My 5 year old female Rottweiler aggression toward boyfriend

by Janice
(New Port RIchey)

I adopted my 5 year old female Rottie from a rescue. I have had her since November, 6 months. I live alone with her and my male cat.

I recently started dating and when kissing my boyfriend she start barking and growling. He went to the bathroom and she charged at him. I have to get this under control. She did not bite him thank God but the way she is acting is very intimidating.

What can I do to make her realize this person is a good person and that the aggression is bad?

Hi Janice
This is a little tricky, but you can definitely overcome it with love and patience.

Your Rottweiler doesn't understand human behavior, and when your boyfriend got close to you she may have felt that you were at risk. She was simply defending you, and that in itself isn't 'bad'. However, obviously she's misunderstanding the situation and she needs to learn that he isn't a threat to your safety.

I would recommend that you help your dog and your boyfriend to build a relationship, but take it slowly. Help him to play the 'good guy', but giving her treats, perhaps bringing her a favorite toy or bone and so on. Perhaps you could both take her out on walks and so on too, the more time spent happily together the better.

Obviously though you do need to correct her if she growls, lunges, charges etc. She needs to know in no uncertain terms that this is not acceptable behavior. A verbal correction may be enough (but never shout, or smack - just use a firm voice), but if it isn't you can put her on her leash when your boyfriend is around and use a quick 'pop' on the leash as a reinforcement to the verbal correction. Don't be harsh or rough with her though, that would make the situation worse. You want to discipline her with love and understanding, and also remember to praise her and maybe even give her a special treat or toy when she behaves well around him.

As your Rottie is a rescue, you may not know much about her previous life, and in some cases these dogs have been mis-treated by others, perhaps men, and they are reacting based on the only experience they have. It's up to you to help her understand that men aren't scary or bad, and that your boyfriend isn't going to hurt either of you.

You'll need to use lots of patience and love, and don't rush things. Rottweilers are a guardian breed, and are naturally reserved, sometimes even suspicious, of strangers. She may have had a rough life, and is now in a home where she feels loved and safe and she feels threatened by this change. Help her to find it a good change, not a bad one - she deserves that.

You may also want to keep any displays of affection muted while she's around, until she accepts this new person in your life. You could use her crate, put in another room, or in a safely fenced area outside. But only do this if she is used to being separated from in a crate, separate room, in the yard etc. Otherwise she may associate being 'banished' with your boyfriend and that won't help the situation.

I hope this helps some. It's a situation that just needs understanding, love and patience. Given time I am sure that she will come to accept your boyfriend and hopefully even enjoy his visits. Best of luck to all of you.

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