how can i help my rottie to adjust to visitors?

by michelle

I have a 5 year old male rotti that I adopted from my local animal control 7 month ago. He has no problems with us but if people come to the house to visit I have to lock him away because he shows aggression towards them.

I tried having him on a leash away from everybody but he still tries to get to them. I love him dearly and don’t want to put him away whenever someone comes over.

Thank you

Hi Michelle
With a fully grown Rottie, about whose earlier life you may know very little (or nothing at all), this is a situation that it’s definitely sensible to be wary of. However, it sounds as though he’s generally a loving,well-behaved dog with a sound temperament, so it’s an issue you will be able to overcome given some time and the correct handling.

I’d really strongly recommend that you get some one on one, hands-on help from a professional dog trainer to learn how to respond to your dog when he behaves this way. It’s likely that he’s simply trying to protect you because he’s never had any real training or guidance to help him understand his guardian instincts, or how to express them. A trainer who is familiar with large, guardian breeds and who uses only positive reinforcement training methods will be able to give you help and advice that you can see and imitate.

Although you obviously need to have control over him when people come to your home, a dog who is leashed (or restrained or contained in any way) is more likely to act defenively/aggressively because they feel as though they are trapped and unable to defend themselves – or their loved ones. A soft muzzle may be a better option as he would be unable to bite (if he would even be inclined to do so, which is probably not going to happen), and wouldn’t feel so vulnerable as he does when leashed.

Your attitude will also play a role because if you’re nervous or anxious about how he’s going to behave, your dog is going to feel that but not understand it. He most likely will decide you anxiety is due to the strangers at the door (it will never occur to him that it’s actually a result of his behavior!) and this will make him even more hyper-reactive and defensive. You need to keep cool and calm and exude confidence and a happy, positive upbeat attitude.

This is where time for both of you spent with a good trainer will help so much because you’ll learn to be confident in your handling of your dog in any situation and that confidence will do wonders for his behavior.

Hope this helps, best of luck with your Rottweiler.

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Feb 01, 2012

my rotti NEW
by: michelle

Thank you all for the great advice. He is not the first Rotti for us, we currently also own a 6 year old female rotti,she is very calm and layed back.I have him muzzeled and on a leash now but people are very nervous to come over. I know it will take awhile for him to adjust, i’m just really nervous and want nothing bad to happen.

Thank you again for all the info and if you have more advice for me please let me know.

Feb 01, 2012

Helping Rottie adjust to visitors NEW
by: Anonymous

Rotties need lots of socialization. I have raised them for over 20 years and never had problems with strangers coming over to visit. Try holding the Rott while someome comes in and let them smell the person first, to make sure everything is ok, before letting go of the Rott. Let the dog know that person is OK. For the most part, Rotts in the natural instinct is to let someone in, but not let them out, unless you are home and ok with it.

Jan 29, 2012

by: Anonymous

keeping him away and having him on the lead could be makin it worse. get him muzzled when people come in and let him know that theyre friendly. slowly tho. dont rush him in.

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About The Rotty lover 2159 Articles
My name is Dr. Winnie. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Duke University, a Masters of Science in Biology from St Georges University, and graduated from the University of Pretoria Veterinary School in South Africa. I have been an animal lover and owners all my life having owned a Rottweiler named Duke, a Pekingese named Athena and now a Bull Mastiff named George, also known as big G! I'm also an amateur equestrian and love working with horses. I'm a full-time Veterinarian in South Africa specializing in internal medicine for large breed dogs. I enjoy spending time with my husband, 2 kids and Big G in my free time. Author and Contribturor at SeniorTailWaggers, A Love of Rottweilers, DogsCatsPets and TheDogsBone