8 month old out of control with play

by Ann
(Phoenix Arizona)

I adopted a 8-month Rottweiler; he was fixed 1 week ago (Nov 5th, 2013). I've owned him for 1 week also.

Initially, my 2 other dogs (German Shepherd mix & Border Collie) were able to control his behavior. Today, I came home and saw that he was running after them, continually biting their necks; my Collie was crying as he kept going after her. I threw a plastic coffee container, filled with dog food, on the ground so to make a loud sound. That scared him and I was able to get the dogs away from him.

Later that evening, we all took a walk, he did just fine, but, as soon as we get into the house, it was back to biting.

I'm going to build a fence to separate, as to provide protection when I'm not here; find a dog trainer.

My question is - do male dogs have a temporary hormonal surge after being fixed? and how long does it take for a Rottie to settle down?

Any tips on how to work on this behavior?

Thank you.

Ann - it sounds as though your new Rottie is trying to force himself into 'leader of the pack' position... and your home is obviously 'ground zero' to him which is why he's acting so pushy there.

All the recent changes in his life have probably caused him a good deal of stress (losing his first home, being in a shelter/pound/rescue or whatever, moving to a new home with new 'siblings', being neutered... it's a lot for a youngster to deal with and at 8 months your Rottie is still just a pup. It's not too surprising to see him acting out, but obviously it's difficult and worrying at this stage.

Part of the solution here will simply be time and familiarity, the dogs need to get used to each other and they really need to sort out their pecking order by themselves as much as possible, but with you standing by to intervene if things get out of hand.

I would definitely make sure that the three of them are not left together while you're out... a crate would probably be better than a fence unless it's VERY sturdy, and preferably one that obstructs their vision of each other.

When they're at home with you, allowing the Rottie to interact with just one of the resident dogs at a time might help. Three or more dogs tend to revert instinctively to pack behavior, if that is aggressive in any way it can lead to the two (or more) stronger dogs picking on the weaker one, depending on the size difference and attitude of the dogs this can be dangerous.

The neutering will reduce male-to-male aggression and often helps calm an adolescent male, but it's not a 'quick-fix' it will take time for the hormones to reduce. I don't believe there is a 'surge' after the surgery, and would guess it's the stress and changes that are triggering your Rotties misbehavior more than anything physical.

You've only had him one week so all this is very new, and it's common for a new pup/dog to be on their best behavior for the first few days/week or so and then once they start to feel at home they become a bit more difficult as the real adjustment starts. This stage will also end, it just takes time.

I'd make sure that you are always close by when your new boy is with one of the other dogs, but don't 'hover'. Only intervene if someone is really getting hurt or is scared.

A true dog fight, especially between big, strong dogs, is scary and difficult to deal with if you are alone. You need some sort of help. I would recommend having either a small pepper-spray or a small ABC type of fire extinguisher on hand to use JUST IN CASE of a bad fight developing.

I'm not saying this will happen at all, but I have big dogs and two of the females do not like each other, so I prefer to be safe than sorry. I'd advise the same thing to anyone in this position.

This is a link to a great Youtube video done by Ed Frawley of Leerburg Kennels.... How to break up a dog fight

Again, not saying you NEED to worry about a fight,but it's best to be prepared. The leash that Ed uses on this video might be worth investing in.

I think doing a little work with your new Rottie and a professional trainer would be a really good idea. It will also help you both bond and communicate better.

What you're seeing now is most likely just normal pack type behavior and the dogs will figure it out and everything will settle down given a little time. It's easy to over-react to this sort of thing, especially when it involves dogs with a 'reputation' (such as Rotties or Pitbulls) because in spite of our best intentions some of those myths take root in our heads.

BUT, it is always better to err on the side of caution.... so use common sense, be prepared, get some professional input but don't get too worried about this being a huge problem. Most likely it won't be.

Hope this helps. Best of luck with it all. ~ Sue

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