Rottweilers have one of the most intimidating barks in the dog world when they are being protective, and they also tend to be quite vocal when communicating with their owners.
Why do Rottweilers bark a lot? Rottweilers may bark a lot because they have strong protective instincts and could be trying to alert you to what they see as a threat. It may also surprise you to learn that Rotties have a history of herding and they may be bark as part of the herding process.
Of course, some Rotties will bark simply for attention or as part of playtime too. Whether your Rottweiler is barking incessantly or you’re wondering when they might start barking, here’s what you need to know about why Rottweilers bark and what you can do to control unwanted barking.
Do Rottweilers Bark A Lot?
Before we dive into the rest of the article, let’s clear up one detail about Rotties and barking.
As a generally calm breed, Rottweilers don’t bark a lot. However, as a dog with a long history of guarding and protection work, barking is one of several tools that Rottweilers use to alert and intimidate. Still, compared to many breeds like hounds or small dogs like Chihuahuas, most Rottweilers don’t bark much at all.
That’s actually good news if your Rottie is barking a lot since it means that Rottweilers usually bark for a reason, unlike some other breeds. So if you can figure out the reason, you can manage the barking.
4 Reasons Why Some Rottweilers Bark A Lot
Now that we have the background information out of the way, let’s dive into some of the reasons why Rotties bark a lot!
Reason 1: They’re Bored
Rottweilers are highly intelligent, active dogs that need a lot of engagement and exercise to stay happy. A Rottweiler left alone in the yard or expected to occupy themselves in the house is very likely to become bored before long.
A bored Rottweiler may bark at things in their environment or bark at you to try to get you to give them some entertainment, or they may simply seem to bark for the sake of it.
Reason 2: They’re Making Demands
Rottweilers are bold, confident dogs that are typically not afraid to back down from anything, which means that if your Rottweiler wants something, they are likely not going to be afraid to try to get it.
Rottweilers have historically used their barking as well as their physical brawn to intimidate and alter the behavior of animals that they herded. A Rottweiler may use the same sort of intimidation techniques to change the behavior of other dogs or people.
If your Rottweiler has a tendency to stare you down while barking at you, it may be that they are trying to make you do something. If your Rottweiler is barking at your other dogs, your cat, or other household pets, it may be that they’re trying to force them to play or trying to force their behavior in another way.
For instance, your Rottweiler may bark at another dog that is playing with a toy to try to get them to give them the toy. They may also bark at you to try to get something that you are eating or have.
Reason 3: They’re Excited
Barking is a natural response to being excited, and it’s pretty hard for any dog to resist the urge to bark when they’re overwhelmed with excitement. If your Rottweiler barks while you are playing with them or especially before you throw a ball or toy or if they bark when you get home or when people arrive in a non-aggressive way, it may be that your Rottweiler is simply barking out of sheer excitement. Many Rottweilers bark less from excitement as they get older, but some dogs still have a puppy-like barking enthusiasm even in old age.
Reason 4: Protection Instincts
Rottweilers have been guardians since the very beginning of their history. Rottweilers guarded the herds and property of Roman armies as they conquered the world. Rottweilers also defended the herds of farmers bringing livestock to market and defended herds on the farm.
Rottweilers are known to be some of the most effective natural guard dogs in the animal kingdom. The average Rottweiler does not need to be trained to aggressively bark at strangers.
They have incredibly powerful protection instincts, and the vast majority of Rottweilers will naturally bark at any strangers or new people that approach. Typically, Rottweilers may even guard the house against people they know well and are friendly with until the owner gives the okay for them to enter.
Many Rottweilers need to be briefly kenneled or put into another room while someone walks across the threshold. This powerful protection instinct affects almost every area of your Rottweiler’s interactions with people and other animals and makes it extremely likely that your Rottweiler will bark if somebody tries to approach your home or property.
Here is a Rottie barking on command while doing “crowd control”:
Rottweilers may also extend protection instincts to walk with their person. They may bark if somebody gets too close to their handler on a walk. In fact, a Rottweiler’s protective instincts can be so strong that if you approach your home wearing a hat or different outfit or even if you approach from a different way than you usually do, they may even bark at you.
However, as soon as you get close enough for your Rottweiler to smell you, they will very likely look embarrassed and start wiggling their bodies in apology.
At What Age Does a Rottweiler Start Barking at Strangers?
Rottweilers are relatively late to mature, compared to many other breeds. Your Rottie may not be completely mentally and physically mature until as late as two years of age.
It is at this time that serious instincts involving herding and protection typically kick in. If your Rottweiler has never barked at strangers before, they are likely to start at about two years of age.
However, many Rottweilers display barking at strangers well before this age. Even a five or six-month-old puppy may begin barking at strangers, but there will likely not be the kind of intention behind the barking that there will be later when the dog is more mature.
If a stranger tries to pass by your five or six-month-old Rottweiler, it is unlikely that your Rottweiler would bite, but by two or three years of age, the chances of your Rottie biting a stranger who tries to push by becomes much more likely.
How Do I Stop My Rottweiler From Barking?
If your Rottweiler is barking too much, you may be wondering what you can do to make it stop. You are unlikely to be able to stop your Rottweiler from barking completely.
Rottweilers are natural protection dogs, and it is perfectly normal for your Rottweiler to bark when they perceive a threat or see a stranger. It is not a good idea to choose the Rottweiler breed if you do not want a guard and alert dog.
It is very deep in a Rottweiler’s nature to guard, and most cannot completely be taught not to. However, the Rottweiler is an extremely intelligent breed, and you are very likely to find that you can effectively control their barking to a degree that works for both of you. Here are some techniques you can try:
Reduce the Protection Response
Rottweilers bark and growl when they are defending their home, family, or property. Therefore, reducing their instinct to protect can also eliminate the barking. Consider blocking off your yard with fencing so that your Rottweiler does not have access to the parts of the yard that border public streets or thoroughfares where people walk by frequently.
Use privacy fences, shrubbery, etc. to create shields between the public and your Rottweiler. Rottweilers typically do not bark excessively unless they feel that they need to protect, so reducing your Rottweiler’s access to areas they may believe need protecting can immediately reduce the barking.
Teach “Thank You”
You can train your Rottweiler to let them know when they have effectively accomplished their protection goal. A Rottweiler may keep barking to alert you to something in the area if it doesn’t go away and if they don’t think that you’re aware of the danger.
By making it clear to your Rottie that you are in fact aware of the danger, you can dramatically increase the chances that your Rottweiler will stop barking quickly. To teach your Rottweiler that you understand what they are trying to tell you, simply go out when your Rottweiler is barking, look at what they are barking at or in the direction that they are barking, and tell them “Thank you.”
As soon as your dog is quiet, give them a reward, preferably one that occupies their mouths, like a food toy. In time, your dog will learn to understand that when you tell them, “Thank you” after acknowledging a threat, that they no longer need to bark about it.
Offer More Exercise
A tired dog is a quiet dog, and also a happy dog. Rottweilers are a high-energy breed that needs a lot of exercise to remain healthy and happy.
Your Rottie may be happy to hang out on the couch with you most of the day, but most need at least a long walk or jog at least once or twice a day to be satisfied. If your Rottweiler is barking out of boredom or even if they are barking excessively out of protection instinct, more exercise can make a huge difference.
You don’t have to go for a walk or a jog every time to give your dog enough exercise. Invest in a flirt stick (which is like a big cat toy for dogs) so that your Rottie can wear themselves out while you toss around the lure on the stick. My favorite is this budget-friendly one on Amazon.
You can also train your Rottie to pull a cart, debris, or even simple weights around the yard. Pulling can do much more to tire your Rottie than walking. We’ve also got a list of our favorite Rottweiler games if you’re looking for more ideas.
Obedience training may not seem like the most straightforward way to train your Rottweiler not to bark too much, but it can be extremely effective. Obedience training teaches your Rottweiler self-control, which will make it easier for them to obey your commands to be quiet when they are barking.
Furthermore, obedience training tires out your Rottweiler’s mind so that they will be better able to calm down.
Why Does my Rottweiler Bark at Me?
Having your Rottweiler bark at you can be frustrating and even intimidating. Sometimes it may not be clear exactly what your Rottweiler is going through or why they’re behaving the way they are. There are a couple of reasons why your Rottweiler may bark at you:
They Don’t Recognize You
Rottweilers are natural guardians, and it is their instinct to protect the home from anyone that doesn’t belong there. Dogs are much more scent-oriented than sight-oriented, but either strange sights or smells could cause your dog to fail to recognize you.
If your dog has barked at you when you were wearing a hat or sunglasses or some other facial covering or if you were wearing a strong smell like perfume, it may simply be that your Rottweiler didn’t recognize you and reacted to you the way they would to anyone who was invading their property.
They Want You to do Something
Another common reason for your Rottweiler to bark at you is that they want something from you or want you to do something. This can happen with your Rottweiler because they want you to throw a ball or take them for a walk, or it may happen if a Rottweiler is not completely happy with your presence in the home.
If your Rottweiler primarily belongs to your partner or another family member and they bark at you and not that person, it may be that they believe you to not be as much of a part of the family as you do and they’d like you to leave.
Enjoy a Quieter Rottie
Rottweilers have instincts that prompt them to bark sometimes, but they aren’t known for being the most frequent barkers. If your Rottie is barking too much, controlling their access to areas they want to protect, providing exercise and training, and teaching them that you understand why they’re barking can do a lot to help.