How to put confidence in my Rottweiler

by Cli Wil
(New York)

I was allowing someone to train my rottweiler not to whine so much. Instead, they taught my rottweiler fear. I took my rottweiler away, but he now cowers from any loud noises and people.

How do I help my rottweiler to regain his bravery and confidence?

Hi Cli Wil
This is a problem that unfortunately is fairly common in dog trainers, they don't understand the breed and use harsh, punitive measures. This usually results in one of two things - a dog who is fearful and anxious, or one who is stubborn and aggressive.

It's lucky that your dog has taken the first approach as it will be easier for you to handle and with lots of time, love, patience and consistency he will be able to regain his normal, confident personality. But it is going to need you to be patient with him and take it slowly.

Rebuilding his confidence needs to be done as step at a time and you must make sure that he feels loved and accepted. Start by doing basic obedience (even if he knows it inside out) at home and rewarding him with praise and a tasty treat every time he is successful in obeying a command.

Socialization is a MUST, but as he's now anxious don't force him into situations that scare him, take it slowly and allow him to feel comfortable before progressing.

For example, if he's not anxious or nervous when you take him to the local petstore, rather than go inside and walk around with lots of other people and dogs, stand or sit outside a little away from the entrance and let him watch people and dogs come and go. If someone approaches, encourage them to give him one of the treats you've brought along so that he begins to see strangers as a positive experience rather than a negative one.

If you have friends with friendly, vaccinated dogs, take him along for 'play dates' and watch to make sure he doesn't get overwhelmed. Walk him daily in your neighborhood and always use a happy, upbeat voice - if you're confident and happy he will be more likely to feel the same way. If a loud noise or something scares him, don't baby him, just say something like "come on.. nothing to worry about" in a cheerful, calm voice and keep moving. He will take his cue from you.

It's unfortunate that this has happened, but at least you recognized the problem and removed your dog before any more damage was done. It's obvious that you love and understand him, so he's one of the lucky ones, give him love, time and be patient and I think he'll be doing much better soon. Good luck.

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