When it comes to our canine companions, their emotional well-being is just as important as their physical health. Separation anxiety is a common issue among dogs, and it can affect any breed. Some breeds of dogs are more prone to separation anxiety than others due to their natures.
So, do Rottweilers have separation anxiety?
Rottweilers are one of the dog breeds that are prone to separation anxiety. These dogs are known to be loyal and protective and can form deep bonds with their owners. Naturally, these dogs can become quite anxious when something is amiss, their daily schedule changes or they’re left alone for long periods of time.
In this article, we’ll explore what separation anxiety is, how it manifests in dogs, and why Rottweilers are prone to it. We’ll also delve into the potential causes of separation anxiety and discuss effective management strategies to help your furry friend cope with this condition.
What Is Separation Anxiety?
Before we get into the specifics of Rottweilers, it’s essential to understand the concept of separation anxiety itself.
Separation anxiety is a behavioral disorder in dogs that occurs when they become excessively anxious or distressed when separated from their owners or when left alone. Separation anxiety actually has many different forms and a true diagnosis can only be made by a veterinarian
What most owners observe as separation anxiety is usually a product of a dog’s environment instead of a medical issue. The separation anxiety resulting from a dog’s environment is exactly what we will be talking about today.
Separation anxiety is most notable in dogs that weren’t properly socialized as puppies or who had owners that reinforced bad behaviors. Sometimes, separation anxiety is also a response to owners reacting poorly toward their dog’s stress and fear. Occasionally, separation anxiety can develop later in life due to changes in a dog’s routine or some acute trauma.
Some breeds of dogs (like Rotties) are more prone to behaviors linked to separation anxiety. And of course, there are some dog breeds with naturally low separation anxiety. No matter what, it’s important to remember that any breed of dog can develop separation anxiety of any severity.
Signs And Symptoms Of Separation Anxiety
Moderate separation anxiety can result in various hyperactive behaviors. Behaviors like restlessness, panting, pacing, drooling, whining, barking, or other stress-related behaviors can be observed as the owner prepares to leave. After a dog is left alone, these behaviors may escalate into barking, howling, crying, or other destructive behaviors.
Severe separation anxiety is much more serious and affects the bodily health of a dog. Signs of severe separation anxiety include urination and defecation in inappropriate places, chewing, and general destructive behaviors. Some anxious dogs might even make escape attempts when their owners aren’t home.
As you can imagine, separation anxiety can cause stress for both a dog and an owner and should be treated appropriately.
Do Rottweilers Have Separation Anxiety?
As mentioned, Rottweilers are known for their loyalty and strong bond with their owners. This has a lot to do with their original purpose as working dogs. Rottweilers were bred both to protect livestock and guard human families. Rottweilers are protective by nature and become very attached to their families.
Even though this loyalty is a pro of owning a Rottie, it also comes with a cost. This loyalty can sometimes translate into a susceptibility to separation anxiety. While not all Rottweilers will develop separation anxiety, this breed is definitely more prone to it when compared to others.
So, Rottweilers don’t always have separation anxiety but are likely to experience it at some point in their lives.
5 Causes Of Separation Anxiety In Rottweilers
There are several factors that can influence the likelihood of separation anxiety in Rottweilers. Their breed alone is already a mark against them, but other things can definitely cause separation anxiety to manifest or worsen.
1. They’ve Just Joined Your Family
If you’ve recently adopted a Rottweiler and brought a new puppy into your home, they might be more prone to separation anxiety.
Puppies can have a hard time transitioning from their first home with their mothers to their new homes with their owners. Sometimes, these dogs can form an overly strong attachment to their new families, and the abrupt change in environment and routines can be stressful for them. This stress can result in separation anxiety.
Older dogs who have just joined the family are prone to separation anxiety just like a new puppy would be. Everything and everyone around them has changed, which can cause a significant level of stress.
2. You’ve Moved Into A New Home
Nobody likes moving and it’s often stressful for everyone involved. Moving to a new house is a potential cause of separation anxiety in Rottweilers.
Rottweilers are territorial and love to claim objects (or people) as their own. Moving to a new environment is a significant change for these dogs. Since Rottweilers are territorial by nature, it might take them longer to adjust to a new environment, which increases their chances of developing separation anxiety. The new environment is scary, and as a protective breed, your dog will be on high alert.
3. Your Schedule Has Changed
Like any other dog, Rottweilers thrive on routine.
If your work schedule has suddenly changed your Rottweiler may struggle to adapt to it. Or if you’re suddenly spending less time at home, your pet is going to notice and may start to feel uneasy.
Changes in routine can cause anxiety for dogs because it’s hard for them to understand what’s going on. Keeping a regular schedule allows your dog to anticipate when you’ll be home and when you’ll be gone and can help lessen the chance of separation anxiety occurring.
4. There’s A Change In Your Family
Change in the family unit can be a potential cause of stress or anxiety for a Rottweiler.
Rottweilers are family dogs. They love, care for, and protect the people and animals around them. When a change occurs, it can cause them serious distress. Events such as the birth of a child, the departure of a family member, or the addition of another pet can seriously disrupt your Rottweiler’s sense of security. They’ll need some time to reevaluate their priorities.
These changes in the family can definitely trigger separation anxiety in your furry friend as they wonder if you’re going to be the one to disappear next.
5. They’re Still A Puppy
Puppies, including Rottweiler puppies, are more likely to experience separation anxiety or separation discomfort.
This has more to do with them just being in a new home like we talked about above. Puppies are more dependent on human companionship in their immature emotional development can make them vulnerable to anxiety. Even though it’s natural for your puppy to feel separation discomfort when you leave, separation anxiety can be debilitating for them.
It’s important to remember that not all Rottweilers will develop social anxiety, even if they do experience these changes. Each dog is an individual and their susceptibility to this condition varies.
How To Manage Separation Anxiety In Rottweilers
If you suspect that your Rottweiler is suffering from separation anxiety, there are several strategies you can employ to help manage their condition and improve their well-being.
Make Sure To Provide Plenty Of Mental And Physical Stimulation
One of the most effective ways to alleviate anxiety is to ensure your Rottweiler gets enough mental and physical stimulation every day.
Adult Rottweilers need a minimum of 45 minutes of exercise every day. In addition to this, it’s important to provide them with mentally stimulating activities. Regular walks, short runs, hikes, playtime, and new toys can help keep them entertained.
Ensuring your dog is well-exercised can be an effective way to reduce the severity of separation anxiety.
Leave Them With A Special Treat
For moderate separation anxiety, providing your dog with a special treat, when you leave can go a long way.
Giving your dog a treat as you leave creates a positive association with your departure. Ideally, this makes your leaving less stressful overall. Some of the best treats you can give to Rottweilers are large kongs filled with something yummy. These toys are safe for them to chew on unsupervised and should keep them busy for a while.
Try Over The Counter Calming Treats
There are various over-the-counter calming treats and supplements available for dogs that may help to reduce anxiety. If you’re thinking about trying out some of these calming aids, make sure to check with your veterinarian before giving them to your pet. It’s possible that something as simple as an herbal remedy could help your Rottweiler better deal with anxiety.
Practice Desensitization And Counterconditioning
Desensitization and counterconditioning are both training techniques that can help your Rottweiler become more comfortable with your departure.
Desensitization and counter-conditioning are often used in conjunction when addressing separation anxiety. They both involve putting the negative stimulus of your leaving against a positive stimulus (like a treat). The goal of these training techniques is to either make your dog neutral or maybe even excited about your departure.
Explaining desensitization and counter-conditioning would take an entire article itself, but the video below is a quick demonstration of how you can use counter-conditioning to help your dog’s anxiety.
Never Scold Or Punish Them
If your dog is already anxious when you leave, never scold or punish them for behaviors they can’t control. Scaring them might actually make your dogs, separation anxiety worse and increase the frequency of undesirable behaviors.
Consult A Veterinarian And/Or A Professional Trainer
Finally, if your Rottweiler separation anxiety is severe or persistent, it’s a good idea to seek professional help. Your veterinarian can provide guidance and potentially recommend medications to help manage anxiety. Additionally, working with a professional dog trainer might be beneficial and addressing specific behavior issues.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that we’ve gone over everything you need to know about Rottweiler anxiety, here are a few answers to some frequently asked questions.
Can A Rottweiler Be Left Alone?
Rottweilers can definitely be left alone. If you’re worried about your Rottweiler’s destructive behaviors, you should first try to manage their anxiety. Leaving them alone can still be risky, and sometimes crating them is the best choice for everyone!
Here are the 7 best crates you can use for a Rottweiler.
Are Rottweilers Clingy Dogs?
Because Rottweilers are protective by nature, they can sometimes be clingy. They’re not really to the point of an anxious lapdog, but they definitely like to spend time sitting close to their owners. This clinginess is obviously one of the traits that can lead to separation anxiety if left unchecked.
What Dogs Have The Worst Separation Anxiety?
Rotties aren’t the only dog breed affected by separation anxiety. Several other dog breeds are prone to separation anxiety, including labrador retrievers, border collies, German shepherds, and Jack Russell terriers.
Is Anxiety Common In Rottweilers?
Separation anxiety is common in Rottweilers, because of their loyal nature. It’s important to know the signs of separation anxiety so that you can take action as soon as you see your dog’s behavior change.
Because Rottweilers are natural-born protectors, this can make them feel a seriously deep bond with their families. When they’re left alone, they can become distressed and experience separation anxiety. Not all Rottweilers will experience this condition, but owners need to be aware of the signs and symptoms, and the potential causes of separation anxiety.
With patience, appropriate training, and the right strategies, separation anxiety in Rottweilers can be managed effectively, allowing both you and your furry friend to have a happy and stress-free life together.