We all want to be somebody’s person.
But have you ever experienced being a dog’s person?
Those of us who have owned Rottweilers know that this breed is revered for their sense of loyalty, but the question remains of how far this devotion extends within the family unit.
Do Rottweilers bond with just one person?
Though fiercely loyal to every pack member in your family, Rottweilers have been known to single out an individual in the family who gets the privilege of receiving a majority of their affection. This is usually because that one person in the house is the Rottie’s primary giver of food, water, commands, or attention.
We’ve already mentioned how meeting your pup’s basic needs encourages bonding, but additional tactics include providing consistency in their day-to-day routine, giving positive feedback when learning commands, and, of course, showering them in love!
Let’s explore the possible reasons why a Rottweiler may bond with just one person starting with a deeper look at why Rotties are so loyal.
Where A Rottie’s Loyalty Comes From
Throughout history, Rottweilers have been bred and trained to be the best of the best when it comes to canine guardians. Though their duties became a little less intense over time and Rotties are no longer primarily seen as protectors of livestock, these loyal pups still take family life quite seriously.
Not every Rottweiler will be driven by a natural inclination to protect, but it is fairly common. This drive to protect may stand out more and more as your Rottie matures. Because of this, you will want to provide your puppy with plenty of socialization opportunities as they continue to grow.
With time and plentiful socialization, they can properly learn the difference between strangers and dangerous strangers, and how you want them to act with either one. When learning this difference, a healthy and well-trained Rottie isn’t likely to bite without serious provocation.
Because they see you as the leader, your Rottweiler will usually wait on you before taking any action, even with this natural guarding instinct.
That being said, it’s not that your Rottweiler wants to be the bad guy—he just wants to keep you and his family of humans safe!
After generations of herding, defending, and, in cases of emergency, fighting, Rottweilers want to do their part to keep your family safe and happy. Nowadays, this looks like guarding the house, accompanying you on your neighborhood runs and occasionally helping you defend the TV remote from defiant family members.
What can we say, we think it’s pretty flattering that our Rotties love us with so much passion, even in spite of our drab human ways!
Why Rottweilers Bond With Us?
What makes Rottweilers bond with the person they pick?
We’ve already seen that loyalty runs in the Rottie’s DNA but let’s look at a few reasons that some people get chosen as the favorite person and how you can improve the bond with your Rottie.
Reason 1: Satisfying Basic Needs
What does it take for many of us to act like a polite human in the morning?
Coffee, some breakfast?
Giving your Rottweiler regular meals and making sure their water bowl is always tipped off is like you getting your daily shot of caffeine—it makes them friendlier and primes them for building a lasting, loving relationship. Of course, treats help too!
As anyone who has ever worked with an undersocialized cat or dog knows, when an animal no longer has to question where their next meal is coming from, you can take a hissing, growling stray and turn them into a trusting, affectionate pet.
Hopefully, your Rottie isn’t coming from such harsh circumstances, but no matter what stage of life they’re in, it’ll go a long way in your relationship if you keep him or her well-fed, warm, and sheltered.
Additional needs can include routine grooming, particularly if your Rottie is longhaired, and positive reinforcement. Rottweilers love to please, so giving them ways to do so is essential to cultivating good behavior and confidence in understanding their role in your family.
Reason 2: Acting As A Leader
Rottweilers aren’t looking for you to display dominance over them—a common misconception that has coincided with too many Rottie owners relying on harsh words and rough hands to force them into submission.
This misconception stems from the comparison between dogs and wolves, who exist in packs with a recognizable “alpha” male in the lead. When previously doing research into Rottweiler discipline, our team found that the term alpha is actually quite outdated and inaccurate. The head of a wolf pack is, essentially, the father of many pups who then became members of his pack, rather than the vicious winner of a male battle like many of us originally assumed.
So, what does this have to do with your Rottweiler?
Rotties may be big, but they’re really just big, loyal, loving babies. And our big babies just want a little help knowing who to turn to for attention and direction in the case of an emergency. Thus, we become the “alpha” or parent figure for our Rottweilers—not because we aggressively teach them who’s boss, but because we lead the way for them.
Although discipline and training are necessary parts of raising a Rottie who is safe and well-behaved, we can still be loving Rottie parents while administering them! When choosing that one person to bond with, your Rottie is going to look for the kind of stability a parent or leader would provide.
So, what does that stability look like?
Well, you ensure that there is food, fresh water, and some consistency in their day-to-day routines. Maybe you two have a half hour play session of fetch and tug of war every afternoon before ten minutes of grooming and quality time!
As any inherent rule-following, inside-the-box thinker knows, sometimes all you want is to be told what to do! Similarly, our Rotties are looking to us, their parents, for direction. If you provide your Rottie with consistent training, you’ll probably be the one they end up listening to, and obeying, the most.
Sometimes, you may not know when they’re looking to you for direction, so simply having a regular routine can go a long way in securing your leadership role with your Rottweiler.
Often, like children, they just want to enmesh themselves into our routines.
When I was in college, our family Rottweiler, Rocky, participated in my routine from dawn to dusk—even when that meant lugging himself off of my bed at 5:30 in the morning. Why? Rocky wanted to be included in everything I did, whenever I did it.
Either way, when I was up he was up and while I might not have always felt like his “leader”, Rocky seemed to think I knew what I was doing!
Reason 3: Giving Love and Attention
If you haven’t ever heard of the 5 Love Languages Test, at the end of this test you are given one of the following five choices for your “top” love language: Quality Time, Gifts, Physical Touch, Acts of Service, or Words of Affirmation. Whatever the result is, it’s an indication of how you best receive and/or give love to and from others.
Any guesses as to what your Rottie’s love language would be?
In most cases, it’s probably quality time or physical touch! But, then again, our furry babies deserve more than just one way of showing love!
Just like people, Rottweilers vary in their need for attention. While a dog that suffers from separation anxiety or fear of people will require different needs, a healthy Rottie will love a mix of playtime, cuddles, and quality time! Your dog’s needs can be influenced by their age, too. Your puppy will need more attention than your 5-year-old Rottie for healthy development during their essential growth period, for example.
Who can resist giving extra cuddle time to a baby Rottie, after all? They’re just so darn cute!
So, what does it look like to give your dog “attention”?
Cuddling and touching your dog throughout the day, engaging them with toys, and simply letting your dog be in your space are all ways of giving your loyal pup the attention they most definitely deserve! The tone you use when speaking to your dog can help them feel relaxed and noticed, even if they can’t understand exactly what you’re saying.
There’s a reason we all find ourselves talking in those notorious baby voices to our pets, no matter how hard we may try to resist: our dogs respond positively to positive attention!
Dogs, puppies especially, are known for feeding off of our energy. If we show our Rottie friends that we are happy to see them by talking in an excited tone, they will respond with their own butt wiggling, tail shaking, goofy grinning happiness!
Even if you’re not the one providing all the food, sometimes just sharing the love is enough to make you the favorite person.
How To Earn A Rottweiler’s Loyalty
You might be feeling left out, if you suspect your Rottweiler hasn’t picked you as their favorite person or if you think their affections are veering towards a different individual in the family.
Don’t let it get you too down, though.
Rottweilers have plenty of love to go around!
If your Rottie hasn’t picked out the lead parent or favorite person of the house yet, there are things you can do to gently encourage your Rottweiler’s fondness towards you in particular.
Now, while a little treat bribery—I mean, motivation—here and there can go a long way, it will take patience and consistency to earn your Rottie’s undying loyalty. If you’re working with a puppy, expect to walk through the terrible chews before reaching guardian maturity; if your new Rottie is an adult, however, you’ll want to be aware of any past hurts that could interfere with their ability to bond.
Rotties are big, sweet babies underneath that stocky exterior. Help them rest assured that even though you’re in charge, you aren’t going to ever hurt them intentionally.
Here is a summary of five things you can do to encourage your Rottie to bond with you:
- Fulfill their basic needs like food and water
- Show regular love and patience
- Provide discipline and consistent training
- Play! Give daily mental and physical stimulation by teaching them, giving them puzzles to solve, and opportunities to stretch their legs
- Groom regularly as part of a routine just the two of you share
While most of these ideas aren’t revolutionary and probably sound familiar from things we’ve discussed earlier in the article, they are all still essential activities to the health and wellbeing of your dog.
Who knows all the unique sides to your Rottie that you can discover if you implement these practices daily!
A little time spent in loving labor sounds like a pretty great tradeoff for that oh-so-lovable, goofy Rottweiler smile!
How To Recognize A Rottweilers Loyalty
Part of what we love so much about Rotties is that they aren’t super great at hiding their need for affection, nor their need to express affection!
This isn’t a new subject for us here at NotABully, but we never tire of talking about the ways Rottweilers demonstrate their loyalty and love:
- The famous Rottie purr!
- Leaning against you
- Wagging their tail
- Putting their head in your lap
- Following you
- Nosing your hand with their nose
Check out this adorable Rottie bonding with her baby sister!
Once they know you can be trusted, you will be hard pressed to find a friend more loyal—or touchy—than your Rottie!
When The Bond Is Unhealthy
While the desire to protect is completely normal for a Rottweiler, this behavior can become exaggerated if your Rottie is already very nervous, shy, or excitable.
For example, the family Rottie and personal best friend I mentioned earlier, Rocky, was abused before we adopted him. At three years old, he had already experienced unknown horrors at the hands of owners who abused the privilege of being a Rottie’s person.
Accordingly, Rocky had highly nervous habits in the beginning after we brought him home, like freaking out if you held anything above your head or tried to step over him. If my dad went to play fight with me in our kitchen, Rocky would absolutely panic and put himself between us to “protect” me.
Over time, thankfully, he learned that we were trustworthy. To this day, though, I still wouldn’t take Rocky into a loud, overcrowded room of people he’s never met before and expect him to behave calmly. He is overly protective due to past mistreatment and, as his owners, it is our responsibility to keep him from situations that could get out of hand.
This kind of relationship, especially with these loyal beauties, can be very humbling and flattering. However, it can be mistaken for the appropriate, healthy Rottweiler-owner bonding we’ve discussed in this article.
If your Rottweiler’s loyalty seems to be more extreme than you would normally expect or if your Rottie has a hard time telling the difference between play fighting and real danger, extra care and training may be necessary.
I’m grateful, and just a bit proud, to say that I’ve had the privilege of being the person our Rottie chose to bond with.
So, Do Rottweiler Pick A Favorite Person?
Having a family dog is one thing.
Having a dog you can call your own or, more accurately, a dog that calls you their own, is an entirely different story.
We’ve all seen those commercials of the girlfriend laying with her dog while the dog gives her boyfriend a dirty look. As comical as that can be, we can’t deny wanting to be the one on the other side of those dirty looks, the one who the dog lives to love and protect, the one who the dog will be loyal to for the rest of their life.
And, as we’ve learned, Rottweilers can in fact be one person dogs, capable of developing a special bond with their favorite person.
As natural protectors, Rotties will bond with every member of a loving family but can be encouraged to favor one in particular, especially if they see this person as leader of the house. However, responsible Rottweiler owners will take caution to provide diligent training, so that family member and friends can feel safe around their Rottie guard.