"Ask the Dog Guy" with John Wade

"Ask the Dog Guy" with John Wade

Puppy and Obedience Training Without Food or Fear

Food Aggression

– Posted in: Aggression, Behavior Problems, Columns

Angry RottieDear John,

My husband and I have a 2 1/2 year old Rottweiler, female. She is an amazing dog. We have two serious issues food aggression and she is too rough with babies. We used to go to training when she was 3 months old. She completed the training and went on to do apparatus training. However the food aggression we were not able to fully overcome. Right now we are hand feeding her as per the vet’s instructions. During feeding her hackles go up and she bears her teeth and growls. She has not bitten me or my husband yet, but I do not want it to come to that point. Please advise if you have any suggestions on how to stop this aggression. Her second issue has just recently come to our attention, so we have never spoken to anyone about this before. Our friends have recently had babies. She loves kids and is great with them. But babies are a different story. She is far too hyper when they are around and on a couple of occasions has stolen the babies socks. This makes me nervous because we can never have her around them as I am not sure if she would do more then take the babies socks if she had the opportunity. I think she believes the babies are a toy. please advise if you have any suggestions to this issue as well?

Tammy

 

Dear Tammy,

Your dog’s behaviour around babies makes you nervous? I can’t imagine how the parents of the child are feeling or thinking for that matter as an eighty pound dog sucks the socks off their baby’s feet. I know this is harsh but there used to be a time when dogs were dogs and people were people that if the word amazing was used in the same breath regarding a dog that was food aggressive and questionable around babies it was in the context of how amazing it was that the dog was still alive. A Rottweiler in the house is like a Ferrari in the driveway. If you’re lucky enough to deserve one you’d better be knowledgeable regarding keeping it in tune not to mention know how to handle its acceleration. Otherwise you’re sure to roll it, possibly hurting yourself or someone else in the process. Take it from someone that has worked with a lot of Rottweilers, something is definitely out of tune here. Even if the problem is just over rambunctiousness, for the time being, your dog shouldn’t be any where near a child. You need to learn whether you are capable of retuning and controlling this particular model of dog.. The dog is too big, babies are too small and your control too poor.

As it stands I know you’re not getting good training advice. Playing with the food dish and contents while a puppy is eating to perhaps prevent future food aggression is one thing but suggesting it as a desensitization strategy for a 2 ½ year old Rottweiler with an established attitude is something else. I would have told the vet, “You first!” It was silly, superficial and dangerous advice. For any type of aggression determining what’s behind the attitude is first and foremost. I want to find out why the heck the dog thinks it’s her food in the first place instead of mine which I just happen to be considerately and generously letting her regularly eat. I’d want to know, are her litter mates predisposed toward resource guarding as well or are they otherwise predisposed to asserting themselves? Was she low pup on the totem pole when it came to competing with litter mates for food? Did the dog owners not provide several smaller meals to compensate for the hunger associated with the tremendous growth of a large breed puppy as opposed to one or two meals per day? Has she just been babied so much as she matured that she thinks she’s equal to or greater then her owners? All important questions to learn the answers to before venturing a finger near the bowl.

Don’t give up on the dog yet. This is more likely to be an problem with the person owning the Rottweiler not knowing how to get it and keep it in tune. I’m sure puppy training class was fun. I’m sure that the apparatus training was fun but now it’s time to find yourself a no-nonsense dog trainer that knows the difference between a Rottweiler and a Labrador Retriever. There should still be fun associated with the training but it will be balanced with respect. A good trainer will most assuredly be able to show you how to train and maintain a high-end dog like a Rottweiler, a breed that in the right hands are a great dogs.

2 Comments… add one
Dawn Blevins

We have a 6 month old rottweiler puppy, we got her when she was 8 weeks old. She’s a very good dog (hyper, but good). I have a 5 yr old son and anytime he gets near the dog when she has a bone or yummy treat the dogs growls at my son! We have no other issues or concerns but this HUGE one! How do we deal with this? This is the second time it’s happened and if it continues, sadly, she’s gonna have to be re homed!

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade

Hi Dawn,

Yes that is pretty serious issue. Not that uncommon in the breed and resolvable if owning a rottweiler level dog is a good match for you. Here are two articles for you to read.

Resource Guarding in a Nutshell

This article’s title is a bit misleading but it will give you a better idea of what I mean when looking at whether a breed is a good or bad match and what happens when it’s not.

Leave a Comment