Hi I have a 6 month old male Rottweiler who has fitted in great with our family. Me and my partner Andy were hoping to start trying for another baby soon and was just looking for some advice. He is great with my 3 year old son although has started barking and growling at me a lot.
I have started implementing NILIF which works for a short period but he just returns to barking and growling at me. He hasn’t always done this. Although I’m more interested on advice about getting pregnant and how to handle the situation best. He is a great dog though and the barking/growling at me has only started in last few weeks.
Thanks. Michelle x
Your Rottweiler is no longer a baby and is entering the ‘tween’ or pre-teen stage. From now until he is fully mature (which could happen anytime between 18 months and 2 1/2 years of age) he will be go through many developmental stages.
During the teen years most puppies will challenge authority and ‘act out’ a bit, it’s basically the same as a human teenager in terms of behavior. They are trying to figure out where they fit in, test the limits and become more independent. It’s perfectly normal and doesn’t indicate any personality or temperament faults.
However, how you handle it will be the most important part of the whole process! It’s important to remain calm, firm and loving. Keep the house rules the same as always and don’t allow your pup to ‘call the shots’. Do not use overly dominant methods (such as ‘alpha rolls’ etc.) and do not get into confrontations or emotionally charged interactions. This only makes things more difficult.
The NILF (Nothing In Life Is Free) is a basically sound practice, but you need to be consistent and fair. Do not allow your pup to bark or growl at you, or anyone else. Correct him with a firm, verbal ‘no’ and continue with whatever it is you were doing. Repeat this as often as necessary and don’t be intimidated. He’s still a puppy and needs to know where the boundaries are in terms of his behavior.
If you have difficulty with this I’d recommend involving a professional trainer to help you communicate better with your pup and learn how to keep the relationship on an even keel. Only use trainers who are familiar with large, guardian breeds and who use only rewards-based and positive training methods. Rotties do not need heavy handed or punitive training styles (NO dogs do, but some more old-school beliefs still exist, especially when it comes to this type of breed).
I’d make sure that he’s very well socialized and is comfortable in all sorts of situations and environments and with people and pets of all shapes and sizes. As your puppy is fine with your son and has been raised around a small child I don’t see that there will be a problem with a new baby. However, common sense indicates that you should NEVER leave a baby or small child alone, or unsupervised, with any dog regardless of size or breed. The chance for an accident is just too great.
Your pup may be growling and barking at you partly because he senses that your attitude towards him is slightly different. You may be feeling a little more anxious about him as you consider a new baby, and dogs are very intuitive. He will feel your emotions but not understand why they exist, that will make him anxious too.
You should know your own pup and unless you have reason to believe that his temperament isn’t sound I personally wouldn’t be concerned about adding a new baby to your family. As long as you use common sense and your dog is well trained and socialized. Of course you know your pup best and this is only my individual, personal view.
I hope this helps and wish you all the very best of luck.
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