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Who Should Own A Rottweiler?
by Cheri Ruzich
A Rottweiler owner should be an extremely responsible experienced person committed to the care, training, exercise and companionship of their dog. They should be knowledgeable about this breed type and the specific needs of this breed.
Rottweilers require attention, affection, and exercise, but they also need a firm dominate owner who isn’t afraid to take on the challenges of owning a large breed dog. The Rottweiler is a basically calm, confident, courageous and naturally protective dog with a self-assured aloofness. He is a powerful dog with an inherent desire to protect home and family. The Rottweiler is strong willed and willing to work which makes him an especially good companion dog.
Rottweilers always like to touch and follow you. They love to give great big hugs around your waist and reach up and kiss your face. They are happy to embrace their owners and will stay in that position with their head on your shoulder or lap and fall asleep. They also like to play ball, go swimming, go hiking and carry your doggie backpack. In fact, of all the breeds of dogs out there, Rottweilers are the most versatile. They are capable of doing nearly all activities of all the other breeds of dogs combined. As an example, they make great therapy dogs, search and rescue dogs, tracking dogs, hunting dogs, dock dogs, obedience dogs, agility dogs, service dogs, herding dogs, Schutzhund dogs, protection dogs, flyball dogs, carting dogs, weight pulling dogs, jumping competition dogs, and of course show dogs, to name a few, but the thing they do best is to be your companion dog. What other breed of dog do you know of that can do all that?
Rottweilers make great family companions, but in order to be a great companion, they require a lot of attention, work, and discipline. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to be around a well-trained Rottweiler, you will have probably been overwhelmed with the loyalty, playfulness, and tenderness of the dog. They are capable of reading your emotions and they express more love to humans than any other breed. These beautiful, intelligent, devoted and loyal dogs will bring you canine companionship unsurpassed by any other breed. Properly handled, you will find your Rottweiler a source of protection, endless amusement, and dependable friendship. They are true clowns and seem to possess an almost human sense of humor. If you laugh at their antics, they will sense your happiness and repeat whatever goofy behavior they are doing over and over just to amuse you. If you are a person who enjoys a dog for the pleasure of his company, with the plan in mind of sharing time and companionship with him, you have selected the right breed.
A Rottweiler owner also has to be physically strong. Fully mature Rottweilers usually get up over 100 pounds and you have to be able to control your dog. These dogs were bred to pull carts, and they are quite capable of pulling you where they want to go. What is cute as a young manageable puppy isn’t that cute when the dog is big enough to knock you over or drag you around, so basic obedience must begin at a very early age. The Rottweiler is a robust, powerful, and loyal dog with strong protective instincts. Because of the Rottweiler's size, strength, and protectiveness, owning a Rottweiler carries a great deal of responsibility and commitment. It is a big mistake to "buy the dog for the kids" when it requires the management of responsible adults. Obedient Rottweilers rarely pull their owners while they’re on leash.
This breed's future lies in the hands of current and future Rottweiler owners. If the current trend of poor ownership practices continue, the future of this wonderful breed could be at risk. A Rottweiler should never be allowed to roam loose in any public areas, or around strange dogs. Rottweilers should be securely contained when not supervised by an adult. The Rottweiler generally does best with a good fenced yard for their safety and should be included in the everyday activities of the household.
Socialization has to begin when they are young puppies, as well as training. Rottweiler’s don’t make great lawn ornaments. They need mental and physical stimulation, so you can’t just put them in a kennel all day or leave them alone in your backyard. They will find an activity given enough boredom, and it usually won’t please you. Before you get a Rottweiler, research the breed. Make sure they fit your lifestyle. If you are a person wishing for a dog that you will see only occasionally, do not choose a Rottweiler, because Rottweilers are a sociable breed, longing primarily to be with the people they love. Rottweilers commonly follow you from room to room, and will go down hallways and check out what each member of your family is doing. If you are standing still, they will lean against your leg or stand on your foot to keep track of you.
Rottweilers are a great breed and can be wonderful pets when they have had the proper training and socialization, but if they have not had any training, socialization, or a human companion, they are a nuisance and can be very destructive to the point they can become a liability. If you can’t take the time to train and socialize a Rottweiler, you should not own one.
Dog ownership of any breed should be carefully thought out before you bring the dog into your home. Dogs do not believe in social equality. They live in a social hierarchy led by an alpha pack-leader. The alpha dog is generally benevolent, affectionate, and non-bullying towards his subordinates; but there is never any doubt in his mind or in theirs that the alpha is the boss and makes the rules. Whatever the breed, if you do not assume the leadership, the dog will do so sooner or later and with more or less unpleasant consequences for the owner and the family. If your dog thinks he’s the alpha pack-leader dog, he’ll make his own rules and enforce them against other members of the household by means of a dominant physical posture and a hard-eyed stare, possibly followed by a snarl, and then under the worst circumstances, he could snap or bite. Breeds differ in tendencies towards social dominance; and individuals within a breed differ considerably. Rottweilers as a breed tend to be of a socially dominant personality, but this really depends on the personality and temperament of each individual Rottweiler. None the less, you really cannot afford to let a Rottweiler become your boss. You do not have to be extremely harsh with your dog if you have established the alpha role early on and have maintained your position, but you do have to have the calm, quiet self-assurance and self-assertion as his owner. If you think you might have difficulty asserting yourself calmly and confidently to exercise leadership, then choose a breed known for its socially subordinate disposition, or ask the breeder to select one of the more submissive pups in the litter for you.
Leadership and training are inextricably intertwined. Taking on a leadership/alpha type personality with your Rottweiler enables you to train your dog, and being trained by you reinforces your dog's perception of you as the alpha.
Raising a Rottweiler with excellent care can give you a dozen or so years with your dog. A dog such as a Rottweiler contributes loyalty to the relationship he has with you, among other things, and in return he deserves the same from you. When you consider that you get back good interest on the investment of time you give to one of these dogs, a Rottweiler is a most rewarding and satisfying canine to have around.