How to Train a Rottweiler to Hunt

Hard
7-9 Months
Work

Introduction

Rottweilers were originally used by the Romans as they began to settle in Germany. No wonder they have a gladiator-like physique! They are humble beings with loyal and calm attitudes. Known for their broad chest and heavily muscled body, they make great working dogs traditionally for farmers and butchers. These pups have a ‘prey drive’ which give them the desire to chase moving objects. This makes your pooch the perfect dog for chasing small animals, such as rabbits or even foxes. 

Rottweiler are traditionally working dogs, and so, need a lot of mental motivation. Their strong and robust form means that they need a lot of exercise in order to keep stimulated and training them in the art of hunting is the perfect way to keep them alert and exercised. Keep in mind, however, that Rottweilers are generally not great dogs for inexperienced handlers or those who are not used to training strong breeds. They require an owner that can provide firm direction and guidance throughout, so remember this when you begin your training. A Rottweiler can do some serious damage if trained improperly. 

Defining Tasks

These little pups can start training at eight weeks old. At this time, simple obedience training can be used. This is extremely important for Rottweilers because in order to keep them in control , they need to know who is boss. To train your pooch, it may take around seven to nine months with continuous training in order to keep his skills up to scratch. You won't want to skip out on training or take shortcuts, as you'll want your Rottweiler's skills to be airtight. 

These dogs are known to be pack dogs and if not bred well, they may be violent. For this reason, a method of training such as pack hunting may not be a good idea. However, because of their natural instinct to form a pack, they can also be extremely faithful towards humans. This is a benefit as it can make them easier to train. If you can form a good bond with your Rottweiler while maintaining boundaries at the same time, you can see your preferred results in no time.

Getting Started

Firstly, it is very important to have a lot of control and confidence when training a Rottweiler. This is a key skill you need to have mastered before training your little pooch. A really good tip in teaching your Rottweiler obedience and to chase only what you want him to is to start off by teaching him to play fetch with a disc or ball. This will hone in on his attention span and focus him only on objects in which he has the intention to hunt. It will also help to curb his 'prey drive' and direct it into more appropriate activities. 

The Chase Method

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Step
1
Fetch
Throw a ball in front of your pup and allow him to chase it. Start by tossing it closer to get his attention and increasing the distance of your throw over time. Make it exciting and fun, as your Rottweiler will want to participate more if it's interesting.
Step
2
Reward
Reward you pup with treats and praise when they return the ball back to you. If they're running around and refuse to return it, try trading the ball for something like a treat or another ball.
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3
Increase the area
Increase this on a much larger scale as your pup grows older, such as a field or a local ranch. Make sure that the area is fenced-in if you want to let your Rottweiler off-leash.
Step
4
Focus on prey
Swap the ball for a previously caught piece of prey in which you would like him to hunt. This will get him used to the scent as well as look of the prey. You can differentiate between different prey animals or focus on one specific animal.
Step
5
Roam
Take your pooch on a walk and allow him to roam around. Here, he should pick up the scent of the prey and follow its tracks. Keep him on leash if the area is not fenced in to prevent him from running off.
Step
6
Return
Once your pooch has found the scent, he will follow the trail and naturally chase the prey and catch it. Your pup is trained in the art of retrieve and therefore will return the prey back to you. Use a tracking collar if you're nervous about losing your Rottweiler.
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The Tracing Method

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Step
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String tracing
Teach your pooch to track by tying a piece of string to his favorite treats and dragging it along the floor. Your pup should follow the scent. Reward your puppy with the treats when he reaches the end of the trail or when he's followed the string long enough.
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2
Prey tracing
Swap out the treats for the prey in which you intend to hunt. You can use a dead animal or the skin of a dead animal. You can also purchase bottled scents of the particular prey animals.
Step
3
Continuously scale
Carry on repeating the tie string step while continuously increasing the distance at which your Rottweiler should be tracking the prey. If you're not certain of your dog's off-leash recall, keep him on a long leash.
Step
4
Nose tracing
After your pup has mastered this, do the same thing but hide the prey at the end. Your pup should use his nose tracking skills in order to find the prey. Make it increasingly difficult over time by adding things like distractions, different terrain, or different types of prey.
Step
5
The real hunt
Take your pooch on a real hunt. Let him off the leash once you've established reliable recall and allow him to roam. He should be able to find a scent and track the prey down for you to capture. Be prepared for real hunts to take quite a few hours out of the day.
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The Hidden Method

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Step
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Hide the prey
Hide a previously caught piece of prey in a large field, such as rabbit skin or fox fur. You can add additional scents to the skins or dead animals by purchasing them in bottled form.
Step
2
Find the prey
Watch your pooch roam the field and find the prey. You may want to make it easily accessible at first while increasing the difficulty as your Rottweiler gets better and better at locating the prey that you've hid.
Step
3
Recall
Once your Rottweiler locates the prey, call him over to you and reward him with praise and treats. You'll want to have established a good 'Come' command before doing this part, as recall can be difficult to train if there is something more interesting than you.
Step
4
Retrieve
After mastering finding the prey and recall. Teach him to bring the prey back to you. If he struggles with giving you the prey when he returns, trade it for something more valuable such as a high value treat or a toy that he is especially fond of.
Step
5
Chase
Take him to an area in which you know your prey is most likely to be. Let your pup wander the area and find the prey once you've established good recall. His instincts and learned skills should encourage him to chase the prey and bring it back to you.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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