hey, my 4 month old male rottie is becoming fussy (easily annoyed) and he growls when i move him to his bed when he is asleep or when i’m trying to take anything from his mouth since he likes to eat all kind or random things he finds in the backyard or inside. he once went all the way and bit my brother.
i always do the firm shake on the back of the neck but now this is getting on his nerves too as he snaps and tries to bite.
now don’t get me wrong he is the most loving and playful pup you can find but i guess he is getting brave and wants to own everything.
Your Rottweiler pup is moving out of the ‘baby puppy’ stage and into the adolescent stage, that is often accompanied by changes in behavior and attitude.
You’re right in that they tend to become braver, or bolder, at this time and they also begin to try to assert their authority and test the limits. It’s very similar to the behavior you see in human tweens and teens – they’re trying to figure out who they are and to become more independent.
And.. in the same way we parents continue to set rules and boundaries (and to enforce them) for our teenage children, we need to do the same thing for our canine children! Rottweilers are by nature strong-willed and highly intelligent, but they are also eager to please and very trainable. It’s important that you put a stop to this ‘bossy’ behavior right away because you don’t want it to become a habit, or for your pup to get the impression that he is in charge.
First of all, make some very basic changes to what your pup is allowed to do. Do not let him get up on beds or furniture, or lie in doorways or passages to block them, or go through doors before you, or lie on your feet, or impede you moving around by getting under your feet or winding around you, or jump up on you etc. etc. These are all ways in which dogs try to assert their authority or superiority, and your pup shouldn’t have either.
I’d recommend checking out my Free Puppy Training Tips page and making sure that your pup is well-trained in these areas. He should obey you quickly and without question. Pay particular attention to the ‘Leave It’ command, and work with him daily until you can take anything from him without complaint – this is very important.
Also, read my Dog Food Aggression page and follow the guidelines there. Even if he isn’t showing signs of this right now, it is probably not far down the road. You need to be able to control ALL his resources without him complaining, that will show he respects your authority and is vital.
Rotties are very smart, and fair-minded, and don’t respond well to harsh or punitive training methods, so always use positive reinforcement and be firm, but kind. If he objects to you giving him a shake by the scruff, you will need to stand your ground, but don’t be rough with him. A quick, firm shake and a verbal ‘No’ are enough, and then either redirect his attention to something he IS allowed to have/do, or if he continues to resist and complain, give him a ‘time out’ in his crate for 15 minutes and ignore him. Losing your attention and interaction is a big punishment to a puppy and at this age a time out in his crate shouldn’t affect his housebreaking at all.
Make sure that you enforce your house rules firmly, but lovingly, and that everyone does the same. A pup can get very confused, and anxious, if he’s allowed to do something one day, and corrected for it the next. Or if different family members have different rules for him.
This is a stage your Rottie is going through, and it will end, but it can be trying none the less. The groundwork you lay now will determine how well-behaved he is as an adult, and given the speed or growth and the eventual adult size of this breed, it’s important to get it right. Just be patient and consistent and firm with your boy and he will learn what is expected of him.
It’s highly recommended to get a puppy into at least one basic obedience class so that he can get some formal training and you can both benefit from the experience of a professional trainer. Some hands-on help can often make all the different and the socialization is an added benefit for your pup. If he’s not already enrolled in a class I think getting him into one would be very beneficial for you both.
One more thing… never back off from doing something if he complains about it. If you do this he will see that a growl can control your behavior or actions and that is not what you want. If after several weeks of following these suggestions you don’t see improvement, or you are concerned that you can’t handle him or that he may hurt someone (very rare, but it CAN happen), then I strongly suggest that you find a dog behavioral specialist to help you assess his behavior and help you deal with it effectively.
Don’t over-react because he’s a Rottie, but don’t ‘under-react’ either, take steps to eliminate this behavior now so that he can grow up to be the best he can be. I wish you lots of luck.