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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I apologize in advance for the length of this post...I am hoping someone here might be able to give me some hope. (names not mentioned due to sensitive details within.)

*5-year old Miniature Pincher/Chihauha mix (approx 8 lbs)
*fixed as a puppy

He was adopted by my brother and his wife at the age of 6-weeks. When my brother passed away unexpectedly in Nov. 2014 it was discovered that my sister-in-law had been misguidedly "saving" stray cats and the current count was 45 - 100 as reported by the health department who confiscated the animals. (As an aside, my brother lived out of the area and NO ONE had any idea that this was happening, besides knowing that his wife had some cats as well as the dog.)

I brought the dog home with me and we had a few bumpy days, but over the past 6 months he has integrated very well with my teenaged children and Chihauhau mix; however, he remains very aggressive towards anyone outside of my immediate family, especially young children! (even when the children have not attempted to interact with him.)

The aggression is a lesser concern (although frightening) because we live on acreage and he has plenty of indoor and outdoor space to be happily segregated to when we have visitors and there is never opportunity for "accidental" interaction.

The marking on my husband's belongings and destruction of property in general is pushing us to the breaking point. He is completely resistant to training (even professional training.) Everyone has suggested that we get rid of him, that there is just no hope. For one, that is very much in conflict with my beliefs and secondly, I am convinced he would either be put down, or worse, adopted and abused because of his temperment and behavior.

I'm in it for the long haul, but I am praying there is hope for a happier life for us all. Any advice?
 

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Hi,
I'm sorry you are having this problem, especially since you are willing to take on what is obviously a difficult case.

You say he marks your husband's things and the destruction of property in general is driving you to the breaking point. You also mention that you are on acreage, so he has lots of options.

If you've tried all kinds of training, then management may be the only tool left to save him. Do not allow him free run of the house; invest in a exercise pen for indoor use, when you aren't actively interacting with him, to keep him away from things he'll damage. Create an outdoor space for him, where he can enjoy the outside world safely as an alternative to the indoor pen.

Keeping a dog in a pen or crate when you aren't actively playing with/walking or otherwise interacting with him may not be the ideal you envision, but it must be better than the options you envision of euthanization or abuse. Also, the more often a dog practices a behavior, the better they get at it. If he's unable to practice his behavior, it may eventually become a non-issue.

Otherwise, perhaps through your own efforts you can find a home where there he is the only dog, with someone who understands his temperament and is willing to work with him and/or accept his quirks. I envision an older, single person who perhaps doesn't have a lot of visitors. You could also say that if it didn't work out, the dog comes back to you.

Hopefully, others will chime in with ideas for you to consider.
 

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What do you mean by destructive behavior? How is he destroying things.

In addition to Dia's advice on confining him when you cannot watch him, to prevent the marking, you should pick up your husbands stuff so it cannot be marked, keep him out of the bedroom if he's marking your husband's side of the bed, and see if he'll (the dog not the husband) will wear a belly band. While you are managing his environment also try rehousetraining him, you want to make pottying outside the most rewarding thing ever http://www.dogforum.com/housetraining/house-training-how-tos-2135/

Check out Care for Reactive Dogs and fearfuldog.com for help with working with him on his reaction towards people.
 

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It's interesting to me that he's going after your husband's things but not yours...is your husband 'in' on all the training you wish to do, or is he just doing his own thing with the dog, as far as discipline/punishment...or just completely ignoring the dog??

I'm not sure if any of the above is why a dog would just go after one person's stuff, but it's just odd to me that your husband is the target.

I do know one thing, you can't have much of a chance to have a stable dog if only 1 member of the family is trying to train the dog properly and other members are undoing that by ignoring the rules and treating the dog when they shouldn't be (which could encourage some bad behaviors), or punishing the dog for things the dog has done (causing stress to the dog which it has to release in some manner).

I agree with the limited access to the house, and getting him a nice exercise area outside where he can run off some of his energy. You and your husband, separately, if you can, should also take him for walks on a leash, so the dog can have some one on one time with each of you.

Kudos for trying to do the best you can to rehab this dog and give him a chance at having a good home.

Stormy
 
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what sort of training methods have you tried?
 

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Has he seen a vet for a thorough check up and discussion about his behavior?

As was asked, what type of training methods have you tried? What specific strategies have you used?

Marking is a house training issue, so I'd suggest going back to potty training 101: House Training How Tos

I'm not sure if any of the above is why a dog would just go after one person's stuff, but it's just odd to me that your husband is the target.
Our younger dog gets into my husband's stuff because he leaves it within reach. No deep meaning other than my husband is a bit of a slob. :)
 

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I second the idea that you take him to the vet for an evaluation. Prozac has immensely helped my dog who is incredibly dog reactive and anxious when training alone wasn't enough. It has been a dramatic improvement since I started it almost a month prior. The idea is to reduce the anxiety to have the training stick. It is quite possible your dog is anxious. Most dogs are aggressive out of fear and anxiety. He may also be trying to comfort himself by marking his territory as his to feel secure.

A vet evaluation can't hurt in addition to the suggestions you have already received.
 
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