worried about aggression in my rottie

by danielle
(newcastle upon tyne )

Max is my male rottie, turning 5 years old in a few month hes always been a loving dog to me and my family and small dogs but has changed.

Now is aggressive towards every one who comes in my home also outside and even growled at me a few times. He's normally a loving dog but has got me scared in case he hurts some one. He seems fine in his self but his aggression towards others is getting worse. He's been well socialized since I had him from age 6 month old he's a very big german rotti.

He has also recently killed my neibours cat next door to me, was heart breaking. I don't know where to turn to as I'm starting to worry he hurts some one.

I have 4 small kids who he has always been gentle with. Any reasons why he would start to display these ways? No one else can touch him apart from me and my children.



Hi Danielle, I'm sorry to hear about what is going on with Max, I can imagine how worrying this is.

As the change appears to have been sudden, and Max is a fully adult dog who has up until recently been non-aggressive in his behavior, I would suggest that you have your veterinarian examine him to make sure that there isn't a physical reason for your Rottie's behavior. Rottweilers have a high pain tolerance and don't always show when they're hurting. It's possible that he is in pain and that's why he's acting out this way. Your vet can rule that out.

You really need some expert, hands-on, help in this situation I'm afraid, because someone who is experienced at understanding canine behavior needs to evaluate Max and see if they can get to the bottom of what is causing him to act this way.

Killing the cat and growling at people coming into your home are both territorial aggression issues. Rottweilers are a guardian breed, so it's normal for them to be protective, but usually by five years of age a dog would have figured out how to handle his feelings and what is acceptable in terms of how he shows them. Especially if he's been socialized and trained, which it sounds as though he has. As you don't know how to handle his reactions you need someone to SHOW you what to do. It would be money very well spent to find a professional trainer or behaviorist to help you. Ultimately it could even save Max's life because if he does end up hurting someone you could be forced to put him down which would be tragic.

I'm sorry I can't help more here, but I really feel that you need some hands-on help more than anything.

Obviously meantime you need to correct his behavior if he growls or threatens anyone, and I wouldn't let him outdoors without being on a collar and leash and under your control. You don't say that he behaves badly when out walking, so I'm assuming his 'aggression' is mostly territorial. If necessary muzzle him (I don't like this, and it's a short-term approach only) when people come to your home. It might protect Max from the results of his own behavior, and protect others from getting hurt. Alternatively you could crate him to keep him when people come around.

BOth of these are only short-term 'band-aids' and only to be used while you get him the professional help that he needs. You need to find out why he's behaving this way and get guidelines and assistance in training him and learning how to show him that his behavior is not going to be tolerated... in a positive and loving way that he can understand.

Sorry I can't help more but I hope you find the assistance that you need to get Max back on track. It definitely doesn't sound as though he's a bad dog, just either in pain, upset or no longer realizing that he isn't the alpha in the house.

You live in a big city, so there should be no shortage of dog trainers and dog obedience schools, even dog behavioral specialists, who can help you. Your vet may even be able to recommend someone. I wish you lots of luck and hope things are much better soon ~ Sue


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