Snapped at a family member

by Sharon
(South Africa)

Hi there, i have a beautiful 19 month old rottie and he is our child at home, we had a social braai at our house over the weekend and he was fine amongst everyone, until my sister in law accidentally tramped on his paw and continued walking on and he reacted by snapping her on her back. I immediately put him away as he has never done this before.

As i have a 4 year old grandson i am concerned that he is going to do the same to him, my rottie has basically grown up with him so i have not had any incidents with the two of them. Please give some advise.

Cape Town

Hi Sharon
I wouldn’t overreact to this incident right now.

Unfortunately even loving Rottweiler owners can suddenly mistrust their dogs over an isolated, and often understandable incident, perhaps because they’re Rottweilers they’re not given the benefit of the doubt often!

Of course it’s not acceptable for your dog to snap at anyone, a 19 month old Rottie is strong and can do some damage after all, but it wasn’t an unprovoked act of aggression…. more an instinctive reaction under stress.

I would say at this point that it seems this was an over-reaction on your pups part and it was likely to do with the fuss, hustle, excitement, noise etc. that goes along with a social gathering. He was surrounded by noise and people which may have made him a bit hypersensitive, and then someone hurt him (although it was obviously accidental) and he got cross. Understandable.

However, you did the right thing by removing him from the situation and hopefully you corrected him verbally also. I would suggest that you introduce him to this sort of gathering or occasion slowly, and only let him ‘hang out’ with you for a short time. After that put him in his crate, kennel or a separate (and quiet) room so that he can relax and get away from the hustle and bustle.

As he’s always been well behaved, with no similar issues to this, I would personally count it as an isolated incident and move on. But do learn from it and understand that your dog has a tolerance level for stimulation that you want to respect for his own health, as well as those around him.

Of course, if he repeats this sort of behavior then I would consult a dog trainer or behavioral specialist (make sure it’s one that knows and understands this breed though) for advice and guidance. He’s obviously overall an excellent dog and everyone, dog or human, has an ‘off-day’ now and then.

Hope this helps, best of luck with your dog.

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Oct 12, 2010


by: Anonymous

Don’t worry about that. He was protecting himself.

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