A Rottweiler dog is most easily recognized by its broad head, powerful jaws, and stocky muscular body. Most owners dock the tail because it makes keeping the dog’s backside cleaner in light of the activity level these dogs enjoy. If you are considering purchasing or adopting and owning one of these dogs, there are definitely a few concerns and care with owning one.
First, the Behavior and Temperament of Rottweilers
Rottweilers get a lot of bad press, but only because there have been so many cases with these dogs being trained to do awful things. While it is true that they can make an excellent guard dog, you want to avoid making a Rottweiler a guard dog. Their intense focus, their powerful jaws, and their bulk and ability to pull and haul large objects great distances can also lead them to be vicious when trained to guard. This is a trait that a Rott comes by naturally and this dog breed doesn’t need focused training in this area, rather Rottweiler dogs need the leadership of a focused owner.
Instead, attempt to train your dog to be something better. These dogs have one trait that is appreciated by many owners; loyalty. That loyalty can make them very good pets if you train these dogs to recognize friend versus foe. The best way to do that is to train them using a command word to go after anyone that is harming you or your family. It helps to use an obscure word that is not commonly used in daily speech so as to avoid setting the dog off. It is also important to train him/her with a code word that stops him/her before he/she can do any harm.
Lots of Patience in Obedience Training
Rotties, as they are affectionately called, can be extremely stubborn animals. They tend to take much longer to train, so as an owner you would have to have a lot of patience and spend quite a bit of time training your dog daily. If you think you can commit to that much time and effort, then you can make one of these dogs a very good family pet.
In terms of bad behavior in these dogs, it usually comes from a place of abuse or unethical puppy mill practices. Therefore, if you adopt a Rottweiler puppy, be sure to take great pains to get the Rotty to trust you and obey you without the threat of harm. Some bad behaviors include running after people on the street or chasing cars. You can help this dog breed stop those behaviors, but again, it will take a lot of time and effort on your part.
If the bad behaviors are tolerable and just mildly frustrating (e.g. chewing on chair legs, peeing in one spot by the door, etc.), then you can supply your dog with an acceptable alternative. You may have to think outside the box and try a couple of things to get the behavior to stop. However, the substitution training usually does the trick for these lesser behaviors.
Find a Reputable Breeder
If you should get a Rottweiler breed its definitely best to go through a reputable breeder for many reasons including proper breeding for temperament but also avoiding hip dysplasia. As a large dog, this breed can be prone to hip dysplasia. A good rottweiler breeder is aware of these factors.
Sometimes you’ll come across a rottweiler mix and these can be great dogs too. You just need to know what the mix is and what you are dealing with in order to have the best relationship.
Why A Young Dog Is Your Best Bet
Everybody loves puppies, but Rottie puppies are even more work than their adult counterparts. It is exactly like having a human child in the house, and it takes forever to get that child to grow up and act in a way you expect the child/dog to act. An older dog that is a pound rescue may have some issues too, and should be left to experts that can help the animal in training. Your best bet is a very young adult dog, one that has already been trained to signal that it needs to go out, and yet one that is not too old to train in proper behaviors around other dogs and other humans.
Caring for Your Rottie Dogs Is Otherwise Easy
A lot of people like this breed because they are generally easy to care for. The dogs only need a bath once every other month because their coats are so short and rarely shed. If your dog gets into dirt and frequently enjoys rolling in the mud, then he/she may need a bath more often. Their nails will need regular clipping and you can either choose to do that yourself or have a vet or groomer do it. Be sure to brush your dog’s teeth daily as these dogs tend to eat a lot and their teeth and gums will show it.
Exercise is key
Exercise is key. Your Rottie is already a high-strung dog in need of movement. They tend to follow whomever they have designated as “pack leader” all over the house. This tends to make them difficult to live with sometimes as they will come between you and your shower, your toilet, your getting dressed, your completion of household chores, etc.. If you supply your dog with adequate exercise daily and room to run in the yard, he/she will tire him/herself out quickly and sleep in a corner of the house while you do other things.
These dogs also need exercise because they tend to bulk up around their midsections rather quickly on account of the amount of food they tend to eat. An overweight Rottie is a Rottie doomed for all kinds of health problems and medical expenses. These can be avoided if you are getting at least an hour of exercise every day for your dog.
Lastly, the Rott, is a working dog which is another reason proper exercise is imperative.
Be Prepared ~ A Rotty Eats A LOT of Food
Rottweilers eat a LOT of food. If you free-feed your dog by filling the bowl in the morning and refilling again later in the day, you can bet that your dog will eat every last bit and then some. Dry commercial food is not the best bet for your pup. Look into a species-specific diet that builds the immune system, keeps them fit and healthy as no other diet can. Raw food diets are like taking out an insurance policy on your dog. You may pay a little more for their food but you’ll spend a heck of a lot less on vet visits if you set them up straight from the start.
For water, the water should be cool, pure, and in a clean bowl. Holistic pet owners recommend bottled purified water or spring water, unless, you are living in the country on a well. However you go about it, your dog will need at least a half-gallon of water daily. If you do not feed your dog soft food or a raw food diet, then he/she is going to need a lot more water than the half-gallon previously mentioned.
A Word on Muzzling
You may feel that a muzzle on your dog is necessary. If you are that uncomfortable with what your dog might do already, consider a different breed. While initially a muzzle on a puppy might be a good idea, you want to focus on training the puppy to stop certain behaviors before they become disconcerting. Most holistic pet experts will tell you that in order to stop a Rottie from fighting another dog or choosing to bite a human, you have to figure out what caused the behavior first and then address it going forward.
It could very well be that your dog is not feeling well on that day or a particular day. If that is the case, it is best to have him/her checked out rather than choose to take a walk in the park or take your dog to the doggy park. It will help you avoid a lot of unpleasant situations and prevent you from having to muzzle your dog unnecessarily.
Muzzles on these dogs may actually make them more aggressive as they cannot open their mouths and pant on hot days or greet other dogs as they normally would. Only use a muzzle on a Rottie that really truly needs it and then limit the amount of time your dog has to wear the muzzle while out in public.