If you are looking into the Rottweiler breed and wondering whether your prospective puppy will be a suitable property guardian or already have a Rottweiler puppy and want to know if and when its guarding instincts will kick in, you have come to the right article.
Rottweilers are one of the most territorial dogs. They have an instinctive drive to protect their turf and guard their owners. Without proper socialization and training, this behavior can lead to aggression too.
We will further understand why Rotties are territorial and how you can control it.
Understanding the Breed
Rottweilers descended from the now extinct, Mastiff-type dog called the Molossus. The ancient Romans used the Rottweiler’s ancestors as drover dogs. However, their choice was not accidental.
The Romans choose this dog because of two main traits: the rugged physical appearance and the strong guarding instincts.
History of Rottweilers
The Rottweiler had one main job – protecting its master’s belongings. Since the breed was prevalent among cattle owners, the Rottweiler’s job description included two tasks:
- Guarding the cattle on its way to the market and butcher shops
- Protecting the master’s money on the way back from the market.
The first task, defending the cattle, included protecting from predators. The second task is quite intriguing and unusual. To be more accurate, with thieves lurking from every corner, the master would tie its money bag on the Rottweiler’s collar.
Sadly, the industrial revolution pushed the Rottweiler breed to the brink of extinction. Namely, escorting the cattle to the market via rails was much easier than by foot, and Rottweilers became redundant.
Luckily, in 1901 the first Rottweiler Club was founded, and members of this breed were used as police dogs, military dogs, messenger dogs, ambulance dogs, draught dogs, and guard dogs. All jobs involve a guarding component, and the breed was saved thanks to the Rottweilers’ ability to implement its guarding skills in a variety of services.
The Roots of Territorial Behavior
Territorial behavior in dogs can be described as a dog’s tendency to guard what it perceives as its highly-valuable resources. In plain terms, territorial behavior manifests when a dog defends its ‘turf’.
The goal of territorial behavior is to keep potential intruders at bay. Alternatively, if the intruder disregards the warning signs, territorial behavior can include aggressive acts. The intruder can be a person, another dog, or an animal.
Territorial behavior includes an array of behaviors such as:
- Fence running
- Pacing at the property lines
- Excessive urine marking
- Barking whenever a stranger approaches or passes by
- Growling and lunging at unknown people
- Attacking trespassing people.
Rottweilers are most likely to express their territorial behaviors in the house. However, in extreme cases, a dog may become territorial over frequently visited places, such as the dog park, pet market, or even the vet’s office.
How Territotial Rottweilers are?
Each dog breed has its standard that serves as a reference model for its members’ appearance and temperament.
According to the AKC standard, the Rottweiler is a ‘loyal, loving and confident guardian.’ The Rottweiler poses a ‘self-assured aloofness’ and has a ‘wait-and-see attitude.’
Rottweilers are highly territorial dogs. However, this dog is not rushed with its decision – it is calm, well-aware of its surroundings, and capable of correctly assessing the situation before acting upon it.
With proper socialization and training, they can distinguish between a stranger who is a threat and a stranger who is just a guest.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that Rottweilers were bred to be loyal and fearless guardians. They are genetically wired to defend their belonging and for them, being territorial is an instinctively driven behavior.
Also Read: Do Rottweilers Attack their owners?
When do Rott Puppies start being Territorial?
Although there are individual variations, according to Dr. Lore I. Haug, dogs start exhibiting territorial behaviors around the time they become socially mature. In most cases, that is after reaching the age of six months.
Therefore, if your Rottweiler puppy is younger than six months and still not showing territorial behaviors, do not be worried – its guarding instincts will kick in as soon as it socially matures.
Are all Rottweilers Equally Teritorial?
Although raised by the same parents, siblings grow into differently tempered adults. The same concept applies to Rottweilers and dogs in general.
There are many individual differences between Rottweilers. Although all Rottweilers exhibit territorial behavior, the extent to which that behavior will be pronounced varies among individuals.
For example, some Rottweilers are reasonably territorial while others can be borderline problematic or even aggressive. It all depends on the individual’s character, which is molded by proper training and socialization.
Dealing with a Territorial Rottweiler
When raising a well-behaved yet reasonably territorial Rottweiler, balance is the key. As a responsible Rottweiler parent, you must keep your Rottweiler in line and keep the people around it safe and comfortable.
Namely, Rottweilers have a natural tendency to be territorial. You do not need to feed and reinforce that tendency by saying ‘who is there’ or ‘get it’ whenever someone approaches your gate or doorstep. Instead, you need to invest in your Rottweiler’s training and socialization.
A well-behaved and reasonably territorial Rottweiler will not allow strangers to trespass its territory, but it will not bite the pizza delivery guy either.
If your Rottweiler is too territorial and not very responsive to commands, you should be cautious (practicing confinement time during guest visits and not allowing unsupervised time in the yard).
However, when dealing with risky Rottweiler, it is advisable to seek professional help from a licensed canine behaviorist or trainer.
The ideal Rottweiler should think before acting. Its territorial behavior should be present but not overly accented.
In a nutshell, the perfect Rottweiler should neither attack friends and house guests nor wag its tail and happily greet strangers. Instead, it should assess different situations and act accordingly.