People often get Rottweilers to be personal protection dogs. As adult Rottweilers are easily over one hundred pounds (most of which is muscle mass), this is very understandable.
But what can you do if your canine bodyguard/faithful companion decides to be friends with everyone it meets?
A friendly Rottweiler should never be trained to be aggressive or to attack. If you want to make it less friendly, you can enlist your Rottie for obedience training to instill basic commands like sit, stay, and come. You can also train a Rottweiler to bark on command.
If you had to choose, it’s better your dog is over-friendly rather than over-aggressing. That’s particularly true of a dog with the size and strength a Rottweiler possesses.
However, there are disadvantages to having an over-friendly dog. Luckily, there are some things that you can do to ensure that your friendly Rottweiler doesn’t go bounding up to the nearest stranger for attention.
The Rottweiler Breed History: Bred For Protection
Rottweilers are descendants of Mastiff-type drover dogs that traveled with the Roman Empire. They were skilled cattle herders, and the breed was developed in the German town of Rottweil. That’s how Rottweilers got their name.
Rottweilers also had the responsibility of being herd protectors, so the individual dogs that exhibited protective instincts the most were selectively bred. Thus, protectiveness became a part of the Rottweilers’ nature and breed standard.
In the 1800s, industrialization led to the development of cattle trains, and the Rottweilers found themselves out of work.
However, this did not last long. With the strength, endurance, protectiveness, and intelligence these canines exhibited, they were soon recruited for police work and personal protection.
The Rottweiler Breed Standard For Protection, Aggression, And Friendliness
The American Kennel Club presents the breed standard for hundreds of dog breeds. For each breed, they select three adjectives that best describe those dogs. For the Rottweiler, the American Kennel Club chose these three descriptors:
- Confident guardian
What a glowing commendation! Even though they are loving, the breed standard indicates that this only applies to a Rottweiler’s family. To strangers, they are typically aloof but not unnecessarily aggressive.
A Rottweiler will climb into your lap like it’s the most natural thing to do (even though they are often almost the same size as their owners!), but they will not stand for nonsense from outsiders.
In fact, to ensure that any aggressive streak Rottweilers have is kept in check, these dogs need a strong-minded owner who will assume the role of pack leader.
Rottweilers also need training so that they don’t become unsociable or unmanageable around non-family members.
The Influence Of Personality In Rottweilers
If Rottweilers are supposed to be natural guardians, then why is your Rottweiler so friendly? Well, just as every person is unique, so too are dogs.
Breed standards are a good guide, but in a way, they can be somewhat misleading.
If we were to group people in a similar manner, our ‘breed standards’ would be called offensive stereotypes.
Nevertheless, dog breed standards hold people (aka breeders) accountable and help to ensure that dogs are not bred irresponsibly.
Even when you are selecting your puppy from a breeder, there is no way to tell for sure how they will turn out because their personalities are not fully developed and will be shaped by their environment.
Can A Very Friendly Rottweiler Still Protect You?
Dogs have been acting as human companions and protectors for centuries. Not to mention, we live in a very twisted world where we have to be concerned for our welfare when simply walking down the street or even in our own homes.
So, as we mentioned, people often get Rottweilers as personal protection dogs.
Personal protection dogs who double as companions enrich our lives and provide us with comfort and reassurance. In return, we love them unconditionally and give them the best life possible.
If your personal protection dog appears to be too friendly, you might not feel very safe with them at the head of your security detail.
However, just because they don’t conform to the breed standard or being aloof with strangers does not mean that they are disloyal and unprotective when they need to be.
At the moment you need protection; you might be surprised by your friendly Rottweiler’s response.
A Rottweiler’s protective instincts is part of the reason why it makes a great family dog, not unlike German Shepherds.
What Are The Disadvantages Of An Over-Friendly Rottweiler?
Rottweilers are powerful and intimidating animals (even the friendly ones). Unfortunately, they are also one of the dog breeds that have a reputation for being very aggressive.
This makes them easy targets for people who collect dogs for illegal fighting.
A friendly Rottweiler is more at risk of being stolen than one who is cautious around strangers. Your Rottweiler might not necessarily jump into a van with a stranger, but they may allow troublemakers to get close enough to tranquilize or otherwise subdue them.
Overly friendly Rottweilers can also scare people. If you saw a hulking beast barreling towards you in a park, you would probably have a heart attack.
That the giant Rottweiler is only coming over to say hello is probably not the thought racing through your mind.
This behavior can cause problems in public areas, especially dog parks, where dogs are expected to be well-behaved.
Training A Rottweiler To Be Less Friendly: Obedience Training
Training is best undertaken when your Rottweiler is young. Older dogs are still capable of learning, but the process can take longer.
Whenever you have an overly friendly dog, you need them to be obedient to your commands. They need to listen when you say go and pay attention when you say stop. So, your first port of call is obedience training.
Obedience training is not going to be a week-long course. You will need to reinforce the lessons repeatedly over a couple of months and in various situations.
Your Rottweiler should obey your commands even in a busy park or when confronted with something exciting like a favorite toy or treat.
Once your Rottweiler has mastered stay, you will be able to stop them from approaching anyone. However, you also need to teach them how to release.
Get your friends to help you with this one. Your Rottweiler should hold off until you give the signal that he can go and greet the person.
Your Rottie should also look to you for further instructions when you say their name. Practice and positive reinforcement will help you and your canine to succeed at this.
This is what basic obedience training is all about, and you can do it at home, or you can enlist your Rottweiler in an obedience school.
Training Your Rottweiler To Bark On Command
The next step you can take is training your Rottweiler to bark on command. If they are very friendly, they may not bark of their accord.
Suppose you are out walking, and someone approaches you in a threatening way. In that case, a single command that elicits a burst of deep and vicious-sounding barks from your giant companion can be enough to deter them (if the sight of your Rottweiler doesn’t do that already).
Pet Helpful provides an excellent step-by-step description of how to train your dog to bark on command. You can get the link to these steps here.
Once your dog knows the command to bark, you can encourage them to bark at strangers by drawing your Rottweiler’s attention to a stranger and then giving them the cue to bark.
Bear in mind that you will not make any friends with this technique, and you need to be careful not to become a public menace!
You will also need to teach your dog how to stop barking on command. This is just an adaptation of obedience training, so you can use the same techniques as you used to teach them how to sit, stay, and come.
If you think that your Rottweiler is too friendly, you might want to train them to be less familiar, but you should never aim to make them more aggressive.
In any dog, but especially in a dog as big and powerful as a Rottweiler, attack or similar training should only be undertaken by experts and should only be done with working dogs.
You can take your pet Rotweiller for obedience training so that it doesn’t just run to any stranger who calls them (and up to those that don’t!). You can also train your Rottweiler to bark on command, which is an effective deterrent.