Service dogs tend to vary with breed and are dependent on skill. Various breeds of dogs can be trained for multiple roles. For example, Rottweilers are not typically associated with service or police dogs – but does that mean that they cannot become service or police dogs?
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The short answer is of course not!
Our awesome Rotties are utilized and trained in multiple ways that include being therapy dogs and police dogs. They were also one of the first breeds trained to be medical support dogs, as seeing-eye dogs for the blind. In addition, their fantastic temperament and trainability gives them the ability to provide for others across a multitude of tasks.
History of the Rottweiler’s Work
As domesticated pets, we have come to know rottweilers as fiercely loyal and protective, with an instinct to guard. They have always gotten a bad reputation as mean guard dogs on TV, but this reputation is misunderstood and misplaced. Rottweilers are friendly and kind, can be trained easily, staying loyal and resilient to their owners. Despite their large size, Rottweilers are not the typical “bullies” that Hollywood has made them out to be.
Rottweilers were first used as herd dogs for farmers with their livestock. They made excellent herders because they were smart and understood the tasks at hand. This training method and loyalty paved the way to other jobs, such as pulling carts and working as guard dogs. The admiration of the breed grew and demonstrated that they are trained easily to follow commands as excellent companions. For this, they can become exceptional service dogs.
Rotties As Therapy Dogs
There is a notable difference between a service dog and a therapy dog. Therapy dogs are volunteers that come with their owners to various locations (typically hospitals, nursing homes, schools) and work together to help improve the lives of those around them.
The American Rottweiler Club noted that Rottweilers make excellent therapy dogs since they are patient, friendly, gentle, and behave well in unusual or new situations. Socialization is essential for a Rottie in this case; exposure to various locations and different environments to be trained to cope and respond favorably.
Therapy dogs do an outstanding service to those around them. They provide advantages such as aiding in advancing social skills, reducing stress, improving behavior, and raising self-esteem.
These are all characteristics that apply to being a service dog, as well. If you are interested in having your rottweiler become a service dog, you may look into doing therapy and volunteer work with your dog at first. This way, your dog can become accustomed to being around others in various settings and learn how to behave and follow your commands before you make a move to service or police work.
Rotties As Police and Rescue Dogs
The American Kennel Club states that Rottweilers have also gained popularity as police dogs. Since the early 1900s, they have found new work performing complex tasks, such as search-and-rescue workers in disaster sites. They were also used as the fourth dog breed to receive official recognition as police dogs.
Rottweilers have been utilized to help search in places like Oklahoma City and the World Trade Center, taking a vital role as a service dog. They even have a history of being used in the military as messenger dogs during both world wars, being sent from base to base to deliver correspondence.
So how do we know if a Rottie will make a good police dog? First, some criteria need to be met to be utilized in police work since it is very tough on canines. Those traits are:
- Strength & Stamina – police dogs will need to walk many miles per day and be alert for long periods. Rottweilers feature both of these characteristics well, with the ability to stay with their owners, alert and ready, and willing to go the distance before a job is considered complete.
- Intellect – known for their confidence and training, Rotties rank in one of the top ten breeds for canine intelligence. Their brilliant brains make them a perfect candidate to help with police work.
- Loyalty – rottweilers want nothing more than to please their owners, so they follow and obey rules well and stay close by to follow their partner’s lead.
Rottweilers tend to be cautious in new territory, and they make excellent police dogs, being employed in Australia, Germany, France, and the United States in the K-9 Unit. They execute patrol duties, but they have also been used to sniff out drugs, bombs, and other missions where an excellent sense of smell may be required. They also are used for border patrol. Because of their intellect, they can do all of these jobs easily.
Could You Train Your Rottweiler As a Police Dog?
Since professional training is necessary to be an effective police dog, typical domestic pet owners of Rotties cannot train their dogs to work in the K-9 Unit. However, if you are interested in training your puppy to do that kind of work eventually, you can start the process in the early years with a few key steps:
- Ensure your Rottie is adequately fed and hydrated.
- Bond Vet’s online veterinarians recommend a simple, virtual checkup to ensure that your Rottie is “up-to-date on all necessary medications” so that he or she has the required healthcare to stay fit. They reminded us that “most vets usually require frequent visits until your pup is one year old, then yearly examinations unless others are necessary.”
- Socialize your pup as early as you can, exposing your Rottie to various locations, people of all ages, and other animals. Their true temperament is that they are friendly, loyal, and kind, so introducing them to situations at a young age will help them adapt more quickly.
Typically, rottweilers are put in what is called doggy foster care until old enough to attend a Canine Police Academy. However, giving up your pet is not easy. After all of the work you put in to train your dog, you would have to say goodbye to your beloved Rottie when it is time for them to be trained in police work. So, it is wise to ensure that you truly want your Rottweiler to be a police dog and make the commitment early on, with the knowledge that you will no longer be the owner once it attends the academy.
Rotties As Service Dogs
Since service dogs are needed to help people with physical and emotional disabilities or ailments, Rotties also make wonderful service dogs to help. They are well-rounded and like being needed by their owners, so they make excellent companions for service.
Their large size and intelligence allow them to help the blind by walking confidently and having the ability to accomplish tasks such as pressing buttons, turning on lights, or opening and closing doors. Their training also allows them to be of service by bringing objects to their owners and detecting if their owner is in danger and needs assistance.
Can You Train Your Rottweiler to Be a Service Dog?
Again, like police dogs, rottweilers need good owners to help train them to become service dogs. Typical training for service dogs takes around one to two years since being a service dog is a full-time job. You need to ensure also that your dog is healthy and getting proper nutrition.
If you want to train your rottweiler to be a service dog, you need to make sure it receives its training while still a puppy so that it can easily be trained to follow commands. Obedience training classes are sometimes helpful. More advanced training requires teaching the dog how to perform the various tasks that a service dog needs to know, such as leading its owner if it is blind, fetching, moving objects, etc.
Remember That Rottweilers Are an Advanced Breed
Rottweilers would make wonderful dogs in any fashion, whether utilized as volunteer dogs to bring joy into others’ lives, or used to help someone in need, or trained to work alongside the police. They have served in multiple roles all over the world.
They have such a rich history of being hard workers, dedicated, good-natured, and loyal. In addition, they are protective, brave, and gentle, making them one of the best pets to have. Of course, training plays an essential role for your Rottie and its upbringing.
Training your Rottie requires a great deal of exposure to situations and people, which will lead to a more accepting nature of different locations and events. Adjustments can start small and then gradually increase, and your rottweiler will accommodate you and follow your commands. Their dedication and a strong sense of loyalty give them an excellent opportunity to make a significant impact in the world around them.
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