18 month old rottie extremely aggressive with strangers

by Melissa
(melbourne)

we have just got an 18 month old male rottweiler

the owner told us that he had treated him like he was a member of the family that he had always been very placid and friendly.

we have found that with any strangers to him he is highly aggressive (barking, growling and charging while on the lead)

at home with us and our 2 smaller dogs he is so friendly and loves to play and get all the attention we have only had him 2 days and he seems to be doing great..
BUT when my partner took him into his work place every person he came near he was aggressive he didn't want them near him at all he growls and wants to charge them

we also tried taking to him the vet today to get a check up and micro-chipped.. he was fine in the waiting room and when he walked into the room then when the lady went to listen to his heart he revved up and barked and went to bite her he actually nipped her arm ( which was very scary)

we don't know what to do, we want to keep him and were wondering what we could do to help him over come the aggression towards strangers if there is anything we can or if he is passed that age where it can be effective.






Hi Melissa
At 18 months old your pup is still in the later stages of adolescence and isn't yet fully mature, and it's definitely not too late to help him overcome this stranger-based aggression, but I think it would be wise to seek some professional help to do this.

It sounds to me (and this is just my personal opinion) that the aggression is coming from a place of fear and anxiety, rather than because this pup is 'mean'. The fact that at 18 months of age he's accepted you and your family so readily and behaves so well, indicates that he's got a sound basic temperament. However, he may have been poorly socialized previously, or maybe not at all, and in situations where he's 'out of his depth' he reacts in what appears to be an aggressive way, but is likely more defensively motivated as he's afraid or anxious.

He's been through a huge upheaval to leave the only home he's known as this late stage and try to adjust to new people and surroundings, and it sounds as though venturing out to places that are stressful or scary for him is just too much right now. Perhaps he needs a week or two to settle in with you and your family before you begin to increase his socialization experiences.

Of course, just because it's understandable doesn't make his behavior okay, and Rottweilers are very big, powerful dogs who can do some serious damage if they are so inclined. Obviously that can't be allowed to happen and you've got some work ahead of you to help this pup adjust his behavior.

I'd recommend talking to some local dog obedience schools/instructors and trying to find someone who understands the breed and uses only positive reward-based training methods. Then have this person help you to work with your pup in a controlled setting at first, and then advise you and give hands-on assistance as you extend his training/socialization. Because of his age and size I really do think it will be better if you get some professional help at least to begin with.

It sounds as though this pup desperately needs the opportunity to stay in this new home that he's accepted and seems so happy in, and it may make his behavior much worse if he has to undergo another big change. You obviously love him already and are willing to do the very best you can for him, and I think if you follow the advice above you stand an excellent chance of helping him to grow up to reach his full potential and to become a happy, confident dog.

It will take time, patience and love, but Rottweilers are very loving, loyal and intelligent and I think the effort will be more than worthwhile for you all.

Best of luck with him.

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Oct 20, 2015
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by: Royal

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Jan 15, 2015
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wanting advice NEW
by: Anonymous

Hello,

I am a great dog lover. We've had various breeds all my life, but never a rottie. I have two small children aged 3 and 6. Recently someone I know from my son's school said they are leaving the country and need to find a home for their 20 month old Rottie. When i met him he loved my children and wanted to play. Unfortunately he has had bad experiences with adults on the previous farm the owners had. The workers teased him and threw things at him. He growled at me. I avoided eye contact. After an hour he handed me his toy and allowed me to scratch him, though he was still rather skittish and growly. He is unneutered and i doubt ever exposed to training or proper dog socialization. I want some advice here. He will easily find a home, so I'm not worried about his future. If I bring him into our family - we also have a 7 year old ridgeback and an old french poodle who are also both males, what are the chances this won't be very stressful?! oh and plus a cat - he didn' t grow up with cats! We also go out hiking often and come into contact with all sorts of animals, strangers and dogs.

To be blunt I am worried he will be overly aggressive and with other beloved animals and precious children I need to think of them first.

any advice?

Becky Kelly
Zimbabwe

Jan 15, 2015
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
wanting advice NEW
by: Anonymous

Hello,

I am a great dog lover. We've had various breeds all my life, but never a rottie. I have two small children aged 3 and 6. Recently someone I know from my son's school said they are leaving the country and need to find a home for their 20 month old Rottie. When i met him he loved my children and wanted to play. Unfortunately he has had bad experiences with adults on the previous farm the owners had. The workers teased him and threw things at him. He growled at me. I avoided eye contact. After an hour he handed me his toy and allowed me to scratch him, though he was still rather skittish and growly. He is unneutered and i doubt ever exposed to training or proper dog socialization. I want some advice here. He will easily find a home, so I'm not worried about his future. If I bring him into our family - we also have a 7 year old ridgeback and an old french poodle who are also both males, what are the chances this won't be very stressful?! oh and plus a cat - he didn' t grow up with cats! We also go out hiking often and come into contact with all sorts of animals, strangers and dogs.

To be blunt I am worried he will be overly aggressive and with other beloved animals and precious children I need to think of them first.

any advice?

Becky Kelly
Zimbabwe

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