Just moved in with a rottweiler – and I can’t control him

I have just moved into a new flat with a girl who has a male that is 1 year old. I consider myself experienced with dogs as I like them a lot and have lived with dogs but never a rottweiler.

He is a large male and as young very excitable. When I first moved in her liked to jump up at me. His paws can reach my head. I’m 5’5 and a slim 20 year old female and I can’t physically control the dog. I am worried he will soon push me over. He has not been thoroughly trained and can be stubborn.

However today I felt frightened as he had been fine all day but this evening when trying to entice him out of the kitchen as he’s not allowed in there on his own he at first wouldn’t come and then he ran at me and kept jumping up. He then repeatedly tried to hump me and was getting very forceful, biting at my clothes and wrapping his paws around my waist. I managed to get the dogs owner out of the shower and he then stopped when she shouted at him.

I have only lived here for 3 days now and I am aware I need to make my status known as above him in the pack but this dog is almost bigger than me so I feel he sees me as his play mate.

Is their any way I can prove my dominance to him to stop him from doing this again?

Hi
This is a tricky situation because you aren’t this pup’s owner and in order for this behavior to be curbed, there are some fundamental changes that need to take place.

This Rottie is still just a pup, and adolescent really, and his behavior is typical of this pushy, combative and ‘bratty’ stage of development. He clearly sees you as a newcomer to his domain and is trying to dominate you. It doesn’t sound as though he’s being aggressive about this at all, but given how big and strong these dogs are he could hurt you accidentally.

I’m 5’6″ and 120lbs myself so I know how impossible it is to control a big dog if you’re relying on physical strength alone – it’s just not going to work! He needs to respect and obey you, your voice and presence should be enough.

I’d recommend that you start off by having a serious talk with your new roommate and this pups’ owner. As she’s used to her big dog and he obviously responds to her commands, she may be unaware of how forceful he’s being with you. However, this is her responsibility and it’s important that she works with you to show her pup that this behavior is NOT okay and that you are higher up in the pecking order than he is.

Generally I’d recommend that you need to become more involved in feeding, grooming, training, exercising and walking this pup (with the ‘alpha’s supervision – that would be your roommate). Hand-feeding is another useful way of showing him who’s boss – see my Dog Food Aggression page for info. on this. By becoming involved, it helps the dog to realize that you are in control of the stuff he wants and therefore superior to him. It also helps to build and foster a bond between you.

Obviously though as this isn’t your dog you’re going to need his owners permission, help and approval. As for yourself, don’t be intimidated by him and be firm and calm in your interactions with him. Rottweilers are very intelligent and sensitive dogs and he will know if you are anxious or nervous around him. This will make him anxious and excitable too, making the situation worse.

It will take time and patience to get this worked out and you will need to work together with your roommate and this Rottie, but if you are both committed to making it work I think there will be a happy ending here. However, if his owner isn’t willing to help re-train him to where he accepts you and doesn’t try to dominate, or if he ever shows any signs of being overly dominant or growling, nipping, guarding etc. then you may need to rethink your living arrangements and find a more suitable apartment/roommate.

I hope this helps and wish you lots of luck.

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