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  1. #1

    Need advice on Rottweiler situation here.

    I'm hoping that someone can give me some input and thoughts on this situation.

    My mother is 76 years and lives alone. She is in relatively good health, but is not active. She has a 5-year-old male Rottweiler who is over 100 pounds. When her husband was alive, he worked with this dog a fair amount and served as the alpha. Mom doesn't do that. She makes him wait 10 seconds before going to his food, and thinks that's sufficient.

    She does not let him out enough, and as a result, he dirties up in the house. She denies this, but I have seen him do it.

    He was a rescue/neglect case when she got him, and while he is a very nice dog, I think that he feels he has to be the alpha, and it is making him anxious -- and overly protective. He has bitten her other dog once. He has bitten the lawn car guy once. He has even bitten my mother once.

    I fear that this situation is a powderkeg waiting to go off.

    Mom has bought into a continuing care community that she will move into in about 2 years time. She has a handyman who a year ago wanted to take the dog, but the more that time passes, the less she wants to give up the dog. By the time she moves, the dog will be 8, and it will be even less likely that the handyman will take him then. She cannot walk him, so taking him with her into this community is out of the question, although now she's talking that she wants to take him.

    She is in sound mind and it is still her decision to make. The more we encourage her to place the dog now, while she still can, the more intractable she gets and the more she insists on keeping him. Meanwhile, he gets NO training other than the 10-second wait, and it doesn't seem fair to either her or the dog to let this go on.

    Anyone ever have to deal with this? How did you handle it?

  2. #2
    This is a really tough situation.
    Sounds like this dog is not in a good environment for HIM either.
    You happen to have hit on the right place because I am a huge rottie lover. Had four of them at one point, but lost two dogs this past year. We still have two though.

    Anyway, part of the temperment of the rottie is to take control and become alpha if there is not a clearly defined leader already in place. A rottie is VERY happy to be a follower - VERY happy to, but if he senses no leader he will almost always move in to accept that role.

    It is not enough that your mother is SOMETIMES alpha (such as the food for ten seconds). The dog will think that is a game she plays with him and he will humor her in it. He probably looks upon your mother as a littermate and as the years go on he will dominate more and more if she does not take the leadership role.

    The question is...does she know how?
    Many people hear this and think they need to be fierce, vicious, "handy" or yell at the dog. THIS will only exacerbate the issue. A leader is simply someone that leads. She needs to go through doors first, she needs to not allow him to sleep on her bed, or the furniture (is this allowed)? She needs to give him commands regulalry and expect that he will follow him.

    If she can not, or will not do this, it will become a dangerous situation. This is probably a very fine dog, like most rotties are, but most of them get put to sleep or abandoned because of the fault of the owner. The lack of knowledge. A rottei is not a dog for a first time dog owner, and it is not a dog for someone that is not in a leadership role.

    I would suggest that you show this letter to your mother.
    Perhaps you can also hire a canine behaviorist to evaluate the situation and give your mother some advice.

    If she loves this dog, then she is being unfair to it. if it has already bitten then this is terribly, terribly serious. I can not stress enough that you must intervene in this, or your mother could be very seriously injured, very soon. A dog that will bite it's owner is a dog that has said quite firmly to that person that THEY are the leader. This will be extremely difficult to UNDO. It has already been taught to the dog that he has the alpha position - to take it away really for someone with much more experience than your mother seems to have.

    I know I am giving you only information and very little advice here but the situation is not one that has any options. The dog must be removed from this situation or your mother, or someone else, will be hurt. If she loves the dog thenm she needs to understand that this dog, at some time int eh future, may be ripped away from her and put down as a result of her ignorance to this issue now. If she loves the dog she needs to be willing to take steps to prevent that. A rottei that has already bitten - and especially THREE times - is a ticking time bomb.



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