I send you what seems like a million questions and I thank you for answering them all..
Zues has recently started growling at us. Mainly if he is asleep and he is startled. But last nite my husband rolled back the chair and accidently hit Zues. He growled and started showing his teeth.My husband pulled his choker and held it tight for a minute. Zues was unharmed but I felt that it maybe was to much. This is my first rottie and my husband’s second rottie. Is it necessary to use a choker collar or force to show a rottie who the master is???
I know they are a very stubborn breed I just don’t think that using force is good… Please help me understand the breed better.. Also would letting him on my bed cause this recent shift in his personality?
You’re welcome to any help I can give you, that’s what this site is all about.
As for this recent development, it seems as though Zues is feeling very at home and secure now and is starting to try to ‘test the boundaries’ and house-rules. That is normal for an adult male, but it is something you definitely need to take charge of.
Growling when startled from sleep is very common in all breeds, and not really surprising. If he growls at you in that situation, tell him “NO growl” firmly, and continue whatever it was you were doing. He will learn that you’re not happy when he does that.
The episode with the chair definitely needed a stronger correction than just a verbal ‘No growl’, but Rottweilers don’t need heavy-handed or harsh discipline. In fact being overly pushy in correcting them can result in an increase in aggression and definitely triggers their stubborn streak. A dog knows when he’s done something that doesn’t please you and accepts a certain amount of correction without complaint, but if they feel it’s ‘too much’ then their inborn sense of cause-and-effect is upset and they get difficult.
I wouldn’t let him sleep on your bed, or up on the sofa or other furniture while he’s trying to be ‘bossy’. It gives him an inflated sense of his own importance. Choke chains can work for Rottweilers when being walked or corrected, but I actually prefer to use a prong-collar because although it LOOKS nasty and like it would hurt, it is actually much safer to use and less likely to cause injury…
Rotties are very strong and have dense neck muscles, they barely register being pulled on a choke chain and the amount of pressure required to make them feel it can actually bruise, or even crush, their larynx. However, with a prong collar it needs just a firm tug for them to be aware of the correction and no damage is done.
Rather than pull on the choke chain and keep the pressure on for a minute or more (which is both cruel and dangerous), it would be better to use a short, sharp ‘pop’ on the collar (and you may want to try a prong collar) combined with a verbal correction. Also getting hold of the loose skin on the back of his neck and giving it a quick shake while correcting him verbally may also work.
Zues isn’t a bad boy, this is normal canine behavior and a developmental phase. It’s up to you to show him both firmly AND lovingly what is okay and what isn’t. He will pick up on it quickly.
Best of luck, hope this helps.