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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19826
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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My 3 year old Rottweiler this year as decided he does not like

Resolved Question:

My 3 year old Rottweiler this year as decided he does not like children. Last year he played with neighbours children now he will lunge towards them or if young children come near to him cos parents have not stopped them he will growl.
Also he has started growling when myself and my son (24) are leaving the house for work although he is not on is own my husband or dad or in the house.
Any advice would be helpful
Regards
Debra
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 years ago.
Hi JaCustomer,
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My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
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In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.
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Did this behavior start around 2 years of age or so?
Are these children in your yard or house?
If not, is the dog contained or on a lead?
What obedience training has he had?
Is he growling when you are stroking him?
What do you mean about him fussing over people that come to the house?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi,

Behaviour started around 3 years old.

No children in house or garden but there is a play area in veiw which sometimes he barks at but not always, he used to moan as he wanted to be out with the children.

He is on a lead when walking along streets but not when in the fields.

Obediance traing we went to puppy training, he heels at your side with or without lead, sits at pavements until you say ok, generally comes back when told unless bitch in season or a dog that smells same. He sits, down and stays until told otherwise.

He growls when you stroke him at certain times but you know this is going to happen because his head changes and the hair on his neck stands up, this is more with my son usually going to work or going out and occasionally with me going to work but not in general, he usually loves being stroked and rolls over for.

When someone knocks at the door wheather he knows them or not he barks until you open it then he is there best friend he is all over them and if they are coming in to stay he pesters for quite a while before he gets a toy and sits down with it.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 years ago.
Debra,
Thanks for the additional information. It is helpful. Rottweilers often "talk" in such a manner that it sounds like a growl. A real growl is a steady low tone while when talking the growl tone rises and falls much like speech does. While many owners of rotties understand this, other people often can not tell the difference. So there is the possibility that your dog is "talking" but you would need to evaluate the growl to determine if that is the case or not.
Even if it is talking, you will need to discourage the behavior as it makes others uncomfortable and afraid and a rottie is liable to distrust someone that is acting fearful and it could lead to bites.
Since there are lots of children close to you, you can use that to your advantage when training. He seems pretty smart so he should catch on quickly. In addition, owners sometimes make the situation even worse by tensing up and worrying about what will happen. The dog senses the owner worry and feels that he is justified in his aggressive stance because you are obviously worried about the people in this case children. They don't know you are worried about them attacking, they just feel that you are worried and assume it is the kids.
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Since it is directed at young children, you should have the dog wear a basket muzzle anytime he is not in your own house or yard. This will not only prevent bites but also allow you to feel more at ease when walking him or having him loose.
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He is already obedience trained so keeping up with that is important. The following site has lots of commands that you can teach him. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.
http://www.schutzhund-training.com/training_theory.html
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Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is always helpful. It is outlined below.
http://www.pets.ca/articles/article-dog_nilf.htm
Not all his growling is harmless even if some is talking. If he is growling with hair raised when you pet him sometime, that is his way of telling you he does not want you to touch him. That is a sign of a dominant dog even if he does obey you most of the time. That is not acceptable, so definitely start the nilf program so he acknowledges all the humans as the bosses.
You will also want to keep a leash on him at all times initially to grab if he should disobey. Dogs like knowing what is expected of them and they love the little paper thin slices of hotdogs that I use for treats while training. Give this a try and see how it works for you.
It will be helpful if you can find someone to help you though you can use the fact that there are kids nearby. What you will do is have your dog on the leash. You will have your helper off in the distance if you can't find one, move the dog rather than the helper, but eventually you will need a helper. If it makes a parent feel better, keep the muzzle on him. Your helper will gradually move closer to you preferably walking past your position in the distance. As long as your dog ignores them, you can give your dog praise and a treat. The second you see him fixate on the person or show any other sign of aggression (hair standing up, etc.) give your dog a correction by giving a short tug and a firm low toned "NO". It shouldn't take your dog long to realize you will not tolerate the aggression and that if he ignores the person, he gets treats. Once this happens you can repeat the training moving the person closer until he is no longer trying to lunge at people. You will need to practice this when you and your dog are walking as well.
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In addition, if the situation is not improving using the techniques I describe, you may have to consult a professional behaviorist. You can usually find a behaviorist by asking your Vet for a recommendation or you may be able to find one using the following site.
http://www.apdt.co.uk/dog-owners/local-dog-trainers
Unfortunately, at this point, I would seriously consider having a behaviorist anyway available to evaluate the dog and determine the aggression level. In the meantime, institute the techniques I have recommended.
The BAT method may be helpful as well. Read about this here:
http://functionalrewards.com/BAT-basics.pdf
http://www.petexpertise.com/behavior-adjustment-training-dog.html
You should also not allow him to pester visitors. You can let him greet your guest but then I would have him sit in a corner unless you or a visitor want to interact with him. Right now he is making the decision on who he greets and for how long . You need to make that decision.
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I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
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