Rottweiler - Feeding, Training, Grooming & Health Care of Rottweiler
How to Care for Rottweilers
Rottweilers are a very recognizable dog breed. They are usually massive dogs with lots of muscles and distinctive black and tan markings. Their natural protective instincts make them a great security system for your home and family. Depending on the personality of both the dog and owner, Rottweilers can be gentle giants or extremely intimidating guard dogs. By learning the requirements of the breed and how to socialize your dog properly, you can be a responsible Rottweiler owner.
Caring for Your Rottweiler
Research the legality of Rottweilers in your area.Mistreated Rottweilers have given the breed an overall bad reputation, leading some cities to ban the breed, some apartment communities to restrict them, and some insurance companies to refuse homeowner’s policies to those who own them.Research your area to ensure that owning a Rottweiler is both legal and responsible for your circumstances.
- Begin by looking into your lease with your apartment community for any breed restrictions. If you own a house, then check with your homeowner’s insurance policy provider, as well as any homeowner’s association rules.
- No states have banned Rottweilers, but a number of cities and townships have.Try contacting a representative from your local mayor’s office or the office of a member of the city council for any municipal codes in your area pertaining to Rottweilers.
Buy from a responsible breeder or consider adopting.A good breeder will be in good standing with the American Rottweiler Club and follow its list of mandatory practices, which includes screening all breeding dogs for genetic diseases prone to the breed.You can find breeders and related information on the .
- Also check your local animal shelter or Rottweiler rescue. Plenty of purebred, wonderful Rottweilers end up in these places because their owners didn't know how to correctly care for them.
Veterinarian Pippa Elliott MRCVS advises doing some research first: "If buying a puppy, look for a breeder that screens the parents for disease such as hip dysplasia. Also, make sure the breeder has a socialization plan in place for the pups, from an early age."
Stay up to date on vaccinations and preventative medications.Make sure that your dog has had all of the necessary immunizations in order to keep both the dog and you healthy. The standard immunizations include rabies—which is administered at twelve weeks of age or older—and then every one to three years depending on your local laws and your vet’s recommendations. Distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis, and para influenza are usually administered together.
- Puppies should receive a set of four injections every three weeks starting at six weeks of age and then annually, as adults, again based on your veterinarian's recommendations.
- Your veterinarian will also make recommendations for items such as monthly heartworm preventive, flea & tick preventive, and deworming protocols based on the season and specific region you live in.
Have your Rottweiler spayed or neutered.Spaying and neutering are procedures that prevent unwanted pregnancies and can help to eliminate many health and behavioral issues. Ideally a Rottweiler puppy should have this done at around six months of age. Discuss this procedure with your veterinarian during your regular puppy visits or at the first visit after adopting an adult dog.
- Neutering can prevent testicular cancers, prostate problems, urinary marking, and some aggressive behaviors in males.
- Spayed females have a greatly reduced incidence of mammary tumors (If desexed before their second season) and no possibility of uterine infections or uterine cancer.
Feed your Rottweiler a high-quality diet.If a puppy, feed your Rottweiler a diet labeled specifically for large-breed puppies to ensure healthy bones and joints as the puppy grows. As an adult, find a high-quality food with meat as the first ingredient listed on the bag's label. Crude protein should be no less than 30 percent and crude fat no less than 20 percent. The fiber content needs to be 4 percent or less.
- Rottweilers are susceptible to gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), which is a dangerous accumulation of gas in the stomach. To help prevent this life-threatening condition, feed two or three smaller, non-fatty meals a day (not in elevated bowls) and don’t mix dry food and water. Try to restrict your pup’s activity for at least an hour after feeding.
- It is always important to allow your dog access to a fresh, clean water source. Keep a hand towel nearby for wiping up excessive drool or slobber that, unfortunately, is a common occurrence for this breed. While you should always have clean water available for your Rottweiler, stop the dog from drinking large amounts at one time since it can also lead to GDV.
- Remember that as your pup grows, Rottweilers can weigh up to 135 pounds—though your dog is likelier to average around 90-110 pounds.Ensure that you have plenty of space for such a large dog!
Brush twice a week.Rottweilers tend to have short, smooth hair that requires less brushing than many breeds—roughly twice a week.The best type of brush to use on your dog is a rubber hound mitt or soft bristle brush.In general, the coat is easy to maintain, but the breed will shed much more than you would think.
- Invest in lint rollers for your furniture and clothes if shedding becomes an issue for you.
Bathe when they are dirty.Your Rottweiler’s short hair also means less frequent bathing. Bathe as necessary, such as if your pup decides to roll around outside.During bath time, also use an ear cleaner to flush out your dog's ears.
- Do not use a cotton swab to remove the waxy debris from the ear. Use a cotton ball or a paper towel wrapped around one of your fingers instead.
Trim your Rottweiler’s nails regularly (about every two weeks).Long nails on your dog can easily lead to discomfort or injury while running or digging or even from catching on your carpet. At the ideal length, you won’t hear the clicking of the nails across hard-surface flooring.
- Also be careful not to trim your Rottweiler’s nails too short since trimming to the quick can cause bleeding and pain for your dog. If you’re unfamiliar, consult your vet before the first time you trim your dog’s nails for the ideal point at which to clip them.
Brush your dog’s teeth.Though an often-forgotten part of caring for a dog, dental care is important. It can also help cut down on the possibility of expensive vet bills later on due to costly tooth extractions. Consult your vet for an approved toothpaste and brush as directed by the product.
Take on at least two walks daily.Rottweilers are large dogs that need plenty of exercise. You should take your dog on at least two walks a day, each lasting ten to twenty minutes.Without exercise, you may have a bored and potentially destructive dog on your hands. This could come in the form of chewed-on furniture in your home or massive holes dug in your yard.
- Some Rottweilers prefer to be lazy dogs that are happy lounging on the couch all day with no desire to be exercised. In that type of situation, although there may be less work involved for you, it is easy for a Rottweiler to become overweight, which can lead to a variety of health issues, such as diabetes and injuries to their knees and hips.
- Rottweilers have a natural tendency to play rough, so do not be surprised if your Rottweiler plays and romps with vigor and occasionally sends things flying, including people. Have fun with your pup during exercise, but be careful too!
Get in plenty of playtime.In addition to walks, you also want to spend some time each day playing with your Rottweiler. Playing fetch and tug of war are two easy games that your dog will pick up quickly. Training and puzzle toys can be a great backyard or in-home option for some added mind stimulation. These types of toys can easily be found at your local pet supply store.
- Remember that a Rottweiler is a big dog. Choose toys that aren’t so small they’ll create a choking hazard for your dog.
- For more information on teaching your Rottweiler games, check out How to Play with Your Dog.
- Rottweilers also bond very closely to their owners, so be ready for plenty of affection as well.
Make routine trips to the vet.Rottweilers are prone to certain health concerns. Some of the more common ones include parvovirus, hip dysplasia, osteosarcoma, entropion, diabetes, gastric torsion, ruptured cruciate ligaments, skin tumors, and muscle and nerve diseases. Most of these concerns are treatable. Some may only require a simple medication while others may need to be corrected with a surgical procedure. Consult with your veterinarian about any health concerns you may have regarding your Rottweiler.
- Routine physical exams, which can include fecal exams, a heartworm test, and routine blood work, will help detect any health issues that need to be addressed in order to maintain your Rottweiler's long-term health.
- If cared for properly and in good health, your Rottweiler can be a loving companion for up to ten or even twelve years.
Socializing and Training Your Rottweiler
Pick a puppy that shows evidence of prior socialization.Training and socializing your Rottweiler are two of the most important parts of owning the breed, and the process should start before the puppy even leaves the breeder.Well-socialized pups are accustomed to many different sounds and actions going on around them, and your presence shouldn’t be a big surprise.
- A shy, withdrawn, or overly cautious pup is probably not well socialized and has not been exposed to a lot of different situations. A less socialized pup may make just as good a pet as one who isn’t, simply requiring more time when training.
Take your dog out in public.Exposing your Rottweiler to other people, animals, and locations as young as possible is another great way to help socialize the breed. If at a dog park, slowly introduce your dog to the other dogs and people around you while still on the leash. If your dog seems to be friendly and comfortable and welcomes the interaction, offer praise for the good behavior and gradually allow more interaction off leash and in larger areas.
- If possible, you should also enroll the puppy in “kindergarten” obedience classes starting around ten or twelve weeks old.
Have patience.Each dog will develop social skills at his or her own speed, so go as slow as needed. As your dog becomes more socialized and comfortable with new things, you will see that he or she develops an overall better temperament. Don't forget to introduce cats, children, and anything else that you want your dog to be familiar and comfortable with as well.
Start training early.In addition to socializing your Rottweiler, you’ll also need to do plenty of obedience training, which can require dedication and patience. Your Rottweiler will need to know that you are the dominant one in the relationship. This role can be especially difficult to master for first-time dog owners.
- Obedience schools can be a good option from the very beginning or to correct unwanted behaviors.
- It will be beneficial for you and your new pup to train with voice commands as well as hand signals. The upside to training with both of these commands is that if you are in a situation where your dog can't hear you, your hand signal will still communicate what you’re asking to the dog.
Use positive reinforcement.Positive reinforcement goes a long way with this breed as Rottweilers enjoy pleasing their owners. After bonding to you, your dog will love your attention, so ignoring your dog when he or she exhibits bad behavior will work better than other disciplinary measures.
Consult a professional trainer.During any sort of training, if you feel overwhelmed or your dog doesn't seem to be learning at a reasonable pace, consult a professional trainer or canine behaviorist. They will be able to answer any questions or concerns you may be having about the process or techniques that you are using.
QuestionShould I get a dog with or without a pedigree?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can get a dog without a pedigree but make sure you still give him or her a good diet.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I train my Rottweiler puppy to toilet outside?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTake him out at least 4-5 times this week. After this, you will get to know what time your puppy needs to go out and then take him at that time.Thanks!
QuestionHow do they become friendly?wikiHow ContributorCommunity Answerif you are kind to them, talk to them, and care for them they will start being friendly to you.Thanks!
QuestionIs it a big mistake if a Rottweiler is my first dog? I think its temper perfectly suits me. I am well informed about dogs, but also eager to learn more.wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerRottweilers are working dogs. They're big and require lots of exercise. I would try to meet a Rottweiler or two to know for sure if you really can handle this breed. If you have researched thoroughly, have enough space (in the yard and house), time, and money, go for it. Be prepared to sign up for obedience classes. If you can't handle exercising your dog every day, look into a more low maintenance breed like a chihuahua or corgi.Thanks!
QuestionIf I have 2 male pups, should they be locked in together?Jason.KellyCommunity AnswerAs long as they get along, and the area is big enough. It is good for them to socialize together instead of being left alone.Thanks!
QuestionAre rottweilers better in the heat or the cold?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThey are best in temperate weather, as they do not have a well-insulated coat. They should have access to shade and water in hotter weather, and should be kept inside and perhaps wear acoat when outside in colder weather.Thanks!
QuestionWhere should my Rottweiler sleep in my house?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt's your choice. You might want them to sleep in a crate if they are destructive or not fully housetrained. If you want, you could let them sleep in your bed. If you don't want them in your bed and you don't think they like or need to sleep in the crate, you could get a dog bed and let them sleep there. Many dogs are also comfortable lying on the floor.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I be confident in raising aggressive dogs such as rottweilers?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerFirst of all, none of the dog breeds are aggressive. Rottweilers and Pitbulls have this reputation due to irresponsible owners who do socialize their dogs and keep them chained all day long. Rottweilers are high energy dogs and require plenty of exercise for mental and physical stimulation. Secondly, I would highly recommend training classes. These will benefit both you and your dog. Do your research and read books on dog training as well. You need to put in the work to make sure your dog is happy and well trained.Thanks!
QuestionDo breeders take care of most health concerns?Jason.KellyCommunity AnswerIf it is a quality breeder, the pups should come with a guarantee of some sort, and they will tell you about any genetic problems associated with the breed.Thanks!
QuestionAt what time of day should I feed my Rottweiler?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerI usually feed my Rottweilers twice a day, once in the morning, followed by a short walk, and then again in the evening around 6 when I get home from work.Thanks!
- If buying from a breeder, take care to choose one that screens for hip dysplasia, a unfortunately common problem in the breed.
- Rottweilers make great family protectors, so always leash your Rottweiler when introducing the dog to new people. Also be cautious with regard to children roughhousing around your Rottweiler since the breed can misinterpret play for a need to protect its people.
- Due to the immense strength of the Rottweiler, leash manners are a must. Teach your pup to "Heel" early on.
- Rottweilers between one to three years are in their 'teen' years. This is a time during which you must most strongly enforce your dominance over your pet. If you don't, the dog may become pushy and try to dominate you or other members of your family.
Things You'll Need
A leash and collar.
A large crate. This will be necessary for when you leave the house since a Rottweiler’s incredible bite power can aid a bored dog in destroying your furniture. Pad the crate with blankets for comfort.
Dog food. This should be high-quality. The expenses of dealing with health issues will make you wish you had picked high quality if you choose the "bargain" food route.
Bowls for food and water.
Toys! Pick strong, "unbreakable" ones, such as Kongs.
A healthy, friendly Rottweiler purchased from a responsible breeder or adopted.
Sources and Citations
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