It’s wrong to think that Rottweilers are naturally aggressive dogs, but they’ve gained a reputation for aggression because they’re large, powerful, confident animals who will go to any length to protect their owners and possessions.
However, when they enter puberty, at around 6 to 9 months of age, Rottweilers begin to exert their dominance and impulsive instincts. These behaviors, if not checked, can lead to aggression in your Rottweiler, and therefore training and proper socialization are vital.
Does a Rottweiler’s Personality Change as They Grow?
Rottweiler puppies are as playful and loving as any other, but you will notice that once they reach adolescence, their behavior can change from being less playful to more protective.
This is natural, and part of their instinctual makeup. Rottweilers were bred to be working dogs, herding cattle and sheep, and protecting their owners’ farms and land. This instinctual need to protect is strong in a Rottweiler.
It means that if this instinct isn’t channeled properly, then it can get out of hand and lead to overly protective behaviors that are much harder to undo once the dog is fully matured.
All dogs mature and lose their soft puppy personalities, but a Rottweiler who is correctly trained and socialized will be a strong, protective ally to the family as opposed to being a dangerous, hard-to-control aggressor.
Why Are Some Rottweilers More Aggressive Than Others?
Some people want an aggressive dog, and Rottweilers are a real force to be reckoned with, especially if they’re protecting a home or business. They’re such huge, powerful animals that a burglar or attacker would certainly think twice before selecting a property guarded by a Rottweiler.
It’s important to remember that while some dogs are naturally more inclined toward protective, seemingly aggressive instincts, so much depends on their training and socialization.
Aggressive Rottweilers used as guard dogs have often been deliberately trained to show possessive, jealous reactions to people entering their space or attempting to touch their property.
Not only that, but Rottweilers have a reputation for being aggressive because of the damage that they can inflict if they choose to show that aggression. An angry Rottweiler will only need one bite to cause life-changing damage, whereas a furious Yorkshire Terrier would inflict nowhere near as much.
There’s no need to presume that your Rottweiler will grow to be an aggressive dog, but the only way that you can assure these behaviors are checked and controlled is to put in the time to train and socialize your dog from a very early age.
Signs Your Rottweiler May be Getting Aggressive
If your Rottweiler has been well trained since an early age and is doing well being socialized with other dogs, then it’s unlikely that they’ll suddenly become aggressive overnight without warning.
However, hormones can play havoc with any adolescent, and your dog is no different! So, there are certain signs to look out for in your Rottweiler’s behavior that could give you an idea that an aggressive temperament is beginning to develop.
These signs include:
- Low growling
- Teeth baring
- Barking at strangers
It’s important that as an owner, you don’t allow these behaviors to continue. If a Rottweiler is allowed to develop an aggressive personality, it’s much harder to undo later. What’s vital is to cut out these behaviors before they’re allowed to get any worse.
At the same time, balance out the curbing of bad behaviors with the reward of good ones. When your Rottweiler obeys a command and listens to you, reward this with a treat and plenty of praise. Dogs love to make their owners happy, and your Rottweiler will understand that positive reinforcement is a much better outcome.
When Should You Begin to Train Your Rottweiler?
Training of any puppy begins the moment you get it home. All puppies should immediately be started on a training program, as you show them the correct way to go to the toilet, before moving on to easy commands like sit and stay.
A Rottweiler needs more guidance than other dogs because it will quickly grow to be a powerful animal whose strength needs to be checked by an owner who takes charge and knows what they’re doing.
Rottweilers can become unruly and difficult to control very quickly because they’re so powerful and confident. They have a naturally dominant nature which, when left unchecked, means that they can begin to feel like they’re the ones in charge.
The training of a dog should be something that the whole family gets involved in, but it should not be left to younger members to set the rules. Instead, an older member of the family should take the lead, as the dog will naturally seek out a pack leader to follow.
If there is no pack leader, the Rottweiler will quickly aim to become dominant, and this is where problems will arise. No dog should be the boss of the family; instead, it should quickly understand its place in the hierarchy.
Training Includes Socialization
If a Rottweiler is confined to the house, then on the rare occasion it meets another dog or person it’ll be confusing, and will immediately step into an aggressive, protective mode.
That’s why it’s important to allow your puppy to meet with other dogs from an early age. They will learn social behaviors, take cues from other animals, and learn that new friends of any kind are interesting, but not frightening.
Often, a dog we think is aggressive is simply frightened, and barking, growling, and biting are done out of fear. These behaviors may not even get the chance to develop if your dog is properly socialized with others.
Be Consistent, and Know When to Seek Help
Committing to a dog is always a big decision but committing to a Rottweiler takes even more consideration. They require plenty of attention and firm and consistent training because very quickly this large and powerful dog could begin to take over.
If you find that you’re not able to handle the training alone, then be sure to reach out to people who can help. There’s no embarrassment in letting someone know you need extra support from someone who has more experience and who will help you with your Rottweiler training.
Rottweilers, like children, need a firm, consistent and loving hand in their training. A combination of all three will mean a healthy, well-trained dog who is protective, but not aggressive.
Consider Spaying or Neutering Your Rottweiler
If you’re not planning to breed from your Rottweiler, then you should make sure that they are spayed or neutered once they have reached puberty. This means that males, should be neutered around the age of six months old, and for females, once they have had one season.
You shouldn’t worry that neutering your pet will change its personality. Rather than altering their temperament, neutering will simply help curb the natural dominating traits in your pet, such as marking, guarding, and other territorial behavior.
Spaying females are known to reduce the risk of uterine and mammary cancers, too, so not only are you ensuring that you have a less aggressive Rottweiler, but you’ll have a healthier one, too.
It’s Worth the Time and Effort!
These large, confident dogs love to please their owners, so by putting in the time and effort to train and socialize your Rottweiler, you can be sure that your pet remains a calm but protective member of the family.