I have had other rottie’s in the past but never had friends that came to visit and would bring their dogs.
When my last rottie passed I adopted a 7 month old rottie pup from a rescue and friends that came to visit would always bring their dogs to play, Max just loved it, well Max is now 2 yrs 3 months old and just is not as welcoming as in the past.
I noticed the other day when our neighbor’s dog jumped the fence while they were gone we went and got her as we have done several times in the past and Max and her would just play until they were exhusted, but not this time, I could feel he just hated the idea she was here.
He would not play, he would just follow her around making sure she didn’t touch anything, when she got near the food bowl or came to me for a pet he would just glare and I could feel his body tense, I tried to distract him but nothing worked and I was getting stressed and anxious hoping they would get home soon before something happened.
I have always taken Max with me everywhere possible and has been very social, but after the last few events he has gotten this attitude when other dogs have come near us, and I so want to take him but I am becoming afraid of what may happen. We live in the desert where for months the heat is extreme, so they as well as myself become home bodies, when it is still over 100 at 11pm you do not go too many places, but I need to get this problem in check.
The type of behavior Max is displaying is fairly normal for an adult male who is feeling territorial and a bit alpha. However, you’re right to be concerned because if he’s allowed to continue to feel/act this way then a conflict could well occur at some point.
I live in Oklahoma and last year we had months of 110+ weather, where it was still in the triple digits at 2am, so I understand the difficulties associated with extreme heat, big black dogs who don’t tolerate it too well, and the discomfort factor for we humans!
BUT, regardless of the weather extremes or anything else, Max needs ongoing and regular socialization and training sessions that are preferably held in a formal setting with an experienced instructor.
He definitely needs to understand that this territorial behavior (although natural and instinctive) isn’t acceptable and that YOU, not he, make the decisions as to who is allowed in your home/yard and around or with you and other family members.
If you feel nervous or anxious in certain situations he will pick up on this, but won’t understand why you feel that way. His interpretation will most likely be that the person or situation is making you anxious and he will feel more threatened by them/it and even more likely to want to ‘defend’ you. So it’s very important to stay as calm and in control as possible.
This is where training with a professional who can help you learn how to handle Max’s behavior and reactions can really help.
He’s obviously got a good grounding in social behavior and up until this point has been friendly and accepting, so it’s not that he has a ‘bad’ temperament or is ‘aggressive’. He’s simply an adult dog of a guardian breed who is trying to figure out what to do with his instincts and where the boundaries are. It’s up to you to help him.
If he hasn’t been neutered yet then I would recommend doing so as that can help reduce the tendency to be territorial among other things. But it doesn’t eliminate it.
Hope this helps. Best of luck to you both. ~ Sue
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