There are two things that Rottweilers love most in the whole world: You, and cuddles with you.
The happiest day of their lives is to have a long walk with you in the morning, and then an afternoon of nothing but scratches and pets.
How your Rottweiler loves to be petted depends on their own personal preference. Some like ear scratches, others live for belly rubs. What’s important to remember is how to pet a dog like a Rottweiler if you’re meeting them for the first time.
When You’re Nervous About Petting a Rottweiler
Those of us who have owned Rottweilers or own one now will have built up a long relationship with them and will have probably cuddled them since they were tiny puppies.
When you know a dog and you’re confident in its temperament, you know instinctively how to pet them. But if you’re meeting a Rottweiler for the first time, it can be a daunting experience.
Rottweilers are big, muscular animals who have a very commanding presence. It makes sense that if it’s your first time meeting one, you want to get the petting right!
After all, once that Rottie knows that you’re a top petter, it’ll be your best friend in the blink of an eye.
Petting is a Form of Bonding
Remember that petting isn’t supposed to be a chore and instead is a way for you to bond with your dog.
Dogs are very social creatures, and, in the pack, they often nuzzle one another because they love the comfort that the touch of another animal or human being brings.
Petting a dog is great for humans, too. Scientific American has a great article on how petting releases endorphins in both dogs and humans and gives us a bonding similar to that between a mother and her child.
Check With the Owner
Not all dogs like to be petted, so first check that the owner says it’s OK. If you’re meeting a Rottweiler at the shelter, get the staff to tell you about any behavioral problems. Once you get the go-ahead, it’s petting time.
Be Properly Introduced
Diving straight in with both hands might be a tempting thing to do when we see a new dog, especially one that’s as round and cuddly as a Rottweiler, but this has a high chance of creating anxiety for the dog.
Instead, approach the dog slowly and quietly. Start speaking to the dog with a pleasant voice. It might not understand your words, but it’ll understand you mean no harm.
Now, stand near the dog and allow them to approach and smell your hand. They may nudge you if they’re friendly as a sign they’re happy with you being there.
Stay Away from the Head
Approaching a dog by immediately putting your hand toward its face or head will put it into defense mode.
Rottweilers in particular are very suspicious of new people and they are constantly on alert, especially if they’re with their owner and want to protect them.
Instead, if the dog you’re petting seems comfortable enough for a pet, stroke along the top of its back first, between its front shoulders.
Slow, Steady Strokes
Petting a Rottweiler is the kind of activity with which you’ll want to take your time. Don’t rush it, because there’s no need whatsoever.
Long, slow strokes from the dog’s shoulders and along their back will be very well received! Stay away from the tail and once again, the head area, because these are very sensitive areas for all dogs and it may provoke a reaction.
How Do You Know if the Dog Likes It?
A Rottweiler will soon let you know that it’s not happy! If, as you approach, the dog growls and curls its lips, then stay away.
If a dog is on the leash and the owner warns you not to touch, then respect both the owner and the dog.
The whites of the eyes glaring at you, the raised fur between the shoulder blades (known as the hackles), and the low posturing with the head are all signs that the dog isn’t happy, and doesn’t want you to touch them.
But if you’ve given the Rottweiler a good pet along its back and it’s happy, then it’ll soon let you know!
Rottweilers adore being petted and scratched and within a few seconds, you’ll realize that this dog isn’t going to be happy when you stop!
Rottweilers Purr When They’re Happy
The deep, guttural purr of a Rottweiler is a beautiful noise indeed, and if you’re getting the petting right, then you’ll hear it for sure.
It’s not like a warning growl but instead is a rumbling little moan of pleasure, reserved for when they’re getting the good pets!
Keep an Eye on That Tail
Many Rottweilers have docked tails, but this doesn’t stop you from knowing when they’re happy. A wagging tail or a tiny wagging nub is a sure sign that the dog’s happy and wants you to carry on.
If the tail goes down or the dog is uncomfortable, stop with the petting and slowly walk away. Respecting each other’s boundaries is very much to do with body language.
When You Know Your Rottweiler Well
Once you’ve formed a bond with a Rottweiler and they know you mean them no harm, then all bets are off! The petting and stroking of a Rottweiler are something they’d happily let you do for hours.
Rolling on their backs and showing you their bellies is the best compliment a Rottweiler, or indeed any dog could give you because it’s a sign of true submission.
The belly is the most vulnerable area of any animal, and when it rolls over and allows you access it means that it trusts you completely and knows that you mean them no harm at all.
It’s also difficult for the dog to scratch their belly themselves, and they’ll be only too happy for you to do it.
The Sweet Spots
It’s true that the ears and the tail should never be touched if it’s your first time petting a dog, but once you’re the best of friends, there are sweet spots that your dogs will love to be petted at.
Behind their ears and at the bottom of their backs, before their tail starts, are two places that are highly sensitive to all dogs.
Scratching here gives them a rush of endorphins, or pleasure hormones, that makes them feel happy and contented. Give it a try!
They’ll Let You Know When They’ve Had Enough
It’s true that once you’ve petted a Rottweiler the right way they’ll follow you around, begging for more, but some like a little petting time before having their fill and moving away.
If a dog, especially a Rottweiler, has had enough petting, for now, thank you very much, then they’ll get up and begin to move away.
At this point, let them go. Trying to run after them for more pets or touching them when they don’t want the attention will make them frustrated and they’re likely to show they’re unhappy.
The chances of that happening with your own Rottweiler is rare, though! These dogs thrive on love and affection, and they crave attention and pets from their owners.
You can be sure that as soon as your Rottweiler’s in need of a little TLC, they’ll head straight to you because they know you give the best pets.