Two Rottweilers - when does what looks like play become serious?

by Paul Jones
(Walsall, West Midlands, England)

Hello,
I have a 4 year old Rottweiler called Elvis and his 5 month old son called Watson. They get on great, but I am concerned about the level of acceptable play.

For example, Elvis might grab Watson by his neck and parade him around the house and garden without letting go. Watson doesn't seem worried by this, but I'm hoping this will not escalate to something much worse when Watson gets older.

I also don't feel that I should be correcting or putting Elvis in his place too often and in front of his son. Or should I?


Over all though, at this time. They are just the best and so much fun. I'm laughing every day, but would hate to have to part the pair of them if it became serious.

Thank you,
Paul





Hi Paul
Having two adult dogs of the same sex is the most likely combination for conflict, and it's possible that this behavior could escalate as Watson matures.

Generally two females are more likely to get very serious about this, and males tend to 'posture' more, but that doesn't mean that it couldn't turn ugly I'm afraid. It's also important to neuter both dogs and unaltered dogs are MUCH more likely to be combative with each other - and other dogs - especially if there's a female dog around.

Elvis' behavior is his attempts to show Watson that he's the 'boss' and a lot will depend on Watson's temperament. If he's fairly laid-back and submissive by nature (and some Rotties are, just as with every other breed), then they may work it out between them.

But if they're both fairly opinionated and dominant then conflict is more likely.

Personally I would correct Elvis if the gets too 'bossy' or physical with Watson, but only if Watson is being hurt or scared and you feel you need to step in. You can help bolster the 'pecking order' by treating Elvis as the senior dog and feeding, greeting and petting him before Watson. Sometimes this helps.

There are many households where two (or more) adult dogs of the same sex live together harmoniously, but you definitely need to be prepared for some conflict, especially as Watson passes through the adolescent stage (anywhere from 5 months to 2 years).

If problems arise that you can't handle or are concerned about I'd strongly recommend getting some hands-on professional help from a qualified dog trainer too. That can make all the difference.

Hope this helps, best of luck with both your Rotties.

Comments for Two Rottweilers - when does what looks like play become serious?

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May 01, 2012
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Thank you NEW
by: Paul

Hello, I want to thank you all for your advice. This is one hell of a good site, and Ill keep logging on as often as I can. Thank you all

May 01, 2012
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Thank you NEW
by: Paul

Hello, I want to thank you all for your advice. This is one hell of a good site, and Ill keep logging on as often as I can. Thank you all

May 01, 2012
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Multiple dogs, no problem! NEW
by: Christopher Bayhi

We have two male Rotties, a 20 month old and an 8 month old. We also have three female Rotties, a 24 month old and two 7 month olds who happen to be sisters (the pick of the litter and the runt of the litter). Introduction of the younger dogs to the older dogs was one-on-one with my wife and I being dominate pack leaders. Once one-on-one introductions were done, we gradually included more of the younger ones with each older dog until all 5 were in the same room playing.

We will allow tug of war with a rope or a competitive game of fetch. But if any of them try to be dominate over the other (such as our adult male protecting his toys by growling or snapping at a younger dog), he is gently yet firmly corrected. The one thing we do make sure to do is to feed each dog from their own bowl and separate the bowls some distance from each other so there’s no food aggressiveness issues. They are also trained individually while the others wait their turn and watch from a distance. We have had no problems with fighting to the point where blood was drawn. Robbie, Rachel, Anonymous, Jenny and Sue are all correct. You have to be the boss and training is essential so your dogs know what is expected and not allowed.

We also have a 5 year old female mix breed “mini-Shepherd” that has been spayed. She weighs all of 25 pounds and is dominate over my 140 pound 20 month old male! LOL. On the rare occasion where two of the Rotties get into it, she’ll be right there and break them up, almost as if she’s “reminding” them what the pecking order is!

May 01, 2012
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Be the pack leader. NEW
by: Jenny

I agree with Rachel and Robbie, you need to be the boss.

We had a German Shepard male (Ceaser) who was a dog fighter of note and very intolerant of anything else on four legs be it male or female. When he was 4 years old we got Igor, a rottie male. Ceaser used to show dominant behaviour over Igor from an early age by grabbing him by the scruff of the neck and pushing him down. As Igor got older he became bolder and less tolerant and it resulted in little battles until Igor gave in. At that time the trainer told me that I would never be able to keep both, as soon as Igor turned 18 months I would have to rehome one of them or face a fight to the death.

I was in tears driving home and that was when I decided that this will not happen. I will be the pack leader and the only dominant one. From there on I corrected any show of dominance, not even "that look" was allowed. I also made a point of obedience training with both and usually together.

At the end of the day, we had to have Ceaser put down at the ripe old age of 15 years and 6 months and Igor died of a heart attack at age 11 and the fight never came, not even once.

At the moment we have Boris (rottie male - 18 months) Fred and Dudley, my son's basset males and our new little rottie girl Zina. Same rules apply, I am the leader of the pack and no one will dominate the other and all is going really well with a few corrections here and there.

If you look at the structure of a wild dog pack, the dominant one will always step in if the others get out of line. He will protect the lesser members of the pack and will correct the more dominant ones. By correcting your more dominant boy, you are asserting your dominance over him.






May 01, 2012
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Be the pack leader. NEW
by: Anonymous

I agree with Rachel and Robbie, you need to be the boss.

We had a German Shepard male (Ceaser) who was a dog fighter of note and very intolerant of anything else on four legs be it male or female. When he was 4 years old we got Igor, a rottie male. Ceaser used to show dominant behaviour over Igor from an early age by grabbing him by the scruff of the neck and pushing him down. As Igor got older he became bolder and less tolerant and it resulted in little battles until Igor gave in. At that time the trainer told me that I would never be able to keep both, as soon as Igor turned 18 months I would have to rehome one of them or face a fight to the death.

I was in tears driving home and that was when I decided that this will not happen. I will be the pack leader and the only dominant one. From there on I corrected any show of dominance, not even "that look" was allowed. I also made a point of obedience training with both and usually together.

At the end of the day, we had to have Ceaser put down at the ripe old age of 15 years and 6 months and Igor died of a heart attack at age 11 and the fight never came, not even once.

At the moment we have Boris (rottie male - 18 months) Fred and Dudley, my son's basset males and our new little rottie girl Zina. Same rules apply, I am the leader of the pack and no one will dominate the other and all is going really well with a few corrections here and there.

If you look at the structure of a wild dog pack, the dominant one will always step in if the others get out of line. He will protect the lesser members of the pack and will correct the more dominant ones. By correcting your more dominant boy, you are asserting your dominance over him.






Apr 30, 2012
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Sisters NEW
by: Rachel

I have two sisters. This is my second pair of sisters. My first set lived together for over 10 years. I think they truly only fought to where I had to break it up twice! This second set are the same. They have there puppy play, but no out right fights. I think my secret to having females living together is #1 I am the pack leader!!! They both submit to me. Another thing I've noticed with both my sets of sisters is I seem to pick one that is naturally less dominant than the other so they really don't challenge each other for dominance. I had an issue with food early on. My more dominant one wouldn't let her sister eat. So meal times were a bit chaotic, but after some time and work, feeding time is not a big deal now. They are 15 months old now and so far we are pretty harmonious :-) .

Apr 30, 2012
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Who's the boss NEW
by: Robbie

Hi, I had about the same with mine and by showing them I was always the pact leader my 6 year old Rottie became more calm to his son and you have to be on top of it with correcting but they go along great together. the big one is nutered and the little (14 month) not yet

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