Warning Signs of Aggression in Rottweilers

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April 3, 2024 / Behavior / By: iPupster

According to breed standards, the Rottweiler is a calm, confident, and courageous dog. There are even records showing that the Rottweiler was used to heard cattle. Later they were used as guard dogs, police dogs and military dogs.

However, it is important to note that genetically, dating back to early times, Rottweilers did have aggressive tendencies.

There have been cases of Rottweiler aggression in the past and that has caused some to opt for another breed because of the concern of aggression in such a strong breed.

What many don’t realize is that while the Rottweiler may inherit this trait, it will only become a problem or cause negative behavior if the owner fails to properly train and establish pack leader authority.

Because of their calm nature and their intelligence, Rottweilers can make amazing family pets, but it is important for you to understand that it is your responsibility to train your dog for the desired behavior.

That doesn’t just mean training for commands, it means ensuring there is no aggression.

Rottweiler Aggression Signs

If your Rottweiler shows signs of aggression it is imperative that you take immediate action to stop that behavior. If you do not, chances are someone -a person or another dog- could end up getting hurt.

Warning signs of Rottweiler aggression include:

  • Snarling
  • Growling
  • Snapping and,
  • Biting

If you see any of these behaviors, you need to address them right away. You might also be interested in our related article on the best chew toys for Rottweilers

Rottweilers are protective, so if they feel threatened or they believe a family member is in danger, you can expect that your Rottie will pace, whine or bark. That’s a Rottweilers first reaction to someone suspicious. In the worst cases your dog may lunge, snarl and bite.

You can eliminate this behavior by making sure your Rottweiler is properly socialized from a puppy onward. It is also your responsibility as an owner to make sure that your dog is exposed to all kinds of situations.

By exposing you dog to many different experiences and people, you will reduce the likelihood that your Rottweiler gets aggressive towards a stranger.

Don’t worry, your Rottweiler will still protect you in situations where protection is needed. Don’t confuse this with Rottweiler aggression.

This short helpful video is from dog trainer, Larry Krohn, who is a Rottweiler owner himself and one of the most common problems he has encountered from his clients is how to address their Rottweiler puppy from nipping and biting.

It's a great video and it's worth listening to his advice as it's key to preventing aggression in Rotties.

Rottweiler Resource Guiding

A problem that sometimes occurs with Rottweilers is that they can become aggressive with family members as a result of something a family member does.

This is known as resource guarding, and usually relates to your dog feeling that his personal belongings are being threatened and so he tries to protect them.

This type of aggression needs to be handled with proper training.

Rottweiler Mishandling and Boredom

Another situation of Rottweiler aggression against family members usually occurs when you do not treat your dog with proper care and handling. What does this mean? Well, it means a couple of things.

One of them is that if you are an owner who mistreats his dog by yelling, kicking, etc. (behavior that is not acceptable) your Rottweiler could turn on you.

But still, the most common reason for Rottweiler aggression is simply lack of training. You need to train your Rottweiler every day for at least 30 minutes, which should be broken into two 15-minute sessions. This way you will have a much healthier and of course happier dog.

There are training classes specifically on this subject, helpful books and even supportive communities for Rottie owners.

This loyal breed has a natural tendency to be aggressive, which is why Rottweilers need a strong pack leader. An owner who is willing to put adequate time into training his dog can rest assured that his Rottie will make a great family pet.

Consider Dog Training Courses

There are two good online video based training courses that we recommend and can both help with aggressive behavior in dogs.

Both courses are good but they serve two very different purposes. The Doggy Dan online course tackles behavioral problems like excessive barking, aggression, phobias, separation anxiety, pulling on the leash, puppy training and biting in ways that are creative, kind and most important - effective!

Brain Training For Dogs was developed by a former Karen Pryor Academy graduate and uses 21 brain training activities. This is an excellent course for bored dogs that get destructive. Dogs that are bored tend to get into trouble by looking for ways to entertain themselves. This course is a great fun boredom buster that goes from easy to very advanced. If you think your dog has behavioral issues stemming from boredom this video course is a good choice. 

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  1. Hi,

    I have a male Rottweiler puppy which is approximately 8 weeks old. Even though neither carelessly nor wildly breeded, his mother was somehow intolerant to her puppies. That might be caused that after giving birth to more than 12 puppies in her first labor in winter, some of the puppies could not be well fed and died and she unfortunately ate some of them even though they are not cannibals. I got the last standing puppy and he was sick too and got anemia. We got to have him at 4 weeks old and fed him with milk powder carefully and vet applied the relevant cure. Now he got no anemia nor sickness and his blood levels are normal.

    In the first 3 weeks, we acted like substitutes of his mother and litters. We did not pay too much attention to his nippings and bitings a lot to make him comfortable at first days at new home and at least one person was always with him. He is not aggressively biting mostly but sometimes his bites are a little painful and we are trying to correct his behaviour with small treats.

    What I would like to know is whether biting needs to be completely corrected or not. Biting is a part of the game in their world and they learn at which level it causes pain and ends the game but they learn it along with their littermates. I am concerned that if we are doing it wrong or not.

    At what point biting should be completely corrected? He has started to play some tug with a toy and I am trying to teach him as a game. He perfectly obeys “Bite” command as expected but still not so capable of obeying “Release” command yet. We was hoping him to settle without a crate but now we are trying to make him love the crate with giving time and treats. I hope it makes him calmer and happier, as well as more obedient.

  2. I have a 9 week old Mabel showed signs of aggression at 7 weeks. We make sure to train regular and spend plenty of time with her, but her aggression has turned to anger and she has bitten me and my husband and drew blood. she has a play date with another large breed puppy, same age, and has hurt her too. I am embarrassed to admit that I am starting to fear this little bundle. I have spent my life with dogs and have never encountered this behavior. I just don’t know what to do. The regular techniques our trainer has suggested have not worked. I fear this will get worse and she will hurt someone or another dog.

  3. I got a 10mth old got her when she was8wks she bites nips jumps on me I’ve read and tried every trick out there she just dosnt stop she is hard headed help

  4. My dog Lucy is a pretty good dog. I took her out in public today, and she did something weird. She greeted people like a normal 1yr old puppy, happy, tail wagging. When they pet her, and she let them, she snapped, and went to bite, with a mean growl. I’m almost afraid to take her around people now. What do I do?

  5. I have a 3 month old roots roller pppy which I got when he was 6 weeks old. I have researched extensively about training, hired a private trainer and I spend a lot of time socializing him and playing with him. Lately he growls aggressively at me and tonight, he charged at me in bed. He tried to bite me and I know he is not playing. I’m really worried and I’m running out of ideas on what to do as I’m trying to getting to be a good dog. He has plenty of chew toys but he is getting me scared now. I will give him up if I cannot correct him. Help please.

  6. Hello..

    I have a 12 month old rottweiler named gizmo… he is a wonderful sweet natured dog…

    He just loves to play and run and go to dog park..

    He literally is doing circles in the car when we get close to the park..

    He just loves playing and wrestling with other dogs..he loves the rough play he gets with other big dogs..

    But recently gizmo has started ” nipping” other dogs while playing.. 2 times he has taken a little chunk out of the dogs..

    Both of these dogs he is very familiar since they’ve played together for months..gizmo is so happy when he sees them..so it seems like he gets ” too excited”..or something..

    I have also noticed when he is running and chasing other dogs it seems like he tries to nip there bum while running..

    Another behaviour I have noticed is if another dog is ” bullying” a dog..gizmo will run as fast as he can and ” bodycheck” the dog that is doing the bullying..

    At first I thought it was a fluke..but this has happened on a few occasions and other people in the park noticed it as well..

    Thank you in advance for any advice

    1. Hi Robert,
      It can be tricky to stop a Rottie from nipping when he’s excited — however it’s a lot easier to prevent the unwanted behavior from happening in the first place than trying to change learned behaviors later on when they become a problem. Rottweilers are very intelligent dogs and they learn quickly, however they need to be shown clearly what is expected of them.

      You are right to try and correct/discourage him from nipping and tell him ‘NO’ when he does it. It’s not okay and he needs to know that. Do it very firmly, but without anger or harsh punishment. If you set the rules and enforce them lovingly but firmly he should get the picture. Hope this helps and best of luck with it!

  7. I recently got a female Rottweiler and she’s only 3 months, why is it that she always barks in the middle of the night. She only does it in the night and never the mornings.??

    1. A dog that’s stressed out, bored or in pain will often whine or bark. You’ll need to find the root problem and treat it. Where does your dog sleep? If in a crate, she might have developed negative associations with it. Try letting the dog crate door open (you can use an ex pen instead if you don’t want her to roam around the house) to see if the barking stops. Also, go back and revisit the very basics of crate training and ensure you’re creating a lot of positive associations! Your pup might be too cold or just not comfortable enough where she sleeps, consider changing her sleeping environment by getting her a bigger crate or a bigger/warmer bed. Additionally, your Rottie may not be getting sufficient exercise during the day to wear her out, so she’s bored and unable to sleep. Finally, some dogs bark because they’re lonely. So, consider letting your dog sleep in the same room as you or another family member. Start changing one thing at a time to find the root cause of the problem. Best of luck!

  8. I have a 5 year old male, not fixed. He’s been our protector, mine my husbands, and our two young children. He’s had a happy life, lots of love lots of long runs and swims, walks etc. He’s always been very protective of his family, sometimes perks his ears up when a stranger walks by, growls when men wear hoodies or hats.. but I have always trusted him 100% with my own family, until tonight.. I snuggled him like I always do. And I’m his mama.. he growled at me, and it turned into a stand off. This is where I draw the line, if I’m scared of my boy, and he growls at the person he’s protected most his whole life what is stopping him from seriously injuring my children or someone else. We had called the vet recently to set up a date for neutering, however at this point I’m not sure that I can risk the trial period for whether it makes a difference or not, he’s my baby but my young children are at risk and it’s not one I’m willing to take.

    1. Can I ask you did you ever get a replay and what became of your situation with your Rottie. I am reading a bunch about temperament because I am looking to get one and this has been a fear of mine.

  9. I have a 2 year old male. If I try to take away something from him that he wants he will grown and snap at me. I cannot let this get out of control so what do I do?

  10. I have a 14month rescue Rottweiler. She gets very hyper at times and her play nipping turns into biting. No amount of training has helped. Any advice please

  11. My ROT is 3 .Uneutered…he just recently has been getting out of control …..he goes crazy in our car when sees another dog or someone he chooses not to like ….he attacked our daughters ROT puppy after 10 weeks of bonding with him over a ball……he attacked her cat and punctured his stomach …..he goes after anyone who comes near our house….he is of coarse as loving and gentle toward his family members

    1. If you dont have the time to train him at least neuter him. Someone is really going to get hurt someday, and then how will you feel if a kid gets maimed?

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