Hi…We just got a male rottweiler at the time he was only 3 1/2 weeks old….the owner had to get rid of the puppies due to the mommie not nursing. He is now 7 1/2 weeks old.
We read and have educated ourselves before we got him….. but no matter what we do he bites and growls and bares his teeth when we pick him up or just pet him. I’ve noticed he does not like his neck touched nor to be picked up when he is playing outside in the lawn. We are concerned if someone comes over he will bite them if they try to pick him up or touch him.
We have tried to socialize him having friends come over and bring their pets and he wonderful doesn’t bark nor growl just plays or sleeps. my husband says we really need to socialize him before he gets older.
Could this be due (temperament)to being taken to early from mommie?
There’s a misconception that if a momma dog isn’t feeding her pups then they need to find new homes because they’re ‘ready’. This couldn’t be further from the truth!
Breeders who do this are NOT reputable, or knowledgeable and don’t have the puppies best interests at heart. They’re simply lazy and greedy, and don’t want the bother of feeding and caring for the pups so they sell them to make some quick money.
A momma dog naturally begins to wean her pups at around 3 – 4 weeks of age, and that’s when the breeder needs to begin to wean them onto solid food. However, there’s a lot more to being a momma dog than just feeding, and in the weeks between 3 and 8, the pups learn all about proper social behavior, how to interact with other dogs and people, and basically what it means to be a dog. When a pup is taken from it’s momma so early it misses out on all of that and there are often all sorts of side-effects – including anxiety/fearfulness, aggression, excessive biting and so on. I think this is exactly what you’re dealing with now.
Canine temperament is partly genetic, and partly environmental (ie where and with who they live, how they’re treated etc.). If your pup had one, or both parents, who were aggressive, fearful or had poor temperaments, chances are he could have inherited some of that. However, this can generally be overcome with lots of love, discipline and socialization… but it takes love, patience and time. It could also be that your pup is simply not sure how he should behave as he’s had no canine ‘role models’, and is just following his instincts. It’s up to you to make sure that you correct him when he misbehaves (only verbally, or with a gentle muzzle correction for biting), and praise him when he behaves in the right way.
I’d recommend that you read my Stop Puppy Biting page as it has tons of tips and advice, if you follow it you should be able to reduce this sort of behavior very effectively. Excessive biting is a classic result of a pup being taken from his canine family too early. Pups learn ‘bite inhibition’ from playing with their brothers and sisters and their momma, without this opportunity they’re at a disadvantage.
Fortunately, your puppy is still very young, which means he’s manageable and is very trainable with lots of room to learn new, correct behaviors. I’m confident that if you start to shape his behavior correctly he will soon improve significantly. It’s very important that he doesn’t get to think that he’s in charge, or that his behavior can shape YOURS! If he growls or nips at you to show his displeasure or to resist your wishes, DON’T ever back off. It’s vital that you correct him firmly and then calmly continue with whatever it is you were planning on doing, whether it’s picking him up, cutting his nails, grooming him, taking a stick from his mouth etc. etc. (the ‘Stop Puppy Biting’ page that I linked to earlier explains how to correct him).He needs to know that you (and your husband) call the shots! Rotties are very intelligent and strong-willed, they need to be confident in their ‘people’, otherwise they can be inclined to ‘take charge’.
Your husband is absolutely right in that your little guy needs lots of socialization experiences, and they should be a life-long activity. Obviously he needs to have all of his puppy vaccinations before you can take him out and about, but having other vaccinated dogs and people over to your home, or visiting the same, is perfectly okay. The fact that your pup accepts and enjoys these experiences is a big plus and shows that his basic temperament is stable in this situation. For advice on socialization, I’d recommend taking a look at this website page Socialize Your Puppy. It has tons of great advice and should get you started out in the right way.
Also, as soon as your pup is fully vaccinated, I’d recommend that you enrol him in a Puppy Obedience Class as it will really help you to bond and to understand it each other better. Plus it’s a great socialization experience, in a controlled setting, and you’ll all benefit greatly.
Don’t panic about his behavior, or brand him a ‘bad or aggressive’ pup, he’s simply a baby right now and doesn’t know the rules. That’s where you come in and your love, guidance and patience are what will make all the difference.
I wish you the very best of luck with your puppy and hope that things get a lot easier for all of you soon.