If your Rottweiler has been being aggressive you are probably wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible reasons why it is aggressive and what you can do about it.
So, why is my Rottweiler aggressive? Possible reasons are that previous owners mistreated it or trained it to be aggressive, being too emotional with it, being aggressive towards it yourself, injury, rewarding the behavior or a lack of training.
There are actually a number of reasons why it might be being aggressive and it could be the result of a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can consider when trying to figure out exactly why it is doing it.
Why your Rottweiler is aggressive
Each of the different reasons why your Rottweiler has been acting that way will likely come with some clues.
Below are a number of possible causes and what would make them more likely.
The cause of the aggression could be due to previous owners either training it to be aggressive or mistreating it. This would be more likely if you adopted your Rottweiler from a shelter.
In this case, you could try giving it lots of training yourself to get it to change its habits. But, it would help to seek the guidance of a dog behaviorist in your area so that you can see how to get it to change its behavior in a secure manner.
You’re too emotional with it
If you interact with your Rottweiler in an emotional manner it could be the case that your Rottweiler is reacting based upon your own emotions. When interacting with it, being calm will likely be helpful and using positive reinforcement training to get it to behave the way you want it to would likely be the best option.
You’re too aggressive towards it yourself
If you are aggressive towards your Rottweiler yourself it could be the case that it is perceiving your actions as a threat and causing it to become aggressive in turn. Again, it would be better to interact with it calmly and to use positive reinforcement training to get it to change its behavior.
A lack of exercise
Rottweilers are a breed that is meant to get a lot of exercise on a daily basis. When they do not get enough exercise it can cause them to start behaving abnormally and it could be why yours has been being aggressive.
Generally, it is recommended that they get at least an hour of exercise per day and the American Kennel Club actually recommends 2 hours per day. If your Rottweiler is not getting much exercise it would help to make sure that it does start getting more.
Dogs learn a lot about the world and who they can and cannot trust when they are young. If yours did not get to socialize much as a puppy it might have caused it to see other people or dogs as a threat. This would be more likely if it is not aggressive towards you but it is towards other dogs and people.
It could be the case that being in pain is what has been causing your Rottweiler to become aggressive. This would be more likely if it has started being aggressive suddenly and if it shows other signs of being in pain such as limping or being less active. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
You have been rewarding the behavior
It could also be the case that you have actually encouraged the behavior by giving it things that it wants when it does it. If you tend to give it things such as extra attention, toys or treats to get it to calm down it could be the case that it is doing it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it is being well behaved, to wait for it to calm down before rewarding it and to use positive reinforcement training to get it to be better behaved.
A lack of training
If you have not given your Rottweiler much training then it will not know how it is meant to behave and it will behave the way that it feels like behaving. This is unlikely to be the way that you want it to behave which is why it is important to give it lots of training.
Protecting territory or its owner
The cause could be that it is being overly protective. This would be more likely if it is not aggressive towards you and if it becomes aggressive in situations such as when there is someone at the door.
Things to consider
If it has only started to become aggressive recently
It would help to consider when it first started doing it since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start being aggressive.
If it did start being aggressive suddenly it would be more likely to be due to things such as getting injured, being mistreated or realizing that it gets rewards when it does it.
When it becomes aggressive
Considering the timing of the aggression would also help since it could be the case that the timing has something to do with it.
For example, if it starts being aggressive when you are approaching someone it could be because it is being overly protective. In this case, you could try giving it positive association training.
How to get your Rottweiler to be less aggressive
The best way to get your Rottweiler to stop being aggressive will depend on the cause of it doing it. Below, are a number of options that you have. You will likely find that a combination of them will work well.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training is where you encourage the behaviors that you want to see by rewarding your Rottweiler when it displays them and not rewarding it when it does not.
To use it to get your Rottweiler to stop being aggressive you would reward it when it is not aggressive when it normally would be and you would reward it when it shows signs of not being aggressive.
Below, is a video on how you can use positive reinforcement training to stop aggressive behavior.
Avoid positively reinforcing bad behavior
As mentioned above, it could be the case that you have encouraged it to be aggressive by giving it things it wants when it does it. Instead, it would help to reward it when it is being well behaved, to use positive reinforcement training and to try to redirect its focus when it seems like it is going to start being aggressive.
Train it to listen to your command
If you have not given your Rottweiler much training yet it would help to start doing so since it will help make it be more responsive to your command and be better behaved. It would help to start by training it to do the basics such as to sit and stay and then to build up from there.
Avoid being high energy yourself
When interacting with it being calm would likely be helpful since it will avoid having it become reactive to your own emotions.
Avoid punishing it
If you punish your Rottweiler, when it misbehaves, it might not know why you are punishing it and it might cause it to develop feelings of resentment. Instead, it would help to give it lots of positive reinforcement training so that it learns how to behave that way.
Make sure that it is getting enough exercise
Since a lack of exercise can cause Rottweilers to behave abnormally, it would help to make sure that your Rottweiler is able to get exercise on a daily basis.
It is important to train your Rottweiler consistently. It is unlikely that you will be able to get it to change its behavior drastically with just one training session but if you train it consistently you will be able to get better results over the course of weeks.
Get help from a dog trainer
If you are unsure of why your Rottweiler has been doing it or it seems like it will be violent, the best option would be to get help from a dog trainer or behaviorist. By doing so you should be able to see how to train it in a more secure manner.