Rottweiler Training – Your Guide to Raising This Loyal Breed
I love Rottweilers for all of the reasons that can make them notoriously difficult to own and live with. They are big, independent, faithful companions who are protective, extremely intelligent, and have a stubborn temperament.
These guys can often get a bad reputation because they grow so big so quick, look intimidating, and some owners neglect training and socializing them; leading to potentially serious issues, often causing them to end up in shelters and rottie rescues.
Keep in mind, your new puppy is likely to be 100 pounds or more, with a stubborn streak so the time to begin Rottweiler training is right away! But, before we get to the fun Rottweiler training stuff, let’s take a look at the Rottweiler Breed…
The Rottweiler Breed
The Rottweiler is an old breed, dating back to the Roman Empire. They are believed to have descended from drover dogs – droving dogs were a type of herding dog that had to control large flocks and herds as they traveled down roads, which is different from the gathering dogs (the sheepherding dogs that we know today), which bunch stock together and then bring them to the shepherd…
The Rottweiler is reported to have been named after his point of origin, a Roman town known as Rottweil where the breed was famously used as a pulling, guard, and droving dog. Being such a valiant protector, the Rottweiler was trusted to travel back and forth to the market with small sacks of currency and goods tied around his muscular neck.
As time passed, the Rottweiler left his pulling and herding days behind him and went on to become a popular war dog. The Rottweiler breed played a number of roles during World War I and World War II and is still recognized today for the valiant role he played in service.
Today, the Rottweiler still works in the military, and also makes a popular police dog as well as a wonderful and loyal family companion.
Ranking in at number 8 out of 194 on the American Kennel Club’s, (AKC), list of America’s most popular dog breeds, the Rottweiler continues to capture the hearts of people everywhere.
Despite being banned as a “bully breed” in some regions, and even by many homeowners’ insurance companies, the Rottweiler is actually known to be incredibly loyal, outgoing, and very smart.
He makes a wonderful family pet and is very nurturing and gentle with children. Rottweilers become very bonded to their families, and want to spend all of their time with their people.
They love to play, and are highly active so they will do great in active households with owners who enjoy being outside.
However, a prospective owner should note that while the Rottweiler’s protective and loyal nature makes him such a great guard dog, it can backfire for the owner who does not properly socialize and train their Rottie.
Luckily, this is a bright, playful breed who enjoys learning and will be eager to please you and make you proud, so training a Rottweiler is simple and fun!
Standing between 22 and 27 inches tall and weighing around 80 to 135 pounds, the Rottweiler is an easy breed to recognize.
He is a muscular dog with a wavy black coat and brown or caramel patches on his muzzle, chest, and paws.
And while some owners choose to dock their Rottie’s tail, others leave it long. The Rottweiler has floppy ears, round eyes, and a happy, expressive face.
The Rottweiler’s shiny coat can come in four color combinations, including:
Life Span and Health
The Rottweiler has an average lifespan of 9 to 10 years.
Like all purebred dogs, the Rottweiler is prone to a number of genetic health issues.
Some of these health issues include:
- Aortic Stenosis – narrowing of the aortic valve, which controls the blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta ventricular outflow tract. It is also the second most common congenital heart defect in dogs
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia – an abnormal formation of the socket that, in its more severe form, can eventually cause crippling lameness and painful arthritis of the joints. It is a genetic trait that is affected by environmental factors.
- Entropion – a genetic condition in which a portion of the eyelid is inverted or folded inward. This can cause an eyelash or hair to irritate and scratch the surface of the eye, leading to corneal ulceration or perforation.
- Ectropion – an abnormality of the eyelids in which the lower eyelid “rolls” outward or is everted. This causes the lower eyelids to appear “droopy”.
- Cruciate Ligament Rupture – a cruciate ligament injury is the result of a partial or complete tear. Sudden lameness in a rear leg is often the first sign of injury.
- Osteochondritis Dissecans – or OCD is actually a serious condition that affects a dog’s joints. OCD is a result of osteochondrosis, which is when an abnormal development of cartilage appears on the end of a bone in a dog’s joint.
- Cancer – is the leading cause of death in dogs. It is estimated that 1 in 3 domestic dogs will develop cancer, which is the same incidence of cancer among men. Dogs can develop a variety of cancers and most are very similar to those found in humans.
Rottweiler Training Tips
Your puppy cannot train himself, just like a child cannot raise himself. And just like a toddler, your puppy would choose “cake for breakfast” every day, if it were up to him. Just like we send our children to school for 12+ years, Rottweiler puppy training is necessary if you want to have a well-behaved dog.
The problem is, when people get busy, they don’t make training their puppy a priority. Puppies are wonderful balls of joy and curiosity; but, they can also be like destructive little tornadoes. Either you harness that energy and naughtiness into training your pup, or you end up questioning your sanity as to why you got a puppy in the first place…
And, if left long enough, that naughty or fearful Rottweiler puppy can turn into a full blown intimidating and aggressive nuisance. It is critical to devote the time it takes each day training your Rottweiler puppy to ensure that he grows up to be a good canine companion. No one gets a puppy intending to drop them off at a shelter to become just another sad statistic.
So let’s work together and make sure we do this Rottweiler puppy training thing, RIGHT!!! It isn’t difficult, it just takes some patience and consistent work.
Socialization is critical! Some Rotties can become over protective and dog aggressive if not socialized properly! Although, many people desire this breed for its protective qualities, no one wants a dog that is dangerous or will not let anyone in the house.
I believe all dogs are capable of protecting his owner in a crisis without training.
Socialization and proper Rottweiler training is much more important than worrying about or training a dog to be aloof or aggressive on the rare chance of an owner attack. Your Rottweiler is daunting enough just to look at!
Puppies aren’t puppies for long! They have a very short window to learn about all the things that will be in their life as they age. It is very important to take your new puppy everywhere with you and let him meet all different kinds of people and children. Take treats with you and let people give him treats while petting him.
You want your new puppy to enjoy meeting people but to also have good manners and not jump; have him sit instead! Now is the time to teach him manners, not when he is 95 pounds! I can’t tell you how many people I know that get a puppy, bring it home, and even do some basic obedience training, but never take the puppy outside of the home until they are full grown.
They then end up with a fearful adult dog that is unsure in all kinds of new situations. Many of these dogs look seriously “abused” to the average person because they are so fearful of everything, when actually it is simply because the puppy was never given proper socialization and exposed to different things. If you want your dog to go hiking, go to the ball field, go to parks and other places, and be able to be around people of all shapes, sizes, colors and children, you need to take him to these places and teach him manners when he is young.
Socialization isn’t always about “playing with” something; often it is about learning to be obedient around certain things and situations. No one brings home a cute fuzzy puppy and considers that it will one day become a terrifying, dominant dog! No one wants to be in an abusive relationship with their dog either, (where the dog is in control of everything in his environment)!
Rottweiler training and manners should also begin right away!
Begin by rewarding behaviors you like seeing and will continue to like as he ages. Reward him for sitting, laying down, staying in one place, chewing the right objects and anything else you like that your new Rottie pup does.
Ignore behaviors that are irritating or will be disturbing when he is an adult, like jumping making sure never to talk to, pet or reinforce negative behavior.
Redirecting Bad Behavior
You may also redirect bad behavior through positive reinforcement, by asking your new puppy to do something else; for instance if he is jumping on you ask him to sit or lay down. If he is putting his teeth on you make sure to give him something else to chew on or have him sit or lay down to break his focus on the negative behavior.
Rotties are notorious for chewing anything and everything! So get him used to his crate as soon as possible. Not only will this keep him and your things safe when you can’t keep an eye on him, it will also help you with puppy potty training.
Crate Training Rottweiler Puppies
I can’t tell you how many people “try” crate training their puppy for the first 2 nights and then simply “give up.”
Or the amount of people who simply refuse to crate train!
It astounds me!
In order to have a well-developed, well socialized and good canine companion, you need a dog that is happy in a crate. Why? Because at some point your dog will be in a crate: at the vet, the groomer, or pet sitter’s home. He can’t avoid being in a crate for the rest of his life.
And, wouldn’t it be nice if you gave him the skills to not be bothered no matter where he is at? I work at a veterinary clinic and occasionally take my dogs to work. My Fury is so comfortable in a crate or cage that she flips upside-down and sleeps. Not a stress in the world. I also crate them when we go to sporting events.
I have competed in agility, obedience, dock diving, lure coursing, and Schutzhund protection sports and there isn’t a single venue where having your dog out of a crate all day is appropriate. Crates also give me more options to travel. Not only will some family only allow me and my dogs to visit if they are crated when I am gone, some motel/hotels that don’t allow pets will allow your dog with a crate too. There really isn’t any reason NOT to crate train.
All puppies whine and cry at first when crated, this is normal! However it is critical not to let him out when he is making noise. By doing so, you are essentially telling him that whining and crying is what you want and is the key to his freedom.
Though annoyingly inconvenient, short term fits are better than a lifetime of chewed articles and a dog that has some separation issues because he is never alone and never expected to do things he doesn’t want to do.
Remember he has just left his litter mates and has never been all alone at night, but don’t give in and cuddle him on the bed! You may not always want to share your bed with a 150 pound Rottweiler! More crate training tips.
Begin by making the crate fun and playing games with him inside. Throw toys inside while keeping the door wide open and feed him in his crate. Also teach him that when he stays in his crate you will treat him and reward him, this can become a fun and interactive game for you both.
I also recommend keeping a crate next to your bed so that you can hear him in the night if he awakes and needs to go outside. It also helps for him to hear your breathing and night noises to keep him from panicking in his crate.
Potty Training Your Rottweiler Puppy
Potty training is serious business. According to the ASPCA’s National Rehoming Survey, potty training problems are the most common reason that dog owners rehome their pet. But teaching your puppy where to go to the bathroom is one of the easiest things to teach your new best friend.
It’s true that potty training a puppy or adult dog for that matter requires patience, commitment and lots of consistency, but thankfully the Rottweiler, is generally among the easiest when potty training, but remember it is really all about YOU! If you aren’t consistent you are ONLY making your potty training efforts harder on yourself than you have to.
You need to know what your puppy is doing and what his potty training schedule is like so that you can set yourself and him up for success! When he potties outside be sure to quietly praise him. Don’t get too excited or he might stop!
If he doesn’t go potty and you know he should have just bring him in and put him in his crate for 5 or 10 minutes and try again. Don’t give in or he is liable to sneak into another room and make a mistake!
Be sure to keep your Rottweiler puppy with you! If he is in the same room with you all the time, you will notice if he begins to sniff or squat so you can get him outside. When he is not with you, he should be in his crate. But he shouldn’t be stuck in the crate for too long.
According to this article, “Generally speaking, a puppy can control their bladder one hour for every month of age. So if your puppy is two months old, they can hold it for about two hours. Don’t go longer than this between bathroom breaks or they’re guaranteed to have an accident.”
Be sure to never EVER yell at him or rub his nose in an accident! This will only teach him that you are scary and never to go to the bathroom in front of you. If you catch him in the act startle him to stop the flow of urine or him from pooping and get him outside so you can praise him. Watch him carefully!
Once he has a handle on going outside you may begin teaching him to ring a bell at the door with his nose to go outside. But, in the beginning it is about making sure YOU are potty trained and watching him and getting him outside in time!
More Rottweiler Training Tips
Get him used to and respectful toward his leash early! Leash training and obedience will be critical! He is going to be a very muscular and powerful dog and teaching a puppy leash manners and to “heel” is much easier than teaching a 150 adult dog!
Tether your dog to you, early on, to avoid bad behavior and teach some leash respect and manners. Never allow your Rottweiler puppy to get in the habit of pulling you to and fro when he is on the leash.
If you allow your Rottweiler puppy to run off leash without the obedience to back it up, you will struggle with his obedience for years to come. Again, whether it is true or not, I want my dog to think that I am THE BEST thing on earth. And, I simply cannot compete with wild critters and exciting smells.
Don’t worry! That doesn’t mean that your Rottweiler puppy will never be able to be off leash; the opposite is true. You just need to control his environment, play with him and build his drive for toys and games, and then teach him obedience.
So, when he goes off leash, he will have the obedience background to leave whatever distraction may crop up. I have called my dogs off baby bunnies and opossums among other exciting things. The reason I was successful, is because my dogs know if they listen and obey they will be rewarded (mostly with a game of ball which is their favorite thing).
They never learn how fun chasing bunnies can be if they don’t listen. And, let’s face it, bunnies are more rewarding than me… I just want to be smarter than my dog 😉 and never give him the opportunity to figure that out.
There are many benefits to basic obedience training, including building a closer bond, through positive reinforcement with your dog, teaching your dog life and social skills, and helping to prevent your dog from developing unwanted behaviors. A dog that will come when called may help avoid life threatening situations, such as being hit by a car or having a bad encounter with another animal.
Dog obedience training should become a part of his regular daily schedule.
I often had my pups work for their breakfast and dinner! Rotties need a strong leader and mental stimulation, which comes in the form of Rottweiler training. A bored Rottweiler is a naughty Rottweiler!
Your Rottie is never too young or too old to learn! When he is young just remember he has a shorter attention span and possibly retention rate, but work hard and you will see him become a great dog! Don’t wait until you see behavior problems, begin molding him into the dog you want and you will both bond and enjoy a wonderful life together!
Meet the Labrador Retriever Rottweiler mix (A.K.A. Labrottie)
The Rottweiler Lab mix dog is a cross breed between the friendly, active, outgoing Labrador Retriever and the loyal, loving, confident, guardian Rottweiler. The Rottweiler Lab mix is off to a great start with Rottweilers ranked in the American Kennel Club’s top 10 most popular dog breeds in the US, and Labradors are number 1! But, is a Rottweiler Lab mix dog or puppy right for your family?
What will he look like? What will his temperament be like? What about health issues?
The Rottweiler Lab mix is a bit of a dice roll…
Labradors are known throughout their history as faithful retriever dogs. Generally friendly, Labs are bred specifically for retrieving hunted game and returning it to their owners. Dogs bred for this reason need to be predictable around all sorts of people.
Rottweilers are their family’s gentle playmate and protector, yet he observes the outside world with caution and is slow to warm up to strangers.
Since the Labrador Retriever Rottweiler mix is not a purebred dog. The best way to determine its temperament is to look up all the breeds in the cross and know you can get any combination of any of the characteristics found in either breed. This hybrid cross is recognized by the American Canine Hybrid Club as the Labrottie. Not all of these designer dogs being bred are 50% purebred to 50% purebred. It is very common for breeders to breed multi-generation crosses.
The resulting mixed breed borrows features from both parents, or one or the other. You may end up with a dog that has Labrador-like mannerisms and the coloring and markings of a Rottweiler, or the other way around. However, you could also end up with a random combination of the two.
Remember what I said about a dice roll?
Unlike most canine hybrid and purebred dogs, these Labrador Rottweiler cross breed dogs have a reputation for having very different personalities. Your Rottweiler Lab Mix could be anywhere along the spectrum.
Rottweiler Lab Mix Health
One of the biggest draws to these designer dogs, are the claims that there is a possible lack of health issues due to widening the gene pool of future litters. Hybrid dog supporters believe that the continued overbreeding and inbreeding of purebred dogs has led to a dwindling gene pool causing these purebreds to be prone to suffering genetic health issues.
However, critics argue this claim is pure speculation, and that purebred dogs and their mixed breed counterparts are just as susceptible to inheriting certain genetic issues from their parent breeds.
No matter where you sit in this argument, we suggest you take your Rottweiler mix puppies for an early health screening. This will give you a better idea about what your crossbreed may be susceptible to and will help you to prepare for or in some cases avoid certain health issues.
Common health issues to watch out for include:
- Hypothyroidism – A common but treatable endocrine disease of dogs that is usually caused by inflammation or shrinkage of the thyroid gland.
- Epilepsy – the most common cause of seizures in dogs, is an inherited disorder, but its exact cause is unknown.
- Myopathy – is a muscular disease in which the muscle fibers do not function due to any of the common reasons, ultimately resulting in overall muscular weakness.
- Bone cancer – Bone cancer can affect any breed of dog, but it is more commonly found in the larger breeds. The disease is extremely aggressive and has a tendency to spread rapidly into other parts of the dog’s body (metastasize). There are treatment options available, but generally the long term prognosis for the animal is poor.
- OCD – Is an abnormal development of the cartilage on the end of a bone in the joint Osteochondritis dissecans is an inflammatory condition that occurs when the diseased cartilage separates from the underlying bone.
- Panosteitis – bone inflammation in young, large breed dogs.
- Ear infections – Most ear infections in adults are caused by bacteria and yeast, though ear mites are a common cause in puppies.
- Acute moist dermatitis – also referred to as hot spots or pyotraumatic dermatitis, is a skin condition characterized by localized, moist, erythematous areas. It is one of the most common presenting signs associated with canine skin disorders.
- Cold tail – is a very strange-looking condition that you might compare to a sprained ankle. The syndrome seems to be caused by muscle injury possibly brought on by overexertion.
Most common of all health conditions is Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia. It’s standard for both Labradors and Rottweilers to suffer from hip dysplasia. In layman’s terms, their hips aren’t formed correctly. If left untreated, the disease can cause the bone to gradually deteriorate and eventually result in the hip joint losing all function.
Hip dysplasia can also trigger a disease called degenerative joint disorder. This refers to the progressive deterioration of the cartilage surrounding the joints, the damage is sadly irreversible.
As many as 11% of Labradors and 20% of Rottweilers suffer from this. If it looks like your dog’s legs are stiff, take them to the vet immediately before his ailment gets any worse.
Temperament of a Rottweiler Lab Mix
The million dollar question: What kind of temperament do you get when you cross breed a Labrador Retriever and Rottweiler? These two breeds have two very different personalities, and Rottweiler mix puppies could inherit different temperamental traits from each parent.
Labradors tend to be faithful retriever dogs. They’re very friendly, outgoing and tend to be comfortable around all kinds of people. On the flip side Rottweiler mix puppies may inherit the characteristics of a Rottweiler.
This breed is famous for being an excellent guard dog, so they have a natural leeriness of strangers. This can occasionally cause them to be aggressive towards people they don’t know.
General Appearance of a Rottweiler Lab Mix
Though there are no guarantees when it comes to a Rottweiler Lab mix’s appearance, many seasoned Labrottie breeders have found that breeding an English black Lab and German Rottweiler comes out looking more like a Rottweiler with the blockhead and markings. And breeding an American Black Lab with an American Rottweiler comes out looking more like the Labrador Retriever in head and snout but may or may not have markings like a Rottie.
Maintenance and Care
Labrottie’s have a dense coat that may vary from wavy like a Rottie to straight like a Lab, depending on the prominent parental gene. You will need to brush your Rottweiler Lab mix at least two to three times a week, and possibly more during shedding season, which happens twice a year.
Your Rottweiler Lab mix will only need a monthly bath and his ears cleaned regularly to avoid ear infections. His nails need to be trimmed consistently to keep them from cracking or splitting during play or while on walks.
Lifespan of a Rottweiler Lab Mix
Based on the lifespans of the Labrador and Rottweiler breeds, you can expect the Labrador Rottweiler mix to live between 9 and 12 years.
Ideal Home for a Rottweiler Lab Mix
Considering opening your heart and home to a Labrottie? Here are some things for you to consider: Buying a puppy is a commitment that cannot be taken lightly and you want to make sure you are selecting the very best puppy for your needs, no matter the breed. You must first research the parent breeds so you know everything you can about Labrador Retrievers and Rottweilers.
Rottweiler Lab mixes need space because they are large energetic dogs who need lots of room to exercise. You will be investing a lot of time in your new pup. In addition to normal exercise, it is vital that they receive lots of early Rottweiler training. Training a Rottweiler mix puppy will require frequent potty breaks – even during the night – and time away from other pursuits you may have. This can take lots of patience and hard work but the end result is definitely worth it.
A Labrottie should only be purchased from a reputable breeder. If your job takes you away for extended periods of time or you like to go on frequent trips where you can’t take the dog along, then a Rottweiler Lab mix is not right for you. A well-trained Rottweiler mix puppy is a pride and joy of its owner but an ignored or neglected dog will probably not show many undesirable traits.
How to Select the Right Rottweiler Lab Mix
Below are some tips to consider when selecting your puppy:
- Get your puppy from a good breeder.
There are many sources that offer Rottweiler mix puppies, but finding the best source takes time and study. Puppies in pet stores are mostly from puppy mills and the backyard breeder whose main objective is producing puppies for profit are not your best choice. Please be careful here as health problems may be common as the “for-profit” breeder does not select the best possible bloodlines that will be compatible for good health, longevity and good temperament. When you select a badly bred puppy, they will be faced with a lifetime of problems which can include temperament issues (aggression, reactivity, poor nerves, fearful, etc.) and health issues. When a potential Labrottie owner selects a reputable, responsible breeder they drastically reduce the chances of having a dog with such issues.
- This one is equally as important as number 1 – Always, Always, ALWAYS meet both of the puppy’s parents, all of the littermates and see the kennel/home. Interview the breeder and make sure their knowledge and care are in line with your views. You want to make sure both the parents have desirable temperaments, are in good health and are in a clean environment. This can tell you so much about what you can expect from your pup in the future and a clean environment means house training will be easier.
- Decide if you want a male or female.
Males are larger and heavier. Females are somewhat smaller and lighter in weight.
- Do not select a shy puppy. You do not want a puppy who is afraid of you, or runs and hides. This type of puppy is afraid of people, places and things. Do not feel guilty for not picking the runt or the anti-social puppy in the corner. Instead, pick a puppy that is healthy looking, has clear eyes, is energetic and outgoing, one that is playing with his littermates and isn’t afraid of you, or to be handled by you.
A good breeder wants the very best available home for their puppies. Expect them to ask you questions about your lifestyle and the home you will be providing it. Don’t force the match, instead find the perfect fit.
Dog ownership is both exciting and rewarding, especially when you take the time to find the perfect breed (or mix) for you and your family’s needs. Whether you choose a Rottweiler, a Labrottie, or a different dog altogether, remember owning a dog doesn’t have to put your sanity to the test. We are here for you every step of the way!