Training

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2 min read

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How to Train a Rottweiler to Guard

Training

|

2 min read

|

1

Comments

How to Train a Rottweiler to Guard
Hard difficulty iconHard
Time icon1-3 Months
Work training category iconWork

Introduction

Buster is a lively little canine. Walk in on him in the morning and he's probably tearing around the house chasing the kids as they get ready for school. Walk in on him during dinner and he's probably looking angelic with their head on a lap begging for food. Go and see your puppy in the evening and you will see he's mastered the graceful position of lying on his back with legs outstretched in the air. But while you love the appetite for life, you brought your Rottweiler home because you had a job for him. You want to train your Rottweiler puppy to guard. 

With a house full of valuable possessions and a family you want to keep safe, a well-trained Rottweiler seems like the ideal guard. Rottweilers are naturally strong, tough and built for business anyway. Plus, you may find they respond to other training much better as a result of the techniques you will use!

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Defining Tasks

The command ‘bark’ will be an important instruction your Rottweiler will need to learn. A controlled bark can help keep intruders away. Fortunately, it’s also pretty easy to teach. But you will also need to look at other ways to train them to be a guard dog. You will need to go through boundary training with your Rottweiler puppy. Once they have a sense of what falls within their territory, they will naturally want to defend anything within it.

Rottweilers are normally pretty easy to train. This is particularly true of puppies, whose brains are like a sponge, soaking up everything around them. So you could see results in just a month or so. You will need a little more time and patience, however, if your Rottweiler puppy isn’t such a great listener. Be prepared to invest up to three months into training if they are hard to keep on task.

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Getting Started

Effective dog training centers around the right incentives. So you will need a decent amount of their favorite treats. Having said that, a toy your dog loves may also work as a good motivator. Make sure you also have a leash and time to commit to training each day. You'll need access to the space you want to train them to guard too.

A friend will also come in handy to test your dog's new guarding capabilities. You may also want to consider using a clicker when you train. They may speed up the learning process. 

So now you have all that, let’s give it a try!

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The Territory Method

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Perimeter walk

Each morning you need to clip your Rottweiler puppy to a leash and walk them around the perimeter of the area you want them to protect, such as your yard. This will drill into them where their territory is.

2

Evening reptition

They will understand their boundaries best if you also do the same walk again in the evening. Try and stay quiet as you walk, you want them to concentrate and take in their surroundings.

3

Long tether

Secure your pup to a long tether in the area you want them to guard. If they spend all day in this space, they will assume everything within it is theirs to protect. You can also put their bed, water bowl and toys there. This will make it feel even more like their space.

4

Rewards

To develop an effective guard dog, you need to start rewarding them for certain behaviors from an early age. So give them a treat when they take an interest in strangers or bark at them.

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Don’t use punishment

Some owners think being aggressive towards their Rottweiler puppies is the best way to make them a defensive guard dog. This is simply not true. Positive reinforcements are far more effective. You don’t want to risk turning your puppy into a dangerous, uncontrollable dog.

The ‘Bark’ Method

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Watch them

Watch your Rottweiler puppy closely for things that make them bark. This could be when they’re excited or nervous. You’re going to use these situations to train them to bark on command and then at strangers.

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‘Bark’

So once you have found the right situation, put your pup in it. Then give a ‘bark’ instruction just before or as they start to bark. Make sure you give it in a high-pitched voice to make it feel like a game.

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Reward

Once they do follow your lead and bark, you need to reward them. Give them a treat or play around with a toy for a minute. If you use a clicker when you train, now is the time to click.

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Testing

Spend a few days practicing the ‘bark’ command at home. Then have a friend approach the house or area you want the dog to protect. Stand next to the pup, point at the stranger and instruct them to bark. Once they do, give your canine chum another reward.

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Lose the rewards

Now you just need to practice this regularly. Try and use people that your dog doesn’t already know too well. It will soon become habit to bark at any strangers whenever they approach. When your Rottweiler puppy gets to this stage, you can slowly stop giving them treats.

The Early Start Method

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Socialization

You need to make sure your dog behaves around pets and people they do know. You don’t want them being defensive towards everyone. So introduce your Rottweiler puppy to lots of new people early on.

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Basic obedience

You also need to make sure you have control over your dog. To help you with that, teach them basic commands, such as 'sit' and 'wait'. Taking them to group obedience classes will probably help too.

3

Speak

Once they know the basics and you have some control, you need to teach them to bark at strangers. So have someone approach your dog. Then point, whisper and draw their attention to the potential intruder until they bark.

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Rewards

Once they do bark, you can give them a delicious reward. A yummy treat or a toy to play around with should do the job. You may also want to introduce a verbal cue at this point. Simply say ‘speak’ or something similar whenever they bark and they will soon respond to it.

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Different situations

Now your Rottweiler puppy has all the basic components of a guard dog, so it’s time to test their skills. Have people knock on windows and doors over the next few weeks, and instruct the pup to bark each time. Make sure you give them a reward each time they follow your command. Before you know it they will be barking at any stranger that approaches. Then your work is done!

By Olivia Draper

Published: 04/17/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Bella

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Rottweiler

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15 Months

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Question

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Guarding and protection

June 15, 2022

Bella's Owner

Expert avatar

Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Francois, Many dogs will naturally guard if it's in their genetics and you have laid a good foundation of respect and obedience, once they mature mentally between 1-2 years of age. If pup doesn't, you can also teach pup to bark automatically when someone enters the property and be more watchful in general using reward based training. For the alerting, first teach pup to bark by teaching 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 or come to the door while pup watches from a window or inside somewhere. Command speak and reward with a treat when they do. Practice with telling pup to speak each time the person is there, until pup barks on their own when the person tries to enter without saying speak. At that point, have the person come 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 For anything that would involve bite work, you would need to pursue training with a professional protection trainer who knows how to utilize pup's defense drive, build confidence, utilize rewards like a bite bag and tug, and have the right staff and equipment to practice things like arms holds - this training should only be done with a professionals help and should not encourage fear or true aggression when done correctly - it's more like teaching pup a task, teaching alertness, obedience, building confidence, and encouraging a natural defense drive - opposed to poorly done training that encourages suspicion and fear to get a bite from the dog. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

June 16, 2022


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