How to Train a Rottweiler to Be Friendly

How to Train a Rottweiler to Be Friendly
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon1-2 Months
Behavior training category iconBehavior

Introduction

The Rottweiler is a dignified breed. While originally bred to herd cattle and pull carts, this strong dog has also been used extensively in police and military applications. You may find that your Rottweiler is a little standoffish with new people and pets. They may also display hyper-vigilant guarding behaviors in new situations.

The best time to influence your Rottweiler to be friendly is to start working with him when he is still a puppy. Making sure that he has proper socialization with other dogs, cats and people will go a long way to give him the confidence he needs to be friendly.

This guide offers three methods to teach your Rottweiler that new people are safe and that it is okay to open up and be friendly with them. In addition, we will give you some general advice about when to call in the experts to get professional help if you suspect a problem. 

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Defining Tasks

If you have a Rottweiler that has had a violent incident with another pet or a person, it is critical that you seek the help of a trained professional specializing in helping dogs with aggression issues. Every specific case is different, and it is irresponsible and dangerous to try to give you a one-size-fits-all solution.

This guide is intended as a helpful toolkit for people that want to make sure their Rottweiler stays friendly or learns to be more comfortable around new people, dogs and other pets. Since a guarding instinct has been bred into this breed, the stand-offish disposition can be intimidating for some.

While you can make sure that your Rottweiler is more comfortable and secure around new people and environments with the techniques used in this guide, you should not assume these methods will work to treat a known problem with aggression. 

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Getting Started

Before getting started with any training program, it is important to understand what motivates your dog. Most Rottweilers are motivated by food, so that one is a given. However, be looking for other things that make her smile. Does she have a favorite toy? Enjoy a game of tug? Like scratches behind the ears? These things can all be used to let her know that she is on the right track.

In addition, pay attention to your dog’s triggers. If you know that she is uncomfortable around moving cars, make sure your work on being friendly is not near any cars. Your job is to try to make spending time with other people, pets and in new places is as comfortable as possible.

Since being friendly is something that you want to see happen in everyday life, our three guides are designed to help you design a training program that takes advantage of real life situations in a controlled environment.

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The People Method

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1

Socialize often

Starting as early as you can, make sure that your Rottweiler gets lots of exposure to people. This method will give you some pointers on how to make sure you have your bases covered.

2

Invite people over

Invite people over to meet your Rottweiler. Have them offer him some treats and other things your dog enjoys such as a toss of the ball, or scratches behind the ears. Make sure that he gets to interact with people of all ages, including children and the elderly.

3

Fun tricks

Teach your Rottweiler some fun and easy tricks that you can use to break the ice. The fact is that people can be intimidated by this breed, so some funny tricks can go a long way to break the ice and make for more pleasant and friendly interactions.

4

Vet office

Pay special attention to make some trips to the vet’s office, rewarding with treats and other motivators. Ask the staff to help by also praising and showering your girl with some positive attention.

5

Crowds

If you feel confident, take your Rottweiler to dog-friendly events where there will be a lot of people. Stand outside of the crowd and invite folks to give your dog a treat. The more people that she has positive interactions with, the more she will look forward to meeting someone new.

The Other Dogs Method

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Socialize early and often

It is critical that if you have a Rottweiler puppy that he gets as much socialization with other dogs in the first year as possible. It is during this period that puppies learn vital dog communication that allows them to play safely with others.

2

Puppy classes

Puppy classes are an excellent place to get your Rottweiler puppy some healthy supervised play time with other dogs, as well as learning to focus on you while in the presence of other dogs.

3

Dog park

If your Rottweiler does well with other dogs, then the dog park is a place to make sure she stays up on her social game. Choose times when the park isn’t jam packed with dogs as sometimes this can be chaotic and overstimulating.

4

Doggy daycare

Another option for socialization is doggy daycare. This may be an excellent option for some since trained handlers will supervise your dog as he interacts with others. If your dog is in need of some remedial work, doggy daycare facilities can recommend the best trainers in your area.

5

Pick up toys

To keep things on an even keel, make sure that coveted toys, chew bones and food is all put up before inviting another dog over to play. These items can trigger guarding behaviors that might make your Rottweiler less friendly if challenged.

The New Places Method

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Rewards

The more places you can take your Rottweiler, the better. Be sure to skip breakfast and bring along the bag of kibble mixed with some favorite treats so that you can reward often. This will make sure that getting in the car for an adventure is something she looks forward to, not dreads.

2

Look for good behavior

Praise and reward your dog often for displaying the behavior you like in new places. When she wags her tail during a greeting, let her know she is on the right track.

3

New places are safe

New sounds and smells are a big part of your dog’s processing of the environment. By exposing her to new sensations, and rewarding with praise and rewards, you will let her know that new things are safe and enjoyable.

4

Brunch

There are a host of dog friendly restaurants and cafes these days. Take your Rottweiler to brunch and bring along some extra treats just for her. Make sure to let the staff and passersby give her some treats when they are willing to play along.

5

Walking trails

Walking trails are a great way to meet people and other dogs in a low stress environment. Again, be sure to go out of your way to keep your tone friendly and positive, rewarding the behaviors you want to see most to teach your Rottweiler to be friendly.

By Sharon Elber

Published: 03/28/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Dr Bo

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Rottweiler

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2 Years

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Question

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My dog is very aggressive. He jumps on people, he growls and he is very, very aggressive. What can I do to keep him from being so aggressive?

May 18, 2022

Dr Bo's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Vinnie, First, pup needs to be desensitized to wearing a basket muzzle and crate trained, and crated or wearing the muzzle for safety, with pup being fed meals in the crate. Second, you need to hire a professional trainer to work with you in person. Look for someone who specializes in behavior issues like aggression and works with at least one other trainer. Exactly how you train depends a lot on what types of aggression are present - is there a lack of respect, resource guarding, pup using aggression to get what they want, fear aggression, territorial behavior, ect... Making interactions with pup safe again is the first step, and that's done using the right equipment and management of pup's freedom, like the basket muzzle, crate, and a secure back tie leash. You can learn more form trainers like Thomas Davis online, but I don't recommend working on this case alone. I would get professional help, starting with introducing a muzzle so no one in the family or the trainer is risking a bite around pup. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

May 19, 2022

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Beauty

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rottweiller

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2 Years

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Question

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We got Beauty when she was 8 months old from a kennel breeder. Beauty HATES: water (i.e. baths); small dogs, and my granddaughter aged 2 years and who she feels has taken my affection away. Beauty is afraid of getting into cars, the look and sound of garbage bags, brooms, mops

March 19, 2022

Beauty's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lee, Because of the variety of types of fear I do recommend hiring a private trainer who specializes in behavior issues like fear and resource guarding in this case. Check out this youtube channel to learn more about desensitizing and counter conditioning though, which is a lot of what will need to be done with each individual fear gradually. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlZmJlllP7Y&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

March 21, 2022


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