Can anyone help me? My 5 month old male Red Heeler, Wiskey, has got me flummoxed. He retains basic training such as "sit" or "stay" fairly well, but he refuses to pee outside (he poops outside just fine), anyone who comes in the house is fair game to jump on, he brings rocks in the house to chew and rattle around on the floor, refuses to get off the couch on command, and steals small things, hides them, then brings them out to destroy later (case in point, my cell phone- useless as of yesterday.) He does not bite (anymore), and it seems like he wants to be sweet. We've tried spanking, sticking his nose in the pee puddle, putting him outside, my husband even tried growling like a bigger dog! I don't know what else to try.
As you have already found out none of the things you have already tried will work. Do you think sticking your kids nose in its diaper is going to send them the message that they need to pee in the toilet? Hardly, so why would you think it would work for your puppy? Growling at your puppy only makes your husband look ridiculous and does nothing to aid in potty training your puppy.
1st things first..... enroll in an obedience class. It will be a heck of alot easier to break him of these unwanted behaviors if he has some solid commands with which to use as tools to train him. If he were my dog thats where I would start. Simultaneously he would go back to crate training until the urinating in the house issue was completely resolved. There is no reason why an intelligent dog such as a heeler should still be having accidents regularly in the house. Obviously something went wrong training him the first time around so its back to basics for him.
Secondly, if he was being monitored closely he wouldn't be able to steal your phone and hide it on you. If you cannot watch what he is doing while he is loose in your house you need to either confine him to his crate or confine him to one puppy proofed room of the house, preferably the room in which you are at the time so you can still keep 1/2 an eye on him. I have never puppy proofed my home because I believe it takes away from actual learning what is and is not appropriate to play with/chew on. But I am always right there watching any puppy. When they have grabbed something they should not have, it is gently taken away and replaced with something they are allowed to play with/chew on. This way they learn what is ok and what is not.
Not getting off of furniture when told to may not seem like such a big deal right now, but it can turn into a very big deal. Some dogs can become very nasty towards their owners when told to get off their furniture or bed and an owner can wind up getting bit. If he won't get off the couch what do you do? Do you just allow him to stay there or do you force him off? What you should do is not allow him up there in the 1st place but until you teach him that furniture is off limits, attach a 4 foot leash to his collar, a buckle collar not a choke collar, and keep it on him at all times. When you tell him to get off the couch and he does not listen, grab the leash and pull him off. That way if he decides to be testy with you about being forced off the furniture, you cannot be injured by him like you could be if you were to grab his collar and pull him off. Having the leash on him at all times will also aid in catching him when he is doing something wrong and being able to correct it right away instead of playing the game of catch me if you can that all puppies love to play.
Of course he wants to be sweet. No puppy is born wanting to be evil and a pain in the ass. However they are dogs and as such have a totally different way of doing things. We need to teach them what we want from them so they can adapt to our way of being and become the family member we want them to be instead of the frustrating annoyance they will become if left to their own ways.
It is a lot of work. Puppies don't come already trained knowing what you want from them. Luckily they mature much more quickly then human kids do but that gives you a narrow window in which to work. What you want him to be like at 2 and 3 years of age is all taught now. Good luck !