ROTTIE PUP LUNGE'S AT CHILDREN BEING PICKED UP
Hi, my Rottie is 12 month old and is well behaved within the family environment, we have had Harvey since he was 6 months old and he came from a family that were separating they had 3 children and i know the youngest was around 5 years.
He waits patiently for food will leave IT, and take IT, with toys of his and any other things around the house, he is crate trained sits waits and many other little tricks! he used to jump at visitors but we now have got him that he greets them with a wagging tail!
There is one underlying problem which is if small children are running in a park next to him or walk by him he lunges to them he can growl and gets fixated, my children are 9 and 11 years old and they have brought friends over and he shows no nastiness, just that he wants to play the house is always fun but calm so i don't understand why he doesn't seem to trust little people. He shows them no warmth as he would an adult, if you have any ideas it would be very much appreciated
kindest regards, Maxine Taylor
It sounds as though Harvey is doing very well and a lot of that is down to the way you've raised and trained him, so well done on that front.
It's clear that he is not an aggressive pup, respects the human members of your family, and people that they invite in or deem to be 'okay', and is responsive and well behaved. The 'lunging' and growling behavior you describe seems to be in situations where his 'prey drive' has been triggered.
All dogs have this 'prey drive' but it is stronger in some breeds than others, and obviously it is also more of a concern in a Rottweiler, than in a Dachshund! It's a totally normal behavior and is an automatic, reflexive response rather than a thought-out one.
Small children tend to move very quickly, and in a jerky, unpredictable way. They also have high voices and tend to squeal, scream and so on. These sounds and movements trigger a very old and basic 'chase or hunt' (the prey drive I mentioned earlier) response in a puppy or dog, as they sound and movement remind him of small animals.
Harvey is fine around your children and their friends probably because he recognizes them as children and part of his 'pack' or (extended pack), but strange children in an unfamiliar of open environment don't appear the same way to him.
It's important that you correct him when he does this, and a quick 'pop' on his collar and a firm "NO" should get the point across. You will need to be consistent and correct him every, single time. Giving him plenty of positive socialization experiences with children outside of the home will also help him to adjust his interaction with them. However, never allow him to be unleashed and/or unsupervised in any environment where there are children until you are totally sure that he won't chase them.
As he matures, and with regular training/corrections, this behavior should diminish. Even when a Rottie pup does give chase in this sort of situation, generally they will want to 'play' rather than hurt, but given the size and strength of the breed, you never want to take the chance of this happening. Rottweilers don't get the 'benefit of the doubt', and you need to protect him from that.
Keep up the good work with Harvey, I'm sure he's going to be just an awesome adult. Good luck.