by Patrick Baize
My dog is 13 mths old he is full blooded Rott. He does good with his obedience training and is not dog aggressive. I have 2 children 9 and 10, girls, he loves them very much. When we are out in the public which we do quite often he is good at meeting most everyone but a few times he will allow people to pet him and then while they are petting him he will lunge a little aggressively at their face, or so it seems, I then correct him.
I don’t know why he does it or when he is about to do it, so it’s been hard for me to control this. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated thanks.
It sounds as though your pup is doing extremely well overall, so you’ve done a great job so far.
He’s right in the middle of that adolescent stage, so his behavior is likely to be a little unpredictable and ’emotional’. That’s because at this age a pup is being pulled in different directions by his impulses and emotions. They often don’t understand what/how they feel, or know exactly what to do with their protective or sexual instincts.
If your pup only behaves this way with certain people or at certain times, see if you can figure out what it is that ‘triggers’ the lunging. Is it the size of a person? Their voice? A specific gesture or hand movement? A hat or piece of clothing? You get the idea I’m sure. Many dogs don’t like people wearing hats, or if their faces aren’t clearly visible. They often also don’t like someone they don’t know reaching over their head to pet them, or stroking them down the full length of their body. Perhaps if you can find the ‘common denominator’ here you’ll be able to stop this behavior easily.
If you can’t find a common trigger, try to learn what body language your pup exhibits right before he lunges. Do his ears change position, his expression change, his muscles tense etc? If you can get a sense of when he’s going to do this, then you can get the correction in pro-actively rather than re-actively.
I doubt this is aggressive behavior as it doesn’t sound as though he’s inclined to behave that way. Rather, I think it’s possibly an attempt at dominance over the person, perhaps as a result of the way they’re petting him, or talking to him, or something else he perceives or misinterprets.
If you’re still unable to anticipate his actions, all you can really do is to correct him firmly with a quick ‘pop’ on the collar and a firm “NO” every single time he does this. It’s very important that he realizes that this behavior isn’t okay. If he’s ever snapped or growled when lunging you will need to be very careful, and may even want to consider a soft muzzle for a while until you can get this behavior under control.
Rottweilers are one of the breeds that don’t tend to be given ‘second chances’ and you need to protect him from himself sometimes (just like with kids really!). As he grows and matures, and with consistent corrections and training he will grow out of this kind of behavior, so stick with what you’re doing as it seems to be working overall.
If you continue to have trouble with this, or other issues, talking to a professional obedience trainer would be a good idea as they can give valuable one-on-one advice and tips.
I hope this has helped some, best of luck with your pup.