My Rottie is Skittish

by John V.
(Warren MI)

My one year old female Rottie is what I would call skittish. When around new people, she appears friendly enough and allows petting after a short time, but if the person petting her suddenly stops petting she snaps at them. I’m obviously worried about this behavior.

This behavior continues even after she knows someone for along time. I take her everywhere with me in an attempt to socialize her, but again worried that one day she will bite. Is there anything I can due to correct this behavior. Even as a puppy, the vet suggested a dog psychologist.

Speaking of the vet, if I take her there, and they do anything that is strange or foreign to her, like looking in her ears, she starts crying like she’s being killed and becomes aggressive.

I’ve had a Rottie before and never experienced these kinds of issues.

Hi John
It sounds as though your pup has a temperament that is a little anxious, and perhaps also a touch dominant – a combination that is unpredictable but as she’s still a puppy and seems basically good-tempered I don’t think it’s something to panic about.

However, I’m inclined to think that you would do well to have her evaluated by a professional dog trainer, or dog behavioral specialist, as they will be able to give you ‘hands-on’ help with the behaviors that are worrying you.

Obviously it’s a ‘no-no’ when she’s snapping, at this age she could definitely do some damage and YOU need to take control of this by firmly correcting her every single time she does it. The snapping when someone stops petting her seems to me to be her way of trying to control their behavior and get more of what she is enjoying. To curb this, make sure she gets petted on YOUR timetable only – not when she wants it. Start and stop when you say so only! If she objects when you stop, tell her ‘no bite’ firmly and calmly and do not continue the petting. If she does this with other people, correct her and encourage them to do the same.

The fact that she’s crying and snapping at the vets’ office indicates that she’s scared, and her reaction to fear is to become aggressive. This is fairly normal, but again needs to be discouraged firmly. Socialization is definitely key but I think you will find it much easier if you get some professional help to get started and I’d recommend talking to a qualified trainer at a local dog obedience school.

At only a year old, your pup is a teenager and she is going through some very rapid developmental changes, she has plenty of time to mature and is young enough to have lots of time to learn new ‘better’ behaviors and to forget the unacceptable ones. She will need you to be loving, firm and patient with her so don’t get angry or upset as that will make the situation worse.

I think with a little help you should be able to overcome these issues without too much difficulty and wish you the best of luck.

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Sep 30, 2015


7 week old pup.. skittish. NEW
by: Kathleen

Hi hi, was wondering what can I do to help my Lil guy he seems to be skittish when it comes to loud noise or if just me going out side or walking with towards him. He is from a backyard breeder unfortunately. But just the same he is a cutie. . Please help.

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