by Jeremy Sullivan
(Boulder mt 59632)
i am a rottie lover i have owned 5 purebred males and 1 purebred female most of these rotties have been at least a year old and i have adopted them from the pound. my last rottweiler was male puppy he’s six now and a very well behaved dog.
yesterday i got a female puppy that is 12 weeks old, i had the original owners put her in a crate and i picked her up and brought her home. i let her sit in the crate for about an hour to let her get used to my household. i then opened her door and walk away when she came out of the kennel i tempted her to me with a treat and began to soothingly talk to her and pet her. i petted her all over touching every part of her making sure she didn’t have anything that needed addressed by a vet.
after she was out of the kennel for about an hour i let my big male in to acclimatize them, they were doing good for about an 30 min. then i decided it was time to take her outside so i reached down to pick her up and put a collar on her and she laid her ears back and growled. i thought ok and put my big male back in his outside kennel. i left her alone again for about 15 min and tried to pick her up again to put a collar on her she laid her ears back growled and bit me hard enough that i had to have assistance to remove myself from her tooth. i then pinned her down with one hand and stroked her for a few minutes the whole time she’s trying to bite me again so i picked her up by the back of her neck and put her back in her kennel. she has been there ever since.
i went to bed last night and this morning i could hear her crying like she wanted out. so i walked up to the kennel and she growled at me again. then my children showed up and she’s growled at them from inside the kennel. my plan is to leave her there we ( my kids and i) walked up to the kennel and talked soothingly to her every 15 minutes or so. i figure when she gets hungry she will not growl. my question is is there anything else i can do to help her transition into my family? am i doing what i need to? how can i stop her from biting me without hurting and scaring her more? i know that the home she came from was not abusive and she has been around kids. i also know that neither parents are overly aggressive i have the sire and of course she came from the dame. both the parents are papered and akc registered, she was the only puppy to survive a litter of three.
i don’t know if i have given you enough information or not if you have any questions you can email me at [email protected] i have read many rottwieler books i’m just looking for a second opinion. thank you for your time .
From what you’ve described it sounds to me as though this puppy’s aggressive behavior is based on fear. This can be a genetic trait, but it can also be a response to situations and environments and is more common in anxious, less confident pups.
Although you say she wasn’t abused or mistreated, it’s possible that she has had no, or minimal, socialization and she is now extremely nervous and anxious in a new environment and with new people. She is reacting aggressively because she’s afraid. Of course, there’s always the possibility that she also has a tendency towards a dominant or ‘alpha’ personality and that this is also impacting the situation, however an ‘alpha’ type pup usually isn’t fearful.
The ‘alpha roll’ (or pinning her down) is not the way that I would suggest going here, that will make her more frightened and agitated increasing the likelihood that she’ll bite, and it won’t help you to build the trusting relationship that she needs in order to feel safe and lower her guard.
A firm verbal ‘no’ (not shouting), and a quick but firm shake holding the scruff of her neck should be correction enough. Do not back down if she growls or nips, that will only make you seem ineffective and won’t garner any trust from her. Hopefully this more serious bite was a one-off occurrence, and generally growling doesn’t necessarily lead to biting. A puppy or dog who is confined in a crate, or on a leash, is naturally going to growl or be defensive when approached as they feel cornered and vulnerable.
I think this pup has gone through a lot of changes in the last few days, a journey, a new home, new people, new dogs… and if she’s spent her whole life so far in one place with limited socialization she’s going to need some time to adjust. You’ll need to be firm, calm and patient and be loving, but discipline firmly but lovingly. I wouldn’t advise encouraging interaction between her and your children until she’s feeling more secure in her new home and her anxiety level has receded.
If you find that you simply can’t handle her or the above suggestions don’t result in improvement, I’d strongly recommend getting some expert ‘hands on’ advice. A local dog trainer or dog behavioral specialist would be my advice, and your own vet should be able to point you in the right direction to find these professionals.
Dogs are very intuitive and if you are scared or anxious around her she will pick up on that, but without understanding why you feel that way. She’s most likely to interpret it as fear of the environment or an unseen ‘threat’ and this will make her more anxious and afraid. Try to remain calm and firm in all dealings with her.
I hope that this helps and that this little girl settles down and begins to feel less stressed and more at home soon. Good luck.