aggression between my male and female rottweiler

by bec

i have a 3 yr old female rottweiler, and a 18 month old male rottweiler, my female just has such a beautiful nature just loves cuddles.

if you are patting my female rottweiler my male will come over for a pat also and after about a minute he starts growling at her then they get into a big fight. i’m scared they are really going to hurt each other or worse bite one of us accidentally.

they play fine all day, it’s just when we start patting them that’s when the aggression starts, i’m all out of ideas!!!

Hi Bec
This is actually not terribly unusual and your male is acting like a jealous sibling… which he is. He’s also still an adolescent and has the personality and impulses of a teenager!

As he seems to be the instigator, you will need to be very clear with him that this behavior is not going to be tolerated. You need to give him a very firm ‘NO’ (not shouted though, and no smacking etc.) whenever he starts to growl… before it escalates. A firm shake of the scruff of the neck, or a ‘pop’ on his collar wouldn’t hurt either.

If possible head off the situation entirely by telling him ‘no’ if he approaches while you’re petting your girl. When he stops, tell him to ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ and make sure he gets a treat for obeying. Let him stay there for 30 seconds or a minute, then have your girl lie down a little apart from you, and give him his chance at some loving.

This situation needs you to make it clear to both dogs (particularly the male) who is boss… that’s YOU! He’s trying to control and dominate (perfectly natural) but must not be allowed to succeed. If necessary minimize your shows of affection when both dogs are present and try to give them some one-on-one time instead. This will help to reduce the jealousy-based conflict. As your male gets older he should become more self-confident and this will be less of an issue.

Fights between males and females in this sort of situation are rarely serious. They usually look and sound worse than they really are. Of course, that doesn’t mean that one of them can’t or won’t get hurt, so it is common sense to try to reduce the opportunity for conflict.

If this doesn’t help I would recommend getting some hands-on advice from a professional trainer who can actually watch the interaction between all parties and provide more insight and help. When you have two dogs in the same household, one is almost always going to be naturally more dominant than the other.

However, whether you allow that to dictate the ‘seniority’ between the dogs in the home depends on the personality of the dogs themselves. Sometimes it’s necessary to support the position of the older/resident dog as the ‘top dog’, other times it is better to allow the naturally dominant dog to be ‘leader’. But each situation is individual and unique, and if you dogs don’t sort this out between themselves in time, you may need a professional trainer to evaluate the situation and give you advice.

I hope this helps some and wish you the best of luck.

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