7 week old male pup growls when being held or hugged

by Robin

Our male pup is starting to "grumble" when he is on our lap and is being shown affection in the shape of a hug. He actually growled and snapped at my daughter's face (13 year old) one time. We do not "rough house" with him.

Is this aggression? Or is he playing and doesn't know that it is not a desirable behavior yet?

How do we react to correct this potential problem?


Hi Robin
Your puppy is still a tiny baby, and aggression in a pup at this age is extremely rare. I think what you're seeing is simply this little guy trying to let you know how he feels - which is probably a little overwhelmed and over-stimulated at this point.

However, growling and snapping is most definitely NOT okay, at this age or any other.

The first few days or week, is usually pretty stressful for a young puppy and it's an adjustment period for everyone. If possible allow your pup to have as much 'alone-time' as he wants because many puppies react to stress by withdrawing a bit and 'sleeping it off'. It's important to let him adjust at his own pace.

However, if he growls or snaps at anyone, an instant, firm (but loving) correction is a must. Tell him "No" immediately in a low, firm voice and continue with whatever you (or anyone else) was doing for at least 10 seconds more. Do not allow him to control your behavior with his. If he growls again or snaps, repeat the correction but also wrap your hand around his muzzle gently and hold his mouth closed for a few seconds while telling him "no".

Puppies are creatures of habit and you will need to be very consistent with him, correct him the same way every single time. Also, be patient he's a tiny baby and it will take him some time to understand what is acceptable and what isn't.

I'd recommend that you read my Free Puppy Training Tips page as it's important to start with very basic 'manners' etc. early on. Also check out my Stop Puppy Biting page as I think it will help you.

Rottie puppies are simply puppies, just like any other breed, and they misbehave at times. Because of the undeservedly harsh criticism they often get, sometimes new owners over-react to normal puppy behavior and read into it more than is necessary. Rottweilers are not an aggressive breed, and nipping, growling etc. is a normal part of puppy play (as you rightly guessed above). It's up to the puppy's 'parents' to show him/her what is okay and what isn't and to discipline him in a fair and loving way so that he can grow up to fulfill his potential.

I hope this has helped, and I wish you the very best of luck with your pup.

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my 8 week old male pup flips into snarling biting lunatic

by marie
(herts, England)

we have a puppy of 8 weeks, he`s our first male rottie, we had a beautiful girl who we lost at nearly eleven. We got shanti 2 weeks after.

he`s obedient, waits for food and fetches so very clever. But something comes over him and his lips go back he snarls and bites, you can hold his mouth closed, release, and he comes at you twice as bad, I`ve crated him for up to 10 mins he comes out and starts again. then he calms down and rolls over onto his back and licks you.

Please can someone help me to understand why and how I solve this bad trait.


Hi Marie
What you're describing is actually pretty normal puppy behavior, and it's extremely rare for a pup to show true 'aggressive' behavior at this sort of age.

Shanti may have a more dominant personality than your female, but at this age he's still such a baby that it's impossible to tell too much about that.

There is a time of day (usually late afternoon or early evening) which is the 'Crazy Hour' for puppies, and they tend to get very boisterous and run around like crazy, sometimes snapping and growling as they pass you (or someone/something), jumping around and generally acting like lunatics. This is normal, really! It's a way of 'letting off steam' and dissipating all the nervous energy they've got stored up.

However, the snapping or biting is the part that you MUST discourage, as no pup should ever be allowed to let his teeth touch your skin. With some pups, holding their muzzle closed works well, with others it just 'riles them up' and makes the situation worse. Puppies are like children, you need different tactics for different children and there's no 'one-size-fits-all' remedy.

I'd recommend that you read my Stop Puppy Biting page as it has lots of tips and techniques to help curb this behavior. I'd recommend using the water-squirt-bottle or 'breathspray' method with your pup. He's a smart little guy and should understand pretty quickly.

Also, make sure he's getting plenty of exercise as there's a lot of truth to the saying 'a tired puppy is a good puppy'. A good selection of sturdy, chew toys is also important as puppies and dogs relieve stress by chewing, and that will help with the 'Crazy Hour'. Check out my Tough Dog Toys page for some suggestions.

Shanti is doing very well for his age, and do remember he's just a baby. I know this is difficult, but also try not to compare him to your other dog - he's a totally different pup and your older dogs' puppy behavior is probably a bit fuzzy in your memory by now! Male Rottweilers are no more likely to be dominant or 'pushy' than females, and actually in my personal experience the males have tended to be more of the 'lapdogs' with the big hearts! It's just the luck of the draw.

You may also want to visit my Free Puppy Training Tips page for a 'refresher course' on puppy training. There are lots of tips and advice there to help you out.

I hope this helps set your mind at rest some, and I wish you the very best of luck with your new puppy. Enjoy him!

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my american 3 year old female rottie growling?

by krystle sexton
(belle plaine mn)

hi, i have an american rottie who is the best natured dog i could ever ask for and very obedient as well! family raised 3 children in the home with her at all times all under the age of 7 non aggressive.

but anyways today i had taken her on a walk around our neighborhood that she knows very well and we came across 2 lil girls that wanted to pet her so i said yes, so they did and everything was fine until 1 of the lil girls bent down to hug her goodbye she had growled a lil, i couldn't tell if it was her normal talking growl she has or aggressive one? should i be worried or not??

the only time she growls is if she doesn't want to be bothered and that is hardly ever she absolutely loves kids and people!!!!! i'm kinda confused?

thanks krystle

p.s. she's the kids nanny! lol

Hi Krystle
It's difficult to say for sure, but personally I wouldn't worry about this too much at this point. It sounds as though she has a wonderful temperament and you're not even sure whether she was talking or growling.

This is one of the things about breeds such as Rottweilers, because of their size, strength and breed characteristics, it's very easy for people (even loving owners who adore and understand their dogs) to over-react when there is even a hint of aggression. This isn't a criticism just an observation and it's not something I've never done either :o)

Anyway, it could have been that she was simply talking or grumbling, but it could have been that she was gently telling this little girl that she was 'going too far'. Leaning in towards a dog is threatening to them and dogs, like people, have a certain amount of 'personal space', this little girl had good intentions but it may just have been too much, too soon, for your dog. Especially from a stranger. It's also possible that she had a 'sore spot', or the little girl pulled on her hair by mistake etc. etc.

For now, I would suggest that you don't allow children or other people to hug your dog, or get in her face. Instead encourage them to scratch or pet under her chin (a hand moving under the chin is much less threatening than one moving over the head), or on her back. I doubt you'll have any problems with that.

Your girl looks beautiful and she's obviously a cherished part of your family, just as it should be. I'd take this occurrence with a 'pinch of salt', everyone has an 'off day' sometimes! However, if you have any problems of this type again, have a word with your vet or a professional trainer and they should be able to advise you.

Best of luck!

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Groaning or Growling?

by Sherry

I have a rottie and he is 11 months old. When my five year old hugs him or he is laying on the couch and we are petting him..He makes a groaning sound. I had read your information on your other page about this but it is kinda a sketchy for me. I did what was written to see if his body language changes. He NEVER show's his teeth or anything and no hair on his back raises but he does put his ear's back! He also makes this noise when we try to get him off the couch or off the bed when we don't want him on the furniture..

If you could help me out with any information I would greatly appreciate it. He also makes the same noise when he has his bone on the floor and my son tries to play with him and takes it away. This scares me. I love my dog "Tyton" to death but I am due with another child in march of 2011 and I'm afraid if this is aggression how the dog will be with an infant!

Thank You for your time! I really hope you can give me some insight.

Hi Sherry
It's quite possible that your pup is both groaning AND growling at different times and you're having difficulty telling the difference. If he's making a rumbling, grumbling sort of noise when being petted, chances are he's actually 'talking', however if he's making noises when your son takes his toys, or when you want him to get off the bed... in those situations I would be inclined to think he's growling.

At 11 months old Tyton is an adolescent (equivalent to a human tween or teen) and at this age it is VERY normal for a pup to begin to try to assert his own authority and challenge his owners to some degree. It's not a sign of an inherently aggressive character, more a developmental stage. If you think about how a human teenager acts towards parents and authority and how they want to 'do their own thing', you'll understand what I mean.

However, just because it's normal, that doesn't mean that it's okay for Tyton to behave like this - it's not! He needs to be shown clearly who is 'boss' and to understand that even your toddler (and soon the baby) are above him in terms of status in the family. Never back down from something because he growls as that will reinforce the behavior.

For example, if he growls at you when you try to get him off the sofa, tell him "NO GROWL" in a low, but very firm, voice and MAKE him get down. If you need to, get a hold of the fur at the scruff of his neck and give it a firm, but gentle, shake while saying "NO". YOU need to win all arguments. I always advise that you don't allow your pup/dog to sleep on sofas, beds, chairs or any other raised furniture as it encourages them to see themselves as superior. Use his crate, or a dog bed, and make sure he sleeps there instead.

To deal with the toy guarding, practice the 'leave it' command with your pup. To do this you need to get a handful of his favorite treats and then when he has is playing with a toy go up to him and ask him to 'leave it' while gently removing it from his mouth/paws etc. As soon as you have the toy, give him a treat and praise him saying "Good leave it". Then give the toy right back to him. Practice this several times a day until he obeys immediately. After that you only need to practice every other day or so, to keep his memory fresh. You should involve all members of the family in this practice, including your child/children as Tyton needs to know they are also in charge.

If he tries to guard his food, try feeding him by hand once a day, and then begin to drop tasty treats in his food bowl while he's eating. These exercises help him to learn that your hands near his food aren't a threat. Once he's okay with this, then begin to pick up his bowl, add a treat or two, and place it back on the ground for him to eat. The aim is to get him to allow you (and all family members) to touch or remove his food bowl without him making a fuss. However, always give it back to him, and make sure you praise him and give him a treat, don't just pick it up and take it away or he will object to that!

Adolescence is a stage all pups go through, and as long as you are patient, loving and consistent, Tyton will outgrow this challenging behavior. Rottweilers are very intelligent dogs and can be strong willed and even stubborn at times. It's important to make sure that your pup knows you are the 'alpha' and that you are confident in your dealings with him, and that the rules cannot be bent or broken. He will grow out of this stage as he matures.

However, meanwhile do always use common sense and don't allow him to be alone with your toddler or children unsupervised. An adolescent Rottie (or a puppy) often sees children as littermates and will try to exert their authority over them. Although this may be in play, Rotties are big and strong and can accidentally hurt a toddler or small child quite easily. So it's always better to be safe than sorry.

Hope this helps, best of luck.

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Rottie talking or Growling?

by David

Our Rott, Qbert, seems to like to make growling sounds when my wife rubs his hind portion or when she scratches his scruff or under his chin. As soon as she stops he puts her hand back on him for more and begins to make more noise including what sounds to me like aggressive growling.

My neighbor did the same thing and he made the noises. She stopped, he wanted more so she continued and then he snapped at her. What should we do with this confusing behavior.

He almost never makes these sound when I pet him in those areas unless my wife pets him at the same time or he is vocal that day.Please help.

Hi David
Qberts' behavior is definitely a bit confusing and I've never experienced a Rottie snapping at the same time as 'talking'. It seems as though he's a bit confused himself and you'll need to go carefully here, especially with people other than yourself and your wife.

Scratching or petting a male dog on the upper rump, or stroking him down the length of his back can occasionally trigger a defensive reaction, so I'd recommend avoiding that area for now. Also, don't allow him to control your behavior with his demands..... for example if your wife is petting him SHE decides when to stop, and shouldn't resume the interaction because the dog says so. It's important that she be seen to be 'in charge' and I'd recommend that she ask Qbert to 'sit' before petting him - and make sure he obeys every time.

It could be a dominance issue as your Rottie may think of himself as 'superior' to your wife and neighbors/friends etc. but not to you, which is why this behavior doesn't manifest itself with you.

I'd also suggest that you enroll your dog in an obedience class and have your wife be the one to work with him. It will help strengthen their bond and increase her status (in Qberts' eyes). Also you'll then be able to get some hands-on help from a professional who can actually SEE what is happening and that may give them more insight into what is going on in Qberts' head!

I hope this helps some, and wish you all the best of luck.

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My dog (female) is growling at my new rottweiler puppy(male)

by Nathaniel

My dog is growling at my new rottweiler puppy every time my puppy gets near her she growls. She bit him once broke it up and told her no.

Then she would just growl, today he got near her and she was growling I told her no she looked away then turned back and bit him this time I told her no again and gave her a little smack.

What should I do need some advice?

Hi Nathaniel
It can take a while for an older, resident dog and a new puppy to work out their relationship. Generally they do take care of it without too much assistance, but in situations where there's a chance of one of them getting hurt then it's important to step in - which is what you're doing.

I'd recommend trying to contain your pup in one or two rooms (baby gates work really well for this) and allowing your older dog free access to the rest of the house without being hassled by the pup. That way they can get to know each other through the gates and without the risk of your pup getting bitten.

After a couple of days of this, you can gradually let them spend some time together as long as you're supervising them. Don't leave them alone together until they've learned to get along and your older dog has completely accepted your pup.

Check out this webpage Introducing A New Puppy as it has tons of tips and advice to help you.

The majority of times this 'irritable' phase passes and the older dog accepts the new pup, and the pup learns that the older dog is the 'alpha' and shows respect. However, occasionally if a dog is particularly dog-aggressive, territorial and so on then it can be very difficult for them to accept the new arrival. Hopefully that won't be the case here though, and your dogs will soon be best of friends. Just be patient and take it slowly.

I wish you the best of luck.

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my 4 year old rottweiler male is growling at our 2 year old

by Claire Booker
(South Croydon. Surrey UK)

My 4 year old male rottweiler started growling at our 2 year old daughter nearly a year ago and it still going on now.

He is also not the dog we used to know, he is very sad and withdrawn and no matter how much love we give nothing is changing. i and my partner strongly feel that he very much dislikes our daughter.

If she tries to touch or stroke and pat him he runs away or growls at her. We are at the end of our tether especially as we our expecting daughter number 2.

Hi Claire
I think that this is a situation that needs to be evaluated by a professional dog behaviorist, and your vet would be the first person to talk to about it. He/she may be able to offer advice or recommend someone for you.

It sounds to me as though he hasn't really accepted your daughter as part of the family, and is acting like an upset and jealous sibling (which he is really!). If you've been correcting him for this behavior in the right way and consistently, then he really should have adapted his behavior by now, at least to some extent. As you are about to have a second daughter this situation is at risk of getting worse, although not immediately because he probably won't react in the same way to a young baby. It needs to be dealt with fully, and soon.

Getting upset or angry with him will only make the situation worse as he really doesn't understand why he feels this way, or what he's doing wrong. Rotties bond very closely with their owners and are very loving and loyal, and as you had him for 2 years before your daughter came along it's natural for him to feel usurped in your affections. Loving but firm corrections when he growls are important, as is giving him tons of love and affection so that he feels secure. I would also recommend formal obedience training classes, which will help him respond better to you and strengthen your bond. Walks and play sessions without your daughter will also help.

Generally I advise involving the kids in the daily care of the dog as that can really make a difference, but at only 2 years old your daughter is too young to be helpful :o) However, if he knows how to take a treat 'nicely' she could do that (obviously with your help and guidance), and maybe help brushing him a little, that sort of thing. Rottweilers are usually excellent with kids and if your dog can be shown that you love him AND your daughter, and that she's part of his 'pack' too, then things should improve. As I said earlier though, I'd strongly advise getting some professional one-on-one help.

Your dog is obviously sad and depressed and he is feeling lonely and upset, he just doesn't understand why, or know what to do about it. He loves and relies on you, so please don't give up on him without giving it 110%. There's just one caveat here, if he doesn't have a sound temperament in general, or attempts to bite, then it's VITAL to get professional advice and help as you can't risk someone (perhaps your daughter) getting hurt.

I wish you all the very best of luck and hope for all your sakes that you can get your dog the help he needs to become a happy member of your family once again.

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Growling and snapping Rottweiler puppy

by Daniel
(Toronto )

My 4 month old rottie growls and snaps when you touch his back, he allows me to touch his back but no one else.

As soon as you pet him he snaps and he has known everyone in the house from day one, he is well socialized listens to everyone.

He doesn't allow family members to touch his back only me.

Hi Daniel
First of all I'd have your vet check out your pup to make sure that there's no physical reason for this, for example that he's in pain for some reason or other.

I'm not sure where exactly it is on his back, or what type of touch he doesn't like, but an injury or back/hip problem is a possibility.

The other thing that could be happening is that this is an 'alpha' type reaction. Sometimes the more dominant dogs will object to having someone touch their back - most often seen if a person tries to stroke the dog down the length of his spine. It seems that some dogs will interpret this as a sign of attempted dominance and if they're 'alpha' inclined themselves they'll try to stop it.

If your pup sees you as the 'alpha' but other people as his 'equals' or even lower ranking, then this could be what's going on.

If your vet finds no signs or symptoms of pain/injury etc, then this is a behavioral problem and you need to correct it right away. Don't allow him to growl or snap at people and give him a verbal correction and if necessary wrap a hand (gently) around his muzzle and hold it closed while telling him 'no'.

Make sure everyone in the house is involved in caring for your pup (ie feeding, grooming, training etc.) and make him 'earn' everything from meals to walks by asking him to 'sit' first. Make sure he will do this for everyone. Also don't let him up on beds or furniture, go through doors before any human, lie down and block doorways/hallways/stairs etc. as these are all subtle ways that dogs try to raise their own 'status' and dominate their humans.

It sounds as though overall you've done a great job with him so far, and at 4 months your Rottweiler is becoming an adolescent and his natural inclinations are to test authority and 'act out' a bit (think of a human teenager and you'll understand this!). It's important to remain firm, patient and loving and continue to enforce boundaries and so on.

Hope this helps, best of luck with your pup.

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why does my dog keep barking an growling at little kids

by kelly

When i take my 11 month old rottie out if she sees little kids she starts growling, barking and jumping around. can you tell me why?

Hi Kelly
It sounds as though she's not familiar with children, or used to being around them. At 11 months old she's still got plenty of growing, and learning, to do and I'd strongly recommend that you begin to socialize her with children.

It's something that you need to do very slowly and carefully though, with the emphasis being on ensuring that she can't hurt the kids, either on purpose, or by accident. Rotties are big dogs and even when they're just playing, they can knock down or hurt a small child.

Kids are small, fast moving and usually have high-pitched voices and quick, unpredictable movements... all of these things tend to trigger the 'prey drive' in certain breeds. This prey drive causes the dog to instinctively want to chase them. Now, that doesn't mean that they want to do them harm, but being chased by a huge dog (and probably knocked down and nuzzled) isn't something you want to happen!

I'd recommend starting indoors, at a friend or relatives house, and with children/people you know well and who aren't afraid of your pup. Keep her on a leash at first and slowly introduce her to one child at a time. Allow them to feed her treats (make sure she knows hot to 'take it nicely' and not snatch) and to pet her, encouraging slow, gentle movements and low key 'indoor' voices. After she's comfortable with this you can move onto having 2 children around and so on.

It will take time and patience to get her used to being around children if they're a new experience for her. But it's VERY important to socialize her properly and it's well worth the time and effort involved. Best of luck.

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Rottie pup growling when daughter passes food dish

by jennifer rutland

I have had my rottie not even a week. She is eight weeks old. So far she has been great up until tonight.

I fed her and my daughter walked by her and she barked and growled so I of course stepped in and corrected her. I also got my daughter involved. I've never had a puppy do this in the past.

Any advice would greatly be appreciated.

Hi Jennifer
My first advice would be not to over-react to this type of behavior! Unfortunately because this breed has had negative attention and inherited a undeservedly bad reputation, new owners and those not familiar with them, sometimes read more into behavior when it comes from a Rottie, even though it may be normal and understandable.

Puppies, especially those in a large litter, may have had to fight (and I use this term loosely!) for their share of the food while with their littermates. Because of that they often want to protect their bowl when they're eating, and your pup may well see your daughter as another puppy at this point.

However, just because it's a normal behavior doesn't mean that it should be allowed, and guarding anything (from food bowls to toys) is a big 'No-No' so you do need to correct it. Do not be aggressive or harsh in your interactions, training or punishments. Again, sometimes people believe that a Rottie needs strong corrections because they're going to be big, strong dogs. Not so. They actually respond much better to firm, but loving, corrections which are issued in a low voice. If you raise your voice, or use harsh methods they are more likely to resist you, and to become stubborn. With an adolescent or adult Rottie you may even find them 'answering you back'.

You did the right thing to step in and reprimand your pup, and also to involve your daughter, because this little girl needs to see you both as being 'in charge' and realize your daughter is not a pup, and that she has a higher position in the family than she does. I would recommend that you read my Free Puppy Training Tips page and begin work with your little one right away. It's important for puppies to start learning 'house rules' and manners from day one. As she may have a tendency to want to protect his treasures, do work on the 'leave it' command that I discuss on that page.

I would also suggest that you take steps to make sure she's comfortable with you, and your daughter and any other family members, touching his food bowl. Begin by dropping tasty treats into her bowl while he's eating, starting from a height and gradually working up to actually placing them in her bowl right under her nose. This helps her to learn that your hand near her food bowl is a positive thing, not a negative one. Once she's okay with that, when he's eating try telling him to 'leave it' and picking up his bowl, putting two treats in it (let him see you doing this) and then immediately giving the bowl back to her. She needs to learn that it's perfectly okay for someone to take her food, because she will always get it back!

Hope this helps, I wish you the best of luck with your puppy.

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Rottie growling at my baby

My rott Mr. Waffles is 1 1/2 years old. A client gave him to me when he was just four months.

He sometimes growls at my 2 year old son. He will show me his teeth sometimes when I'm petting his stomach. He does not always do this but he's a big dog and I have two small children so I'm not sure if I should keep him. When he lays on my bed and when I tell him to get down he keeps his head down making eye contact with me and then he shows me his teeth and growls.

I'm also having a hard time with him jumping on kids and myself. The first forty mintutes when we get home is a nightmare. Then finally he will calm down and then he's great dog. I feel like my hands are tied and I'm starting to think is too much dog for us.

Mr. Waffles is definitely challenging your authority and at this age that's not unusual. Although he's a big boy and looks grown up, Rottweilers are slow to mature and he is still an adolescent. This type of challenging behavior is pretty normal.

However, because you have young children and seem to be a little anxious about his behavior, I think you may want to consider getting some outside, professional, help to get your pup better under control.

I'd recommend enrolling him in a basic dog obedience class so that you can work with him and get some hands-on help. This will encourage him to think of you as the 'alpha' or leader or his 'pack' (your family) and should short-circuit a lot of his behavior issues that you describe.

At home, work on reinforcing the fact that he is NOT in charge! Don't allow him up on the beds/furniture in the first place - use a crate to contain him when you can't be supervising him and never back down from something because he is growling at you. Be firm and confident both in voice and actions so that he realizes this type of intimidation won't work on you.

Don't allow him to jump on you or the children either. A firm 'NO' and a tug on his collar may help with this, you can also buy 'no jump' harnesses which are specifically designed to help correct this sort of behavior. They can't be worn for long periods, but you can have Mr. Waffles wear one for that first hour or so after you come home and until he calms down. Obedience classes will also teach you other ways to correct his jumping.

This type of behavior is one of the reasons that Rotties usually aren't recommended for first time dog owners, or those who aren't very confident in their ability to handle big, strong-willed dogs. This breed is very intelligent and usually eager to please their owners, however they can be a bit 'bossy' and needs strong leadership so that they feel confident enough to follow it - rather than set the rules themselves.

Hope this helps, I wish you the best of luck with Mr. Waffles and am sure that some professional help will make this situation easier to handle.

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puppy is irritable and aggressive when riding in the car

by edward
(laurel, md)

When doing a car ride my dog is very irritable, sometimes she barks and bites. She is 5 mths old german rottie.

It sounds as though your pup is getting very anxious when she's in the car, and this isn't unusual especially if she doesn't travel very much.

Taking short 'practice' rides on a regular basis can help her get more comfortable with this, and there are also natural products you can try which will make her less anxious and stressed. These products are also used for general anxiety conditions and you can find a selection of them here Dog Separation Anxiety Medication.

Try to make any car rides as low-key as possible, keep the volume in the car down (radio and voices) and don't get angry with her or raise the emotional level of the environment. Talk soothingly and quietly to her and offer her a favorite toy to distract her. Don't give her treats though as that may make her nauseous.

It's one of those situations where practice and time usually improve things and you'll need to be patient with her.

Hope this helps, best of luck with your pup.

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11 week old rottweiler growls at certain people

by hope
(New Philadelphia Pa)

i just got an 11 week old rottweiler puppy and she's great with the family and some of my friends, the other day i took her to one of my friends house and there's children there she got along with every one except for the younger one she growled.

then 2 days later an elderly friend of mine came to visit and she went to reach for the puppy and she went ballistic growling and snipping.. but then 2 more friends came over and she was fine with them .. how do i get her out of it i have had plenty of rottiess but none of them ever did this....can the pup sense something i can't ?

oh i met her parents and they were as friendly as ever and anyone, myself and children can put our hands in her dish while shes eating and shes fine with it ..mind you its only certain people she does this to.

Hi Hope
Dogs and puppies are extremely intuitive and definitely can sense things about people that other humans can't (such as emotional state, confidence-levels, intentions etc.) .

However, at 11 weeks old your pup should definitely not be allowed to growl, or snap, at ANYONE. She's a baby and the lowest rung on the ladder in terms of authority, and this is something you need to teach her now while she's young.

Correct her verbally with a firm "N0" whenever she growls or snaps, if she doesn't listen then get hold of the scruff of her neck and give her a firm (but not rough) shake while saying "NO" again. Don't overreact or get angry, shout etc. That only makes things worse. After correcting her you can distract her with another person, activity etc. or remove her from the room/vicinity and so on to break the interaction. Do this consistently every time she misbehaves.

She may be afraid or unsure of little children, or elderly people, or she may see them as weaker than her and therefore lower on the scale of authority. She needs to be shown that that's not the case. It may also be that she has a more dominant personality than your previous dogs, which isn't necessarily a bad thing but it is something you have to work on and she needs to learn that ALL humans are to be obeyed and respected.

Make sure that she earns everything from food to walks, by asking her to 'sit' and only giving her whatever it is she needs after she's obeyed. Also encourage other children, older people or anyone she seems unsure of to do this once you have her snapping/growling under control. Don't allow her up on beds or furniture, or to block doorways, guard toys or food etc. etc.

She's still a tiny baby and has lots of time to learn but it's important to set out the right way. You may want to read my Puppy Training Tips and Your Rottweiler Puppy page for additional help and advice.

Hope this helps, best of luck with your pup.

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My Rottweiler growls and snaps

by Vince
(hickory, nc, usa)

My rottweiler growls and snaps at people when they get too close to me or my wife and two kids.

Usually it is just when I shake someones hand or give someone a hug. How do I get him to stop?

Hi Vince
I'm not sure how old your Rottweiler is, or how much socialization he's had, but if he's an adolescent it's likely that he's just starting to 'feel out' his protective instincts and isn't really too sure about how to handle them.

It's important for Rotties to get tons of socialization experiences and to meet lots of new people, and go new places, to help build up their tolerance for differences and their self-confidence. If you're not too sure how to socialize your dog, visit this page Socialize Your Puppy for lots of tips and advice.

I'd also recommend enrolling him in an obedience class, as it will help you both to learn to communicate better, and give you some hands-on help with issues such as this.

Be sure to correct your dog with a firm "NO" (not shouting) if he growls at people, and don't try to pet him or soothe him as he'll interpret that as approval of his behavior. Encourage him to 'sit' and accept treats from people other than his family, as this will help him to learn to trust strangers, but take this slowly and start with people he sees regularly. Always praise him when he meets someone new without being defensive.

Rottweilers are very strong and can cause a lot of damage if they bite, so if he snaps at people, and you can't stop him from doing it, you need to get professional help. A dog obedience trainer or dog behavioral specialist will be able to give you 'hands on' help, and that is what you need. It's impossible to treat this sort of behavior online.

Also, be sure that you are not nervous or tense around other people (even if it's because you're worried about how your dog may react). He'll pick up on this and won't understand why you're tense, most likely assuming you're afraid of the person you're meeting.... leading to him trying to 'protect you' from them by growling.

If your dog is an adult, and has behaved this way for some time, you will need a trainer or behaviorist to help you. The same applies if your dog is growling or snapping out of fear. If he's a fearful or anxious dog, his behavior could be unpredictable if he feels that you, or your family is threatened. Even in benign situations.

Rotties aren't Labrador Retrievers and they generally don't love everyone, or need everyone to love them. They can be a bit 'stand-offish' or reserved, and may 'watch and wait' rather than join in or want attention. However, they should never be aggressive or defensive in situations that don't warrant it. Sometimes this behavior is genetic (if the parent dogs were fearful, or aggressive), other times it's down to lack of socialization and inexperienced handling.

Either way, a Rottie that growls or snaps needs some behavioral training. If you are ever concerned that he's seriously in danger of biting or growls menacingly, make sure he wears a soft muzzle if you're out and about and may get into situations where he could harm someone.

I wish I could help more, but I'd advise you to talk with your vet, and a local dog obedience instructor or behavioralist and get the guidance you need. Both you, your family and your dog will feel better for it.

Best of luck, hope it all works out well.

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15 weeks old female rottie growls and show teeth

by Nancy

Hello, this is a little background on this puppy. She was only 7 weeks old when we got her. She was not being cared for and we decided to give this little one a chance. I have never had a rotttie before but have had dobermans, german shepherds, that turned out great and lived with us till they were old.

This puppy is sweet and is learning very quickly.(sit,stay,come,and is doing well with the leash). We can hand feed her, so far there has never been a problem with toys or food. She did have a problem at first with opening her mouth (growled and showed her teeth)but with work that problem has stopped completely.

She is also very good with her nails,other dogs,and cats.

When she gets angry, is when it is time to go to bed. She wants to stay up( it seems) and will growl and show her teeth when we take her to her crate. Night time is the only time she seems to do this. We tell her no Bad girl (which she does understand) and settles some.(just like a small child I am not doing this)

She goes to her crate regardless of her actions as I do not want her to get the idea this is going to work. I am concerned that this could be a bad sign as I have never had any puppy do this.
I have had her vet checked. No health problems.This pup is very smart she reminds me of my departed doberman.

I do not want a dog that will bite however do you have some ideas for me. Thank you for some advice....

Hi Nancy
Personally at this point I wouldn't be too concerned about this as overall it sounds as though your pup is doing extremely well and has a basically sound temperament.

She's had a bit of a rocky start and if she wasn't properly taken care of, socialized, handled and disciplined even in those very early weeks, it can show in certain behaviors. She may also have a slightly dominant personality although as she is very obedient, generally good with other people and animals, and doesn't object to the leash, having her nails trimmed, being hand fed etc. etc. then I doubt very much she's an 'alpha' type pup or aggressive in nature.

I would just recommend continuing to do exactly what you are doing and make sure that she isn't able to control your actions in any way (by growling, refusing to move etc.) and also make sure that you reinforce her 'lowly' position in the family by keeping her down off beds and furniture, making her 'earn' everything from food to treats/walks/petting etc. by asking her to 'sit' first.

As you've owned other large guardian breeds and raised them successfully you're probably in the best position to raise this little girl properly without over-reacting. I would also recommend enrolling her in a formal basic obedience class as the socialization will be good for her, and the 'hands-on' help of a professional trainer will be able to assist you with this type of problem if it continues.

With patience, love, discipline and consistency I think this pup will do just fine. However, if she snaps or this behavior doesn't improve I'd recommend talking to a trainer or dog behavioral specialist (even your vet if he/she is familiar with large breeds) for some extra tips and advice.

I hope this helps some and wish you the best of luck with your pup.

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Growling behavior in 6 month Rottweiler

by Andra

Hi, I have a rottweiler named Bruno and every time i want to hug him he growls at me and sometimes even wants to bite my face.

Now when I hug him and he starts growling i order him shut up and he calms down a bit. But sometimes still wants to bite my face... well not a true biting it's like a warning like he saids enough hahah.

How can I change this behavior because i want him all calm down when i hug him. He is almost 6 months old.

Hi Andra
This is most definitely not okay, and it's obviously putting you at risk of getting bitten.

At 6 months old your pup is a teenager and he's wanting to assert his authority and trying to find his 'place' in the pack. It sounds as though he's not totally 'on board' with you being the boss! The fact that you reprimand him and he settles down a bit is good, because it shows that he still respects you to a degree, jut not enough at this point.

I'd recommend getting him enrolled in a basic obedience class right away so that you can get some 'hands on' help to improve your relationship and interaction. Regular training sessions with him will reinforce your authority (when done properly and with positive reinforcement methods)and the socialization will help him too.

At home, make sure that he has a set of rules to follow and that he obeys them. Keep him down off furniture or beds, make him 'earn' everything from meals to treats to petting by asking him to 'sit' or 'down' and making sure he obeys before giving him whatever it is. Don't allow him to go through doorways first, or to get under you feet or obstruct entrances/hallways etc.

Don't allow him to guard food or toys, practice the 'leave it' command daily. This is when you tell him to 'leave it' when he has a toy or bone (start with toys as they're a less valued prize for the dog than a food item) and then you take the toy and give him a treat in exchange. Immediately give the toy back and praise him. This is something he needs to learn to do without question.

While you're working on all this I would resist the urge to give him a big hug for a while, and make do with petting him under the chin, or scratching his head or chest. Dogs are creatures of habit and you want him to 'forget' that he likes to growl or snap at you, and allow the new rules and practices to naturally prevent him from behaving in this way.

Once he totally accepts your authority and doesn't challenge you, then you can try the hug again, just take it slowly and be patient. Best of luck with Bruno.

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My 4 moth old growls when taking away a bone that is not his?

by Christena

Hello, my new little man is named Jax and I love him to death. I have had him since he was eight weeks old and this is the 2nd rottie I have owned.

The other night we were at a friends house and they have a female dog, Jax found the dogs bones, my friend asked if he was ok with taking bones away, I said sure, he has never been aggressive when we play with his bones and toys at home, so my friend proceeded to take the bone from him to see how he would react with someone new to him taking the bone away, he growled and snapped, I imediately told him "NO" in a stern voice and took the bone away.

Did he do this because he was at someone else's house, and smelled the female dog on the bone? ( the female dog was outside and not in the house) Thanks a lot! Christena

Hi Christena
As this is the first time Jax has done this, then I would be fairly certain it was because it was someone strange to him taking away the bone. He didn't respect your friend as his 'superior' the way he does you.

You did the right thing to correct him and remove the bone, and this is probably an isolated incident. It would be a good idea to find a way to let other people practice removing bones/toys etc. from him..... in your presence, so that you can reward him for the right response, and correct him if he growls. Formal obedience classes would help too if you're not already doing that.

Otherwise it sounds as though Jax is doing just fine, so don't worry. Best of luck with him.

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why does my 18 month old rotty growls at my wife at night

by glen deluca
(staten island, ny)

I purchased my rotty pup from a reputable breeder of german rotties. after six months he started growling at night if he heard something outside. then at a year old he started to growl at my wife when she would walk around at night to get out of bed or check my daughter.

In fact he mostly growls when I am alone with him and he is sleeping at night. how do I stop this so she doesn't make me put him up for adoption.

He never growls at my 8 year old daughter or myself. How do i train him out of this behavior?

Hi Glen
Male Rottweilers often don't mature fully until they're at least 2 years, or older, and at 18 months old your Rottie is still a pup and still learning what is expected of him.

Right now his 'guarding' instincts are not fully developed, and although he feels that he needs to do something to protect you and your family, he's not exactly sure what it is yet! He's growling at night because he feels that you might be threatened. When he's growling at your wife it may be that he doesn't see her as 'alpha' enough to be in charge and so he's taking charge and 'asking' her to go back to bed!

It sounds overall as though your pup has an excellent temperament, and unless I'm missing something here I don't see any reason why you should need to find him another home at this point.

I would recommend that you correct him firmly (but don't shout or smack), when he growls at your wife - he definitely needs to know that this isn't okay. Don't allow his behavior to control yours... or hers. However, when he growls at a noise outside, that is normal and okay and once you're sure it's nothing to worry about tell him "Good boy, it's okay now" and have him quiet down.

I think that if you're not already taking this pup to formal obedience classes, it would be good to start. They will help you learn to understand and communicate with him better, strengthen your bond, and you'll be able to get some 'hands on' help with any problem behaviors or questions. It would be good to have your wife take part too, as your pup needs to know that she is above him in the 'pecking order'.

Also at home, make sure your wife is at least equally involved in feeding, grooming, training and caring for your pup. Dogs respect those who control the resources of life and this is the best way to show them that the humans are in charge. Have your 8 year old help too whenever it's possible.

I hope this helps. Best of luck with your dog.

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Aggressive reaction totally out of character from my Rottie

by Lisa

My 4 year old rottie was having a dream - kicking and whimpering. I touched him lightly on his hind quarter and he woke up totally lashing out. He lunged at me barking, teeth bared and his eyes were totally dilated. My roommate had to call his name to snap him out of his 'frenzy'.

He has NEVER been aggressive in the 14 months we have had him. He is gentle and loving. His first owner did have a checkered history, so we aren't sure about some of our dogs history. I am a bit nervous that this could happen again and wondered if you may have any suggestions.

Hi Lisa
It seems that your dog was having a bad dream or nightmare and was feeling scared and threatened, when you touched him his reaction was more defensive than aggressive, born out of the dream situation not you - or his reality. It sounds as though as soon as he 'came to' he realized his mistake.

I don't think this is anything to worry about in terms of his being aggressive in normal situations as it was an isolated incident born of fear and disorientation. However, I would never recommend touching or approaching any dog who is sleeping deeply, especially if he's dreaming. Waking them unexpectedly can produce unusual behavior (often defensive).

If your pups history is partly unknown he may have been mistreated or neglected and his dreams reflected that. Now he's in a loving and safe environment hopefully he will forget that eventually.

Hope this puts your mind at rest, best of luck with your pup.

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Please help with the following if possible.

We have a 5 year old rottie. We have had him from being 10 weeks old. He is perfect in every way, apart from one and that is, over the last year he has started growling at my partner (his master). He is obedient in every way and has never shown one sign of aggression and in turn we have never shown him any aggression, for him to understand it. Understanding the breed that he is we have always been very alert to his training needs and been strict, he understand his place in our household / family. He has not been castrated as he as always been so intelligent, loving and in a word - soft. Anyone could enter our home and he would lick them to death in the hope of a stroke rather than see them out. We mated him with a bitch around 2 and a half years ago. I understand that from that he will have felt his feet, but he only seems to challenge his master.

Please note this growling doesn’t happen all the time. The usual scenario is if my partner is out walking him and there’s another dog, he wants to go play. If my partner holds him back by his collar he starts growling and looks as though he is getting ready to bite him – although he HAS NEVER gone for him, he makes threats. Another scenario is if we are on the decking out back and want to put in the garden off the decking he will growl if you pull him out by his collar.
He is very intelligent and wants to be around us all the time. 5 minutes stroking is no good, after this time and you want to stop he gets overpowering.

We now have a 5 month old baby and Diesel has accepted him better then i could have ever had hoped. He doesn’t touch his toys/teddys and if he walks past the baby the worse he does is lick him.

Because we have a 5 month old baby, the growling on occasions is getting concerning. We spoke to someone who trains rotties, and he advised to smack him the instant that he growls but personally i think this is going infuse the situation and i obviously have a fear of him turning and biting my partner. There must be an alternative, or an answer why he has started growling at the man who feeds, walks and loves him every day.

I suspect your answer will to be get him castrated, any advise you have would be greatly appreciated.

Hi Layla
It sounds as though overall Desiel is good tempered and not aggressive, so it's vital to figure out what he's thinking when he growls in this way.

Neutering him will probably help to some extent, as it reduces the hormonal influences that can trigger some types of aggressive/defensive behavior, but it's definitely not a 'cure-all'.

I most definitely don't agree with the advice to smack Desiel when he growls, as you rightly assume that will only escalate the situation and may indeed provoke a snap, bite or at least more growling. Unfortunately because Rottweilers are big, powerful dogs some people (and even trainers and professionals) feel that it's necessary to be very tough or even physical when disciplining them. In my personal opinion, and experience, this is not the case! A very firm verbal correction (not shouted, but in a low firm voice) is important, but hitting or physical corrections shouldn't be used.

Rottweilers are very intelligent, and an adult Rottie - a male in particular - can feel that they are more 'qualified' to be in charge (or just plain 'should be' in charge). You obviously love Desiel and have raised him in the right way, but at this point I think you need to be more firm with him and remind him that you, and your partner are the alphas in the house.

Dogs naturally respect those who are in charge of the resources in life, and food is their number one priority. I'd recommend that your partner start hand-feeding Desiel at least one meal a day. When I say 'hand-feed' that's what I mean, literally. Just feed him his dry dog food by hand, either one piece at a time, or a handful of pieces held in the palm. Also, insist that he 'sit' before being fed (whether by hand or in the bowl), before he gets his leash clipped on, gets a belly rub etc. etc. This sends him a clear signal that the humans are in charge.

Things that he shouldn't be allowed to do...

jump up on sofas, furniture or beds

lie in doorways or obstruct your path through the house

go through a door before you or your partner

instigate a session of play or petting, or extend one through his insistence

All of these things lead him to believe he is your equal, and he isn't. He's a loved member of your family, but isn't in charge.

At this stage I wouldn't worry too much about his showing aggression towards your baby, as he has a basically sound temperament and has accepted the him/her - but obviously you don't ever want to leave them alone unattended.

As your child grows be sure that you always show Desiel clearly that the human child/children are higher up in the 'pecking order' than he is. Involve them in his care as soon as possible and make sure he obeys them as well.

If you continue to have problems with him even after following this advice for a period of time, I'd recommend looking for a professional trainer or dog behavioral specialist to help you understand Desiel better, and to help improve your communications. However, don't accept someone who isn't familiar with the breed and who doesn't have the same attitudes or expectations as you do.

I hope this helps some and wish you the very best with that very handsome Rottweiler of yours.

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puppy aggression during baths

by sharon
(Amite, La)

My rotties's bath times are not good these days. The first bath went excellent. 8 wks old
During his second bath he got very aggressive (10 wks). I don't know what caused it. Nothing has ever happened to him. I don't know how to correct the issue.

I tried to bathe him at 13 wks - he again became aggressive, I stopped this time because I was trying to bathe him alone. I just washed him off with a washcloth. He was fine with that.

Any ideas? suggestions?

Hi Sharon
It sounds as though something about bathtime has frightened your pup, and he's reacting aggressively out of fear. You will need to take this slowly and gradually re-introduce bathtime at a pace that doesn't scare him.

Rottweilers really don't need bathing more often than once every couple of months, unless they're getting very dirty somehow. As he was okay with the washcloth routine it could be that it's having the water poured (or sprayed) on him that's the problem, or maybe the slippery tub, or getting water in his eyes.... you are the best person to figure that out.

For now, try just a little water in the tub and washcloths, and gradually build up to a more 'full' bathtime experience. Don't allow his growling or snapping to control your actions (as in stopping the bath) and correct him firmly but with love.

I'd recommend that you read this webpage Bathing A Puppy as it has lots of tips and advice to help you. Best of luck.

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