How to Train a Rottweiler to be Protective

Hard
4-6 Months
Behavior

Introduction

Lauren is training for a marathon and she gets up early every morning to run the jogging trails through the local park. However, lately she is very apprehensive about running alone, since there have been reports of attacks on joggers in nearby parks. Since Lauren owns a Rottweiler, she has decided to take him with her on her daily run, but her Rotty, Max, seems like more of a lap dog then a protection dog. Lauren feels she may need to train Max to be protective of her, in case a situation occurs while they are out on the trails.  

Fortunately, Rottweilers are naturally protective. They were bred to herd and protect livestock, so they are naturally inclined to guard and protect their people. Even if he has no experience protecting Lauren, Max is an intimidating looking dog. With powerful muscles and jaws, Rottweilers usually intimidate anyone with malicious intent. They make great family protection dogs because they are social with people. Coming from working dog stock, they naturally bond to their handlers and are pretty laid back, even though they can be fiercely protective when required.

Defining Tasks

A protection dog is usually a dog that can be taken out into public. He needs to learn to discern actual threats from benign situations and incidents, and to be controllable. This is a different skill set from an attack or guard dog, which is constantly restrained or contained. Training your Rottie good responses to obedience commands, including 'sit/stay' and 'down/stay' is necessary. Protection dogs, unlike many guard dogs, should also be well socialized. Lots of experiences from a young age and socialization opportunities will make your dog aware and able to sense when a situation or person is harmless or has ill intent. 


Training a protection dog relies heavily on encouraging your dog's natural guarding instincts and common sense so that he can interact with others and protect when needed. You will want to put attack behavior and barking on command and have a stand down command available to preempt errors in judgement. A professional protection dog trainer can help guide you to develop your Rottweiler's natural protective skills.

Getting Started

You will need an assistant to play the 'bad guy'. While training your dog to bark at, and even attack a threatening assailant, you need to control the situation  An assistant may need protective clothing like padding or thick gloves. You need to make sure you have 100% control over your dog. Training your dog obedience commands and recall will require positive reinforcement like treats or toys. Be patient with your Rottweiler and work to shape and guide behaviors. Many people only train their Rottweilers to bark at strangers - not to actually attack -  as this may be a behavior that makes your dog ill-suited as a family pet. Decide before training what behaviors you will want your dog to perform and consult a professional trainer for advice.

The Bark at Strangers Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Socialize and teach obedience
Teach your Rottweiler good obedience commands, including 'sit', 'stay', 'heal', and 'down'. Socialize your Rottweiler so he is used to people and is not afraid or aggressive in social situations.
Step
2
Bark on command
Teach your dog to bark on command. Find something your dog naturally barks at like birds, squirrels, the doorbell, and pair it with a 'speak' command. Reward barking on command. Add a 'quiet' command so you can stop your dog from barking.
Step
3
Prepare your assistant
Have an assistant approach you and your dog while out on a walk. Your assistant should wear protection, just in case, like padding around their arms and hands. Protective equipment can be obtained from a professional protection or guard dog trainer or supply store.
Step
4
Command barking at 'strangers'
When the 'stranger' approaches, give your dog the command to 'speak'. When he barks and lunges at the stranger, have your assistant run away as this reinforces the behavior.
Step
5
Practice
Practice out on walks. When your dog barks at actual well-meaning strangers, ask him to be quiet. Continue to have your assistant 'pop up' occasionally and act threatening. Let your dog bark and have the assistant retreat to reinforce the behavior.
Recommend training method?

The Leave Off Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Teach 'leave it'
You will need to make sure your dog has a strong, reliable response to 'leave it' and 'quiet' before proceeding with developing attack skills. Teach your dog to 'leave it', using treats held out in a closed hand. Command your dog to 'leave it' and when he gives up trying to reach the treat, reward him with an alternate treat from your other hand.
Step
2
Practice 'leave it'
Gradually increase the reliability of this command by leaving treats out in the open and commanding your dog to leave them alone.
Step
3
Teach 'quiet' and 'down'
Make sure you teach your dog 'quiet' when he barks and pair this command with 'sit/stay' or 'down/stay' to reinforce effective techniques.
Step
4
Make responses reliable
Practice having an assistant approach. When your dog barks or acts aggressive, provide the 'quiet', and 'leave it' commands. Ensure that your dog responds reliably before proceeding with any attack training.
Recommend training method?

The Attack Skills Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Get professional resources
Once your dog responds to the commands 'bark', 'quiet', 'leave it', 'heel' and 'sit-stay' completely reliably, you should consult a professional trainer for protective equipment and advice on attack training. Using professional facilities, a controlled situation, and an assistant that has experience being 'attacked' is necessary.
Step
2
Use an attack mit
Have an assistant put on thick dog attack gloves and tap your Rottweiler on the face until he grabs the mitt. Pair this with a command for 'attack' with biting the mitt.
Step
3
Break off attack
Ask your dog to break off the attack with 'leave it', or a 'sit-stay' command. Reinforce your Rottweiler when he breaks off the attack and reward him for obeying.
Step
4
Have an assistant 'threaten'
Have an experienced assistant with full safety gear and a padded dog attack suit approach you and your Rottie in a controlled environment. Have the assistant enter and act aggressively.
Step
5
Direct attack and break off
Provide the attack command and allow your Rottweiler to grab an arm or padded area. Let him hold on for a few seconds, then provide the call off command 'leave it' or 'sit-stay'. Practice repeatedly in different scenarios, always ensuring that the dog learns to obey the command to break off the attack.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Daisy
AnimalBreed object
2 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Daisy
AnimalBreed object
2 Years

She does not bark at any dog or human.afraid of bigger dogs who are aggressive. Does not fight with a attacking dog even she does not growl at them. Only barks at cows.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
674 Dog owners recommended

Hello Rajesh, Honestly, true protection work requires a dog who genetically has a strong defense drive, great socialization, and can handle pressure. Those instincts and temperament traits are then honed with advanced obedience skills and training that helps to build the dog's confidence even more. She may not be cut out for true protection work. That is not necessarily a fault, just that dog's personality. What you can do is teach obedience skills that help her look more intimidating, like growling or barking on cue, staying focused on you and obedient - obedient dogs who are focused on their handlers and walking at heel often look more intimidating to people, and building her overall confidence, by rewarding her for ignoring or staying calm around intimidating dogs. Don't use harsh methods with her, as that will decrease confidence with her temperament. Protection training is done using positive reinforcement primarily, with getting to tug on a bite bag as the reward for the dogs. Check out the article linked below on teaching Speak. Instead of the word speak, you can choose a more intimidating word, like "Whose that" or "Watch". You can also teach pup to growl on cue by playing tug of war, telling pup to "Growl" or "alert" and rewarding pup for play growling during the game. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-to-speak Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
JOKER
AnimalBreed object
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
JOKER
AnimalBreed object
1 Year

HE'S TO NICE AND ACTS AFRAID OF ALMOST EVERYTHING SOME THINGS BARKS LAWN MOWER THINGS ON WHEELS HE MAY CHASE CAR OR BICYCLE GOOD DOG, I JUST WANT HIM TO BE MORE AGGRESSIVE, INSTEAD OF BEING SCARY

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
85 Dog owners recommended

Hello, I think what you mean for Joker is for him to be more confident, not aggressive. Owning an aggressive dog is not ideal. A well-trained, independently minded and loyal dog is the best companion. To give more confidence, I would work on Joker's obedience skills. Dogs love to train - especially Rottweilers as they have the ancestry of working dogs. Help him be the best he can be with skills that give him confidence and less afraid : https://wagwalking.com/training/obedience-train-a-great-dane. Praise your dog, walk him often, and give him the opportunity to socialize with people and other dogs and he will gain the confidence you seek. Good luck!

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Question
Savage
AnimalBreed object
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Savage
AnimalBreed object
2 Years

How do I teach dog to attack during training without a dog mitt

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
674 Dog owners recommended

Hello Besten, This absolutely should not be done without the proper equipment. I do not recommend doing any protection - bite work, training on your own period though. That is one type of training that should only be done with the help of a protection trainer - done incorrectly it can lead to fear aggression, and bites to friends and family, or a dog without enough self-control and obedience to be able to call off when needed. If you wish to do the training yourself, I suggest joining a Schlutzhund or IPA or French ring type club where you can practice bite work with other trainers and club members, with the proper equipment and safety measures and supervision. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Smart
AnimalBreed object
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Smart
AnimalBreed object
1 Year

My dog is always afraid, when she sees someone with a stick or anything she runs away and she doesn't bark she doesn't attack anybody

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
674 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kenmechukwa, What is pup's history? Has she been harshly disciplined, abused in the past by a person, or socialized as a puppy? Some dogs are genetically more timid than others, others were not socialized as puppies so are fearful because they are not used to people. If a dog is scared of a specific object or type of person, pup may also have been hit with that type of thing before so associates that with a scary experience. How you build pup's confidence depends a lot on pup's past. If they lack confidence because they are not used to people, introducing pup to a lot of different types of people from a distance and having those people calmly toss pup treats when pup is acting calm or brave can help pup feel less afraid of people. If pup was abused or used to harsh methods, pup's respect will need to be rebuild in a variety of ways. I suggest working with a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues like fear in person for this. Once pup is over their fear of objects or people, you can work on building pup's confidence and defense drive a bit more by playing games that encourage it in a fun way - such as tug, flirt poles, agility, and tracking games. With work pup can likely get to the point where they are a confident happy dog, but pup may never be cut out for protection work, since that is partially based on the dog's inherited temperament and build in defense drive. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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