Too often, Rottweilers get a reputation for being aggressive, but most Rottweiler owners know their dogs to be goofy, loving, and loyal. If you’re considering a Rottweiler, how they get along with other dogs is likely to be an important factor in your decision-making.
So, how do Rottweilers get along with other dogs? Rottweilers get along with other dogs very well provided they are socialized properly and are not put into situations that trigger a protective or prey drive instinct. Rottweilers are most likely to get along with other dogs that are members of the family or that they meet on neutral ground.
Whether you already have a Rottweiler or you are considering this breed, you probably want a dog that will get along well with other dogs. You can set your Rottweiler up for success in their relationships with other dogs with the right handling and socialization.
Why Rottweilers May Get Along Well With Other Dogs
The versatile and intelligent Rottweiler is quite adaptable and can be very sociable. Here are a few of the reasons that a Rottweiler may get along well with other dogs:
Rottweilers have served many jobs for humans throughout their history. One characteristic that has been important to them throughout this time is trainability.
From the time that Rottweilers served as herding dogs and war dogs for the ancient Roman legions until their current roles as companion dogs, protection dogs, and police and military dogs, obedience has been a key characteristic for this breed. A Rottweiler’s highly trainable nature means that even if your Rottweiler doesn’t always feel like getting along with other dogs, they may learn to do so because you want them to.
With consistent training, even Rottweilers that have displayed dog aggression in the past can learn to get along well with other dogs. This certainly isn’t always the case, but very often the trainable nature of a Rottweiler can overcome a lack of early socialization or an argument with another dog.
Loyal to the Family
Rottweilers are intensely loyal dogs. One of their primary roles throughout history has been as a protection dog. They are utterly devoted and affectionate with family members, although they tend to be reserved with new people.
Like most dogs, Rottweilers can be flexible about what they consider family. Rottweilers can feel family affection with livestock, other dogs, and even cats provided they’re given the right kind of socialization and introductions. Provided your Rottweiler considers other dogs and pets in the household to be a member of the family, there is a very good chance that they will feel the same sort of loyalty towards them that they do to the rest of the family. This loyalty can enable Rottweilers to get along well with other dogs even when there may be disagreements.
Rottweilers may seem pretty serious to people that don’t know them, but with their family, Rottweilers are full of fun. These dogs love to play and are constantly making their people laugh with their antics.
Since Rottweilers enjoy playing so much, they typically enjoy the opportunity to play with other dogs as well. The average Rottweiler never seems to get enough of play chasing and wrestling with their friends.
While that means that best companion pups for Rottweiler are usually bigger dogs that they can play rough with, most Rottweilers are sensitive enough to play well even with small dogs or cats. A typical Rottweilers’ fun-loving nature makes them patient with other dogs and willing to put up with puppy antics.
Most Rottweilers are able to adjust their energy level to respond appropriately to dogs of various play styles. Rottweilers are typically pretty laid back in the house, so they may be able to play with other dogs in your household without making a mess of the house.
Simple games in which Rottweilers lie down to play with another dog by mouthing at them or playing a low-key game of tug-of-war is pretty common in the breed. This medium-level energy allows Rottweilers to adapt to both energetic and more laidback play companions.
Why Rottweilers May Not Get Along Well With Other Dogs
Many Rottweilers get along well with dogs throughout their lives, particularly dogs in their own household. However, not every Rottweiler in every situation gets along well with other dogs. Here’s what you need to know about why Rottweilers may not always work well with other dogs.
Rottweilers have a natural instinct to protect their home, property, and family. Since the vast majority of Rottweilers experience this instinct, it is not reasonable to expect them to tolerate other dogs walking onto their property or into their homes without a proper introduction.
A Rottweiler’s natural protective instincts are often perceived as aggression, even though Rottweilers may behave aggressively when first meeting a new dog on their property but get along perfectly well with that dog when properly introduced in the home or when meeting on neutral ground like a dog park.
Rottweilers may come to view places as being their home property even if you do not think about those places that way. For instance, a Rottweiler that always goes to the same dog park may begin to view that dog park as their home and the other regular dogs that are there as family members. If a new dog arrives that your Rottweiler isn’t familiar with, they may experience an instinct to protect the park from the newcomer.
A Rottweiler’s protection drive doesn’t mean that they can’t meet new dogs, even on their own property, but it does mean that you as the owner will need to carefully set your Rottweiler up for success. Some Rottweilers do fine with other dogs if they are kept in separate areas for some time after the other dog has arrived. While it can tend to put some people on edge, muzzle training your Rottie can be a good practice if you’re worried or unsure how they’ll react. A basket muzzle, like this one Amazon, is a good option since it’s not as restrictive as a traditional muzzle.
Others do better if you walk them with the other dog on neutral ground before coming to your house. You will need to get a feel for what your Rottweiler is comfortable with in order to set them up for success when interacting with new dogs on home turf.
Prey drive is at the base of herding Instinct, and most dogs experience some level of prey drive. Prey drive typically refers to dogs that feel aggression and the desire to pursue prey animals, but it actually can be very generalized, particularly in herding dogs.
A herding dog’s prey drive is what compels them to pursue livestock. The instinct to kill what they are pursuing has been bred out of most herding dogs so that their instinct is to pursue, not engage.
However, in dogs like Rottweilers that are also used for protection work, there is often a gray area between prey drive and herding instincts. It takes some training to teach a Rottweiler to pursue but not attack the animals that they are herding. Without this training, Rottweilers may experience prey drive towards all sorts of things, from cars and bicycles or even other dogs.
Rottweilers that have not had much exposure to other dogs are more likely to experience prey drive towards them, but this instinct can come out even in well-socialized Rottweilers. It is much more common for Rottweilers to experience prey drive towards small breed dogs than large dogs, which can make the consequences of giving into prey drive disastrous for the other dog.
Boldness and Bravery
Rottweilers are one of the bravest dogs that you can find. The average Rottweiler isn’t afraid of just about anything. These dogs have been bred for many years to not back down from a fight, whether they were facing an angry and stubborn bull, wildlife trying to attack their homestead or livestock, or thieves trying to steal from their home.
A Rottweiler is extremely unlikely to back down from a fight with another dog. The average Rottweiler won’t care at all whether they are likely to win that fight or not. If they feel that they need to fight, they will fight.
This characteristic means that if another dog starts a fight with your Rottweiler, the chances are very good that your Rottweiler will not back down. Since Rottweilers are big, powerful dogs with one of the strongest bite forces of all breeds, the fight is very likely to be a serious one.
Rottweilers have not historically been used to fight other dogs in the way some breeds have, but they have needed to fight other dogs throughout their history. When protecting their family and property, Rottweilers have often needed to fight off wild and feral dogs trying to attack their livestock. Your Rottweiler likely will not think twice about engaging in a fight with another dog if they feel that they need to.
A Docked Tail Can Interfere in Communication
While it’s not something we reccommend, many Rottweilers have docked tailed. The problem is, dogs use their tails to communicate with one another. The way that the tail is carried and subtle adjustments in the tip and length of the tail can communicate a Rottweiler’s intentions to other dogs. Without this tail, it may be harder for your Rottweiler to tell another dog to back off or to indicate that their intentions are friendly. This lack of easy communication can lead to fights.
Boisterous Play Style
Different dogs have different kinds of play styles. Some dogs prefer to run and chase, while others have more of a wrestle play style. Different breeds also vary in how rambunctiously they play.
Rottweilers typically have a very wrestle and play-fight-oriented play style. They also tend to be very rambunctious in play. Rottweilers me be less aware of pain than most other breeds.
When a Rottweiler is caught up in the game, they may seem like they don’t even notice being hit hard or even if they are cut on accident by another dog’s teeth. However, many dogs are much more sensitive than Rottweilers.
This can lead to a situation in which a Rottweiler is enjoying the game while another dog is trying to nip at them and tell them off. Not surprisingly, this combination of events can easily lead to a dog fight.
Train your Rottie to have a solid recall by providing high-value treats and these freeze-dried liver treats on Amazon on pretty much impossible for dogs to resist! Whenever they come when they’re called and always following up if your dog doesn’t come the first time you call. Great recall can allow you to call your Rottie off frequently to be sure that the other dog still wants to play.
It’s up to you to monitor your Rottweiler at play and make sure that they are not overwhelming the other dog. Rottweilers often play best with other dogs that have an intense, wrestle style play, like Pit Bulls, Boxers, and of course, other Rottweilers.
How to Set Your Rottweiler up For Success With Other Dogs
The vast majority of Rottweilers do very well with other dogs, provided they are socialized, trained, and handled properly. Most Rottweilers do not have dog aggressive instincts. Rather, dog aggression in Rottweilers typically comes from another instinct like protection or prey drive misfiring. By understanding these instincts and handling them properly, you’ll have a much better chance of having a Rottweiler that enjoys the company of other dogs.
Socialize, Socialize, Socialize
The first and most crucial step to having a Rottweiler who loves the company of other dogs is to expose them to other dogs from an early age. Start your Rottweiler in puppy classes as soon as possible.
Once your puppy is old enough to socialize more generally with other dogs, you want to socialize them with as many different dogs in as many different situations as you possibly can. The dogs that your Rottweiler pup meets should cover the entire range of variety in dogs.
Expose your Rottweiler to very small dogs, very large dogs, fluffy dogs, skinny dogs, and every other kind of dog that you can think of. Dog parks can be a great opportunity for this kind of varied socialization, but it’s also very important that your Rottweiler not have a bad experience.
Scope out the park before you bring your dog in to be sure that no dog in the group seems aggressive or too intense for your Rottweiler pup. Also, avoid parks if you notice dogs that seem very scared or that run away from the other dogs in a nonplayful way since these dogs can trigger prey drive.
Always make sure you’re paying close attention to your Rottweiler and their new friends while looking for positive and loose body languge. Here’s a good example of a well socialized Rottie making some friend at the dog park:
Avoid Establishing Non-Deliberate Territories
One of the primary reasons that Rottweilers experience aggression towards other dogs is for territorial reasons. As we discussed before, it’s normal for a Rottweiler to defend their home and property from other dogs. Therefore, to give your Rottweiler the best chance of success in their relationships with other dogs, you need to carefully avoid situations in which they may feel the need to defend their territory. Here are a few techniques to help you:
Switch up Dog Parks
It’s natural for people to fall into habits. You probably want to go do the dog park that is nearest and most convenient for you. However, going to the same dog park all the time may cause your dog to feel protective of it, particularly if they are always interacting with the same dogs.
Instead, bring your dog to as many different dog parks as you can. This way, they won’t develop a protective instinct around the park or around the dogs they become familiar with. Going to different parks has the added advantage of allowing your Rottweiler to interact with lots of different dogs and maintain great socialization.
Leash Your Dog When New Dogs Arrive
Whether you are at a dog park, a friend’s house, your own house, or somewhere else where your Rottweiler is playing off-leash, when new dogs arrive, you should leash your Rottweiler. Rottweilers are most likely to feel a protective drive in the first few minutes of meeting a new dog.
Leashing your dog enables you to prevent aggression from happening if you see signs of it and also makes it less likely that your dog will feel the need to protect since they can’t run up to the other dog and protect a property line like they would if they were not on a leash.
Don’t Leave Your Rottweiler Loose in Your Yard
Your Rottweiler may love the opportunity to run around the yard and soak up some sun, but leaving a Rottweiler loose in your yard without your supervision can have unintended consequences. This is the primary situation in which a Rottweiler may feel the need to defend their yard.
If your Rottie is able to bark, growl, and otherwise defend their yard from every dog that walks by, it can easily build into generalized dog aggression. To prevent this from happening, it is best never to leave your Rottweiler unsupervised in your yard.
Enjoy a Friendly Rottweiler
With proper socialization and handling, the vast majority of Rottweilers get along very well with other dogs, both in your home and in the community. However, if a Rottweiler does decide to engage in a fight with another dog, it is unlikely that they will back down. It is your responsibility to carefully raise your Rottweiler and manage situations so that they behave the way you want them to around other dogs.