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A brand new family member

September 10th, 2003, 12:37 PM
I'm getting a new dog! Okay, he's not so new, he's 2 years old, but he's new to me. He's a purebred Rottie, and already has some basic training, and is crate trained. He's also a big snuggler, so I'm certain I'm going to enjoy that part.

My question is: What is a good way to help the kids (my stepsons, who've never had a dog before) understand the 'rules' for playing with and dealing with him? I've kept and trained many dogs in my life, so I'm secure that I'll be able to handle this guy... but how can I teach the kids to deal with him so they don't somehow end up 'bullied' by a big cuddly monster? They are 21, 16, and 10 years old.

My own children have been around several dogs, but aren't old enough to walk them, while the older two stepsons are. If everything comes out alright (adoption procedures etc), I should be taking him home this weekend, Friday night hopefully.

Any Rottie specific tips I should know, or are the things I've used with large dogs in the past sufficient? I've tended to use heavy praise and the reward system and had good results with all my dogs so far. Apparently he knows the Sit, Down, Stay (but has some trouble staying), and Come commands. The foster home has had dim several months and he has never shown any agreession at all, not with food, toys, anything. He has also never been destructive, even when left to his own devices loose in their place.

The other thing, is how do I help my cats adjust to this HUGE (to them) creature who is suddenly going to be in 'their' home. (No, they don't make me pay rent... yet. ;) But it's theirs.) He has barked at cats but not been around them, so I figured the night he comes home, I'll lock the cats in their safe room, spend some time with him and see how well he is trained, then place him in the crate in the living room and let the cats out to make sure we don't have any accidents. I can't think that we'll have too many problems teaching him that the cats are not chew-toys.

Thanks for any advice you can give. I'm soooo excited!

September 10th, 2003, 04:59 PM
First, THE definitive online Rottweiler community is right at your fingertips:
The combined knowlege base here is immense. I'd check in, read archives, etc...pretty much everything you ask here is covered frequently on

I've owned Rottweilers for 18 years, from puppies to adult rescues, so I know a thing or two. ;) (I have three now.)

*Find a good, positive obedience class. Go to it. Involve your kids. Don't leave any children unsupervised with the dog. Have the kids start giving little commands to him for treats & petting right away. No tug of war or chasing games, at least until you KNOW how steady the dog is.

*Make sure the cats have a safe place to retire to. Keep leash on dog all the time at first. Correct for chasing cat, reward for ignoring cat. Do NOT pick the cat up and carry it over to the dog. This seems to trigger jumping and aggressive play in many dogs, I don't know why. Much will depend on how dog-savvy your cats are.

* Rotties are extremely smart and have a strong work ethic. Reward based training tends to work the best - they are thinking dogs and need to understand WHY they are doing something. They are generally easy to train, though can be strong willed!

Congratulations! Obviously, I adore Rottweilers. Once there is mutual respect between owner & Rottie, they are generally the most sweet and obedient dogs. Most are "velcro" dogs too. You might as well just take your bathroom door off the hinges now. :D

Lucky Rescue
September 10th, 2003, 05:15 PM
Congratulations on your new family member! Your dog sounds great!

To help rescued dogs feel secure in their new home, one of the most important things is routine. For dogs who often never knew what was going to happen next, it's very comforting for them to know when to expect meals, walks, playtime, etc.

I would also suggest a basic obedience course. This is great for bonding and for giving dogs confidence.(Although Rotties don't seem to lack in that department!) In fact, Rotties can be dominant, so training is very important - as it is with any dog. It would be great if your youngest child could go to the obed. classes.

As for the cats. If you have no idea how this dog is around them, I would keep him on leash until you do know. If it appears that he will not harm them, what I do is put a baby gate up on the cats' room (or wire the door so it opens only wide enough to admit the cats) This way, the cats will know they have a "safe place" to retire to and will give them more confidence. Let them come out in their own time, and never try to force them to go near the dog. Never let the dog chase them.

Another member here has experience with Rotties and can give you more specific advice.

Second hand dogs are great!!:)

September 10th, 2003, 05:41 PM
I think Lucky & I posted about the same time. :) We each said pretty much the same thing...

The routine point is a good one too.

One thing I can add - get a copy of "Rottweilers For Dummies." It's really an excellent book. If the other large dogs you've had were not working breeds, a Rottweiler (or GSD, Ridgeback, Bouv, etc etc) might be a bit different in attitude than what you're used to. Many of these dogs really thrive with structure and training, and can get a bit pushy or or develop bad habits if not secure in their place. Such dogs truly love their leaders. :)

September 11th, 2003, 12:01 AM
Thanks for the quick responses. :)

>First, THE definitive online Rottweiler community is right at your fingertips:
The combined knowlege base here is immense. I'd check in, read archives, etc...pretty much everything you ask here is covered frequently on<

Goodie goodie!! I'll be there before long.

>Once there is mutual respect between owner & Rottie, they are generally the most sweet and obedient dogs. Most are "velcro" dogs too. You might as well just take your bathroom door off the hinges now.<

That oughta be interesting. I already have 4 cats who *must* be in there when I use the bathroom as it is.

>Second hand dogs are great!!<

I agree. Most of my critters are second, third, fourth, or more hand. I don't mind at all, I've always had wonderful love and blessings with the ones I've had. It's all about what you put into them, I think.

Again, thanks for the suggestions. I'm not sure how soon we will be able to take obedience classes, as we don't have a car, and my store (the only place I'd go) is an awful long walk (I take the bus to work).

He already is a lap dog, which isn't a problom at all for me. Part of the reason we are getting him over others is that we nearly always have somebody home. He's coming about 8:30 Friday night. I can hardly wait! I'm so excited!

September 13th, 2003, 01:01 PM
We aren't getting the Rottie. Well, not that one. But, we are going to the shelter today to find another dog who needs a good home, so we'll be able to pick him/her up next week after being altered, chipped, etc.

::sigh:: Mabe they'll have somebody adorable over there.

September 13th, 2003, 03:03 PM
Oh, darn it! How disappointing...
There were over 8000 Rottweilers listed a couple of days on Petfinders. (A friend is looking for a male to keep her female company during the day, so she's checking online, shelters, etc.) So I know you'll be able to find the right dog.

It took a while for us to find Daphne, I met with several others who just would not have fit in for one reason or another. It is SO difficult to walk away, or not get a dog you thought would be just right...but worth the wait, for sure!

September 15th, 2003, 12:33 PM
We found a dog that I *never* would have chosen if I hadn't met her and found her personality to be totally wonderful. We have named her Jessica. She's about 7 months, they don't have any history on her, as she was a stray, and she's a Chow mix, my guess is with Labrador.

In two days, she has mastered Sit and Down, she walks beautfully on a loose leash, rarely lunging at anything, and has started to not run after the cats (though it's oh so tempting when they poof up and run).

She weighs about 40 pounds, and had a couple accidents the first few days while we figured out a schedule, but seems to prefer pottying outside, which is good. She doesn't seem to be a destructive chewer either. Of course, I already had stuff to chew on ready before she came home. She does sometimes grab the leash. I've been discouraging that, I don't want her to chew on it.

Currently, our youngest cat (about 7 months) is sitting on the desk next to me, and watching "That Creature", but not poofing. She's the most "people" kitty we have. The rest are still staying mostly in the bedroom, but rather curious. They still 'run for the hills' when Jessie comes in.

We had thought to crate train her, but it seems she much prefers being left loose, and since she has done alright a couple nights, we're going to send the crate back to the owner for someone who actually needs it.

Jessie has already shown great interest in fetching, so we tell her to Get the Ball, and Bring It, and Give. We'll work on Drop It and Leave It soon as well. She is *so* adorable.

Now, a training question... I've never ever taught any of my dogs to Heel, but I'd like to. I'm not using a clicker since she seems to be doing well with praise and some treats. How do I go about teaching her to Heel? I'm planning on teaching her to heel on the right side, since that tends to be where she seems to walk anyway. What I've done for starters, is get her attention on the treat in my hand, and then walk with her nose to my hand telling her "Heel", and praising her and giving the treat after several steps, then telling her "Let's Go" to let her walk as she pleases. Is this decent, totally wrong, alright if it works for her?

I've also been telling her "Let's Go" whenever she is sitting or down, to let her know she can get up and go. We all tell her to Go Potty and give her a bite of treat when she does it outside. Will that teach her that means to do her business there? So far it seems to be all good.

As long as I'm here, we are feeding her twice a day, is that good, or should she still have three times? She is getting Sensible Choice (for now) and a small amount of canned food. I make her Sit before I give her the food as well. She tends to get a little distracted (puppy attention span maybe) at times, but otherwise is very calm and attentive.

Thanks so much for the help. We are just thrilled with our new family member. Once she got a bath, and I trimmed the really wacked out stray hairs that were sticking out around her ears, she looks awesome, and smells pretty good too. Good thing, cuz she *loves* to snuggle. She seems to be protective already too, and has a nice bark, fairly deep. But she doesn't use it much at all, which impresses me as well.

Okay, enough bragging about our new baby. I better take her out for a walk, then get to work. They oughta give people a couple weeks off paid when they get a new dog. <G>

October 6th, 2003, 01:15 AM
I'm reading some postings on the board and as a new board "member", it's great to see all the postive support everyone has for petowners.
We are very happy with our dog that we adopted from the local shelter. I never in a million years would have chosen a small dog (Bandit is a ****zu/Lhaso Apso cross) I always envisioned having a retriever type of dog.
But the kids have bonded with Bandit and he assimilated to life in our house and our hectic schedules so quickly.
I read on the board that routine is important with dogs that were strays. And I strongly agree!
Once we got Bandit into a routine, he was very happy. We took him to the kids' swim meets all summer and now in the Fall, he goes with the family to soccer games. He's become very social.
He loves his walks and his regular sniffing spots around our neighbourhood and he and our grumpy old 17 year old cat have found their respective "safe" spots in the house away from one anothe and they seem to be co-habiting in peace...well most of the time ;)