Post # 1
I know this is a wedding forum, but I know there are a lot of doggie experts here and I wanted some advice! I have a 5 month old female rottweiler puppy. Two things happened tonight that really distress me, and I am very stressed out and overwhelmed. I don’t know what to do, what is right to do, and I am concerned that I will have an out of control aggressive Rottweiler that will be a liability. I know I am getting ahead of myself but – sigh, just very concerned and stressed right now!
First, we bought Nova (puppy) her first edible chew bone. When she was lying down and chewing on it, I went over to hug her, as I do often when she is playing with a rubber chew toy. She started to growl and snap at me, which is the first time she’s ever displayed any aggression towards humans (she is a little possessive over toys towards other canines). I know I was hovering/pressing on her, and probably in her space while she had a valuable item – but it was still distressing to me that she displayed this type of behavior. Should we be concerned about this, and should try to train or correct it? Or should we just not bother her when she has a bone? She doesn’t display any aggression when we reach over with our hand and take away the bone – only when we are hovering over her, or pressing on her body. But then again, what if we have kids/have children over and then go lie on top of her when she has a bone?!
Second, usually when we feed her dinner we put the kibble in her food dish and tell her to “leave it” for a few seconds. Tonight, when she was “leaving it”, our cat walked by and approached the bowl to sniff it. Nova became very agitated and aggressive towards the cat. We didn’t really know how to respond, and just immediately crated her. She became very vocal, and started growling and barking at the cat through the crate. Again, is this something we should be concerned about and try to train her out of? Or is it more fair to her to keep the cat away from her during mealtimes?
Halp. 🙁 I’m trying to sleep, but this is all I can think about. Haha – imagine me having kids… I won’t be able to sleep for YEARS.
And to encourage some help – here is a pic of her a few weeks ago (she is much larger now)
Post # 3
I don’t know if concerned is the right word, but i definitely think you need to correct this behavior ASAP. When my border collie was a puppy, every time he growled or snapped at me or my other dog I would put him on his back and hold his muzzle until he submitted. This is what wolves do in the wild. It isn’t something I would recommend using for trivial offenses, but I think this warrents it. The WORSE thing you can do is ignore it now when she’s a puppy,it won’t be a good thing when she grows to adulthood and is a lot bigger and stronger. Also, I would recommend getting a high value treat and only giving it to her when the cat is near her and she is in NO WAY showing aggression. Good Luck! I hope this helps!!!!
Post # 4
@sugarcube: You should get a trainer while she is still young, that specializes in aggressive/dominant breeds, such as rotties/pittys/shepherds/ext. I work in the veterinary field and while there are very sweet dogs in all these breeds, I find that such breeds have the bad rep for a legitimate reason. This is not behavior that you should let go.
Post # 5
You need to train this behavior out of her. I would call a dog trainer to come out to work with you and teach you the distraction techniques and positive reinforcement exercises you can do with her.
Shes not out of control or aggressive, just displaying typical Rottie resource guarding behavior. You just need to train her. 🙂
I have a mutt and a Pit in my house, and one day with a trainer was all we needed. After that, it’s just practice! But it is so much easier when they are still puppies. Don’t wait on this, or it will be harder to break those habits.
Post # 6
Aww shes a cutey!
Well you have yourself a working breed dog, and a youngin’! You are going to want to set very strict standards for her as well as plenty of exercise. She is likely testing some boundaries and also showing a bit of her breeding, so if you become fearful, she will take over and start rolling with it. I know its hard but you have to maintain your confidence around her. Keep working on having her wait regarding food.
I know that cat was a crazy experience but she also needs correction/guidance for that behavior and it would help if the cat wasn’t always around during feeding time as a distraction, until you get her under control- then you can add distractions. Also, make sure you can take the bowl away from her at any point during eating. Her bone incident was resource guarding, which is something you will need to work on . You own the toys/food /cat everything and you decide when she gets to have it and when she is done-hovering and all. ( although as a general rule I wouldn’t recommend over hovering or pressing too much because they are still instinctual dogs at the end of the day- they all have comfort zones and limits)
I recommend using a trainer that matches up with your training style and investing in some instructional videos/books to guide you through it, especially if you have nervous or negative energy. We love Cesar Milan- and he actually started his whole dog career by working with a pack of Rotties- so you may be able to relate to him. Also, I would recommend keeping her on a short lead and training collar around the house so you can correct her before the problem starts- she gives the cat the stink eye, correct! ( before it escalates into a snarling fest) . If she gets moody about hovering correct, and set the new boundary with toys. . and if you don’t agree with negative reinforcement- have a fanny pack of treats on for when your around the house and use distractions, re-direction and rewards when she does unwanted behavior!
Also be honest with yourself and your future. Is she the right breed for your family? Since you are already nervous about potential kids- this may be a recipe for disaster- as you holding a baby and being nervous is going to tell her that the baby is a an unsure thing/ problem. Not to scare you but jus to throw it out there. I am completely confident that you can do it, but I know not everyone is cut out for certain breeds- and I respect that!
And last but not least. Exercise, exercise , exercise! And also take her to everywhere- petsmart, basic obedience, wherever. The more interaction with people and other pups the better! Plus, exercise gets out the excess energy that can lead to behavioral probs.
Best of luck & hang in there- you can do it!!
Post # 7
Btw, I’m not surprised this happened. It just shows you that she views the bone that you gave her as a high value item. Whatever you do, don’t correct her for growling. When my dogs start exhibiting that type of behavior I take the toy away and put it up, then give them a treat instead. Once they calm down, I can return the toy until eventually they get desensitized. If she starts growling at the cat, I would try to drop her into a sit and give her treats while the cat is near the bowl. Once she realizes the cat is not a threat, and that she should look to you for guidance, it should help.
Post # 8
I would look for a positive based trainer to help you. They are a bit expensive but even an hour with a good trainer now could save you a lot of headaches (and more money!) down the road. Have you taken her to any puppy classes?
I would definitely NOT advise “alpha rolling” or throwing the dog on its back without the supervision of a trained professional, as it may very well do more harm than good. Resource guarding is very common and usually a fairly easy thing to fix with training. But also remember that a “hug” to a dog is not like a hug for a person. It’s important to respect the dog’s natural boundaries and learn to read their body language to see when they are uncomfortable. Every creature has its limits.
This article might be helpful as a place to start: http://www.aspcabehavior.org/articles/70/Food-Guarding.aspx You could also practice the “trade up” method. When you give her that bone she growled about, get out some chicken (or other amazing treat) and offer to “trade” her the chicken for the bone. She will learn that giving up what she currently has may get her something even better.
Post # 9
I am going to agree with all those saying to take her to a trainer asap. Seriously, rots are great dogs, especially for families, but they need a LOT of training and patience on your part. You cannot show any fear around them and you need to train yourselves as well on how to be the alpha of the family.
Post # 10
Wow, thanks so much for the advice. To answer a few questions –
We are socializing her by bringing her to two different puppy classes a week. One puppy kindergarten, and one puppy social hour. We also bring her around to pet stores and parks, so she gets exposed to everything.
I did watch Cesar and I tried the “nipping at the hind leg” and alpha rolling, but those seem to rile her up even more, and I have heard those methods were controversial. So I dont think I’ll be trying those again 🙁
i have been practicing the trading up game, and she still “leaves it” when I tell her to leave it, and she doesn’t have an issue (yet, knock on wood) if I just take it away from her with my hand. But she has an issue if I’m hugging her/in her space when shes eating it. Does that make sense? So I am unsure of how to “trade” in that sense.
Thank you for all the advice, I am trying to process it all. i’ve been just a little overwhelmed today. A lot going on in life right now! But I want to do the best I can, I don’t want to perpetuate their already bad reputation..
Post # 11
Luckily she is still young, so you have some time to reverse these habits before they get too bad.
When my cousin got her dogs (golden retreivers) she knew she would be having kids soon. So everytime they ate, she would interupt them, put her hand in their bowl, pet them, pick up their bowl, etc. so that if their babies ever did it, it would be fine.
I’m not sure if this is the recommended way to go about this, but she had a lot of luck with it.
Good luck! You already have shown you are a great owner just by being worried and looking for advice, I’m sure you will get it all sorted out.
Post # 12
I don’t have much advice, except for the additional training of course!
My parents havea black lab/rotty mix and he is very sweet (a total suck) and lovable. He started showing the same aggresive behaviours you described when given a chew bone type treat. After he snapped at my grandmother when she bent over to pet him (as she normally would), we took it away, and he is not allowed to have them. Ever. He just gets too possessive and it’s not something he “needs’. So, not sure if that helps!
Try to breathe, think of what you want to solve and see a trainer. If she’s still a pup there is time to work through these issues and I’m sure she’ll be wonderful. Perhaps she was just in a bit of a ‘mood’. 🙂
Post # 13
I like Ceasar but we don’t do alpha roles or hind leg stuff- but the “shhhh” noise with correction and you right some things rile dogs up/aggrivate even more.
You will figure it out 🙂 one day at a time!
Post # 14
First of all, what a cutie! And other bees have given you good advice I just wanted to chime in to say that these seem like pretty normal behaviors for a doggie that young, and I wouldn’t start worrying too much about her being labeled an “agressive dog.” I’m sure with training she will learn to play nice. There are just some instincts to overcome. Best of luck!
Post # 15
Like others have said, training asap! And never use a crate to punish, that should be her safe spot. You don’t want her to end up being afraid or hating her crate. Just keep working with her, never give up on a dog just because they are acting like dogs.
Post # 16
I know she is still young, but I know the bad reputation rotties have, and am trying desperately to make sure she behaves. I have done loads of research, and have invested a lot of time/effort/money into the training I mentioned and socalizing her.
She had never behaved like this prior, so when she displayed these first signs of aggression, I think my mind just went for a tailspin. Picturing her at her full grown weight and size, and snarling at people just scared me to death.
I will call our training school tomorrow and ask about their one hour private home lesson. I hope it isn’t too expensive.. 🙁