Is the Rottweiler the right dog for you
David the Dogman

The Rottweiler is the current “fad” guard/macho dog of the moment. For four years running, it has been the second most-popular American Kennel Club registered breed. The Rottweiler is a large, powerful dog and along with ownership comes much responsibility. Rottweilers require extensive socialisation from an early age. Because of their size and strength, obedience training for your Rottweiler is a must. Weekly group classes for 6 to 12 months is generally considered a minimum. Rottweilers are “people” dogs. Left alone or with inadequate exercise for long periods they may become unruly and destructive.

How are they with children?
A properly bred Rottweiler who receives adequate socialisation and training will generally get along fine with children, but tolerance will vary from dog to dog. He must be taught early on what is acceptable behaviour and what is not, as should the child. Because of their large size and inherent desire to “herd”, Rottweilers should always be supervised around children. A minor “bump” can cause serious injury to a small child. Some Rottweilers have a high degree of “prey” drive (the instinct to chase moving objects), therefore should never be left alone with children, who naturally will want to run and play. I recommend waiting until children are at least school age before introducing a Rottweiler into the home. The amount of space in your home, the age of your children and the amount of time the dog will be in contact with the children should be seriously be considered.

Are they vicious?
A properly bred, socialised and trained Rottweiler is not inherently vicious. The rapid rise in popularity of the breed has attracted many irresponsible breeders who are only interested in making a profit, and don’t care what damage is done to the breed in the process. Most are placed with the wrong type of owner and home.

Are they good with other pets?
Problems should be minimal when a Rottweiler is raised from puppyhood with other pets. They are highly intelligent, trainable, and with correct introduction, should be able to learn to co-exist peacefully with any pet you wish to introduce.

What kind of training do they require?
The Rottweiler has been developed for its working ability and often blooms when given a chance to work with its master, although there are occasional exceptions. It is very necessary to establish your control of the animal and obedience training is often the easiest and most rewarding way to do so.

Rottweilers can often be controlled using verbal sounds alone. Women have been very successful with the dogs in obedience training. Physical mastery of the dog is cruel. You need to sensitive, patient and use positive reward training methods. Patience is an important factor in training a Rottweiler.

What about discipline?
The Rottweiler is a sensitive, intelligent and loyal animal, always wanting to please its owner. Occasionally, it can be quite stubborn though, and requires more attention. A harsh word will often suffice,. Ownership isn’t for the timid or very busy person who cannot or is not inclined towards careful supervision of his/her pet.

Do they require much exercise?
The Rottweiler is a working breed. He is generally not happy sitting around doing nothing all day. A large garden with a six-foot high fence is essential. If you don’t have the space, consider a smaller or less active breed. Adequate exercise is necessary to maintain the good health of your Rottweiler, as they have a tendency to gain weight without proper exercise.

Do they shed?
The Rottweiler is a double-coated breed, with a medium length outer coat and a soft downy undercoat. They do shed their undercoats twice a year, in spring and winter. They need grooming every day like all dogs this is bonding.

Are they noisy?
Rottweilers will bark to announce the arrival of people on the property, they generally don’t bark without reason.

Which sex makes the best pet?
Opinions vary on this topic. I recommend a female, especially for first-time owners. Females are about 30% smaller and easier to control, somewhat less dominant and usually more affectionate. Males are stronger, more powerful and dominant, and therefore somewhat harder to train and control.

Muzzles
Many folk have so many different opinions of the muzzle. Of course anyone that sees a dog with a muzzle automatically assumes that the dog is dangerous. There are many types of muzzles but whatever one you choose make certain that the dog is able to breath. The muzzle that I recommend is the Baskerville which is marketed by Roger Mugford. This is a basket design and allows near unrestricted mouth opening for panting and drinking. These are available at most good pet shops and many vets stock them. They come in 12 sizes to ensure that a good fit is available for most breeds of dogs. Available through The Company of Animals, PO Box 23 Chersey, Surrey KT16 OPU UK. Can order on the net.

I encourage all owners to train their dogs to wear a muzzle, the earlier in the dog’s life the better. Most young dogs are destructive, a muzzle will protect your home from being eaten. A muzzle will ensure that your dog is unable to eat any rubbish or poison on the ground, that alone is worth training for.

When visiting the vet it can also be useful for nervous dogs to wear a muzzle and also when a dog has been operated on. Wearing a muzzle is another way to prevent him from licking the wound. In the event of an emergency, if you do not have a muzzle then one can always tie the leash around the dog’s mouth to prevent it biting.

I would add that a muzzle does not cure a bad behaviour but it is useful whilst a therapeutic strategy is developed.

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