my dog is protective with her food even if i trained her

by moni
(suceava, romania)

Hi, i have a 8.5 months old female rottweiler. I have done the steps you recommend to correct food aggression since she was 2 months old, as prevention, with success.

She has recently returned from dog professional training and today snapped at my 3 year old because she approached her bone.

No aggression yet with my 6 year old when playing with a ball together. Some people say rottweilers never forget and once they attacked a person they feel is weak they will do it again….i believe in her and that she can be trained again.

What do you guys think?

Hi Moni, I’m not sure what type of professional training your pup has been doing… I’m guessing it was a residential program. If it was for protection/guarding then that could well be the source of the problem. Even if it was purely obedience training, being out of the home environment can upset a pup’s sense of balance and behavior.

Unfortunately not all professional trainers understand this type of breed, and the methods used to train them can be too harsh, also protection training can confuse a pup and personally I wouldn’t recommend that type of training for a family pet. It’s not a good fit.

Having said all that, your pup is still the same pup she has always been and you just need to work with her to reinforce the bond and respect between you and her, and between her and your children.

Pups often see children as siblings, and that is what’s happening here. The younger the child the more likely this is going to happen. You will need to supervise interaction between your children and your pup carefully for a while and work to remind her that ALL humans are above her in terms of authority.

To do this, involve your children in as many aspects of her care as you can. Even the 3 year old can help feed her, groom her, and enjoy asking her to ‘sit’ or ‘down’ and give her a treat for obeying. Dogs respect whoever controls the resources of the pack (these include food, shelter and love), so making sure your children are seen to be in control of these things will help.

Don’t over-react and assume your Rottie pup is now ‘aggressive’ or ‘dangerous’. Unless she’s had very thorough (and poorly done) protection training she will still recognize the rules and behavior expectations she did before, you just need to remind her of them.

Also, bear in mind that at this age she is now a ‘teenager’ and almost all teenage pups are challenging at this age. They test the rules and boundaries, challenge authority and try to exert their will and independence. Taking care of a teenage pup is just like taking care of a teenage child – you need to be patient, consistent, firm but loving. Give fair guidelines and make sure they’re obeyed. Give lots of love, but don’t spoil or give in to bad behavior.

From what you’ve said, I don’t see any reason why your pup won’t grow up to be a well-behaved and loving family pet…. so don’t give up on her so easily or over-react.

IF after you put in effort and time and patience but she doesn’t respond, or if she actually bites or threatens anyone, then you will need to have her evaluated by a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. BUT do be very careful who you choose, Rottweilers are very intelligent, loving and sensitive. Punitive training, harsh words or actions can cause them all sorts of trouble, and are not effective.

Hope this helps. I wish you all the best of luck! – Sue

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Nov 16, 2014

thanks NEW
by: Moni thank you so much for answering. the second day after the incident i realised she was in heat, so i’m guessing that added to the problem. she’s undergone obedience training, but you are right i am not veryconfident the trainer is good. not much choice around here so i will have to do on my own. i will wait though and start this bonding with my kids when she won’t be in heat anymore. thank you again! ps my husband does not agree to spaying her but that would probably also help i think..

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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