I have a 5 year old male rotti that I adopted from my local animal control 7 month ago. He has no problems with us but if people come to the house to visit I have to lock him away because he shows aggression towards them.
I tried having him on a leash away from everybody but he still tries to get to them. I love him dearly and don’t want to put him away whenever someone comes over.
With a fully grown Rottie, about whose earlier life you may know very little (or nothing at all), this is a situation that it’s definitely sensible to be wary of. However, it sounds as though he’s generally a loving,well-behaved dog with a sound temperament, so it’s an issue you will be able to overcome given some time and the correct handling.
I’d really strongly recommend that you get some one on one, hands-on help from a professional dog trainer to learn how to respond to your dog when he behaves this way. It’s likely that he’s simply trying to protect you because he’s never had any real training or guidance to help him understand his guardian instincts, or how to express them. A trainer who is familiar with large, guardian breeds and who uses only positive reinforcement training methods will be able to give you help and advice that you can see and imitate.
Although you obviously need to have control over him when people come to your home, a dog who is leashed (or restrained or contained in any way) is more likely to act defenively/aggressively because they feel as though they are trapped and unable to defend themselves – or their loved ones. A soft muzzle may be a better option as he would be unable to bite (if he would even be inclined to do so, which is probably not going to happen), and wouldn’t feel so vulnerable as he does when leashed.
Your attitude will also play a role because if you’re nervous or anxious about how he’s going to behave, your dog is going to feel that but not understand it. He most likely will decide you anxiety is due to the strangers at the door (it will never occur to him that it’s actually a result of his behavior!) and this will make him even more hyper-reactive and defensive. You need to keep cool and calm and exude confidence and a happy, positive upbeat attitude.
This is where time for both of you spent with a good trainer will help so much because you’ll learn to be confident in your handling of your dog in any situation and that confidence will do wonders for his behavior.
Hope this helps, best of luck with your Rottweiler.
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