Having a dog in your life is wonderful, and is extremely fulfilling. Dog ownership is without doubt, a lifetime commitment.
There are many breeds, with many different traits and annoyances, all of which can be managed or overlooked.
They are a large and strong dog, and are great working dogs. A male can weigh up to 60kgs (132lbs) and the female up to 48kgs (105lbs). They can also grow to a height of 69cms (27inches).
Their coloring is black and tan. Many generations of the Rottweiler had their tails docked, but this is now banned in most countries across the world, a regulation that many Rottie dog owners agree with.
Let me tell you a little of my experience having had a Rottweiler in our family.
We were living in Bali, Indonesia, and I responded to an advertisement in the local newspaper asking someone to take on a 6-month-old Rotty. Her owner was leaving the country and was desperate for her to go to a loving home.
There had been many inquiries, none of which the owner was happy with. With this in mind my husband and I decided to go and meet her, we sat down on the couch, and she came running in and immediately jumped up, plonking herself right between the two of us, it seemed that Kira had picked us. We decided on a sleepover to see if she would be comfortable with us, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Owning a Rotty.
Understandably, Rotties are not for everyone. They are powerful in body and mind. They have to be correctly trained and socialized. Because of their size and power, they can potentially be a very dangerous dog, especially if they are abused, neglected or incorrectly trained by irresponsible owners.
Originally bred as a working dog, they like to be given tasks, this keeps them stimulated and content, loving nothing more than to please you. So it is important to commit to correct training and have the confidence that you are going to be capable of controlling their behavior in different situations. They respond to the pack leader, so it is vitally important that any future owner of this breed is prepared to take on this responsibility.
Part of the fun of training your Rotty is the socialization aspect. This is a very important part of the dogs training, being able to accept other dogs and people in different situations, Rotty’s love to know what is expected of them, it gives them a sense of security and confidence.
Stimulation for your dog is very important, take them on lots of walks, they need exercise for their brains as much as they need it for their physical health. Daily exercise of 45 minutes to an hour is generally enough for your dog, depending on the fitness levels of your four-legged companion. As they get older, the Rotty can tend to become lazy if allowed too, so it is important to keep their exercise regime ongoing throughout their lives. Kira loved hide and seek, I would hide objects for her to find to keep her amused. She also loved tug of war. We gave her a motorbike tire to pull around as well, kept her amused for hours as well as keep her fit.
Be sure to take them on outings to different places, this way they can encounter different situations with other dogs and people, and learn to be confident with you by their side.
Kira loved her exercise and was also a very social dog, she loved people, children especially when she got the attention from them, and dogs, especially little dogs, we are not sure why, but she had a fascination with them. It was always amusing, most owners were understandably apprehensive at first, having a big dog around their little pooches, but then they would be surprised how gentle she was with them whilst they played.
Things to remember.
In my own experience, I have found Rotty’s to be extremely loving, but also very protective of their surroundings and family. They make a great guard dog, their bark alone is enough to make anyone think twice about approaching them or your property.
Kira always seemed to be on alert, even if she was sleeping, one odd noise and she would be up to investigate, and bark if need be. She always seemed content and proud about being protective, and alerting us to investigate if anyone or thing was around.
They can also be very fun-loving, funny, and if bored, extremely naughty. When left alone in the house for any period of time, Kira would collect all the cushions from the chairs and shake them until the covers came off. To try to correct this behavior she was reprimanded or put outside for a while.
Eventually she stopped taking the covers off, but she would still take the cushions, only now she would place them around the bottom of the stairs (not sure why), none of them were chewed, maybe shaken a little bit, but they would be neatly arranged on the floor.
It was always amusing to come home and find the cushions, and Kira laying on the floor with a guilty look on her face. Of course she was reprimanded once again.
On the flip side, Rottweilers can be very stubborn and single-minded, although my Rotty was trained, there were just days when she was in a stubborn mood and would not listen. There were a few occasions where she would take off through the rice paddies, or up in the dunes on the beach, knowing full well I would not be able to catch her.
She would hear us calling her back, but would chose to ignore us, though she would never go far, once she had realized that she had gotten her way, she would come back. I am sure it was a battle of wits as to who was going to win.
Kira always knew she had done wrong, this of course, is just another sign of the Rotty intelligence, she would have that guilty, sorry mom look on her face (who can resist that). But she would still have to be disciplined.
It was important for her to learn that is was not ok to be disobedient, She would then be put back on her lead until she was in a better frame of mind.
Although she loved water, Kira did not like our swimming pool, she much preferred the sea. She would become anxious and agitated when anyone was swimming or playing in the pool, especially if it was a child. She would run around the pool and try to pull them out, all the time stress barking, not resting until they were out of the pool. I am led to believe this a common trait amongst Rottweilers, is it protection or a herding instinct? I am not sure.
Although we tried to stop her doing this, she would not listen, so she was generally taken away from the pool.
One summer our grandson Bailey was staying with us, he was fooling around in the pool, doing somersaults underwater, all the stuff that kids do. This stressed Kira to the point of jumping into the pool, something she had never done before, taking him by the arm and pulling him to the edge. Kira’s actions took everyone by surprise, especially Bailey, I believe she thought he was drowning. Bailey thought this was amazing, as we all did, and he could not stop praising and hugging her all day.
Kira did not like things to be out of place or things that did not belong, another Rotty trait. One morning she was barking near the pool, my husband was getting annoyed at her and went to stop her from barking. Low and behold, there was a snake in the garden, she was trying to warn us of the danger, she did her job and was very proud of herself. Another example of this was again her constant barking beside the pool, again, my husband went to investigate, only to find a crab swimming in the pool. Two prime cases of her protective characteristics kicking in.
We had 3 cats, all of which had been rescued at different times, and reared from tiny kittens. Every time a new kitten was brought into the house, Kira would become very anxious and excited. When each kitten was strong enough, it was time for the introductions. Kira would lay down and gently start to lick and clean them, much to the horror of the kitten, until they gradually got used to her and then eventually over time they all became buddies.
Kira was probably closest to our eldest cat Manis, they enjoyed each other’s company so much that they would sleep together. I have a great photo of them in the same position on their backs, fast asleep on our bed. They even used to hunt together for rats if any came in from the paddies.
The image of a Rottweiler can sometimes be one of a fierce dog protecting its home and owner, and this is true to some extent, but the loving and gentle side of the breed is what makes them such an easy dog to fall in love with. This and the fact that their love and loyalty hold no boundaries, this made our decision to adopt Kira one of the simplest choices in our lives.
Decisions, is this breed for you.
So if you have fallen in love with this breed, and of course those big brown eyes, make sure you can give them the love, training, discipline and commitment that is required. Every dog has its unique personality and traits, so what one Rotty responds too, the other may not, but they will protect you, love you and be a loyal companion for as long as they live.
Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/UqSWC4znVps
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