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  • Rottweilers aggresivness, owner or dog?

    Hello all

    I currently own two Rotties, Bishop and Athena, and it's an understatement when I say my wife and I love them to death. I just read a disturbing artical in a local news paper about a four year old child in Eastern Canada being mauled to death by acouple of Rottweilers. This disturbs me because of the death of this poor four yr old, and it also angers me. How were these dogs raised? I'm stead fast in the notion that owners make the dog. Granted, Rottweilers are by nature territorial which in turn gives them a perception of being aggresive, however, this can be curved by proper training and love.

    I'm concered that there may be a public outcry against Rottweilers because they're "Rottweilers". All dogs have the tendency to be aggresive. I believe aggresive dogs are a product of poor ownership.

    I'd like to hear from other pet owners, particular other Rottweiler owners, regarding this subject.

  • #2
    I think that it is mostly the owner. However, certain dog breed may have tendencies- I would REALLY like a Rotty for our next dog, but apparently some Rotties just have problems with loud noises or quick movements no matter how well they're trained. Doesn't mean they'll maul somebody, but it does mean that a kid could get an unintentional bite because it startled or frightened the dog.

    Having a 7 month old lab puppy (labs are not notorious for violence, of course), I have to say that HOW you train the dog is probably 90% of its behavior, but you can't control it all the time. They are animals and every now and then an instinct or a previous bad behavior can override a dog no matter how well it was trained.

    That is why owner responsibility is so important- do I want a large breed dog like a Rotty? Heck yeah. Would I leave it alone with a small kid? Probably not, even if around ME it was the gentlest dog ever.
    I am disrespectful to dirt. Can you see that I am serious? - Mr. Sparkle

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    • #3
      The owner makes the dog. Through and through. I firmly believe this. Here are some of my thoughts...

      Think about it: Rottweilers and other "vicious" dogs like pit bulls, dobermans, German Sheperds, etc., are bred to be territorial and to defend their property and family. But if you have a puppy of any breed listed above, and you are constantly inviting people over, and letting the cable guy come in while you're gone, and taking the dog to parks with people and other animals, that dog is not going to be that interested in defense because it has no reason to defend. On the other hand, if you have a puppy of any breed listed above and you take it to defense training and bite work classes, and use it in self-defense, that dog is going to be a handful because you are exaggerating the traits that are already in the dog.

      Owners are also the reason why so many large dogs are euthanized. That Rottweiler that mauled the little girl is just a dead dog walking now. They aren't going to sell a dog that has a history of attacks or aggression. It's very hard to break a dog from that behavior once it is engrained.

      And unfortunetly, owners also contribute to the negative public perception of some breeds. Some of the most popular dogs today are under the threat of being banned in some areas for fear that they are aggressive. This includes ALL of the dogs that I listed, and others like Boxers, Akitas, Bulldogs, Mastiffs, etc.

      As a die-hard dog enthusiast, it really upsets me when people read about a dog gone wrong and suddenly EVERY dog of that breed is bad. But at the same time, people should never forget that dogs are dogs. They have natural aggressive tendencies. Poodles have attacked people! Bottom line: if it has teeth, it can bite. Folks shouldn't be fearful, but should be respective and handle the dog in the best way to insure that no attacks will take place.

      Off my soapbox!
      If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made out of meat?

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      • #4
        It's tragic to see a dog kill a child.

        Without knowing every detail of this particular incident, it's really hard to pin blame on any one party. We need to know the breeder, the owners, how the dog has been trained and raised, health, socialization, what was going on, etc.

        Dogs are territorial. Some dogs don't like children. Some dogs have a very low threshold for the aggravation kids can cause them. Some animal owners are simply on the lower rung of the evolutionary chain and no business in control of an animal that has a higher IQ than they do.

        What does need to happen is to understand why dogs bite. Dogs bite because they can't speak and can't smack the hands of those that are annoying them. The parents of puppies use their mouths to apply discipline. When they clamp down on the pup, they are looking for compliance. If the pup moves or continues the negative action, the parent will place more pressure on it.

        When a human gets bit, the instinct is to pull away. To the dog, this isn't compliance, so the bite will get harder. As the bite gets harder the person will struggle harder.

        This is by no means an attempt to justify a dog biting a child, because there is none. It's just to say that every dog has a breaking point, no matter what the breed, and that they use their mouths as instinct.

        Owners need to take some heat. There needs to be socialization for the dog to be a healthy member of the family. There also needs to be obediance training. The dog needs to know who's the boss. If this concept is too hard for someone to grasp and they feel they can't handle the responsibility, then they need to forget about owning a dog.

        Owners can't be expected to completely change the personality and instincts of an animal, the best they can do is identify them and determine if that animal is best suited for them and their family and to do their best to correct bad behaviors.

        I'll go on forever if I'm not stopped, so I'll stop.

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        • #5
          Scratchy...we were posting at the same time. Some policies will be affected if you have certain breeds in the household.

          I was almost kicked out of one of the places I lived because of my GSD. They were banning "aggressive breeds". My poor girl used to get constantly growled and barked at by the ankle biters. They ended up backing down on their stand.

          My sister works at the Virginia health department. In the late 80's, the most common dog bite was Cocker Spaniels. The large breeds made up the worst injuries, but the most frequent were Spaniels.

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          • #6
            Like FLLawdog said, banning has become a problem. Some HOA will refuse to insure you because of the size and/or breed of your dog. They don't want a huge Dobie running around biting people and then have to pay you for damages and stuff like that. Don't know if I worded that right, but that's basically how it goes.
            If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made out of meat?

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            • #7
              As a follow up thought, when our puppy was still very little, she was very bitey. She bit everything. Dogs do that. We couldn't let her play with our buddies 2 year old, because she wanted to nip at her- I mean, our dog is thinking, "Hey, I nip at the other puppies, why not this thing too?" So as responsible owners, we wouldn't let them play together. We trained our dog away from that, although she still could have a mistake.

              Our dog is just a lab, too! Not known for viciousness, but that would be little consolation to my buddy's kid if our little puppy hurt her. So- to summarize my ramblings [Wink] : I think a dog's behavior is influenced first by its owner, then by its personality, and then by its breed.
              I am disrespectful to dirt. Can you see that I am serious? - Mr. Sparkle

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              • #8
                It's dog and it's training. My German Shepherd was well trained and only bit one person in his lifetime. I warned the guy in advance and he made the mistake of trying to pet him when I wasn't there.

                OTOH, I had two black labs from the same bitch, different litters, one was so hyper I couldn't train her, the other was so terrified of humans, other than myself, that she could break a chain and would go into convulsions. I had her put down, there was no hope.

                There are some sick bastards out there who abuse their animals to the point of attack. I've been attacked myself by a pit bull.

                It's in the teaching, BUT it's also in the breeding. My last Lab was horribly inbred, something I found out later, it was sad.

                I hate that dogs kill, I blame it on breeding, but mostly I blame it on training from ***holes who think a dog can save their drug OP.

                I knew some people in Florida who had a Dobie pup, they were from Chicago and were scared to death of the blacks in Central Florida, they were harmless.

                The woman beat this pup until she (the pup) lost an eye, I fought the humane society and finally got custody of the dog. She was blind in one eye from her beatings, because these ***holes thought beating her would make her mean.

                HHHMMM, I could tell you some more stories...I should write a book....
                Criminals prefer unarmed victims.

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                • #9
                  Some homeowners policies ban certain breeds. My carrier asked if our dog was any of several breeds including Rot and Pit Bull. Well our dog is a pound mutt. I'm honestly not sure what he is. The pound listed him as a Shepherd mix. To me he looks like a Staffie though. Of course when I replied to the insurance company I went with the "expert" opinion of the shelter [Wink]
                  Bill R

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                  • #10
                    I have 2 *ankle biters*, both Yorkies. The female is calm and self-confident, never makes a sound. But the male! arrgghhh He's huge for a Yorkie, almost 18 pounds. He has the bark of a much larger dog and is extremely territorial. He can not go out of the house unless he's on a leash. I once let him out back and he chased the pool guy to the car. He has chased people down the street on bikes and once charged a little girl who came to visit with her Mother. He has settled down a little bit but that doorbell rings or the garage door goes up and he spings to action. I am unsure how to train him to STOP BARKING!aarrgghhh I do worry he will bite someone one day. I think I my husband convinced to put an invisible fence in for our protection and his.

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                    • #11
                      I appreciate the replies. Like I said Rottweilers are very territorial in nature, more so than most other breads, this is why they're so attractive to dirtbags.

                      To be an owner of a Rottweiler one must understand the bread, they need constant attention, obedience, training, exercise, and socialization with other people and animals. I think the problem stems from owners not fully understanding these points and as a result, we have these terrible incidents.

                      I'm concerned over this issue because I currently live on a military establishment, and if you are not familiar with military housing, they're very anal when it comes to rules and regs. I can see them adopting a "no large bread dog" regulation in the future. I guess I'll just move.

                      quote:
                      It's all in how you raise them. Rock is an overgrown lap dog whose afraid of his own shadow.
                      Frogman, your Rottie sounds like both of my Rotties. Bishop and Athena are big sucks that just want to sit around all day on me lap, I don't think they realize that they're 120lbs!!!
                      They have also become accustomed to sleeping in our bed at night. This was fine when they were 20lbs, but now it gets alittle crowded.

                      Don't neglect your pet!!

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                      • #12
                        FLLawdog

                        quote:
                        What does need to happen is to understand why dogs bite. Dogs bite because they can't speak and can't smack the hands of those that are annoying them. The parents of puppies use their mouths to apply discipline. When they clamp down on the pup, they are looking for compliance. If the pup moves or continues the negative action, the parent will place more pressure on it.

                        When a human gets bit, the instinct is to pull away. To the dog, this isn't compliance, so the bite will get harder. As the bite gets harder the person will struggle harder.

                        How true. I'd like to add that the "Pack" mentality if very important and should be consider when training. Have all family members involved in the training of the dog. You can't let the dog think they're higher in the hierarchy than other family members. You are the Alpha Male and the dog should know it.

                        You seemed to have a great deal of knowledge regarding dog training, do you train dogs?

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                        • #13
                          I owned a rott for 11 years until he just got to old and fraile. Bad hips. I had to put him down... but a year and a half ago, while I was at work.. we impounded a rott and I went to feed him and the fricken bowl was stuck so I went to grab it and he mauled my hand.. without provocation. They say it was a food aggression. I noticed my rott had food aggression as well, but he knew his place and what he coudl and couldnt get away with. My rott was the best dog. Very Loyal, but I think rotts tend to have food aggression. I was out of work for two weeks because my hand was so %&(%(&%& up.
                          Oh... Oh... I know you di-int!

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                          • #14
                            No, I don't train dogs. I've just done a lot of research through the years on breeds looking for one that is suitable. The more research I did on breeds, the more I found I had to do on general behaviors, training, breeders and all of the other stuff.

                            I knew I wanted a large breed. It was down to a Weimaraner, a lab, GSD, Boxer, Dobie or Rottie. I finally narrowed that down to a GSD, Boxer or a lab. As we were trying to narrow that choice down, we looked at rescue groups, breeders and private sellers until one day fate came knocking.

                            A friend had 2 English Bull Dogs and female GSD with beutiful blood lines. Dad was a show winner and mom is a working (detection) dog. The bull dogs would beat up Justice and keep her from her food so she was stressed out and had to spend a lot of time of time away from other doggs and even her family. Realizing that they wanted to keep the bull dogs, my friends asked if we wanted a partially trained (in German) GSD...for free. It took one meeting with her to make realize we were meant to be together.

                            I've had her for about 3 years now and she is definately my dog. She'll watch over, interact with and protect anyone in the house, but she's always by my side.

                            Her behavior towards other dogs comes off as aggressive at times as she barks her head off, but once she's allowed to go check out the other dog, it's apparent all she wants to do is make friends.

                            She's never shown any aggressive tendencies towards humans and I really don't think she will, but I also think she will take action if we were in danger. If I'm wrestling with any of the kids or my wife, she'll come over and gently grab my arm to make sure they're OK. If she knows we're joking around, she'll join in.

                            We've talked about getting another dog, and after having Justice in my house for this long, I've gotten spoiled by GSD's. I don't think I could own anything else.

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                            • #15
                              I think I am starting to understand my big male Yorkie is extremely territoral. When even we go to my parents (they have 2 rat terriers...one is dominant), my male Yorkie zeros right in on the dominnat dog. They run through the yard but I watch my dog. The other dog is trying to play but my dog never takes his eyes off him and before you know it, my dog has started a free for all. The first time he attacks, he goes in a cage for an hour and he seems to get the message that, if he doesn't behave, he's staying in that cage. When I let him out, one growl and he's back in. I have never had a dog like this. Both my dogs were rescues. Whoever had him did not work on aggressive training.
                              My female is just as mellow as they come but she is dominant. She can make him back off with a look.

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