Shelby the Rottie

by Lynda
(Cleveland OH)

Shelby and Tori:)

Shelby and Tori:)

Hello: we rescued our Rottie from the next door neighbor when she was 9 months old.

My daughter helped raise her since she was tiny, as he worked 16 hour shifts and left her crated the entire day. My daugther became this dog's primary caregiver, and has the love and devotion of this dog to show for it!

We brought her home, and she's been nothing short of an amazing addition to our family. She has learned to 'love' our two cats, and they make a bit more progress every week toward becoming real friends.

Shelby has become very protective of our family: Fed Ex, Pizza delivery....people have RUN off my front porch even though she is clearly inside the house! That being said, she has started to demonstrate an odd behavior regarding nipping/chomping up at people.

While Shelby LOVES my neighbors next door, and they are clearly part of her pack, when they have parties and friends over, shelby chomps up at people trying to pet her. We correct her behavior, quickly leash her and take her home.

All of this has caused people to hate this dog: they will shout out 'watch out that's a vicious dog....or worse'. While I know that if Shelby really wanted to BITE someone, they would be a few fingers short, it is concerning me about why she demonstrates this behavior at their home? She has never nipped at anyone in our home, even when we have company.

I feel like she loses her ability to guard, and simply starts chomping as a way to keep folks in check. nonetheless, behavior I don't know how to break?? Advice please?? She is 15 months old now.

Hi Lynda. Shelby is an adolescent right now, and changes in behavior are typical at this age and stage. Her guarding instincts are still developing and she's probably feeling unsure exactly what to do with her inclinations. It's important for you to guide her during this time.

You are right to correct her immediately and leash her, and I can understand you removing her from the situation, but that part isn't letting her learn about other ways to behave.

I'd recommend lots more socialization, but not with lots of people at once. Try to take her out and about to places that aren't too busy and where she can interact on a more one-on-one basis, the same with inviting people to your home.

Make sure to correct any misbehavior and praise or encourage her when she is doing the right thing. It's a learning curve and socialization and training are lifelong pursuits!

I'd recommend finding a good professional trainer that you and Shelby can work with, even if only for half a dozen 'lessons'. It's very difficult to give advice online as it's only be seeing the situation that someone can really figure out what's going on.

A professional trainer will be able to answer any questions you have and help you understand why Shelby is acting this way, and give you advice on the best way to handle it. It's absolutely money well spent.

It's important to make sure you get her past this behavior while she's still young, you don't want nipping to become an ingrained habit - as you hae already realized, breeds like Rottweilers and Pitbulls never get the benefit of the doubt.

She's obviously a well taken care of dog with a basically sound personality. Adolescence is often a challenging period for everyone, but with the consistent love, positive training, regular socialization and your understanding, Shelby will come through this given time.

I hope this helps, and that you can find someone who will be able to give you some extra 'hands-on' help to deal with this. Best of luck, and love to Shelby!

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Jun 21, 2014
Shelby NEW
by: Cheryl & Max

Max is my 3rd rottie who I adopted at 7months old,started him in classes around 9months old,he was always very social and I loved taking him places,but around the same age as Shelby he started getting snappy when other dogs came near me so I would become anxious and maybe he could feel I was scared but it came down to I just didn't take him anymore until a friend adopted her rottie and wanted them to play together I thought are you nuts,she had he rottie in class so I decided to enroll Max in the same class so they meet in an area that didn't belong to either and it was the best thing I ever did,Max just got his renewed AKCCGC and is back to being Max, but it is also a great way to bond with your dog,teaches you to take control of situations because they are looking at you to lead them, I first started out with a short lead,and if you are worried look into a head harness not a muzzle it gives you more control,and I don't like choke chains but I did find one online it's a nylon soft choke chain and I never leave it on it's for training purposes only,but I have to agree with other posts,keep her away from people with negative thoughts about the breed,start out with small groups and not high anxiety,do it slowly and quiet,she will feel more at ease,best wishes please keep us posted.

Jun 19, 2014
Nipping NEW
by: Anonymous

Our Rottie is the same age and did the same thing anytime someone walked in the door. It was almost like she was trying to grab our hand to smell where we'd been, who we were with and draw it to her for petting, because as soon as we touched her she would stop. If we stopped petting her she would start up again. We gave verbal correction "no bite" very firmly and walked away (without her petting). We didn't crate or punish her, we left her in the situation and carried on. She would follow and when I'd stop, she would sit right beside me calmly and then she would get her affection from me. She must be pretty smart because she got it and stopped. I know this is different than away from home and with other people who may not get it, I only tell our experience to agree that, if the biting isn't aggressive and you have understanding people involved, it can be good to let your baby learn "in the moment". Also, if you have people calling your dog "vicious" I would suggest keeping her away from those folks for his/her protection. Some people have already made up their mind based on the breed and allowing your baby to be around those folks can be toxic to her. As someone who watched a guy literally run into a wall when I walked our Rottie down the street, I know how it can make you feel when someone stereotypes your dog (like it would your own child). And when you feel that way, your Rottie (who is hypervigalent) will sense that and will go into guard mode and could be set up (unwittingly) to feel the need to protect. No matter what the situation is your Rottie needs you to remain calm and in control because he/she will look to you (pack leader) for ques.

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