Tips For New Rottweiler Owners

Compiled by the London and South East Rottweiler Club - LASER

Training starts TODAY - not at six months!

If you wait until six months - it will be too late. Start the moment you get home. TONE OF VOICE is everything! Speak in a "honey" tone when your puppy is doing what you want - in a "venom" tone when he isn't! It is essential that the change in tone is "split second". The reprimand must be IMMEDIATE, QUICK and SHARP [like its mother would] - or the puppy doesn't associate your scolding, with what it has done. Remember, do not make allowances for your puppy by letting it do anything you wouldn't want it to do as an adult. ALL puppies will: chew and mouth, pee and poop, dig holes, jump up - that's what puppies do! Your puppy is no different.

Discipline

This is essential, but you must show your puppy what you want him to do first, then when he understands - praise him! Rottweilers want to please their owners, but occasionally can be quite stubborn. A simple `uh, uh` will usually be enough; sometimes a low growl; but if the puppy is more persistent - a shake over the scruff of the neck and a harsh growl into his face. You should NOT need to hit a puppy, ever.

"Honey" and "Venom"

Try to anticipate what he is about to do and say "uh, uh" or growl [in "venom" tone] when you know he is about to do something wrong - he'll think you're psychic! Then praise him in a "honey" tone the second he stops. TONE of voice is much more effective than shouting or walloping and its the best way to achieve the `rapport` which is so necessary for a good partnership. Develop a "positive" environment - praise him when he gets things right or is just being good - DON`T keep nagging him for getting things wrong.

Going Mental

When your dog has learned exactly what you want him to do, each time you give him a command, mean it, and make sure he obeys first time; then when he does obey - go "mental" with the praise!!

Socialising is vital

The first few months in a puppy's life are crucial. A puppy is like a blank piece of paper - what you put there is up to you. The right kind of socialising is extremely important. Before his vaccinations are complete you can take him to the street corner and just hold him in your arms (away from other dogs) and he will love the fuss strangers will want to make - and soon get used to passing traffic.

Once his jabs are complete, take him anywhere you know they like dogs; go to all public places; outside the supermarket or school is a good place and children will learn not to be afraid of him.

"Mouthing"

Any puppy will chew fingers if you stick them into its mouth! "Mouthing" IS NOT ALLOWED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES and is sometimes misinterpreted as a "bite" by people unfamiliar with the breed. If allowed to continue into adulthood this innocent demand for attention could develop into biting. A harsh growl, or even a scream, should stop this - do not let it develop.

Temperament

Rottweilers are impressive with a strong but sometimes dominant attitude; also they are extremely intelligent and loving. They love to play games as long as you do not let them get over-excited. As they are robust they need plenty of daily exercise, and obedience training will help to channel their exuberant nature. They can be wilful, so members of the family must establish their control over them from an early age, or they may refuse commands. They should be reared with common sense and mutual respect - firmly but fairly.

Dominance

DON`T misinterpret their dominant attitude towards other dogs with an aggressive attitude towards people - the first is their ingrained character; the second is bad breeding or lack of socialising. They can intimidate and dominate other dogs, as well as people - an aspect of their nature which should be controlled from an early age. They prefer humans to be "pack leader" - but if you aren't, they will be! Some men try to dominate their male Rottweilers by staring into their face - direct eye contact intimidates the dog. He doesn't like it, nor would you. He feels threatened by it - do not do it. Never let a male Rottweiler put his head over your neck or back, as he could be trying to dominate you.

Some Rottweilers become possessive over food. If this occurs, try to feed him by hand, or let him take the food from the bowl with your fingers still inside the bowl. If this has been done since puppyhood, he won't resent it.

Aggression

AGGRESSION should never be encouraged at any time. Some people actively encourage their guarding nature and THIS IS WRONG! Your Rottweiler will guard instinctively without any provocation from you. DON`T "wind him up". "Rough housing" and challenges of strength is not the way to control the Rottweiler. Eventually there will come a time when he will resent it, and will want to come out `on top` - but you must always remain "pack leader". His ingrained character needs firmness - not force. Be ASSERTIVE not DOMINEERING. Your `will` must be stronger - not your `physique`.

Exercise

Keep exercise to a minimum to start with - your garden should be enough until jabs are complete. Then little walks, gradually increasing each few days will be enough. PLEASE don't overfeed your puppy - you want a FIT Rottweiler not a FAT one. Don't let him run riot with older dogs, climb stairs or jump from the car. Lift him out or you could cause problems with his joints.

Socialise! Socialise! Socialise!

Daily

Brush your dog as frequently as possible (he will love the attention) and examine ears, eyes, mouth, feet, and touch private parts - this ensures your dog will not resent handling by the vet or anyone else, and is particularly important to maintain "mental" dominance.

PLEASE don't let your puppy into your bedroom or, WORSE STILL start out by sleeping on your bed or sofa. When he's adult, he may resent being pushed off and react as though it's his bed - then you're in trouble!! DON`T START IT.

Punishment

You must keep rolled-up newspapers in every room in the house. When the dog does something wrong, you must immediately grab a rolled-up newspaper - violently hit yourself over the head several times with it whilst saying "bad owner, bad owner, bad owner"! When a dog does wrong, it's usually the human's fault (because he has failed in his training) not the dog's!

Remember - think like a dog!

Advice

We are only a phone call away - do not feel you are being a nuisance.
If you have a problem - we will always help if we can.

Please love your Rottweiler to bits!

No part of this guide may be reproduced without the prior written permission of the London and South East Rottweiler Club.

Tips for new Rottweiler owners article supplied by Mrs Di McCann

Read the Rottweiler Breed Guide

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