How to Train a Rottweiler for Protection

How to Train a Rottweiler for Protection
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon5-10 Months
Work training category iconWork

Introduction

The Rottweiler is a powerful, majestic dog who is probably descended from the drover dogs of ancient Rome. Your Rottweiler is incredibly sweet and loving with your family, even cuddling her huge body into your lap if she can get away with it. She is endlessly patient and tolerant with children and respectful with your smaller dogs and cats. 

Rottweilers are intelligent enough to have done a number of jobs throughout their history. They originally served as livestock herders and guardians, as well as pulling the carts laden with meat. When this job was made largely obsolete, rottweilers became popular as police dogs, search and rescue dogs, and personal guard dogs. 

The same devoted nature that makes your Rottweiler adoring and patient with your family makes her protective of them. Your Rottie has a natural instinct to guard you, your family, and your property, so training your Rottweiler for protection is about teaching her the right times and circumstances for guarding, and how you want her to guard.  

arrow-up-icon

Top

Defining Tasks

To train your Rrottweiler for protection you should first assess how she already behaves. Does she bark and growl at the mailman or when guests arrive? Does she put herself between you and strangers on walks? If your Rottweiler is already expressing guarding behavior then it will be easier for you to direct that behavior appropriately.

If, however, your Rottweiler is overly aggressive in the wrong situations, like continuing to growl when you have greeted and invited in guests, you will need to curb your Rottweiler's instincts and give her outlets for excessive energy.

Rottweilers who are happy and friendly with strangers, even at the house, can still learn to protect. Young dogs, especially, may not have the instinct firmly developed yet but will develop it with time and training.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Getting Started

While your Rottweiler will learn that protection work is very important, this doesn't mean that training shouldn't be fun for you and your pooch. Your best friend must trust you to tell her when to guard and when not to.

If she thinks that she must decide what to do to protect you she will have an anxiety-laden life and may guard inappropriately, resulting in a bite to a friend or service person. Instead, teach your Rottie what situations are appropriate for guarding behavior, and what you want her to do to guard you, your family, and your property. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

The Encourage Instinct Method

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon
1

Friendly or oblivious pup

If your Rottweiler couldn't care less about strangers unless they have a cheeseburger, you can prompt your pup's guarding instincts by fun, unexpected training sessions.

2

Get the sleeve

Teach your rottweiler to go after the sleeve. If she doesn't care about it or playing tug, teach her to bring it to you for a treat.

3

Challenge the return

Make it more difficult for your Rottweiler to bring the sleeve to you, either by lodging it so she has to pull it out, hiding it, etc. Keep practicing until your Rottie will work hard to bring the sleeve back from wherever it is for intermittent rewards.

4

Introduce person with sleeve

Have an accomplice wear the sleeve and tell your dog to get it as before. At first, have your accomplice make it very easy for your Rottweiler to get the sleeve.

5

Build challenge and hide sleeve

Practice until your Rottweiler is accustomed to biting and shaking vigorously to get the sleeve from the person, then have the person hide the sleeve under a thick jacket. Reward your rottweiler well for going after the sleeve even when hidden.

The Model Dog Method

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon
1

Doesn't get it

If your Rottweiler just doesn't seem to get the point of protection, no matter how hard you try to train her, she may get the idea from another trained dog.

2

Let her watch

Let your Rottweiler watch dogs engaged in protection work. Encourage her to watch one dog and one person as a person "attacks" the two of them and the dog protects.

3

Wait for excitement

Eventually, your Rottweiler will stop looking so confused and start looking excited.

4

Practice

Introduce the exercise with your dog in the same way as the exercises she just watched. Encourage her to take the sleeve, and give it to her without her having to exhaust much effort.

5

Polish

Now that you have the motivation and instinct kicked in, work with your Rottweiler until she will hold onto and shake even a concealed sleeve on command.

The When to Protect Method

Least Recommended

1 Vote

Ribbon icon

Least Recommended

1 Vote

Ribbon icon
1

Protection minded

If your Rottweiler is protection-minded, already showing guarding instincts when strangers visit and out on walks, you can teach your dog when guarding behavior is appropriate.

2

Watch me

Teach your Rottweiler to watch you by giving her a command for this behavior and rewarding with a desirable treat or toy when she looks at you. Train until she has a consistent response every time you say the command.

3

Teach 'get it'

Teach your Rottweiler a command for going after a toy or tug. You can hold it just out of reach, then slowly lower it and tell her to 'get it'. Play a game of tug as reward. Practice until she can wait several minutes while you move the toy around before releasing her to get it.

4

Introduce sleeve

Introduce a bite sleeve and use it just as you had been using the tug toy. Have your Rottweiler wait, then reward her by letting her get the sleeve and play a game of tug.

5

Target wears sleeve

Have a dog savvy target person wear the sleeve and enter with it. Go through the same routine, having your dog wait some time before allowing her to get the sleeve. Practice some occurrences in which she is never released, then work up to usually not releasing her, but sometimes having a friend wear the sleeve to practice.

By Coral Drake

Published: 03/09/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

Have a question?

Training Questions and Answers

Dog nametag icon

loco

Dog breed icon

Rottweiler

Dog age icon

2 Years

Question icon

Question

Thumbs up icon

0 found helpful

Thumbs up icon

0 found helpful

be a guard dog

Dec. 29, 2021

loco's Owner

Expert avatar

Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

Recommendation ribbon

1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ashkan, You can either hire a professional protection trainer to train pup formally, or you can work on teaching pup to bark when someone comes onto the property and generally be more alert of surroundings, on your own. For any bite work, you will need to hire professional help though. To teach pup to bark and be more alert, first, teach pup the Speak command. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-to-speak Once pup knows the speak command, recruit friends pup doesn't know to step onto the property while pup watches from a window or fence. Command speak and reward with a treat when they do. Practice with telling pup to speak each time the person is on the property, until pup barks on their own when the person enters without saying speak. At that point, have the person step onto the property, wait seven seconds to see if pup will bark on their own, reward if they do, and command speak if they don't - then reward but give a smaller reward when you tell pup opposed to when pup does it on their own. Practice until pup will bark each time someone enters the property. Practice with different people you can recruit, that pup doesn't know so that pup will learn to do this with anyone who enters the property and not just that one person. Draw pup's attention to people outside or people on your property, and reward pup when you see them watching someone in general - so that pup will begin watching people and staying more alert as a habit. Pup doesn't have to bark to reward this one - just reward when pup is watching someone and you notice that. I also recommend teaching the Quiet command, so that you can tell pup when to stop barking after they alert. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Dec. 30, 2021

Dog nametag icon

Bold

Dog breed icon

Rottweiler

Dog age icon

8 Months

Question icon

Question

Thumbs up icon

0 found helpful

Thumbs up icon

0 found helpful

My dog deficates everywhere, spoils my things, my house was buggled in my absence, it didn't do anything. It runs away from strangers. It just seems useless to me.

July 18, 2021

Bold's Owner

Expert avatar

Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

Recommendation ribbon

1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Gloria, Check out the Crate Training method from the article linked below. Make sure that the crate doesn't have anything absorbent in it - including a soft bed or towel. Check out www.primopads.com if you need a non-absorbent bed for him. Make sure the crate is only big enough for him to turn around, lie down and stand up, and not so big that he can potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid it. Dogs have a natural desire to keep a confined space clean so it needs to be the right size to encourage that natural desire. Use a cleaner that contains enzymes to clean any previous or current accidents - only enzymes will remove the small and remaining smells encourage the dog to potty in the same location again later. The method I have linked below was written for younger puppies, since your dog is older you can adjust the times and take him potty less frequently. I suggest taking him potty every 3 hours when you are home. After 1.5 hours (or less if she has an accident sooner) or freedom out of the crate, return him to the crate while his bladder is filling back up again until it has been 3 hours since his last potty trip. When you have to go off he should be able to hold his bladder in the crate for 5-7 hours - less at first while he is getting used to it and longer once he is accustomed to the crate. Only have him wait that long when you are not home though, take him out about every 3 hours while home. You want him to get into the habit of holder his bladder between trips and not just eliminating whenever he feels the urge and you want to encourage that desire for cleanliness in your home - which the crate is helpful for. Less freedom now means more freedom later in life. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If he is not already used to a crate, expect crying at first. When he cries and you know he doesn't need to go potty yet, ignore the crying. Most dogs will adjust if you are consistent. You can give him a dog food stuffed hollow chew toy to help him adjust and sprinkle treats into the crate during times of quietness to further encourage quietness. If he continues protesting for long periods of time past 3-5 days, you can use a Pet Convincer. Work on teaching "Quiet" but using the Quiet method from the article linked below. Tell him "Quiet" when he barks and cries. If he gets quiet and stays quiet, you can sprinkle a few pieces of dog food into the crate through the wires calmly, then leave again. If he disobeys your command and keep crying or stops but starts again, spray a small puff of air from the Pet convincer at his side through the crate while saying "Ah Ah" calmly, then leave again. If he stays quiet after you leave you can periodically sprinkle treats into the crate to reward quietness. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Only use the unscented air from the Pet Convincers - don't use citronella, it's too harsh and lingers for too long so can be confusing. You can either hire a professional protection trainer to train pup formally, or you can work on teaching pup to bark when someone comes onto the property and generally be more alert of surroundings, on your own. For any bite work, you will need to hire professional help though. To teach pup to bark and be more alert, first, teach pup the Speak command. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-to-speak Once pup knows the speak command, recruit friends pup doesn't know to step onto the property while pup watches from a window or fence. Command speak and reward with a treat when they do. Practice with telling pup to speak each time the person is on the property, until pup barks on their own when the person enters without saying speak. At that point, have the person step onto the property, wait seven seconds to see if pup will bark on their own, reward if they do, and command speak if they don't - then reward but give a smaller reward when you tell pup opposed to when pup does it on their own. Practice until pup will bark each time someone enters the property. Practice with different people you can recruit, that pup doesn't know so that pup will learn to do this with anyone who enters the property and not just that one person. Draw pup's attention to people outside or people on your property, and reward pup when you see them watching someone in general - so that pup will begin watching people and staying more alert as a habit. Pup doesn't have to bark to reward this one - just reward when pup is watching someone and you notice that. I also recommend teaching the Quiet command, so that you can tell pup when to stop barking after they alert. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

July 19, 2021


Training assistant
Need training help?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews

Install


© 2022 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.