my rottwieler has gotten really mean it’s causing me and my wife to fight about it.
he is only a little over a year old, he is a male. he has always been very sweet and kind but all of a sudden he started going after dogs on walks, and being very very aggressive. he growls and snaps now which he never did….
First of all you need to have your pup checked out thoroughly by your veterinarian. Sudden behavioral changes like this can be caused by physical conditions which are causing pain or discomfort and the pup reacts by becoming snappy and irritable.
If he gets a 100% clean bill of health, then his behavior is probably due to the fact that he’s an adolescent male and is trying to exert his ‘authority’ on those around him. It’s a natural behavior but needs to be controlled and corrected by you and your family. At this age he needs to know that you are in charge, and to have firm limits and boundaries for his behavior (just like a human teenager!).
Rotties don’t respond well to harsh or punitive corrections or training and need reward-based methods and loving, but firm, discipline. If you don’t already have your pup in formal obedience classes the I strongly recommend that you get him enrolled as soon as you can. It sounds as though you need some ‘hands on’ help to understand and control his behavior.
What you are seeing isn’t necessarily ‘aggressive or vicious’ behavior, it’s more an acting-out and attempts at dominance. Don’t allow him to control your actions or behavior with his, as that will only reinforce the problem – after all if it works, he’ll keep doing it!
I’d recommend checking out some of the books on Rottweiler Training that I have on my Rottweiler Books page as they will be able to point you in the right direction, but I believe you’ll do better with some ‘hands-on’ help from an obedience instructor as well.
This type of behavior doesn’t make your pup a ‘bad dog’, it just shows that he hasn’t had enough training, or been socialized enough yet, plus he’s questioning who is the ‘alpha’ in his pack. You need that alpha to be YOU, and you need to give him the opportunity to learn what is okay and what isn’t. Be loving, consistent and patient in teaching him and he will outgrow this stage and develop into the dog he was meant to be.
Hope this helps, best of luck with your pup.