We have a female five year old Rottie that has not been “fixed”. She has been our family dog for the last four years. We got her when she was almost a year old.
Kali loves our family and is good with the grandchildren, as long as they don’t try to get in her face or bother her while she is eating or chewing her bone. She is lovable and thrives on attention. However, she has aggressive tendencies toward other animals and strangers.
She has tried to bite several people that she didn’t know when they attempted to befriend her. She is very large, overweight and has been confined to the house (except for her morning, afternoon and evening walks). She has not had a lot of room for running and playing or socializing.
Is it too late for her to be trained so that she will obey and not be so aggressive towards strangers.
I wouldn’t say it’s ever ‘too late’, but it’s definitely going to be much more challenging the older the dog gets, as bad habits are pretty ingrained. You’re basically going to be RE-training her and that takes more time and patience.
If Kali’s overweight you also need to address that as it can cause all sorts of health issues. Increased exercise (taking it slowly if she’s not accustomed to it), and a premium food should help.
I would recommend that you get some hands-on help by talking to a local dog trainer (your vet may be able to recommend someone, or call some local dog obedience schools). Enrolling her in an obedience class will give her some valuable socialization experience and you’ll be able to get professional help to overcome any issues that she has.
In general, you’ll need to work with dog on basic obedience and manners, commands such as ‘sit’, ‘stay’ and ‘down’ (see my Puppy Training Tips page for help with this). I’d also recommend that you teach her to ‘drop it’ or ‘leave it’ so that you can get her to give up a toy/bone/food etc. without risk of your getting bitten.
To do this you need to start out by exchanging a toy for a treat… tell her to ‘leave it’ and pick up the toy or take it out of her mouth, and immediately give her a tasty treat and lots of praise. Then give her the toy back right away. Start out with something that’s not her favorite, and not edible, then gradually work towards getting her to the point where she’ll leave anything when you tell her to.
Don’t expect instant success, or even necessarily to be successful within weeks. This is going to be a long-haul process, but Rotties are intelligent and eager to please those that they love. It also sounds as though she’s got a basically sound temperament, but has been allowed to ‘make her own rules’ to some extent, and of course she won’t necessarily appreciate the new rules.
She needs to learn that you (and the other human family members) are above her in the pecking order, and to respect them – even the children. Involving them in feeding her or training her helps with this. As for strangers, you’ll need to work very slowly on that, and don’t allow people to approach her or get too familiar with her until she feels comfortable around them. She needs to observe them and approach them at her own pace. Having them equipped with treats for her helps too. But this is the area where you need to get some professional hands-on guidance to help you out.
Hope this helps, I wish you and Kali the best of luck.