Our 15 month Rotty has turned savage with us

by Lloyd

We have a 15 mo male rottie that has turned savage with us if we tell him off after marking in the house.

The marking is a constant problem and seems to be because we also have an elderly female dog in the house, who was with us before we got the pup.

The behaviour change has happened in a very short space of time. He used to give you his “I’m sorry” look when told off, but just recently has started snarling and barring teeth at my wife and I. Very alarmingly he will also get onto the bed and stand over us snarling after being told off for a marking incident.

We have brought the dog up in a very loving and non-strict home, but unfortunately have done a bad job of instilling any discipline into him and he clearly sees himself as the pack leader now who can do anything he wants.

My wife has become scared of him to the point that she insists I get rid of him. This is a shame because 99% of the time he is the happy, playful, loyal dog that we all know Rottie’s can be.

To me, the problems all stem from a territorial behaviour and I am wondering if having him neutered might be a viable solution to what has become an unacceptable situation.

Hi Lloyd
I agree with you that ‘getting rid of him’ is a poor choice and totally unfair as your pup is not an aggressive or temperamentally unsound Rottweiler.

You seem to understand the root of the problem, which is lack of proper discipline and ‘authority hierarchy’ within the home. Combine that with the fact that your Rottweiler is an intact male, who is in the throes of adolescence and what you have is a fairly predictable outcome.

Some of this is doubtless due to the presence of the female dog in your home and the swirling hormones your ‘teenager’ is dealing with. Neutering him may help to lower these levels somewhat, but may not stop him from marking his territory as once this starts it’s more difficult to stop than if he’d been neutered before becoming sexually mature. It can generally be controlled with constant correction and even the use of ‘belly bands’ or ‘male wraps’ (eg…Simple Solution Washable Male Wrap, Medium)
to protect your home/furnishings until you get it under control.

However, your biggest problem here is that your pup thinks it’s okay to growl or bare his teeth at your wife, or anyone for that matter. This is an absolute ‘no no’ and needs to be controlled before someone gets hurt. As it seems as though you’re both a bit out of your depth here, I’d strongly recommend that you get some professional help from a qualified dog trainer (one who is familiar with large, guardian breeds and who only uses positive, rewards-based training methods).

He/she will be able to evaluate your pups behavior and your reactions to it, and advise you as to how to handle things better. There are all sorts of tips and advice on how to maintain your role as the ‘alpha’ in your home, but in this situation you need immediate, hands-on help rather than a ‘how to’ guide.

Rotties are awesome dogs and are very trainable and eager to please, however they’re also very smart and if they don’t feel that there is a clear leader in the home, or feel they are higher up in terms of authority than a certain person/people, then they can try to ‘take over’. This is not acceptable. If you don’t teach your pup what is allowed and what isn’t, rehoming him is most likely going to be difficult at best, and may end very badly for him. This is not fair as he’s only acting in a normal canine fashion and just needs clear guidance and leadership from you.

I hope this helps and that you get the help you need to improve the communication between your family and your dog and get things back on track. Best of luck.

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