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.

Written by Coral Drake

Veterinary reviewed by:

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

Training Questions

Have a question?

Training Questions and Answers

Dog nametag icon

Stella

Dog breed icon

Rottweiler

Dog age icon

Four Weeks

Question icon

Question

Thumbs up icon

0 found this helpful

Thumbs up icon

0 found this helpful

How can I train a rottweiler that keeps biting, chewing n it needs help to potty train

July 18, 2023

Stella's Owner

Expert avatar

Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

Recommendation ribbon

1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello, First, if pup is four weeks old right now, I would adjust your expectations until pup is around eight weeks old. Four weeks old is the age where puppies are normally still with their mothers and only beginning the weaning process, so for those who adopt puppies so young for a variety of reasons, the first few weeks are really going to be geared toward making sure pup is eating and drinking well enough multiple times a day, per your vet's recommended feeding schedule. I would also set up an exercise pen with a designated potty area, like paper or pads on one end and a sleeping area on the opposite end to contain the pup to just that area of the house when you aren't directly playing with them, and to help them learn the beginning stages of potty training - like peeing in one area and not another, but don't expect actual potty training to begin until around eight weeks since a puppy younger than that won't have the ability to hold their bladder well enough. Once pup is around eight weeks, or if pup is already past that age right now, Check out the article linked below. Starting today, use the "Bite Inhibition" method. This method can also be used on puppies younger than eight weeks but don't expect no biting from puppies that young - it can help them to learn to bite more gently, which is also extremely important developmentally. With that eight week puppy, at the same time you are using the Bite Inhibition method, begin teaching "Leave It" from the "Leave It" method. As soon as pup is good at the Leave It game, start telling pup to "Leave It" when she attempts to bite or is tempted to bite. Reward pup if she makes a good choice. If she disobeys your leave it command, use the Out command from the article I have linked below also as a gentle consequence for not obeying. The order or all of this is very important - the bite inhibition method can be used at first while pup is learning leave it still or is too young for leave it, but leave it will teach pup to stop the biting entirely with time. The Out command teaches pup that you mean what you say without being overly harsh - but because you have taught pup to leave it first, pup clearly understands why you are doing what you are doing. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - sections on how to teach out and how to use out to deal with pushiness, especially. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Another important part of this is puppy learning bite inhibition. Puppies have to learn while young how to control the pressure of their mouths - this is typically done through play with other puppies. See if there is a puppy class in your area that comes well recommended and has time for moderated off-leash puppy play once pup is old enough to start. If you can't join a class, look for a free puppy play group, or recruit some friends with puppies to come over if you can and create your own group. You are looking for puppies under 6 months of age - since young puppies play differently than adult dogs. Moderate the puppies' play and whenever one pup seems overwhelmed or they are all getting too excited, interrupt their play, let everyone calm down, then let the most timid pup go first to see if they still want to play - if they do, then you can let the other puppies go too when they are waiting for permission. Finding a good puppy class - no class will be ideal but here's what to shoot for: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/puppy-classes-when-to-start/ When pup gets especially wound up, she probably needs a nap too. At this age puppies will sometimes get really hyper when they are overtired or haven't had any mental stimulation through something like training. When you spot that and think pup could be tired, place pup in their crate or an exercise pen with a food stuffed Kong for a bit to help her calm down and rest. Finally, check out the PDF e-book downloads found on this website, written by one of the founders of the association of professional dog trainers, and a pioneer in starting puppy kindergarten classes in the USA. Click on the pictures of the puppies to download the PDF books: https://www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads/ Know that mouthiness at this age is completely normal. It's not fun but it is normal for it to take some time for a puppy to learn self-control well enough to stop. Try not to get discouraged if you don't see instant progress, any progress and moving in the right direction in this area is good, so keep working at it. For the potty training, check out the Crate Training method from the article linked below, once she reaches eight weeks old. Start with the exercise pen and papers or disposable real grass pads until old enough to use the crate to train; go ahead and start getting her used to a crate by having one available to her and sprinkling kibble or tiny treats or fun toys in there, so she will investigate right now. You can also combine the Crate Training method with the Tethering method if you want pup to be with you more, once pup is doing well with crate training and potty training. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside To address destructive chewing using Bitter Apple spray, crate training and an exercise pen before then to limit freedom to times when you can supervise, providing safe chew toys stuffed with something safe and yummy - like kongs to teach her to prefer her own items to chew, and teaching leave it, with you supervising her enough to calmly enforce it and help her learn, can all help with chewing. Keep expectations low until at least eight weeks of age though; the exercise pen and toys will be your main helps at first. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Aug. 2, 2023

Dog nametag icon

loco

Dog breed icon

Rottweiler

Dog age icon

2 Years

Question icon

Question

Thumbs up icon

0 found this helpful

Thumbs up icon

0 found this 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


Wag! Specialist
Need training help?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews

Install


© 2024 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.


© 2024 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.