My 5 year old female Rottweiler growls being reprimanded and goes to attack other dogs

by Stacey

We have a 5 year old female (neutered) whom we have just adopted off another family. She is a brilliant, obedient, loving dog…..brilliant temperament with my bouncy 4 year old and 4 month old girls.

Although when you tell her off, or tell her to go to her (dogs version of naughty step) spot she growls, and it’s quite a low deep growl, it’s just me she does it to, never my husband, and if i stand by her once she’s been told off she continues to growl! My husband says it could be a dominance/pack thing, but my husbands army and he is away a lot…i don’t want to be contending with a rotty who dislikes being told no…i’ts honestly like she’s a teenager who dislikes being told no or told off…but scarier!

Also her last masters never associated her with other dogs, we can’t walk her without fear of her attacking other dogs, she’s quite bad to the point she nearly dragged my husband across a feild to get to a dog! Even on the tv…she’ll try attack the tv if she see’s a dog or hears one!

I’m desperate for her to be friendly to other dogs simply because all my family has dogs and we are surrounded by people who own dogs! She’s never physically managed to hurt or grab another dog, before we manage to rein her back in!

Much advice needed! i love Roxie to bits, but i don’t want to struggle whilst my husband is away 🙁

Hi Stacey
Any adult dog tends to come as a ‘package deal’ and previous upbringing will have it’s good points and bad.

For your Roxie, it seems as though she’s good with children (a big plus) and is friendly, loving and generally sound in terms of temperament. But, she’s not been socialized properly so has issues with other dogs.

Your husband has hit the nail on the head when he says the growling when you tell her off is a dominance issue. She is attempting to exert her authority over you, but she seems to have accepted that your husband is her ‘boss’. As you are going to be the one spending the most time with her it’s vital that you help her to learn that you are her ‘boss’ too!

If you’re not already 100% in charge of her care (ie feeding, grooming, training, exercise/play etc.) then you need to start doing so right now. Dogs respect those who control the resources (and food is a biggie) so if she sees that you are the one who feeds her, lets her outside to do her business, gives her toys and treats, grooms her etc., then she will naturally start to see you in a more positive light.

It’s also very important not to allow her to dominate you with this growling, but don’t respond harshly either. Simply repeat the command in a low, firm voice and encourage her to obey. Give her praise and a treat when she does so. However, if she snaps or attempts to bite, or refuses to obey then don’t try to physically force her, that could result in her nipping or biting.

I’d strongly recommend that you get some professional, hands-on help here by finding an experienced dog trainer to help you teach Roxie the basics, show you how to control her when out walking (if you aren’t already using a prong collar on her, get one and use it! They’re not cruel at all, and are the only effective way to control a strong adult Rottie who isn’t yet leash trained or under control), what to do when she challenges you etc.

It’s much easier to have someone SHOW you what to do than it is to read about it, plus an experienced professional can evaluate Roxie’s body language and reactions and gauge whether or not she is just posturing, or whether she may follow through with her warning. This is important to know when retraining her.

Although she’s great with your kids and is a loving girl, for your family’s safety, the safety of other dogs you may encounter, and your own peace of mind you need to get some professional help so that you can feel confident in your ability to control her and she can feel confident in YOU as her leader.

Very few Rottweilers get second chances at a happy home life, so this girl is one of the lucky ones. With some time, patience and a little bit of help she should adjust to her new home and family and learn to at least tolerate other dogs (even if she never learns to love them!).

Hope this helps, best of luck with it all.

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Jun 24, 2014

not sure but? NEW
by: Anonymous

Firstly, realize your new love’s background. Your dog if bred properly is smart, serious and extremely loyal, she will do whatever it takes to make you happy. However, here is what you need to know about your dog. “telling her off”…is not respected by this breed. They will do whatever you ask by command and touch and show. Done calmly with respect and patience; consistancy and leadership. Yelling shouting demanding all those kind of communications excite your Rotti and she sees this is a threat; not a dominant thing, but a fear thing. Their ears are extremely sensitive. They do best learning after strong physical exercise and play. Their are a few different growls…one is the Rotti purr which is done when your girl is being petted and laying out with you…it is a soft growl and not to be misunderstood as a threatening growl; another is the “I’m loyal to my handler growl”; this one is a little more intimidating and usually comes from an unwanted petting or touching; they aren’t all that big on hugs and kisses except from the pack; usally the leader only or their pups…which is why when raised with pack leader children they love them and socia lize with them as their own (this doesn’t mean it should be permitted unsupervised by adults). Now the worst is the eye stare fluid dropping growl snarl..teeth are showing slightly ears are forward and head is in a herding positing or basically down slightly with the eyes up …this kind of direct communitcation is to herd you back with the group; the leader and also a challenge to dominate you. If you are the leader of the pack then I encourage you to treat her as your partner and let her know that you will take care of things that are threatening. A loud voice to your Rotti is like a puppy yelping…she will want to put you in your place because you are not behaving correctly. Your dog is a regal beast of a girl. She won’t take shame kindly. She isn’t stupid and she actually needs to be living with you and your family for a time before she gets what it is you want..and she will do it…but pressure her and the deal is off. She will think you are invaders and will distance herself while she waits for her previous handler..that is how loyal they are. Never dicipline your Rotti with choker chains…electric collars…sticks…hits and of that sort of tough dog thinking. Your Rotti although very intimidating to look at is a big ball of mooshy emotions. She will feel hurt deeply and although try to please you she won’t understand what you want…regardless of Pavlov’s theory. Love her, listen to her and watch her behaviors..crate her to feel safe (her to feel safe) and exercise her alot…3k min two times per day. Make sure you socialize her with dogs her size, small dogs, and find a walking partner dog that can teach her what the rules are in her new area. Talk to her like a person, using small sentences repeatedly. Play fetch with her and don’t let your children teach her new tricks..jsut saying…although they protect their pack once they know it…they don’t appreciate nuances. They simply like to herd and watch the children..they don’t like to have fingers in their mouths and hittings from the kids. They are capable of biting very hard and if your dog isn’t listening to you now..she won’t listen to you in a crisis. She will think she has to teach the pack, making her the leader and not a partner. Hope this helps and good luck.

Jun 18, 2013

aggresive towards other dogs NEW
by: laurie

our rottie ted is almost 3 years old.
he has never been around other dogs.
I often dread taking him for walks because when he sees other dogs he goes mental.
he has been neutered and is other wise an excellent dog/ I am worried one day he will snap his lead and injure another dog
I am not sure how to fix this aggresion

Apr 02, 2013

re your roxie NEW
by: Anonymous

i had 3 rotties at one point,and then 9 pups one of the female pups used to growl at me when i told her off so i put her outside and shut the door,she soon learnt not to growl,also my 2 adult rotties who are brothers and 5 yr old rush at the tv when other dogs come on and bark and make a hell of a racket,but out doors they do the same thing when they see other dogs,if they are off the lead they manage to reach the other dog but only to play,they have been attacked by the neighbours jack russell and they freeze,when you take roxie out try to find an owner to talk to who will allow roxie to get close and demand she sits,usually you can tell what your dog means when he barks and growls at other dogs if the tail is wagging at the same time they are wanting to socialize

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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