A Rottweiler Challenging his/her owner?

You mentioned on your web site that a Rottweiler will challenge its’ owner (and may therefore not be suitable for first time owners, etc).

Can you give some examples of a Rottweiler challenging its owner and how best to deal with them?

Although many Rottweilers will ‘challenge’ their owners as they grow and mature, so do the pups of many other breeds as well. It’s a developmental stage, very similar to that of human teenagers who challenge their parents during adolescence.

Because Rotties grow into big, strong dogs, who are very intelligent and inclined to be stubborn at times, it’s important that their owners be able to handle them physically (ie walking them, moving them off furniture and so on) and that they are confident enough to project an aura of ‘leadership’ so that the dog has confidence in them and obeys.

It’s difficult to give very specific examples as all dogs are different, but these challenges could take the shape of excessive pulling on the leash (or stopping dead to sniff around etc.) instead of walking to heel. Or it could be food-guarding (or toy guarding etc.), or the dog could suddenly decide that they want to sleep on the bed when they’ve previously not been allowed to, or refuse to get off their owners lazy-boy when told to….. the possibilities are pretty wide!

Sometimes the dog will just become ‘dead weight’ and passively refuse to do something, other times they may growl or even snap at their owner, again this often happens with many, many adolescent pups of ALL breeds, and it’s not a Rottie-specific trait. However, with a small dog this behavior is often easier to deal with and seen as less threatening, in a large-breed pup it needs an owner who won’t back down and who can physically move the dog if necessary.

However, do remember that Rottweilers don’t need harsh, punitive or ‘heavy-handed’ discipline, they’re very intelligent, sensitive dogs and rewards-based training and fair but loving corrections are much more successful. Being combative or aggressive with a Rottweiler will usually just backfire as the dog will become stubborn and may even become belligerent in response. Be fair, loving, patient and consistent and a pup/dog will outgrow this phase.

Hope this answers your question.

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