Rottweilers are powerful working dogs that are well-known for their bravery and skill as guard dogs. Many people are surprised by how low their energy level really is, but few people would go so far as to call the breed lazy.
Are Rottweilers Lazy? Rottweilers have regular exercise needs that are lower than many breeds like retrievers or terriers. Some people may perceive them as being lazy, but Rottweilers are working breed dogs that can pull loads, herd livestock, and work as police or military dogs. Typically, Rottweilers are happy to laze around the house during downtimes but are ready to go when you are.
If you’ve noticed that your Rottweiler isn’t quite as active as some of your friend’s dogs or you are looking for a laid-back companion, you may be interested to learn that Rottweilers typically do not have as high an energy level as many dogs.
Here’s what you need to know about what an average Rottweiler’s energy level is like, why Rottweilers have low energy compared to many other breeds, and what you can do to get your Rottweiler to exercise more or be calmer in the house.
What Is a Rottweiler’s Energy Level?
Rottweilers have regular exercise needs throughout most of their life. These are lower exercise needs than many other popular dog breeds. For instance, Labrador Retrievers need lots of activity, nearly twice as much as Rottweilers on average. Other bully breeds that are typically considered quite similar to the Rottweiler, such as the boxer, are considered more energetic by the AKC.
If you are accustomed to a retrieving breed constantly tossing a ball at you or a terrier playing with stuffed toys non-stop, the relaxed attitude of most Rottweilers in the house may come as something of a surprise.
Most Rottweilers are happy to go for a good walk, jog, or bike, have some constructive training and play, and spend the rest of the time taking it easy with you. Even when you are active with your Rottweiler, you may find that this is a dog more likely to stroll than rush through the daily walk.
Why do Rottweilers Have Relatively Low Energy?
Rottweilers were originally herding dogs and likely had very high energy, but as they were bred to tow loads and protect homes and property, their energy level probably reduced until they were better suited to these sorts of activities.
Rottweilers might have been expected to walk alongside their owner to market, protect the cart while there (or even pull it), and go home and be on guard to protect the home if necessary. None of these activities required the intense energy level that some breeds like herding and hunting dogs developed.
How to Encourage Rottweilers to Exercise
Regular exercise needs such as the Rottweiler’s are appropriate for many American families. Most people aren’t active enough to keep up with more high-energy breeds.
The moderate exercise needs of the Rottweiler is a great pick for all kinds of families. However, Rottweilers can be prone to obesity without sufficient exercise.
Many are very dedicated to food and some people have a hard time saying no to those big soulful eyes. Making sure your Rottweiler regularly exercises and maintains an ideal weight is essential to avoid problems like hip dysplasia which can greatly impact a Rottweiler’s life span and quality.
Try a Flirt Pole
A flirt pole is like a giant cat toy for dogs. A sturdy flirt pole can enable you to use your Rottweiler’s natural prey drive to encourage them to run and chase the lure. This one on Amazon is one of the better ones available and should be interesting to most Rotties.
You can mimic the motion of a prey animal using the lure in a way that you can’t with a fetch toy, which can encourage a dog that does not naturally want to retrieve, like a Rottweiler, to enjoy chasing something.
Set up an Agility Course
A food-motivated Rottweiler can be encouraged to go through an agility course that provides lots of exercise in a relatively low-impact way. Include features that require your Rottweiler to balance to strengthen the muscles around the joints while encouraging your dog to lose weight.
Take Them Swimming
Most Rottweilers enjoy swimming, especially when acclimated to it from a young age, but generally even when exposed to water later in life. Start with calm, shallow water, like a kiddie pool, and build up until your dog is confident enough to swim in open water. Swimming is a great way to burn a lot of calories without putting too much pressure on your dog’s joints.
Have Them Pull Something
Sometimes even Rottweilers who normally don’t care much about going for a walk seem to feel thrilled to pull something along with them. Rottweilers have pulled carts and other loads throughout most of their history, and the instinct is still quite strong in many dogs.
As an added advantage, pulling something adds to the calories your dog will burn without increasing the pressure on their joints.
You may also appreciate the opportunity to exercise your Rottweiler without having to do much yourself, by teaching them to pull you in a cart:
How to Teach a Rottweiler to be Calm In The House
Not every Rottweiler meets the expectation of a dog who tends to be calm in the house and requires relatively little exercise compared to other dogs of similar size. Some Rottweilers are very energetic inside. Some Rottweilers seem to be unwilling to exercise outside but are crazy inside. Here are a few tips to help your Rottweiler relax in your home:
Give Them Cool Exercise Opportunities
Rottweilers don’t have exceptionally long coats, so people often tend to forget that they were developed in cold regions and do best in relatively cool temperatures. The coat isn’t long, but it is a very lush double coat that is excellent at insulating.
The black coloration tends to soak up the sun, which makes Rottweilers even hotter in sunny weather than other dogs with similar coats. While most Rottweilers are happy enough to exercise even in hot conditions provided they’re given plenty of water, some Rottweilers find it uncomfortable enough to deter them from exercising at all.
Provide your Rottweiler with opportunities to splash around in water and give them ice cubes and other frozen treats to play with. You may be surprised by how much more willing your dog is to exercise outside when you keep them cool.
Feed With a Food Distributing toy
Food Distributing toys slow down mealtimes and occupy your dog indoors without causing them to be rambunctious. They also provide mental stimulation that helps dogs to calm down inside.
Chewing is naturally soothing for dogs. Providing your Rottweiler with a chew toy is very likely to help them to settle down inside.
Try giving your Rottweiler a food distributing toy for every meal and whenever you would like them to settle down. As soon as you come in from a morning walk, offer your Rottweiler a food distributing toy in an enclosed space or in their crate.
When they are done with the food toy, give them another opportunity to exercise on your schedule. Before you know it, your Rottweiler will look forward to settling down with their food distributing toy during downtimes and be ready to be energetic when you are ready for a walk or outing.
For a dog with powerful bite pressure, such as the Rottweiler, a tough, durable food-distributing toy like the KONG Extreme is ideal. You can check it out on Amazon by clicking here.
Like many working breed dogs, Rottweilers tend to mature a bit late. Your Rottweiler may not be entirely intellectually and emotionally mature until they are three or four years old. That means that you can have a full-sized rambunctious puppy in your house for as long as two years. Training self-control when your Rottweiler is a puppy is essential to helping them learn how to settle down inside throughout their adolescence and as adults. Here are a few self-control games to teach your Rottweiler how to control their impulses indoors:
Sit for Treats
This game is a precursor to stay. Simply ask your dog to sit and give them treats regularly as long as they do so. If your Rottweiler gets up and walks away, simply stop giving them treats. As you play the game, your Rottweiler will learn to resist the impulse to do anything other than sit and wait, since they know that sitting and waiting will result in treats while being distracted won’t.
One of the hardest things for young dogs to learn is how to resist the impulse to keep chomping down on something desirable when you are telling them not to. Training your Rottweiler a consistent “drop it” from the time they’re very young will help them to have impulse-control.
To train “drop it”, simply make sure you have something better than whatever your Rottweiler has. Ask your Rottweiler to drop the toy or food item and offer your more desirable treat.
Over time, your Rottweiler will learn that you always have something better and develop the desire to control the impulse to keep chomping on what they have in order to get what you have.
Rottweilers Aren’t Lazy But They Should be Calm
Rottweilers are working breed dogs, and as such, they are anything but lazy. Rottweilers will work all day for their handler when properly motivated.
However, the work that Rottweilers have typically been asked to do does not involve lots of frantic activity. Rottweilers have developed to be calm and self-controlled so that they can be effective guardians of home and livestock and pull carts.
By tapping into the things that motivate your Rottweiler, you can help them to be active when you feel energetic and get them to relax and you would like them to calm down.