Rottie's Barking At Strangers
Hello...my Rottie is 6 months old. When someone approaches the door he barks and the hair on his back stands up. What does this mean?
Also, sometimes when we are walking if he notices someone he doesn't know he will do the same thing...does this mean anything serious?
Your Rottweiler pup is becoming an adolescent and it's around this time that his very first 'guarding instincts' start to surface.
Most puppies don't really know what to do with these feelings to begin with and if they think there's a threat they may bark or growl, or back away... or do both simultaneously.
It's important not to allow your pup to see every person who approaches your home, or every stranger (person or canine) on the street as a threat, or he may become hyper-protective and over react to everyday situations.
Repeated and ongoing socialization is very important for all puppies, and even more so for these large, guardian breeds who are by nature protective and perhaps a little suspicious. You can learn all about this aspect of raising your puppy on this webpage... Socialize Your Puppy.
Regular, positive socialization experiences help your pup to feel more confident and to accept new people, places and pets without feeling threatened. This is a huge benefit to his self-confidence and will stand him in good stead his whole life.
I also strongly recommend enrolling every puppy in a basic obedience class where he will get socialization experience within a controlled setting and you can both benefit from the hands-on help of a professional dog trainer so that a mutual respect and clear communication can develop. I think this would help both you and your Rottie puppy right now.
If your pup barks at strangers on the street, tell him 'No, it's okay' in a happy, upbeat voice and walk on confidently. Try not to be worried about how your pup will react as that will make you tense as you approach and your pup will FEEL that, although he won't understand it. He's likely to think that you're afraid of the stranger and that he/she is a threat and it will make things worse.
As pups mature as long as they're properly trained and socialized they will learn to discern the difference between non-threating people and situations and threatening ones and will react accordingly. But it takes time and maturity.
Hope this helps, lots of luck with your pup.