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If you have a Rottweiler in your life, you probably know that they love to have fun! Rottweiler games provide opportunities for training, exercise, engagement, and of course, a lot of fun. What games are good for you to play with your Rottweiler?
The best Rottweiler games for puppies are give and take games, tug, fetch, and hide and seek. For adults, the best Rottweiler games are bite work training, pulling, and playing with a flirt stick. Your Rottweiler will likely also enjoy swimming, hiking, and playing with food distributing toys.
Here’s how to play games with your Rottweiler that will help them develop into a healthier, happier, and more confident dog, as well as equipping them to live in your home without causing any destruction.
Games for Rottweiler Puppies
As soon as you bring your new Rottweiler home, you can begin engaging them in play. In fact, you are going to find that you need to begin playing with your Rottweiler right away if you don’t want them to get into trouble. Rottweilers learn through play, and early play exercises are the best way to begin training.
Give and Take Games
Pretty much every puppy likes to put about anything in their mouth that they possibly can, and the Rottweiler is no exception. With the unusually strong jaws of a Rottweiler, even a Rottweiler puppy can do a lot of damage to your home and potentially get themselves into trouble by eating something they shouldn’t.
Therefore, give-and-take games will be an important part of training and playing with your Rottweiler puppy from the beginning. Here is how to teach your Rottweiler puppy to play give-and-take games:
- Offer a toy. Offer your Rottweiler puppy a toy by wiggling it enticingly in front of their face. As soon as they take the toy, give your command for, “take,” and let them have it.
- Offer a treat. Hold a treat in front of your Rottweiler to smell. When they drop the toy that they are holding to take the treat, give the command, “drop,” then when they take the treat, give the command for, “take.”
- Repeat. Keep practicing. If you find that you can’t get your Rottweiler puppy to be interested in the toy again once they realize you have a treat, try playing the game using just to toys, asking your Rottweiler to drop one and then giving them the next one.
- Wait for drop. Once your Rottweiler puppy seems to get the hang of dropping and taking, give the command to drop while they have something before you offer the more enticing thing. Wait a few beats for your Rottweiler to drop the toy. If they don’t, go back to offering the new toy to encourage them to drop the old one for some time. If they do drop it, give them both a new toy and a high-value treat and reward them enthusiastically.
- Increase wait for reward. As your Rottweiler gets the hang of dropping things on command in expectation of getting something better, you can start to extend the amount of time that they need to wait. In time, you’ll be able to give a “drop,” command and get reliable results without having to always give your Rottweiler something better in return.
- Keep checking with high-value items. Most dogs are willing enough to give up something that they’re not very excited about, but when it comes to a very high-value item like a meaty bone, your Rottweiler may have a harder time being willing to give it up. Keep checking that your Rottweiler is still responding to the drop command reliably even when they have very valuable things.
Just about every Rottweiler puppy loves to play tug. Rottweilers are made to grip and pull with those powerful jaws, so tug is just about the perfect game for them. It’s a very good idea to practice tug with your puppy so that you can establish good tug rules now before playing tug with your adult Rottweiler.
Many older training practices recommended not playing tug with a dog, particularly a dog that can have some aggressive instincts, like the Rottweiler. However, emerging research indicates that playing tug with a dog is a great way to teach self-control.
The trick is in how you play tug. You should not begin playing tug with your Rottweiler puppy until they have already mastered the drop it and take it game. You want to always know that you can get your Rottweiler to release what they have in their mouth, even when they are excited about it.
- Offer the tug toy. To begin playing, offer your Rottweiler the tug toy and instead of letting them have the toy as you normally would, hold on to it and play with them. Play for only one or two tugs, then hold the toy firmly in your hand, not pulling but just holding it stationary.
- Offer a treat. Say the command to, “drop it,” at the same time as you put a treat under your Rottweiler puppy’s nose. Do not expect your Rottweiler to drop the tug toy the way they had dropped other toys. Because you’re holding onto the tug toy, the stakes are higher, and it will be harder for your Rottweiler to be willing to drop the toy. Therefore, offering the treat is the best way to get them to drop it.
- Offer the tug toy again. Immediately after your Rottweiler has consumed the treat, offer them the toy again. You don’t want them to think that because you told them to drop it that they don’t get to play anymore. You want them to understand that dropping the tug toy means they get a quick delicious snack and then get to play some more.
- Practice. Keep repeating the steps until your dog reliably drops a tug toy no matter how vigorously they are playing. Work up to where you do not show the treat at all before you ask for the drop command.
- Reduce the reward. Simply playing tug is enough reward for the vast majority of Rottweilers. Once your Rottweiler learns that dropping the toy means that they get to keep playing, they’ll be happy to drop it just because they are able to keep playing again. Instead of giving your Rottweiler a treat when they drop the toy, just give them the okay to keep playing.
Rottweilers are not natural retrievers, but that doesn’t mean that your Rottie can’t learn to enjoy a good game of fetch. Teaching your Rottweiler puppy to play fetch will have a wide variety of advantages for you later on.
A dog that enjoys Fetch is often easier to train off leash. Fetch provides hours of hard-running exercise for your dog while all you have to do is stand still and throw a ball. This can be very important for an energetic dog like the Rottweiler. Here’s how to teach your puppy to play fetch:
- Start with tug. Most Rottweiler puppies take to playing tug before they begin fetching. Once your Rottweiler puppy enjoys playing tug games with you, you have a built-in incentive for them to fetch. Simply play tug and then toss the tug toy a short distance. Your Rottweiler was very likely go get it because they want to keep playing with it.
- Call your dog. Once your Rottweiler goes to get the toy that you’ve tossed a short distance, call them to it after their mouth is closed around it. The majority of dogs will keep holding it as they bring it to you. As soon as your dog gets to you, give them an enthusiastic game of tug to encourage them to fetch again.
- Throw the tug toy further. Begin alternating games of tug with periods of throwing the tug toy. Your Rottie will begin enjoying chasing after the tug toy to bring it back for another game as much as they enjoy playing tug.
- Switch to a fetch toy. Once your dog is reliably bringing back the tug toy every time you throw it, you can consider switching to playing with a fetch toy. It’s helpful at first if the fetch toy has some aspects of tug as well, such as a soft frisbee or a baton. Reduce the amount of time your dog is playing tug every time that they bring it back until they’re spending most of the time fetching. You can also teach your Rottie to catch the ball as part of fetch!
- Eliminate tug. You probably don’t want to fight your Rottweiler for the nasty ball everytime they bring it back. You want them to drop it gently in your hand or at your feet. Once your dog seems to be enjoying fetch in its own right, you can start asking for a drop and not giving them the toy back to play with before you throw it again.
Hide and Seek
Rottweilers are incredibly loyal, but they can be distractible, like any dog. Hide and seek games are a good way to teach your Rottweiler puppy to pay attention to where you are so that they will be less likely to be distracted and run off when they get older.
- Hide with a treat. Start by waiting until your Rottweiler isn’t paying attention, then go to another room with a treat and call your dog until they come. Reward them enthusiastically and give them the treat.
- Up the stakes. Hide in more challenging places, take the game outside to a fenced-in area, and otherwise make it harder for your Rottweiler to find you. Call less, but still enough to make sure that your Rottweiler is still looking.
- Stop calling. When you are outside or in an unfamiliar place with your Rottweiler, simply slip into another room or out of their sight without saying anything. Your goal is for your Rottweiler to notice that you are leaving and to follow you.
You don’t want to encourage ongoing hide and seek in your house, since Rottweilers already tend to be enough of a velcro dog without being encouraged for following you around. However, by doing this exercise in unfamiliar places, you’ll encourage your Rottweiler to be aware of where you are and follow you.
Grown-Up Rottweiler Games
Puppy games will likely be a solid foundation from the time your puppy is little until they are in adolescence. However, by the time your dog is starting to physically mature at around a year or two, you will very likely want some new games to play with them and you also want to begin forming the framework for the more serious training you want to do later on. Here are some great games to play with your grown-up Rottweiler:
Preliminary Bite Work Training
Whether you intend for your Rottweiler to be an attack dog or not, bite work is a great activity for every Rottweiler. Rottweilers have powerful jaws and a natural instinct to jump up and grip a moving target.
They’ve inherited this instinct both from their herding past and their history as an attack and protection dog. Giving them an outlet for this instinct may actually make aggressive behavior less likely and will help you to exercise and control your dog.
- Establish a solid drop. Make sure that your Rottweiler still has the strong foundation for take and drop that you gave them as a puppy. These commands will become deadly serious when your dog is trained for attack work, but they are also very important for playing at bite work.
- Extend a stay. Once you ask your Rottweiler to drop the toy as usual, step back before telling them to take it. Keep increasing the distance until your Rottweiler is running all the way across the yard to get the toy.
- Amp it up. Once your Rottweiler is willing to wait for you to go all the way across the yard before being released to attack the toy, begin making it harder for them to wait. Shake the toy around, hit it against things, shout, and otherwise make your Rottweiler want to get that toy as much as possible.
- Reinforce drop it. As you keep practicing amping the game and encouraging your Rottweiler to attack the toy from various places and positions, make sure that every single game is interrupted with a couple of drop it commands. The most important thing about bite work, whether it’s just for fun or whether it’s serious, is that you can make sure your Rottie will drop the target on command.
Check out this video if you’re wondering what preliminary bite work training with a Rottweiler looks like.
The Rottweiler is a superb cart dog. Most Rottweiler seem to truly enjoy pulling as much as they like playing tug or even chewing on a toy.
There seems to be something innately pleasing for a Rottweiler in pulling something, particularly if they are pulling you or your stuff. It is deep in the Rottweiler’s nature to work actively for their people, and there are few things that make a Rottweiler seem to feel prouder than pulling you along on a cart. Whether you want your Rottweiler to pull you, stuff, or just pull hard for the fun of it, teaching your dog to pull is a great activity and a game that they are sure to love:
- Get a quality pulling harness. Not every dog harness is designed for dogs to pull weights. A harness designed for pulling like this one on Amazon eliminates pressure points and spreads out the weight so it is easier for your Rottweiler to pull without hurting themselves. Furthermore, a dedicated harness for pulling exercises will help your Rottweiler to recognize that they are not supposed to pull when they are in a regular walking harness or collar.
- Start with your own resistance. Once your dog is hooked into the harness, hold on to the harness while encouraging your dog to go to forward. It helps to have someone else call your dog with a treat while you provide the resistance. Be sure to encourage your Rottweiler to pull with a command so that they will know they’re doing what they’re supposed to do.
- Increase resistance. Your Rottweiler will likely be hesitant about pulling as hard as they can against you, but as you continue encouraging them with the command and providing something desirable, they will start to dig in and pull.
- Teach stop. Once your Rottweiler understands how to pull and is enthusiastic about pulling, teach a command for stop. The best way to do this is to suddenly move the treat they were going after in front of them so that they no longer have a desire to pull, while simultaneously giving them the command to stop.
Make it Functional.
A Rottweiler is a working breed dog, and like most working breed dogs, they are happiest when they are pleasing their people. You can teach your Rottweiler to pull a cart while you ride all over town or you can help your friends with yard work by having a Rottweiler pull a cart full of debris. Whatever you do to give your Rottweiler a functional opportunity to pull, you are likely to see that they absolutely enjoy it.
More Activities to Enjoy With Your Rottweiler
Not every game that your Rottweiler will enjoy requires training. Here are some activities that your Rottweiler is likely to enjoy doing without needing any training at all:
A flirt stick is a fun, easy toy that most Rottweilers love. This could be a superb solution if your dog doesn’t seem to enjoy fetch despite your best efforts.
A flirt stick is more or less a giant cat toy made for dogs. Simply flick the lure on the line around and watch your Rottweiler do everything they can to catch it. My go-to stick is this one from Outward Hound which you can see on Amazon by clicking here.
There isn’t much to do to train your Rottweiler to enjoy playing with a flirt stick, as long as they have a good “Drop it.” Because the lure at the end of the flirt stick is considered very high-value too many Rottweilers, especially after a few minutes of playing when they are really getting into it, you may need to use a treat to lure your Rottie into dropping it at the beginning.
The flirt stick is safe for mature Rottweilers as long as you use it carefully, but be careful using a flirt stick with younger dogs. Flirt sticks encourage dogs to pivot, twist, leap, dive, and otherwise put themselves at angles where it may be easier to twist an ankle or injure a limb.
Mature dogs are more likely to know how to move in a way that allows them to chase a the lure enthusiastically without hurting themselves. If you want to use a flirt stick with a Rottweiler pup, be sure to move it in fluid motions that do not encourage rapid pivoting.
Rottweilers were not made to swim. They have heavy bodies and they do not have webbed feet. However, the average Rottweiler loves the water. Many Rottweilers prefer wallowing in mud to swimming, but either way, water and Rotties seem to go together.
Whether you want to bring your dog to the ocean, lake, or give them a kitty pool, you are likely to find that your Rottie takes to the water quite easily. Even a sprinkler in the yard can provide endless entertainment for your Rottie.
Be sure that you guide your Rottweiler gently into the water if they are still learning and let them move at their own pace. Dogs have a tendency to swim up when they panic in the water, which can actually put them at risk of drowning, so be sure that you teach your Rottweiler how to swim appropriately.
Your Rottweiler is very well-suited to traversing even difficult terrain. Strap a pull harness to them and allow them to make your next mountainous hike much more pleasant.
Rottweilers are big dark dogs that have a slightly shorter nose compared to some other breeds, so they may be slightly prone to overheating, so make sure you bring plenty of water for your Rottweiler on your nature hike.
Food Distributing Toys
Your Rottweiler needs plenty of opportunities to chew, both for their own happiness and comfort and to avoid destruction of your home. Most Rottweiler owners find that it is well worth the effort to put all of their Rottweiler’s meals into food distributing toys. Rotties need a pretty durable toy for this though since their powerful jaws can easily break through many food distribution toys. My go-to recommend is this one from Kong which you can see on Amazon.
Food distributing toys allow your dog to chew, chase, lick, and otherwise have a great time getting their daily kibble. Both you and your Rottweiler will probably find meal tme wasted if it is not given through a meal distributing toy once you both get used to it.
Have Fun Playing with Your Rottweiler
Anyone who has known a Rottweiler well knows that these dogs are real clowns. While they may look intimidating, and while a Rottweiler defending its home or herd is certainly not something to be trifled with, your pet Rottweiler is likely to want to spend most of their time having fun and making you laugh. Enjoy training and playing these games and you will have a very happy and healthy Rottweiler.