How to Raise a Well-Trained, Non-Aggressive Rottweiler
Rottweilers are great pets to have, particularly for families—but unfortunately, they are often highly misunderstood. Most people think of this breed as being vicious or intimidating, and this stigma has caused discrimination against these dogs for years.
The truth is that any dog can be vicious if not raised properly. Rottweilers are large dogs with powerful jaws, giving them the physical potential to harm people or other dogs. This doesn’t mean that all of them will do so. Just because they can doesn’t mean it is their nature. Their nature is to be protective of their territory, and they do not welcome strangers until properly introduced.
Their instinct is to guard their house and family, which goes way back into their history. Because of this, obedience training and socialization are musts, and the key to raising a lovable, good-natured dog. The comforting thing about rotts is that they are sweet dogs who are extremely loyal and loving to their families, but they have the ability to protect if a situation calls for them to do so.
Rottweilers are known to love their people and have a clownish manner toward family and friends. Oftentimes they behave like little kids—and will do anything for love and affection. They are extremely smart and powerful, and they are happiest when given a job to perform. Classified as “working dogs” with the American Kennel Club, rotts’ intelligence, endurance, and willingness to work make them suitable as a police dog, herder, service dog, therapy dog, obedience competitor and always a devoted companion.
“I just brought home my new Rottweiler puppy! What now?”
Rottweiler puppies should receive proper obedience training, so they are a controllable, well-trained dog that listens and obeys. A large dog that won’t come can be frustrating for a pet owner, and can further discredit the breed in the eyes of neighbors and friends. You must train your dog to know he is not the leader of your household, and that YOU are in charge.
The first thing to do with your puppy is to put them into an obedience class. Your local Petsmart or Petco should have information on classes offered in your community, and most large pet shops even hold their own. Another resource is the AKC website. Here you can find local obedience classes in your area.
Using Positive Reinforcement Training
Rottweilers love training. They feel secure and confident when they know what is expected of them, and what they are and aren’t allowed to do in the house. It is important to stay consistent and to reward good behavior with treats and praise. Positive reinforcement is one of the best tools you can give your new puppy.
They will catch on quick. Remember that training any dog takes time, and remember to stay positive. Your rott is extremely in tune with your emotions and can sense frustration or anger, which may put a wrench in his training. Keeping a good attitude will just help your dog learn faster and help him to enjoy and respect it. Being too hard on your dog will only teach him to fear you and others, and can cause aggression.
Using Clicker Training
“Clicker training” is an effective method to get your dog to stop doing something. This requires using a clicker (you can buy at your local pet store) or homemade device (an empty soup can with gravel inside, taped shut) constantly. You keep the clicker close by you at all times (until your dog is trained), and the second you see him or her do something wrong ie: chew on something, use the bathroom in the house, bark, growl, etc, you click the clicker, or shake your shaker, accompanied by saying “NO.” Using this method consistently will show your dog what he can and can’t do, and pretty soon, you can quit using the clicker or shaker altogether.
Socialization and Preventing Aggression
Socialization is a major must in training your Rottweiler. Rotts that are secluded to the house, and that never see anyone besides their family members, will automatically feel threatened by all strangers. This causes aggression and bad behavior. As soon as your puppy has all the proper vaccines, start taking him to the park, and to the pet store. Take him on walks and let neighbors pet him. In fact, encourage others to pet your dog. This is especially important if you don’t have a lot of visitors coming to your house.
You must take your dog outside the house and socialize him. Don’t allow your dog to growl at anyone. No matter if they are coming in your house, a neighbor outside, or a stranger at the dog park. Yank their chain and tell them NO when this happens. You will notice your puppy’s “guard” instinct start to appear as they get older and used to their new life with you.
Sitting in the car, you’ll see him start to growl as people walk by or growl or bark while sitting at the window inside your house. You’ll notice that your dog only seems to be protective while in his “territory” ie: his house or car. Walking around outside and seeing other dogs and neighbors shouldn’t invite guarding. If it does, you have a problem.
Introduce Them to New People
When people enter your house, make sure your dog understands that you welcome them, and are ok with them. Introduce the person/people to your rott right away. Don’t ever hold your dog back from someone—it will just cause them to feel threatened. Allow your rott to sniff hands and greet the visitors. Do not allow jumping up—use clicker training if your dog is a jumper. Using commands like “down” and “sit" will help when visitors come over.
Puppies can be especially excited to meet new people, and teaching your dog to stay on the ground early, will just benefit you when he is a 100+ pound grown dog. Always tell your visitors your dog is nice, so they do not seem fearful. Rotts can sense fear in people, and this will just cause him to feel fear as well, which prompts aggression.
Provide Love and Affection
Rottweilers live for love and affection from their owners. They will be much better behaved dogs if they get it. Feeling like they are a part of the family, while knowing their place in the pack (that they aren’t in charge), will help you to sustain a nice family environment with your dog. These things are important in raising a Rottweiler puppy.
Neglected, or unloved rotts can turn into aggressive, intimidating dogs, which is where the breed gets its harsh reputation. It is not the breed that is to blame, it is the people that aren’t responsible in training their Rottweilers.
You will see that with the proper training, love, affection, and socialization, your Rottweiler will be your biggest companion, and can be one of the best dogs you’ll ever have.
- Rottweilers American Rottweiler Club
Rottweilers. American Rottweiler Club parent breed club for rottweilers in the US. American Rottweiler Club member of the American Kennel Club. Rottweilers and the American Rottweiler Club.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.