Male Rottie Max been and gone in 24hours! Did we do the right thing?
We expected a friendly 14 month male rottie who let a small child put it's hand in his mouth.
We and rescue volunteer, who is trying to save him from the kennel, believed his young owner treated him well and that max was soft and docile. Max is 18 months, not neutered but we intended to get this done.
Here's what he did:
He knew some commands but didn't always obey us (he obeyed his owner).
Pushed us out the way to enter doorway first.
Constantly leaning and pushing us to pet him.
Tried and kept trying to get up on sofa.
Stole food off kitchen surface (boiled egg with shell).
Wanted to enter the kitchen at any opportunity.
Continuously wanted food, even the coffee in your cup. We fed him plenty and that was never enough.
Barked at 3 and 5 year olds when they came to say hello (he seemed to sense they were scared).
He wasn't indifferent to other dogs (as we were led to believe) on a walk.
Cowered when i raised my hand to throw a ball.
He did lie down and relax if we were on the computer ignoring him but the moment we moved so did he. He came for a pet sometimes though even then. He didn't growl at us but we felt he would if we confronted him.
We knew we couldn't handle him. We would have been afraid to confront him. Luckily the owner sent a friend to pick him up.
We sent an email to the volunteer explaining our experience with Max hoping it will help them make the right decision to re-home him with an experienced rottweiler owner who will not be afraid to confront and correct this poor dog and give him a chance in life.
For us it's a puppy that we can mould into a big softy softy like our previous rottie.
We tried to help a dog in need and feel bad for Max. We think that he may have been abused and that maybe he has had to fight for food and training has not been taken seriously at all!
It sounds to me as though Max has had a rough start in his life, and you're assessment of the reasons for his needy and erratic behavior are probably fairly accurate.
A dog of any breed who is in a rescue society or pound is likely to have a certain amount of 'baggage' and to be anxious, even scared, and most definitely unsettled when first brought into their new home. It would be unrealistic to expect anything else because they don't understand why they are facing so many changes. In most cases these feelings are a transient problem and with love, patience and consistency the dog learns to trust their new owners and get that second chance they deserve.
From what you describe it doesn't sound as though Max was aggressive, just anxious and nervous in his new surroundings. He is an adolescent male and at that age even a Rottie pup with the most consistent upbringing will tend to challenge authority and test the limits when possible... and I think that played a role. He may have a tendency to be dominant in terms of personality, or it could be that (as you mentioned) he has always found it necessary to fight for his food or any other resource. It's impossible for me to say either way for sure.
If he comes into a home where the owners are confident in their ability to handle a big, strong-willed but anxious dog I have no doubt that his behavior can be modified given time and patience, and that he will most likely make a wonderful pet once he overcomes his fears and worries. However, as you didn't feel able to give him the discipline and structure that he needs in order to feel secure I think you did the right thing overall. Perhaps giving him a bit more time would have allowed you to make a more accurate assessment of him and of your own ability to work with him, but that is irrelevant now. Rottweilers are great dogs, but they do need a strong leader and due to their high intelligence and strong will they can overshadow an owner who is fearful or hesitant - a Rottie who thinks they are in charge of a home, especially one with young children, isn't a desirable situation so don't second guess yourselves too much.
Hopefully Max will find the home that he so desperately needs and an owner who will be able to help him feel confident and loved. All dogs are different, even those of the same breed, so if you plan to add another Rottweiler to your home, even if it is a puppy, do be certain that you can handle them as they grow and mature because there's no guarantee that you will get a dog with the same personality as your first. I wish you the very best of luck with whatever dog you choose in the future.