Rottweilers are a stereotypical guard dog. They’re used in movies and media to portray a vicious guardian, biting the pockets out of trespassers’ pants. Rotties offer a sense of security to their owners, as any burglar would hesitate to press their luck with a blocky black and brown head full of teeth.
If we delve deeper than their powerful appearance, what are Rottweilers really like? Is this the sort of pet you would want as a family dog. Most importantly, are Rottweilers good with kids? The answer is yes, Rottweilers are wonderful pets for children.
The FCI (or Fédération Cynologique Internationale) describes the Rottweiler as “good-natured, placid in basic disposition, very devoted, obedient, biddable and eager to work.” Rotties are also considered to be exceptionally even-tempered dogs, with natural alertness and strong instinct to guard hearth and home. All of these traits lend to a dog that is exceptionally good with children.
As a placid – or calm – dog with a good nature, Rottweiler is tolerant of children’s antics. While their alert and protective nature may be bad news for strangers with criminal motives, it ensures that your Rottweiler will keep your kids safe. Of course, it’s a large bonus that these brawny dogs are biddable and obedient, even to the little masters of the house.
Where to Get a Rottweiler
Whether you adopt or purchase your Rottweiler, ensure that your source is responsible. A responsible rescue evaluates Rottweilers for behavioral and health issues, screens adopters for the best fit for each dog, and will always take the dog back if needed.
When purchasing a Rottweiler from a breeder, the bar is set a good bit higher than for a rescue. A responsible breeder only breeds dogs that meet some very stringent requirements. Breeding stock should be titled, to prove that they can work in a venue true to their breed (like herding or carting). Parents should also be tested for all inheritable health issues recommended by OFA – CHIC, or the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals – Canine Health Information Center. Further, it’s important that a Rottweiler breeder choose to breed dogs that have structure and temperaments true to their breed.
It is helpful to find a Rottweiler breeder that raises puppies carefully and with a plan. A breeder that has socialization, exposure, and behavioral stability in mindsets future puppy owners up for success. Often, these puppies are excellent with children, because they have already had plenty of great experiences with kids! Socialization is doubly vital at this age, to ensure that Rottweilers don’t have an excessive sense of stranger danger.
Preparing Your Children for a Rottweiler
Just as we plan to train dogs to be great with kids, we should teach children to be good with dogs. Before you bring your Rottie home, you should educate yourself and your kids about dog behavior and handling. Research and study canine stress signals, like avoidance, widened eyes, pinned ears, licking lips, and panting. The ability to identify these pieces of dog body language can help prevent dog bites. Often, owners of Rottweilers or other dogs may think their dog bit “out of nowhere,” when in reality, the dog was trying with all of its might to communicate their discomfort.
Also, teach your children about appropriate ways to behave with a Rottweiler. Make sure they understand how to pet a dog without hitting it, and that they shouldn’t ride, sit, or lay on your Rottweiler. Often, dogs do not enjoy being hugged as much as we think they do, so it’s good to assess how your Rottweiler responds to this display of affection. As mentioned before, being able to read your Rottweiler’s body language is key!
Once you’ve brought your Rottweiler puppy or adult dog home, you’ll want to begin introducing them to your children. Do not force the Rottweiler to accept any form of affection and allow them to walk away at any time. Just existing in the same room as the children without being forced to interact with them will ensure that your Rottweiler does not create a negative association with kids. If your Rottweiler attempts to engage the children for affection or play, make sure that you never use hands or bodies as toys, instead of using dog toys for playtime. Accidental bites can happen if your Rottie thinks that human hands are chew or tug toys.
Obedience training is incredibly helpful for a Rottweiler living with children. A protective Rottie can react poorly to children roughhousing, so it’s best to teach your dog a solid “place” and “stay” command so that they can watch children playing from a distance without having to run into the fray. Of course, it’s vital to ensure that you train your Rottweiler not to jump on people, as a potentially 100 lb dog could seriously harm a child without meaning to.
Perhaps just as important as every other bit of advice mentioned here is socialization. Rottweilers are natural guardians, so they have a natural dislike of strangers. This can become problematic if your child wants to have friends over or even go for a walk with their Rottweiler best friend. From the beginning, give your Rottweiler plenty of exposure to strangers – again without forcing interaction and ensuring that the entire experience is a positive one.
So, what do you think; are Rottweilers good pets for children? If socialized, trained, and selected carefully, yes. Rottweilers are great with children. Once you’ve brought home your new Rottweiler, you’ll find that your child has a fantastic best friend to grow up with.
Written by Chloe Weasley