Are you a proud parent of a Rottweiler? If so, you might be wondering about the breed and its common association with being a guard dog. There’s a lot to know about it!
Rottweilers do, in fact, make good guard dogs. This is because they are naturally protective of their families. For the best results, you’ll want to socialize your dog and also train him or her to be protective in the right way, in the right situation.
Below, you’ll learn about their guarding behavior and how to make it work in your favor, keeping your Rottie’s guarding behavior productive (i.e., safe).
What does a guard dog do?
There is a difference between a watchdog and a guard dog. Rottweilers are often thought to be guard dogs. A watchdog is a sort of alarm — they’ll let you know there’s a problem, but otherwise, be passive. Different dog breeds, let’s say the Golden Retriever for instance, suits this category. Whereas a guard dog is like a security guard — they’ll alert everyone to the problem and then step in to defend their family if they (the dog) think intervention is needed.
While guarding is a natural behavior in Rotties, it needs to be trained and addressed early in life. This will help make sure your Rottie is acting appropriately (more on that later).
At what age do Rottweilers start guarding?
You can expect a Rottweiler to naturally start guarding humans and other family members (including the furry kind) when they are anywhere from 6-8 months old. These are considered their teenage years where they are learning how to be a grown-up. This is their learning stage, too, where you’ll want to focus their training!
Are male or female Rottweilers more protective?
Both male and female Rottweilers are protective, naturally, as this is a learned behavior from their ancestry as a breed. However, males will be more protective as far as their overall behavior, ideal guard dogs.
They tend to be stand-off and abrupt as they watch over their family and make sure they are safe. This often means that they are more naturally aggressive, too, since they tend to be the “harsher” of the two genders. This does not mean a female dog wouldn’t suit as a guard dog though. As mentioned before, their traits make rottweilers good guard dogs.
Female Rottweilers are still protective and make great guard dogs, to be fair. However, they tend to be a little more obedient than males. They are often considered much more affectionate, too. When it comes to a household with kids or other dogs, female Rotties tend to blend in a little better since they are friendlier of the two.
As far as guarding behavior, you’ll be happy to know that both genders perform well, differently, perhaps, but well. If you are a first-time Rottie parent, you’ll find females a little easier to train, long term.
How are female Rottweilers good guard dogs?
If you’re feeling a little uncertain about your female Rottie as a guard dog, don’t be worried! It’s all about guarding style! Males will be more aggressive and “protect their perimeter”.
Females, on the other hand, will be more naturally protective because of their maternal instinct. She’ll be more watchful of behavior and keeping her family out of trouble. Her guarding behavior is more hands-on versus perimeter patrol.
Will an untrained Rottweiler protect its owner?
This is an excellent question! Since Rottweilers are naturally guarding dogs, they technically will protect their dog owner without training. This is a biologically-based behavior, after all. However, they will not be able to protect their owner quite as well as a properly trained dog.
Untrained Rotties know that they have to fight and battle and defend. But, without proper training, the actual techniques are missing. They know what they have to do but not quite how to do it.
Without proper training and understanding of perceived threats, a Rottie is unpredictable. Some may be overly aggressive to a neighbor’s child who wanders over to take a look at a pretty flower on your lawn.
Some may be submissive and cowardly in the case of an intruder in your home. Or, some may be indifferent in either dangerous or harmless situations. It just comes back to the idea that instinct is only half the equation — training is crucial to help your Rottweiler know when and how it’s appropriate to act on their natural instincts.
Would a Rottweiler attack an intruder?
Naturally speaking, they most likely wouldn’t attack an intruder outright. They’ll often show standard guarding behavior: growing, snarling, nipping, and physically blocking an intruder’s access to their family and loved ones are all common examples. With proper diligence and training, though, a Rottie can be trained to attack an intruder.
How can I train my Rottweiler to protect me?
One of the main reasons many consider Rottweilers a protective breed, amongst all other dog breeds, is their natural tendency to defend their loved ones with little training. However, since their natural instinct is only part of it, you’ll want to make sure that you are raising your Rottie to best protect you through specific training.
What kind of training do I need to consider for my Rottie’s protective instincts?
Realistically speaking, the kind of training you put into place will be based primarily on what you want them to do! Common examples include:
- Sentry or alert-based guarding
- Protection of children or pets in case of strangers or intruders
- Bite training
Sentry or alert-based guarding
This kind of training is more about ensuring that that perimeter is secure and your Rottie will know who is on their property and when they come or go. They’ll also alert you to when someone “new” comes close by barking and potentially growling. It depends on what your dog determines to be appropriate for their body language (i.e., a mailman versus someone lurking and scoping).
This is often the most popular approach and a great way to train both male and female Rotties since it’s closely aligned with their natural behavior and instincts. It tends to be the fastest kind of guard dog training, too.
Protection of children or pets in case of strangers or intruders
This is another popular option for those looking for a family dog that will be protective of the children and/or pets in case of strangers or newcomers to the house or when out and about. This takes a bit more training and a lot of focus on socialization so that your dog can know what is good and bad, stranger-wise, and also what you want them to do when they are guarding.
For example, some want them to simply guard and warn the stranger away. Others want them to be attack dogs where they’ll actively go after someone who intrudes and presents themselves as a threat.
This is a very advanced kind of training. If you’re serious about dog behavioral training, it’s a great option to consider. This kind focuses on thorough training on how to use their bites to hold back an intruder on command and keep them there until they are given the command to release their target. If this sounds like something that a police dog or military dog would do, that’s because it is! This is a very advanced kind of training that needs to be done by a professional dog trainer.
What details factor into proper training?
The above training options are listed in order of easiest to hardest. In all of these examples, you’ll need to focus on three critical details for your Rottie (the more complex the kind of training, the more you’ll need to focus all of these):
- Obedience training
- Socialization (especially other animals)
- Consistency and compassion
This is your basic kind of command, and this will help you and your Rottie grow a bond. This will show them that you are in charge, and they need to listen to you. This also allows them to learn the finer details of what is appropriate behavior and what isn’t.
For example, understanding (and obeying) the command of “stop” or “no” when they mistakenly show guarding and attack behaviors against a child is as important as understanding “sit” or “stay”. Obedience training is a critical starting point for any Rottweiler to understand basic guard dog training!
Socialization (especially other animals)
As equally important as obedience training is socialization. This shows your Rottweiler how to understand what makes a threat and what isn’t’ a threat. From new places to new people to new animals, the more your dog sees and absorbs, the more he’ll understand when it comes to guarding your family properly.
This is often paired with his obedience commands so that he’ll begin to learn what he needs to do and when. It’s essential to make sure you have an obedient dog before you start to socialize him!
Rottweilers are not especially dog-friendly, especially if it comes to same-sex dogs. Whether it’s a chihuahua or a husky, Rottweilers, work best in single-dog households. Even so, proper socialization with other animals is important to help them learn healthy behaviors!
Consistency and compassion
Everything that you take on with commands and training has to be consistent. Dogs can’t understand “sometimes” or “maybe”. Keep training consistent and logical so that your dog can act accordingly when you need him to.
The other thing to keep in mind is that some dogs will be great as a protection dog, at protecting your children but may not be great at actively attacking or bite training. You’ll always want to respect your Rottweiler’s personality and needs by not forcing them to do something they don’t want to do.
Smart, protective, and biologically built to keep your loved ones safe, Rottweilers are popular family dogs for many reasons — guarding is one of them! They are the epitome of protection dogs like no other.
Biologically, both male and female Rottweilers can be guard dogs when appropriately trained. Respectful, proper training is vital to promote the safety of everyone, from strangers to children and other pets!
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