Anxiety from being adopted at 18 months old

by Sherrie
(Kansas City)

We got our Rottweiler from a wonderful family that had 3 children. He was a builder and the wife owned her own business as well. And with three kids in all kinds of sports; well you can see the dog came in last sometimes. So, they felt best that he be with a family who could spend more time with him.

So, we adopted Rocky at 18 months old and a little over 100lbs. My question is how do I make him feel comfortable with his new owners? He seems very sad and we haven’t been able to leave him for more than 1 hour since we got him. We tried leaving him in the house free to roam but he peed (marking his territory) on my couches and marble sofa table!! He is very stressed out as well. He pants constantly and sits at the window as if he is waiting for his old owners to come back. It’s sooo sad. He shakes too. What do I do?

He doesn’t do this all day though. We spend every moment with him, even take him to drop off and pick up my kids from school. He plays soccer with me a lot and tug of war too. He doesn’t do well with people either. He backed up when my brother-in-law came over to see him. But, we are introducing him to other dogs and our neighbors who are less than thrilled with him. He has done very well much to their surprise.

Can you offer any advice? We will have to eventually Kennel him soon so we can leave the house sometimes. I am so worried about his mental state. Everytime we leave i think he feels we may not come back too. Thanks so much!!


Hi Sherrie
Rocky is a beautiful dog and has obviously been well-cared for and I understand why his previous owners felt that he needed ‘more’ than they could give him. In that situation he was VERY lucky to find you and the great home you’re able to give him.

However, Rocky doesn’t understand and he’s probably scared, lonely, home-sick and a bit depressed even. That’s all natural and normal and only time and consistent love and attention from his new family can help him overcome those feelings.

Rottweilers tend to bond very closely with their ‘people’ and can be one-man dogs to a great extent. Their natural personality traits don’t lean towards them loving everyone indiscriminately the way some breeds do, which can make this sort of transition more difficult for them. It doesn’t mean that he won’t love you and accept that this is his new home, it just means it will take time. Possibly months, hopefully weeks.

The scent marking is normal, especially if he’s un-neutered, as he’s simply laying claim to HIS new home. The panting, shaking and so on are also normal signs of stress and I can see in this photo how sad it is that he’s waiting for his old family to come back and I know how you must wish you could explain it all to him. BUT, you know that he’s lucky and that you’re giving him a great home and that he’ll be happy with you once he gets through this transition period – so just hold onto that thought!

I think I answered the question about how to get him used to a crate a little while ago and I think if you follow those suggestions he will be fine with it, given some time.

His reluctance around strangers is also normal, this breed tends to be aloof and in this situation he’s a bit ‘out of his depth’. He may also not have had a lot of socialization which is something you can work on slowly as he feels more relaxed and at home. The fact that he is accepting of strangers without aggression or overtly fearful behavior shows that he has the correct Rottweiler temperament and I’m sure he’s going to be a great ambassador for his breed.

It’s always good when people get to meet a ‘real’ Rottweiler as they’re almost always surprised (in a good way) and it helps to combat the horrible, and inaccurate, stereotyping that this breed is subjected to.

In my personal opinion I think all that Rocky really needs is time, love and patience. He’s well behaved, stable in temperament and well taken care of… give him some time to get over his sadness and I think he’s going to be an amazing addition to your family.

I wish you all the very best of luck together :o)

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