Do Rottweilers do well with other dogs
Rottweilers are a big and powerful dog and can have a reputation for being a dangerous breed. People often question a Rottweilers compatibility with other dogs.
However, this reputation is not really deserved based on the behavior of some individual dogs. The majority of Rottweilers are affectionate and social dogs.
A Rottweiler that is well socialized from puppyhood is more likely to accept and get along with other dogs and animals. If your Rottweiler has not been socialized well they are more likely to be timid or even aggressive towards other dogs and pets.
If you have other dogs and pets you should introduce your Rottweiler to them slowly and with supervision.
Rottweilers, like all dogs, are a social animal. They enjoy playing and the company of other dogs, animals, and humans. However, socialization and training from a young age are crucial for a Rottweiler.
This does not mean to say that an older Rottweiler can not also receive the right training and socialization required to get along fine with other dogs.
Rottweilers are naturally very protective of their family and territorial which can make them excellent guard dogs. This means that they can be suspicious of people and other dogs they don’t know.
Many Rottweilers can show dominance towards dogs of the same gender and will test for a position in the family hierarchy. But they will respect an assertive owner who knows how to lead a strong-minded dog.
Are Rottweilers good with small dogs
A well trained and socialized Rottweiler is likely to get along fine with most small dogs. Generally, they will not be aggressive towards the small dog if introduced correctly.
The main issue may occur if the small dog suffers from small dog syndrome. This is when a small dog thinks they are much bigger and tries to dominate a larger dog. Many of the Terrier breeds can fit into this category.
If you do want to have a Rottweiler and a small dog to live together, it is usually better if the small dog is the older one. Alternatively, if the Rottweiler and the small dog are raised together from puppies there are usually no problems.
It is also a good idea for the small dog to have a safe space they can go to. Alternatively, if the small dog seems overwhelmed or hassled by the Rottweiler it is best to separate them. This will avoid a situation where the small dog snaps or nips and the Rottweiler responds.
How to socialize a Rottweiler puppy
The easiest age for the socialization of a puppy is before 12 weeks of age. After 18 weeks of age, it becomes more difficult but by no means impossible.
It is possible to over socialize a puppy so it is important to introduce them to new experiences, people, and animals slowly. Socialization starts when they are still with their mother and siblings. This is the time when they learn they learn the social skills and rules of being a dog. The best puppy trainer in the world is the mother dog.
Tips to socializing a Rottweiler puppy
Introduce your puppy to new experiences, sights, sounds, and smells. This is known as habituation. Examples of the type of thing to introduce your puppy to can include;
- New objects such as balloons, moving objects, the vacuum cleaner, etc
- Different surfaces such as grass, carpet, tiles, etc
- Different places such as the beach, park, markets, etc
- Traveling like going in the car.
- Different types of people of different genders, personalities, and ages.
- Introduce them to other animals including other dogs and cats. This can include friendly adult dogs and other puppies. Other options can be puppy training classes and doggie daycare. For more on doggie daycare pros and cons see here.
It is important to allow your puppy to make positive associations with these new experiences. This can be achieved by;
- Rewarding your puppy for engaging with the new experience, person, or animal by giving small treats, verbal praise, and pats.
- Be calm and confident yourself. If you are anxious, your puppy will pick up on this and think it is something to be wary of.
- Don’t force them to do anything they are not ready for. Allow them their space.
Baby steps are the best approach. Don’t introduce them to too much too quickly. This may make them feel overwhelmed. If they are unsure of something, allow them their space and time to adjust.
How to socialize an adult Rottweiler
It is never too late to socialize a dog. It just may require a little more time and patience.
Slowly introduce your older Rottweiler to new sights, smells, and sounds, with careful supervision and an emphasis on a positive association. The process for socializing an adult Rottweiler is similar to that of a puppy.
It is all about building their confidence, not overwhelming them, and making it a positive experience.
Rottweilers as part of a multi-dog household
If you are considering having another dog and a Rottweiler in the same household, there are a couple of things to consider.
Get dogs of the opposite sex
Male dogs tend to be better with other dogs of the opposite sex. Therefore, if you have a male dog it is best to have a female as the other dog.
Female Rottweilers can have issues with other female dogs, but are generally good with a male dog.
This is only a general guideline and it does not mean that male or female dogs can’t live together. It is just important to ensure the rules and boundaries are set and you provide good leadership.
Get dogs of different ages
Dogs in the same household that vary in age tend to get along much better. There is a clear hierarchy that becomes established. With dogs of the same or similar age, there can be some jostling for position in the pack.
I had three dogs at one time including a Rottweiler. They all varied in age and there were no issues at all. The social hierarchy sorted itself out with no interference from me. This is despite them all being males.
Generally, an age gap of two years or more is considered best.
Desex the males
Neutering a male dog stops any sexually motivated behavior. By neutering a male dog, it stops the production of testosterone preventing the desire to assert dominance over the other dogs.
Desexing obviously also prevents the male dog mating with the female resulting in unwanted puppies. It is also a good idea to spay the female also.
I don’t recommend desexing a dog until around 6 months old when they reach sexual maturity. Desexing stops the production of hormones. Studies have shown that these hormones are crucial in the development and growth of the dog. Dogs that are desexed too young are more prone to tendon and joint injuries later in life.
Be aware of food aggression
The most likely time for there to be an issue with two or more dogs is around food and mealtimes. There are two approaches you can take at mealtimes.
Either feed them separately in different areas or train both dogs to only eat from their own bowls. If you give your dogs a bone to chew it is probably best to separate the dogs.
Other tips for having a Rottweiler in a multi-dog household are
- Ensure all your dogs receive the right amount of exercise and mental enrichment they require. Unreleased pent up energy can lead to fight or behavior issues. For a guide to Rottweiler exercise see here. If the other dogs in the household are of a different breed see here for a guide to their exercise needs.
- Supervise feeding time. Each dog should have their own bowl and not share. The dogs will quickly learn which is their bowl and understand the rules to mealtime.
- Ensure all the dogs receive equal attention and don’t have favorites. This will help to prevent any jealousy developing.
Dog body language when greeting
It is important to be aware of your Rottweilers and the other dog’s body language when meeting.
When two dogs are greeting in a courteous manner they will meet head to tail. That is they will stand side by side with their heads at opposite ends so they can sniff the other dogs rear.
If two dogs meet head to head, it is a sign of dominance and aggression and they should be separated or corrected. If one dog tries to make their body position higher and place their head above the other, it is also a sign of dominance.
It is usually a good idea to introduce dogs to each on a leash if you are unsure. That way, if there is any issue you can jerk the leash if needed. It is best not to separate them completely unless there are signs of aggression. By removing a dog at the first sign of dominance they will never learn proper communication.
A good way to introduce a dog that is not good with other dogs is the side by side walk. In a field or park, have two people each walking one of the dogs on a leash. Walk parallel to each other with a space of 10 meters or more.
Reduce the distance between the two dogs a little at a time. You will notice they won’t be reacting or paying attention to each other. Before you know it they will be walking side by side. Do this with the assistance of a dog trainer or behaviorist if you are unsure.
Rottweiler signs of dog aggression
Rottweilers are not, in general, an aggressive dog. Every dog is an individual and some Rottweilers are aggressive which is true of any breed of dog. This is not so much a trait of the breed. It is more likely the result of past experience or poor training.
We have looked at what a good greeting looks like above. It is also important to be aware of signs of tension, dominance, and aggression in dog body language. This is not a full list of aggression dog body language but it can include:-
Hackles are up – Hackles are patches of hair between the shoulder blades or near the rear end of the dog. if they are standing up it is a sign of aggression.
Ears and tail are erect – if the ears or tail are standing straight up it is a sign of aggression. It is also thought that if the tail (or nub if docked) is wagging the dog is happy. This is not always true. If the tail is wagging in a stiff motion while be held high it is a sign of aggression.
Bearing teeth – Showing teeth by raising their lips is a warning sign. It is often followed by a snap or bite. Most dogs will do an air snap rather than a full-on bite. This is a further warning to let the other dog know the next one is for real.
Growling – a deep growl or snarl usually with eye conduct focused on the other dog. All growling is not necessarily aggressive and many dogs use a play growl when playing. This has a completely different tone. Continuous barking without gaps is a similar sign of aggression.
Stiff body posture – A dog will become noticeably rigid and stiff in their body when they’re becoming agitated. They may stand in a wider stance than normal or try to raise the height of their head and body. They will have their eyes focused on their target.
Summary – Rottweilers and other dogs
Rottweilers are social, like most dog breeds, and do enjoy the company of other dogs. In general, they get along well with other dogs as long as they have been socialized well and had good training.
Many Rottweilers can show dominance towards dogs of the same gender and can also be territorial. Every Rottweiler is an individual and you should be aware of your Rottis nature.
With good training, socialization, and leadership most Rottweilers are good with other dogs including small dogs.
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