Rottweilers. Vicious, aggressive dogs that nobody in their right mind should ever own unless they’re raised to sit outside the house for use as a guard dog. Right?
Wrong! Rottweilers make for wonderful family pets, as they’re loyal, protective and thrive on an active family lifestyle. Because of their strength, though, it’s vital that they are socialized early and are fully trained to be obedient to their masters and know their place in the pack.
Why Are We Scared of Rottweilers?
So much of a dog’s reputation comes from what we see in movies and on television. How many times have you watched a scene where a bad guy tries to break into a house or yard, only to be met with the huge head and bared teeth of a Rottweiler just itching to shred him to pieces?
Now, Rottweilers are used as guard dogs because they’re so phenomenally powerful and they have a strong sense of loyalty and will protect their owners and their belongings with everything they have.
But a dog is almost always the product of its environment, its training and its socialization. And if you raise a Rottweiler from being a puppy in a loving, caring environment, where the dog receives consistent training and early socialization, you’ll see that these dogs can be perfect for the family.
So, Rottweilers are Safe?
Every single dog on the planet has the ability to be aggressive. Animals are not like humans and do not respond in human ways. When properly trained, a Rottweiler has no more risk of being aggressive than any other breed of dog.
The reason that caution must be exercised when having a Rottweiler as a family pet is that if they are aggressive, then they can cause life-changing injuries and even kill a human being, whether that’s a child or even an adult.
A Chihuahua is renowned for being much more aggressive in its temperament, but we tend to laugh it off as an adorable trait of a feisty little dog. A Rottweiler could be the softest pet in the world, but it only takes one act of aggression for there to be terrible consequences.
The Rottweiler sits at number 12 on the list of dogs with the strongest bite force. Their bite is a whopping 328 pounds per square inch, which is greater than a Doberman, a German Shepherd, and even an American Bull Terrier.
For this reason, many families choose not to bring a Rottweiler into the home, and we can understand their concerns. Bringing any animal into the home should be a decision that a lot of thought goes into, and the most important factor in this decision is the amount of experience you have with this breed already.
Prior Experience is Pivotal
A Rottweiler is not the kind of dog that should be introduced into the family home when neither parent has had one before and knows nothing about how to look after one. Rottweilers, as we’ve discussed, are incredibly strong and powerful, and they need someone to keep them in line.
Everyone has to start somewhere, of course, but learning how to control a Rottweiler should be done before they’re anywhere near smaller members of the family, such as children. If you have a young family and no experience with a Rottweiler, then look elsewhere for your pet.
The Holy Trinity of Successful Dog Training
Knowing how to successfully raise a dog to be a loving member of the family that you feel everyone is safe around requires the three most important factors of dog ownership:
- A good environment
- Early training
- Early Socialization
If just one of these is missing, then you may leave yourself open to all kinds of troubles further down the line, and with a Rottweiler, these are the kinds of troubles you simply don’t want in a family dog.
Let’s take a look at each of these in turn.
A Good Environment
When a dog comes into the home, it becomes part of the pack, and will therefore respond according to the behavior of the pack, or family. It means that if there’s a lot of disturbance, anger, shouting and even violence, the dog will act out in response to it.
For a dog like a Rottweiler, who is programmed to guard and defend, the household should be calm, loving, and free from hazards. Your Rottweiler should have access to all the things a dog needs to be happy: clean food and water, shelter, regular exercise, mental stimulation, and lots of praise-related training.
Caring for a dog involves watching its behavior from early on so that any signs of a bad temperament can be handled early. This brings us to the next crucial part.
By now, you’ll know that training begins the moment you get your puppy home. But for a dog like a Rottweiler, it’s even more important than the training begins early, and is consistent.
These dogs will quickly become powerful animals that a human will struggle to control. Rottweilers love to make their owners happy but can be stubborn and will push their luck when young, so a firm hand is needed from day one.
There should be an adult who takes on the job as pack leader and who will teach the dog its place in the pack, but the whole family has a responsibility toward consistent training.
It is never a good idea to adopt an older Rottweiler into a family where there are young children. Without knowing the dog’s history, there’s no way of knowing how they will behave around humans and other animals.
Take your Rottweiler to puppy training classes as soon as they’re old enough to leave the house. Professional trainers will equip you with the skills needed to handle this powerful animal as it gets older, and will also ensure your Rottweiler is both well trained and mentally stimulated.
Rottweilers are naturally suspicious of new people and new animals. It’s what makes them such good guard dogs, but they should never be nervous around members of their own family.
Introduce children to your Rottweiler puppy with clear boundaries, and make sure that they do not hurt or torment it, even in play. Never leave any dog alone around children and be always present as they play together.
Rottweilers don’t do well if new pets are introduced to the home after their own arrival unless they’re introduced when the Rottweiler is still a small puppy. Watch your dog as it interacts with other animals in the house and thinks carefully about whether they will live together happily.
Introduce your Rottweiler to other dogs outside the home as soon as they’re allowed out after their vaccinations. A well-socialized dog is one that plays well with other dogs, and a good owner is one who keeps their dog on the leash if they’re prone to become nervous around other animals.
Rottweilers Do Make Wonderful Family Pets
If you adhere to the three parts of successful dog rearing, there is every reason to be confident that bringing a Rottweiler puppy into your family will result in years of happiness together.