Is The Rottweiler The Right Dog For You?

An Education&endash; Designed To Help You Learn Before You Buy

Gritz at 16 months

INTRODUCING THE ROTTWEILER

The Rottweiler is a robust, powerful, and loyal breed with pronounced protective instincts. He is an outstanding companion and guard but ownership of a Rottweiler carries much greater than average legal and moral responsibilities, due to traits possessed by this breed, its size and strength. this information is offered as a guide to prospective buyers wo may or may not be aware of the special qualities posses by the breed, both positive and negative, so that they can make a more accurate estimate of their needs in relation the demands of Rottweiler ownership. the Rottweiler is NOT a breed which fits into every home.
Selection of a Rottweiler: Much of the success you will have with your dog depends on its background; its socialization, genetic background and early conditioning are are the results of its breeder's efforts. The Rottweiler has recently seen a surge in popularity and many of the breeders now advertising in popular dog magazines have had little experience with the breed, although they may be very sincere in their regard for the breed.
Training: This breed has been developed for its working ability and often blooms when given a chance to work with its master, although there are occasional exceptions. It is very necessary to establish your control over the animal an obedience training is often the easiest and most rewarding way to do so. Rottweilers can often be controlled using verbal reprimands, and while they occasionally require strong physical corrections, some trainers tend to be much rougher on the breed than is necessary. Women have been very successful with the dogs in obedience work. Physical mastery of the dog is often less important than sensitive and positive training methods, time and patience.
Discipline: The Rottweiler is a sensitive, intelligent and loyal animal and usually wants to please its owner. Occasionally, it can be quite stubborn though, and requires more attention. It is imperative that discipline be consistent, fair and firm, without being overly rough. Ownership is not for the timid or very busy person who cannot or is not inclined towards careful supervision of his/her Rottweiler.
Small Children in the Home: The adaptability of the Rottweiler to small children varies with the individual animal. Many are very tolerant and loving towards toddlers; others resent the sometimes brought treatment an unknowing child can inflict. One serious problem is the size of the dog. Families have been forced to give up much beloved pets because the dog inadvertently caused injuries to small children in the family by bumping into them and knocking them down or into furniture. The bumping is a natural behavior in the Rottweiler, a legacy from the days when the breed was used to herd cattle in Europe. They will bump and "herd" children, adults and other pets, and this can be a problem if your home contains young children or elderly family members. Some breeders recommend waiting until children are at least school age and preferably older, before introducing a Rottweiler into a home. The amount of space in your home, the age of your children, and the amount of time the dog will be in contact with the children should be factors in your decision.
Other Pets in the Home: Rottweiler puppies often adapt well to older dogs or cats in the home, however, older Rottweilers can be more difficult to integrate into a new home with existing pets. This can also be true of bringing a new dog after the Rottweiler has bee "ruler of the roost" for some period of time. Dog-to-dog aggression is influenced by socialization experiences in puppy hood, bloodlines and sex; males tend to be less tolerant of other males than they are females. Bitches may be intolerant too, of either sex.

AKC ROTTWEILER STANDARD

General Appearance: The ideal Rottweiler is a medium large, robust and powerful dog, black with clearly defined rust markings. His compact substantial build denotes great strength, agility and endurance. Dogs are characteristically more massive throughout with larger frame and heavier bone than bitches. Bitches are destinctlly feminine, but without weakness of substance or structure.
Size, Proportion, Substance: Dogs - 24 inches to 27 inches. Bitches- 22 inches to 25 inches, with preferred size being mid range of each sex. Correct proportion is a primary importance, as long as size is withing the standard's range. The length of the body, from presternum to the rear most projection of the rump, is slightly longer than the height of the dog at the weithers, the most desirable proportion of the height to length being 9 to 10. The Rottweiler is neither coarse nor shelly. Depth of chest is approximately fifty percent (50%) of the height of the dog. His bone and muscle mass must be sufficient to balance his frame, giving a compact and very powerful appearance.
Serious Faults: Lack of proportion, undersized, oversized, reversal of sex characteristics (bitchy dogs, doggy bitches).
Head: Of medium length, broad between the ears; forehead line seen in profile is moderately arched; zygomatic arch and stop well developed with strong broad upper and lower jaws. The desired ratio of back skull to muzzle is 3 to 2. For head is preferred dry, however some wrinkling may occur when dog is alert. Expression is noble, alert, and self assured.
Eyes: Eyes of medium size, almond shaped with well fittings lids, moderately deep-set, neither protruding nor receding. The desired color is a uniform dark brown.
Serious Faults: Yellow (bird of prey) eyes, eyes of different color or size, hairless eye rim.
Ears:Ears of medium size, pendant, triangular in shape; when carried alert the ears are level with the top of the skull and appear to broaden it. Ears are to be set well apart, hanging forward with the inner edge lying lightly against the head and terminating at approximately mid-cheek.
Serious Faults: Improper carriage (creased, folded or held away from cheek/head).
Snout:Bridge is straight, broad at base with slight tapering towards tip. The end of the muzzle is broad with well developed chin. Nose is broad rather than round and always black. Lips - Always black; corners closed; inner mouth pigment is preferred dark.
Serious Faults:Total lack of mouth pigment (pink mouth). Bit and Dentition:Teeth 42 in number (20 upper, 22 lower) strong, correctly placed, meeting in a scissors bite-lower incisors touching inside of upper incisors
Serious Faults: Level bite; any missing tooth. Disqualifications:Overshot, undershot (when incisors do not touch or mesh); wry mouth; two or more missing teeth

NECK, TOPLINE, BODY

Neck: Powerful, well muscled, moderately long, slightly arched and without loose skin.
Topline: The back is firm and level extending in a straight line from behind the withers to the croup. The back remains horizontal to the ground while the dog is moving or standing.
Body: The chest is roomy, broad and deep, reaching to elbow with well pronounced forces and well sprung, oval ribs. Back is straight and strong. Loin is short, deep and well muscled. Croup is broad, of medium length and only slightly sloping. Underline of a mature Rottweiler has a slight tuck-up. Makes must have two normal testicles properly descended in the scrotum.
Tail: Tail docked short, close to body, leaving one or two tail vertebrae. the set of the tail is more important than length. Properly set, it give an impression of elongation of topline; carried slightly above horizontal when the dog is excited or moving.
Forequarters: Shoulder blade is long and well laid back. Upper arm equal in length oto shoulder blade, set so elbows are well under body. Distance from withers to elbow and elbow to ground is equal. Legs are strongly developed with straight heavy bone, not set close together. Pasterns are strong, springy and almost perpendicular to the ground. Feet are round, compact with well arched toes turning neither in nor out. Pads are thick and hard. Nails short, strong and black. Dew claws may be removed.
Coat: Outer coat is straight, coarse, dense, of medium length and lying flat. Undercoat should be present on neck and thighs, but the amount is influenced by climatic conditions. Undercoat should not show through outer coat. The coat is shortest on head, ears and legs, longest on breaching. The Rottweiler is to be exhibited in the natural condition with no trimming.
Faults: Wavy coat
Serious Faults: Open, excessively short, or curly coat; total lack of undercoat; any trimming that alters the length of the natural coat.
Color: A ways black and rust to mahogany markings. The demarcation between black and rust is to be clearly defined. The markings should be located follows: a spot over each eye; on cheeks, as a strip around each side of muzzle, but not on the bridge of the nose; on throat; triangular mark on both sides of presternum; on forelegs from carpus downward to the toes; on inside of read legs showing down the front of the stifle and broadening out to front of rear legs from hock to toes, but not completely eliminating black from rear of pasterns; under tail; black pencilling on toes. The undercoats is gray, tan or black. Quantity and location of rust markings is important and should not exceed ten present of body color.
Serious Faults: Straw-colored, excessive, insufficient or sooty markings; rust markings other than described above; white marking any place on a dog (a few rust or white hairs do not constitute a marking).
Disqualifications; Any base color other than black; absence of all markings.
Gail: The Rottweiler is a trotter. His movement should be balanced, harmonious, sure, powerful and unhindered, with strong fore reach and a powerful rear drive. The motion is effortless, efficient and ground covering. Front and rear legs are thrown neither in nor out, as the imprint of hind feet should touch that of for feet. In a trot the forequarters and hindquarters are mutually coordinated while the back remains level, firm and relatively motionless. As speed increases the legs will converge under body towards a center line.
Temperament: The Rottweiler is basically a calm, confident and courageous dog with a self-assured aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships. A Rottweiler is self confident and response quietly and with a wait-and-see attitude to influences in his environment. He has an inherent desire to protect home and family, and is an intelligent dog of extreme hardness and adaptability with a strong willingness to work, making him especially suited as a companion, guardian and generally all-purpose dog. The behavior of the Rottweiler in the show ring should be controlled, willing and adaptable, trained to submit to examination of mouth, testicles, etc. An aloof or reserved dog should not be penalized, as this reflects the accepted character of the breed. An aggressive or belligerent attitude towards other dogs should not be faulted.
A judge shall excuse from the ring any shy Rottweiler. A dog shall be judged fundamentally shy if, refusing to stand for examination, it shrinks away from the judge.
A dog that in the opinion of the judge menaces or threatens him/her, or exhibits any sign that it may not be safely approached or examined by the judge in the normal manner, shall be excused form the ring. A dog that in the opinion of the judge attacks any person in the ring shall be disqualified.

SUMMARY

Faults: The foregoing is a description of the ideal Rottweiler. Any structural fault that t detracts from the above described working dog must be penalized to the extent of the deviation.
Disqualifications: Entropion, ectropion, Overshot, undershot (when incisors do not touch or mesh0; wry mouth; two or more missing teeth. Unilateral cyptorchid or cryptorchid males. Long coat. Any base color other than black; absence of all markings. A dog that in the opinion of the judge attacks any person in the ring.

HISTORY OF THE ROTTWEILER

Since no recorded documentation has ever been found that can authenticate or accurately trace the origin of the Rottweiler, we must depend on history, legend and some logical assumptions. It is necessary to start with what we do know and work back.
We know that the Rottweiler as we know it today came from the town of Rottweil, Germany. The route that brought them to Rottweil is where the legend and logical assumptions come in. It is believed that they are descended from one of the drover dogs that the ancient Romans used to herd and guard their cattle. The breed was originally developed because of the Roman Emperors desired to conquer Europe. The undertaking required huge armies an ad everyone knows, an army travels on its stomach. Since no means of refrigeration existed and the food supplies spoiled quickly, the meat for the troops traveled with them "on the hoof". The dog has been described a being of the Mastiff type, the great intelligence, rugged, dependable, willing to work with a strong guarding instinct. Some authorities believe that one of the original descendants of the Rottweiler may have been the Neapolitan Mastiff. The dogs were used to keep the heard together and guard the cattle and supply dumps during the long marches. It is thought that the dogs black color was a trait that was intentionally developed so that they would be difficult for their enemies to see at night. That is easy to believe if you have ever tripped over one on the way to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
The campaign that we are concerned with took place approximately 74 A.D. It's route took the troops and their drover dogs across the alps and ended on the banks of the Neckar River in what is now southern Germany. The new territory, called Arae Flaviae had the fortunate combination of good climate, fertile soil and a central location. The descendants of the original Roman drover dogs continued to guard the herds though the next two centuries. Around 250 A.D. the Swabians ousted the Romans from Area Flaviae. Agriculture and the trading of cattle remained their prime occupations, insuring a need for the dogs left being by the Romans.
About 700 A>D. the local duke ordered a Christian church built on the site of the former Roman baths. The excavations unearthed the red tills used in building Roman villas. The town was name "dash Rote Wil" (the red tiel) which you will recognize as the derivation of the present name Rottweil.
Rottweil's dominance a as cultural and trade center increased, and by the mid-12th Centure an all new town, with elaborate fortifications, was built on the heights above the river. The security provided caused an even larger increase in the commerce in cattle. This increase brought about a concentration of butchers in the area and an even greater need for the drover dogs or butcher dog as they became know, to drive the cattle to and from the markets. The increase in commerce inevitably brought an increase in crime. The butchers were being held up and relieved of the money while returning from the cattle market. They soon learned to attach their bags of money to their dogs collars and this resulted in a significant decrease in the crime rate. Due to their great size and strength, the dogs were also used by the citizens of Rottweil to pull their carts of supplies an belongings.
Around the middle of the 19th Century, the driving of cattle by dogs was made illegal, the donkey took over the pulling of carts, and the Industrial Revolution brought about the development of the railroad to haul the cattle to market. In those days, if dogs could not earn their keep, there was no reason for their existence. The number of Rottweilers declined to the point that in 1882, the dog show in Heilbronn, Germany reported only one poor representative of the breed.
In the years from 1901 - 1907, the Rottweiler found favor as a police dog. By 1921 in Wurzburg the Algemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler Klub was formed. By that time 3, 400 Rottweilers had been registered.
Since the inception, and despite the difficulties during and after World War II, the ADRK has remained intact and through its leadership, enlightened, purposeful breeding programs have been promoted both in Germany and abroad.
The Rottweiler has surely departed physically from his Roman ancestor, but the characteristics that the Romans bred into the dog and for which he was an still is greatly admired have been preserved.

WHAT IS A PET?

To true dog lovers the word "pet" is synonymous with "dog". They cannot imagine being without one.
Most people don't realize breeders classify dogs into two groups - pet (companion) and show. And most people start out wanting nothing but a champion. But, when they hear about that two classifications. they fear perhaps they are getting an inferior dog if they ask for a pet. To a professional breeder the terms mean something different. A show puppy is the one that has the best chance of finishing his championship in competition, and a pet is one that probably wont. A breeder's desire is that each of his pups will be somebody's beloved companion.

RESPONSIBLE ROTTWEILER OWNERSHIP

Because uninformed, uncaring people, from celebrities to criminals, are acquiring Rottweilers, then failing to raise, train and maintain them properly, the Rottweiler misperceived by some as vicious.

The bread standards describes the Rottweiler as "basically a calm, confident and courageous dog that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships.: SHY and VICIOUS dogs are NOT ACCEPTABLE!

In an effort to help you better care for your Rottweiler, we urge you to observe the following:

DO NOT - encourage your Rottweiler to be aggressive. They are naturally protective of their home
DO NOT - allow your Rottweiler to roam free. No dog should be unaccompanied or off leash in public areas.
DO NOT - chain or tie your Rottweiler. It should be securely fenced.
DO NOT - leave children in charge of your Rottweiler - or vice verse. Children should never be left unsupervised with dogs.
DO NOT - breed your Rottweiler until it has been X-Rayed for hip dysplasia and certified Normal by O.F.A. at 2 years of age or later.
DO NOT - breed your Rottweiler until you have been advised it has no disqualifying or inheritable faults, according to the breed standards.
DO NOT - breed your "pet quality" Rottweiler (a dog with disqualifying faults). Spayed and neutered dogs are healthier, happier pets.
DO NOT - let your Rottweiler ride in the back of a pick-up truck, even if it is tied. They can fall out and be injured and killed. three floor gets so hot, that you can't touch it without burning yourself. We see this happening too much.
DO - - - - obedience train your Rottweiler. THIS IS MOST IMPORTANT. A well behaved dog is a source of pride and pleasure and appreciated by all.
If you cannot fulfill your obligations to your Rottweiler, we suggest you consider placing it with someone who will.

THE CASE OF SPAYING AND NEUTERING

Many reputable breeders sell their "pet quality" puppies with the agreement that the animal will be spayed or neutered. These puppies are sold at a owner price than the "show prospect" puppies, even though they have the same excellent pedigree and have received the same care and attention.
The basic disposition and temperament of your dog WILL NOT be changed by removing his or her reproductive capability. Neutering a male can make him more tolerant of other males, but neither neutering or spaying will be itself turn your dog into an obese, lazy animal - that is the result of excess food and insufficient exercise. Benefits of spaying include not having to worry about accidental breedings, the stress and inconvenience of confine the bitch in season, risky "mismaking shots" and unwanted puppies.
The old wives tale that if your breed your hyperactive bitch it will calm her down. This is untrue. You wil just end up with an hyperactive bitch with hyperactive puppies, temperament is very hereditary. Shyness, aggressiveness, and hypactivity are all reasons not to breed and have your dog spayed or neutered.
Neutered males will not be stressed and upset by the scent of bitches in season, and are less tempted to wander or be distracted from the work they re breed to do. The neutered male will not develop cancer and the risk of prostate cancer is lowered.

THE ROTTWEILER A "NATURAL" GUARD DOG

Historically, whether fact or fiction, the Rottweiler was used to herd and guard cattle and to pull cats. During World War I they were used as sentry dogs. nowhere is there nay reference to their being used as a "attack trained" dogs.
The Rottweiler is a natural guard dog. His ability is inherited rather than trained by man. Therefore, his temperament, when fully developed full through careful upbringing and maturity reflects a unique sense of loyalty towards family, a sense of responsibility towards his masters' home, yard, car; a stable sense of discrimination; and above all, an inherited fearlessness. For example, a Rottweiler owner, have lost his eight year old bitch made arrangements to acquire a puppy. He realized, of course, that it would be some time before a new puppy could really take the place of a seasoned watch dog. The ten week old puppy was shipped to her new owner, removed from the crate an placed in the cab of the pick-up truck while the new owner went shopping for puppy supplies an food. Coming back to the pick-up, he was amazed to find that "new puppy" didn't want to let him into the cab. In less than an hour, it was her truck, she was instinctively guarding it, and he was an intruder. How much more reasonable to allow this inherited quality develop naturally than to deliberately agitate a hour month old pup into becoming an "attack trained" Rottweiler.
Nine days after the Anderson family moved into their new home in San Diego, they were awakened at 2:00 A.M. by the distinctive barking of their Rottweilers in the back-yard. Mrs. Anderson was confronted by the sight of two adult female Rottweilers holding at bay a terrible scared prowler. Not knowing there were two sleeping dogs in the yard, the prowler had entered the side gate and was making his way to the back door. The two Rottweilers did not attack, they did not bit. They merely cornered the prowler against the back of the house until he could be properly apprehended. This was done with calm discrimination. In a completely strange environment, they displayed the inherited sense of good judgment and intelligence of a natural guard dog.
Such a dog is a participating member of a family and will react to a give situation instinctively. he is not vicious, but he does evoke a warning to an intruder.
gritz as a puppy

THE SEARCH FOR THE RIGHT PUPPY

If you have read the material up to this point and still feel you can make the commitment to own and properly train a Rottweiler to be dependable, trustworthy and loving companion, following are some hints on how to conduct your search for the right puppy.
  1. Study the A.K.C. Standard for the Breed, so that you are in a position to ask intelligent questions of the breeder.
  2. Make your decision as to whether you want to purchase a "show" or "pet" quality puppy.
  3. Before deciding on a "show" prospect, be sure to attend several dog shows and speak to some of the exhibitors about their experiences. Showing a dog to its A.K.C. Championship is a big commitment, requiring considerable expense and time.
  4. Breeders lists can be obtained from Rottweiler clubs, who follow a similar Code of Ethics. These referral lists are not endorsements of the breeders, but you will at least know that the breeders on them should be following a minimum standard set for breeding by their clubs. In the end, the onus is on you to properly investigate the breeding practices and integrity of any breeder you are considering.
  5. Visit the breeder's kennel with the members of your family that will live with the dog. You will want to see, at a minimum, the dam of the puppies and, if possible, the sire. It is not a good idea for a first-time buyer to purchase a puppy through the mail, sight-unseen or based only on photographs. We also do not recommend purchasing a puppy from a pet shop, or guard dog agency as these large establishments usually have dogs of inferior quality and cannot provide the young puppies with the individualized attention and socialization that is so critical to the development of the adult dog.

SUGGESTED READING ON ROTTWEILERS

  • The Complete Rottweiler by Muriel Freeman, Published by Howell Book House
  • The Rottweiler by Jim Pettengell, Published by Howell Book House
  • A Dog Owners Guide To The Rottweiler by Joan Blackmore, Published by Tetra Press
  • The Professional's Book Of The Rottweiler by Anna katherine Nicholas, Published by T.F.H. Publications
  • Know Your Rottweiler by D. Chardet, Published by Powerhorn Press
The Next three books pertain to training and are very highly recommended, and are available through almost any book store.
  • How To Be Your Dogs Best Friend by the Monks of New Skete, Published by Little, Brown and Company
  • Play Training Your Dog by Patricia Gail Burnham, Published by St. Martins Press, Inc.
  • Mother Knows Best by Carol Lee Benjamin

"NOT FOR EVERYONE"

How many times have you heard the phrase,, "The Rottweiler is not the breed for everyone"? We've said it many times.
If you do not have the time nor the inclination....for putting the dog's actions along a constructive path ... a Rottweiler is not your breed!"
The handsome little ball of lack fuzz you fall in love with is going to grow...grow...grow... into a large and powerful adult and, either male or female, can become exactly what you do - or don't - put into him.
Without initial and on-going training plus follow-up drilling 9use it or lose it), you are in trouble with the dog. But, let's put the training aspect aside (which is a subject all by itself) and get down to just why a Rott may not be the breed for any particular individual.
Too Much Dog--A Rottweiler may be literally "too much dog" for certain persons or, for that matter, certain families as a whole.
Testing, Testing -- A Rottweiler, any Rottweiler is going to constantly test the owner. He wants to learn just how far he can push his human. When he finds out, he will take advantage to exactly those limits. If the owner is not aware of this, and is not prepared to correct and properly discipline his dog, the whole relationship is in danger. Steps to forestall any out-of-line behavior are up to the owner and the owner along. Not willing to hurt little Kudie's feelings? A hard-headed, pushy Rott is not for you.
The "Guard Dog" Crowd Want to guard junk? Get an alligator. Man, there's a bite for you! Or, a flock of geese. The squawking will wake the dead, and they peck.
The "Macho Image"--Persons seeking a Rott for this reason should face the facts of life. They apparently can't make a macho image for themselves on their own, and possessing an intimidating breed of dog (that's the Rott's reputation, like it or not) will never prove to anyone that the owner matches the dog. Also, in order to have a "macho Rottweiler", the dog has to be menacing. This, in turn almost literally demands training the dog to BE a menace. The Rotts don't need this kind of breed representative out there snarling, biting, and possible attacking. Horrible headlines are sure to follow, not to mention injuries, large lawsuits, and the quite possible loss of the dog in question.
The "Family Dog"-- Absolutely, a Rottweiler is the ultimate family dog, providing he has been trained and socialized early, and possesses the genetic factor for good temperament. He'll protect the family (to the death, if necessary) if he has been loved, trained impeccable, and exposed to persons outside the family around whom he is expected to be "Good-Dog-Rottie"". BUT, if there is something lacking either in his head or in his training, there is nothing to guarantee he wont "go for" a couple of visiting kids in the back yard if they get bratty with the family children. kids will be kids, right? Suppose the family kids and the visiting kids really get into a brawl. What's the Family Protector going to think? It's time to protect his own people and perhaps there the whole thing degenerates into an attack. Not, however, always totally the dog's fault, no matter what the media and Rott-bashers would claim. Results, horrendous. This is one of the reasons why it is recommended that the Rottweilers should never be left along with children of a young age. The Rottweiler simply must be under control at all times.
Time Restraints on Owner--Gee, you get a new, better job; but, it demands far more from you than your previous position. There goes a lot of time with the Rott. He is picking up on everything and he is just as involved emotionally as the human antagonists. All of a sudden, he is not the stable, dependable Rottweiler he used to be. Gee, I wonder why?
Power and Strength--Some people are simply not physically capable of handling as powerful a dog as a Rottweiler, especially in an emergency. A Rottweiler is not an easy dog to handle at certain times, even with obedience training. Of course, the training helps enormously, and is essential. But the power and strength is just below the surface. For example, take dog fights. Have you ever seen a couple of Rotts go for it? I mean a real fight. If you haven't, there is nothing more incense, horrifying, or intimidating. Not to mention, nothing is harder to break up, especially before one of the dogs is maimed or killed. To be sure, there are ways and means of stopping a fight, but they don't always work in every instance, and there is no time for search for alternatives. Ti has been said, the Rottweiler has four times the tensile strength (biting power) in his jaws as do Dobes, or Shepherds. Chew on that one for a while.

DOMINANCE IN DOGS: AN OWNERS GUIDE

Social Systems of the Dog Dogs and their presumed ancestors, wolves. In the wild, these animals usually live in social groups that center around a male/female pair. The other individuals in the group are usually relatives of this pair.
There are many advantages to group living. The animals can hunt together in a coordinated manner and bring down prey, such as deer or moose, that an individual could never capture alone. They can share in the work of defending their territory and of caring for their youngsters by bringing food back and "baby-sitting" for them. In addition, animals in a group can learn from one another; for instance, they can share knowledge of where food is likely to be found, where water holes are in times of drought, where shelter may be found in bad weather, and how to avoid and recognize particular dangers.
A number of factors influence the position an individual assumes in the social hierarchy. In general, males are dominant over females, older animals over younger, larger over smaller, and those that have been in the group the longest over new arrivals. At times, an animal's place in the social hierarchy is determined by its relationship and alliances with other members of the group. Finally, an individual's temperament also plays an important role. Some animals are highly motivated to dominate, regardless of their size, age, sex or experience.

Communication Among Dogs Animals in a social group need to communicate with one another regarding their inenetions, particularly during such cooperative behaviors as hunting. Animals also frequently signal their social status. A moninatn wolf or dog may great another member of the group with an elevated tail and erect ears, while a submissive individual is likely to lower its head, neck and tail; flatten back its ears; and possible attempt to touch the corners of the mouth of the dominant individual with its nose.

Development of Dominance Dogs reach sexual maturity oat puberty, between 6 and 12 months of age, but behavioral maturity is not reached until about tow to three years of age.. So although an adolescent animal is capable of reproducing, it has not yet developed all of the behavorial and physical characteristics of an adult: A teenage boy does not present the same image as a 25 year old, neither does a seven month old male dog act life a four year old adult male.

A Dog's Role in a Human Family As social creatures, dogs fit well into human families. infant, some of the social signals people use among themselves are similar to those used by dogs. Both species use direct stares and deep, low pitched vocalizations as threats and forceful touches or pushes as signs of dominance. Most dogs assume a neutral or submissive role toward people. They usually greet family members with lowered head, wagging tail, or even a submissive grin or "smile," These signals are similar to the signals of submissive greeting that dogs use among one another. most dogs defer to people if they are bumped or pushed or if something is take away from them.

Tackling The Problem It is not true that dominant aggressive behavior in a dog is related to the dog's being "spoiled." Most, if not all, pet dogs are "spoiled." and most dogs are not dominate over their owners. It is so untrue that dominant behavior in dogs is necessarily a result of the owner's inability to raise the dog properly. many owners of dominant dogs have ha other dogs without dominant behavior problems.
All of this does not imply that owning a dog is a great risk. Rather, dog owners should merely be aware that such a problem is a possibility, however remote, and if they see the problem developing, should act quickly in consulting a veterinarian, who may suggest castration and/or refer the owner to a behavorial specialist. Most problems can be eliminated or significantly improved if they are treat promptly and properly by a specialist.



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