Jealousy issue between older Rottweiler and new family rotty
by Marilyn T
(Escanaba, MI USA)
I have a 10 year old spayed female Rottweiler who we adopted after she was abandoned along the road five years ago. I also have a 12 year old Black Lab/Elk hound male. I really have changed my attitude on Rottweilers after mine has been such a great dog.
We rescued a 6 year old spayed female from a shelter. They met at the shelter and rode home together and got along great. After about two weeks the new Rottweiler showed jealousy over her new human mom and this causes arguments and fights between the two of them. It gets pretty violent, at least more than I'm used to. Other times they sleep near each other exchange play toys etc. The older Rottie is easy going and gets along with everyone, at least until the new dog came here. The new dog was an only dog and I believe wasn't socialized enough. We have had visitors and all dogs do very well. The real issue is the jealousy for attention between the two Rotties. We were concerned over the fighting and didn't want it to get so someone was seriously hurt.
I brought the new Rottweiler to a friend who has many dogs, all kinds and sizes. She was a little jealous of my friend (female) at first but since there were so many other dogs had to learn to share her new mom. She is doing really good with new people, loves kids and gets along well with other dogs at my friends. A couple of incidents of other dogs going after her have occurred, but my friend said she did not start either of the altercations, but was rather a victim of a "red zone dog", (other dogs known for aggression issues).
We would like to bring her back to live with us. I understand they have to work out the pecking order, but considering the breed we don't want to take any unnecessary chance of them hurting each other. Is this just sibling rivalry? How do I teach them to share my attention and my biggest concern is when I am not here and when we have company around or are not here with them.
My older dogs get along with everyone who comes around on a normal day. I appreciate your comments. I have fallen hard for the Rottweiler breed, they are very, very good dogs and make excellent members to our families and I want to continue to feel that way.
You are right to be cautious here and to take it slowly, but it sound as though overall these two have done pretty well.
You've got two rescue dogs, both adult females, and at least one of them probably hasn't had much socialization.... given all of those factors, some squabbling/jealousy and so on is pretty much a 'given' and, from what you describe, I'd say these two are being pretty tolerant.
However, with a breed as big and strong as a Rottweiler you definitely want to be careful. As the new dog has done well with a variety of other dogs at your friends' home, and your older dog is usually friendly, I personally think your chances of getting them to 'get along' in the long term is very good. It will take time, supervision and patience, but I think it can be done.
It's important to make sure that your first Rottie gets treated as the 'alpha' whenever possible and feed, groom, greet etc. her first. That helps to minimize any potential jealousy. An important aspect of this will be your ability to be the overall 'authority figure', as both dogs will need to see you as being in charge, and respect and obey corrections you give. Basically you HAVE to be the clear 'pack leader'!
As you're friend seems to be very familiar with playing this role, I'd recommend that you have her give you as many tips and as much 'hands on' guidance as possible. She also has the added benefit of having cared for this dog so she's in the perfect position to advise you there.
At least to begin with I'd recommend that you try to have two people around when these two dogs are together, because it's impossible for one person to separate two Rotties who are fighting - it's difficult enough for two! Leave their collars (not chain/slip type) on at all times as it gives you something to grab if necessary. Also, never leave them alone together if you're not there to supervise, as that could lead to problems.
If they do get into a fight, don't try to get between them to separate them, and be careful about getting your arms or hands near their heads. I don't personally advise pulling them by their rear legs as some people do as Rottweilers can have hip problems and this could cause trouble. A jug of cold water over their heads is often enough of a shock to make them hesitate, giving you (and your helper) time to separate them.
A citronella type spray can also be used. I have a pepper-spray that was recommended to me by a professional trainer, and that I keep for emergencies. I've only had occasion to use it once and the tiniest squirt was effective but the only physical effect on the dogs was a bit of sneezing and blinking.... unfortunately it was a windy day and I think I got more of the spray than the dogs did so it's something to bear in mind! I tasted that stuff all day :o(
I don't mean to scare you with this information, and there's no reason to believe these two will get into a serious fight at all. Squabbling is normal, and usually sounds, and looks, worse than it is. But it's always a good idea to be prepared.
Rottweilers are wonderful dogs and I'm glad that you've had a chance to learn to love and appreciate them. I think with love, patience, understanding you'll find that given some time these two girls will build a relationship themselves. Best of luck to all of you.