got him, along with a girl from his litter, from the same breeder we got our two other Pugs from. We suspect he might have been abused a bit and favoritism was showed to the girl due to some of his odd behaviors at times. One day, both of them ran away. The girl came back shortly after; he did not. He spent about a week out in the elements, all while still being a young puppy. My mom had been following the updates the breeder posted on Facebook along the way, so we had known about the whole situation prior. Then, he came back home, and I think the breeder intervened and got him out of that place. He put him back up for adoption, at a heavily discounted price compared to what his white Pugs are regularly, probably because he was already a bit older and such. He also put his name on Facebook, which happened to be the name of my late maternal grandfather. So, my mom was interested in getting him, and shortly after, we did.
We expected him to have some behavior problems and other abnormalities due to what he experienced. And he did. He peed inside throughout the day, despite supposedly being housetrained already, but we thought maybe that's because when he ran away, he could go anywhere he wanted, whenever, so he thought he still could. He (gross warning) ate poop. Gross as it was, we figured when he ran away, maybe he ate poop to survive, so that could explain why he still does. He chewed and ate furniture. This doesn't really have a direct root in his running away experience, but we mostly attributed it to the fact that he was still technically a puppy and you know how puppies can be. We figured he was going to grow out of all of this.
However, now he is 4, going on 5, and he still does all of these behaviors. It's only gotten worse, in my opinion. I ask myself, if a lot of these behaviors were due to his experience, why is he still doing them, so many years after the incident? Shouldn't that just be a distant memory now, especially since he was a puppy when it happened? I'd think dogs are like humans in the way that we don't remember really anything at all from when we were born to 1 year old. I feel like the experience should not be influencing his actions anymore since it's been so long.
But here we are. He still marks inside throughout the day, despite us making sure he pees multiple times each time we take him out, and we take our dogs out 3-4 times a day. He still eats poop... unfortunately. With our Lhasa being 17, he has a mind of his own when it comes to going to the bathroom, and he typically doesn't follow any schedule. He sort of just goes whenever he wants to. Since we don't keep an eye on our dogs 24/7, the Pug usually gets to the poop before we can. And the most terrible thing... he still eats furniture. It's gotten really bad. Our current set of living room furniture is second hand, because we had to get something quick after we had to dispose of our last set of furniture due to a flea outbreak we had here a few years ago. This furniture did not come in the best condition; it already had some holes and such in it, but we tried our best to work on it and patch them up. But the Pug does not care. He has ripped open pretty much all the patched holes, and has made multiple new holes. The furniture is filled with white stuffing and foam. He eats this on the daily, now. Some days it's a little, some days when we can't monitor as much, it's a decent amount.
And the worst part of all of this is that he has influenced our other Pugs to do this. Our Lhasa is mostly a sleeping dog now, so he isn't involved, thank goodness. But our two other Pugs now eat the foam quite often as well, when they never ever used to behave this way. Even when they were puppies, they never did anything this bad. It's starting to severely concern me and my family, because God knows what this foam and stuffing is made out of. It's probably cancerous stuff, and my dogs are eating it and having it go through their bodies every single day.
I'm very worried one of them is going to develop a serious health issue due to this. But we do not know what to do at this point. As much as I'd love to send him to obedience school or something of the sort, my family can't afford it, and I don't know how much it would do for these issues anyway which must be so deep-rooted in him to still be doing them years later. We also don't want to buy new furniture, because we believe he will just destroy that stuff too, and it'd be like dumping money into the trash. We give them enough bones and toys. We feed them enough. We give them enough attention. They are just doing this to do it.
I can't help but feel deep down inside that if I had known this dog was going to be like this beforehand, I would have convinced my family not to get him. And I hate feeling that way. It makes me feel so bad, because this dog does have his sweet moments. But it's just been a lot. Way more than we ever thought.
If you read through all of this, you deserve an award. I'd greatly appreciate any sort of advice, because at this point, we're desperate. Thank you.