Guide and Checklist

Rottweiler Training Foundations

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Table of Contents

Be Consistent 100% of the Time

Consistency is extremely important in all aspects of training and raising a dog.

When giving rewards and praise, or even just training your Rottie in general consistency can be the biggest factor in getting results and the true success of your training efforts.

Dogs are not people, words are just noise to them. They have no idea that “Good boy”, “Great job” or “Way to go Molly” all mean they did the right thing. Pick your praise phrase for each good behavior, and make sure you (and others in your family) use that exact phrase or word every single time. When teaching commands the same rule applies – stay 100% consistent with the words and phrases you use for each command – this will ensure that your puppy learns fast and the training lasts.

Consistency goes beyond just training, so always be looking for opportunities for you and your family to be more consistent in training and raising your dog. Consistency will help them build the right life-long habits.

Be Calm in ALL situations

Calm energy should not be a new concept to you if you’ve researched dog training before. It’s another important concept to understand and use when raising and training your puppy.

All too often owners don’t realize that their dog is getting more excited or worked up because of their own energy level.

Using calm energy will not only help keep your dog in a calm state but can also be used to diffuse situations where your dog is getting worked up or overly excited. This is true for dogs of all ages but especially with bigger dogs – simply holding your Rottie’s collar and crouching down beside them, silently and in a very calm way can quickly bring their energy level down. This can prevent them from getting overly worked up over whatever caught their attention.

Screaming, yelling, getting angry or frustrated are the exact opposites of calm and will always have a negative effect on your dog in one way or another. We need to always keep our negative emotions in check when working with our puppies as well as older dogs too! This is a global rule we always recommend following – NEVER get angry or frustrated or worse, yell at your dog PERIOD.

One thing to keep in mind here is that we still want you to be confident while being calm. You are dealing with a Rottweiler and they do tend to respond better to confident, firmer qualities in a leader. NEVER mean or harsh though! Your overall target here is to be confident, firm AND calm with zero negative emotions. This can definitely take practice as you work with your Rottie, so always being aware of your energy and your actions while constantly reading your dog’s reactions and changes is a must and is something you should work on all the time.

Be Perfect With Your Timing

Timing is so, so critical when training a dog. Rewards and praise have to be given at the exact instance your dog showed the behaviour you want to reinforce. If you are too late, you could be rewarding your dog for the wrong behaviour!

Good timing means within half a second of your dog performing the correct action. Your response needs to be clear and it must be instant. Get your timing right and do it consistently and you’ll be amazed at how quickly your dog can learn.

BONUS TIP: Timing also comes into play when you recognize your dog getting too excited, worked up or even showing signs of fear. It’s your job as the owner to be watching for signs that may indicate these states and to develop great timing to stop this from escalating. Reading your dog’s energy and state of mind is a very important skill to learn. Pairing this with perfect timing to stop a minor behaviour from getting worse can be an extremely effective technique – one which you’ll rely on forever.

Timing is such a critical part of proper training! You really have to do what you can to ensure you have excellent timing.

Luckily there are a few tools and accessories that can make our lives a lot easier to get timing our right.

Timing is something you have to get right when training your dog. Like most of these essentials it will definitely take practice and persistence. Keep thinking about your timing whenever you’re working with your Rottie and you’ll be on your way to mastering this important essential skill. We dive deeper into how to develop timing further in our future courses so watch out for that.

Be Proactive and In Control

Being proactive and in control is all about setting your puppy up for success in any way you can.

Real life example: When housetraining and potty training a puppy, creating schedules and routines around eating, drinking and sleeping is a really great way to predict when your puppy will need to use the washroom and will therefore set them up for success. You’re taking control of when your puppy eats and drinks water then being proactive by taking them out around 20-30 minutes after eating/drinking. Sounds simple but many owners get this wrong.

BONUS TIP: Eating at the same set times every day and not drinking water after a certain time in the evening are more ways of being in control and helping your puppy succeed. We cover a lot of these principles in much more detail in our Potty Training and Housetraining course.

Controlling your puppy’s environment is a critical component to ensuring your Rottweiler’s success and to getting fast, long-lasting results.

Real life examples:

Introducing and using a crate early in our opinion this is essential to properly housetraining and potty training a puppy. This will create the necessary routines around sleep for your puppy at an early age and will help you get faster results when housetraining and potty training.

For young puppies, keeping them on a leash indoors and attaching it to you will allow you to be close to your puppy at all times and also allow them to get comfortable in different areas of your home with you close by. BONUS TIP: Remember to properly and calmly introduce your Rottie to their first collar and leash. We cover this topic in more detail in our Puppy Training Foundations course.

For bigger puppies and older dogs, using a long leash (20-30+ feet) can be an amazing tool when training in larger areas – especially in distracting conditions and in more public scenarios. This gives your puppy more space in challenging situations while they are learning but you still have the control to guide them back to you if necessary.

These are just a few great examples of ways to control your Rottie’s environment and set them up for success. This is a very important topic and we will definitely cover it more.

Be Active The Right Amount of Time

Exercise is a critical component to not only a happy dog, but one that is actually more receptive to training.

Sometimes a good exercise session right before training can be the difference between getting results and not getting results. This is especially important for high energy dogs like Rottweilers. Rotties require moderate levels of exercise every day.

IMPORTANT: All Rotties have their own individual exercising needs so make sure to double check with your vet for the appropriate amount to be exercising your unique dog.

For young puppies too much exercise can be a bad thing. We always want to keep things in balance. Always check with your vet for the appropriate amount to exercise your puppy.

Be Patient and Respect the Process

Always be patient with your puppy. Every dog is unique and can only learn at their own, unique pace. Some dogs learn quickly; others take more time and effort. Patience throughout the puppy training process is crucial.

Understand and respect the process. Puppies learn in stages.

For example when crate training: you can’t pick up your puppy on day 1 then just put them right into their crate and expect them to be ok. The crate like everything, needs to be introduced to them slowly (in stages) and in a calm way. Starting on the outside of the crate then slowly working in, BUT ONLY when your puppy is ready to take a step inside on their own – not by you placing them there. BONUS TIP: Food rewards are obviously perfect for crate training but again, please make sure you’re letting it all happen in stages so your Rottie feels comfortable and safe. This will ensure a completely positive association with their crate and will help prevent any crate related issues down the line.

Every aspect of training takes baby steps where your puppy needs to break through their comfort zones in stages AND in a calm, controlled, and safe way. Please don’t rush it! Respect the process, and lasting results will follow.

Be Flexible and Try Different Things

Being flexible in your training sessions is another big factor to training success. This can be especially important if your puppy is struggling to learn but also in your overall training strategies.

If your dog is struggling to learn, be willing to change your training routine and please try different techniques. There are a number of things that could be preventing your Rottweiler from learning quicker for example:

  • The location may be too distracting for them at that particular time or day.
  • The length of your training session may be too long (or too short).
  • The training exercises may need to be broken down into smaller, simpler steps.

These are just a few examples but always try to think about the reasons why your dog is struggling to learn. All Rottweilers want to learn and please you, but it’s really up to you to set them up for success.

Being flexible is also about flexibility in your training strategies and techniques. For example:

  • Trying multiple reward types to figure out the ones your dog loves and responds to the most is a super important thing to do (different treats, different toys, different games etc).
  • Training in multiple places and environments so your dog gets used to as many different situations as possible (controlled and safe of course as we discussed in “Be Proactive and In Control”).

REMEMBER: Every Rottweiler is unique. Please don’t forget that. It’s your job to be flexible and willing to do whatever you can to help your dog succeed. This will all pay off huge for you and your Rottweiler and will really help you truly understand the individual qualities of your unique dog.

Be Generous And Kind

Be generous with your rewards, your time and your love.

Always reward your dog’s correct responses and great behavior generously. Don’t be too stingy with the treats — especially when your dog has figured out something challenging. You don’t want to over do it and there’s always a balance, but you should use generosity at the right time for best results. The topic of Food Rewards is a big one. You will need to learn the right amount to give AND how to slowly work away from food treats all together. We cover this in our Primary Reinforcement Primer course.

Commit ample time to your training sessions. We’re all busy these days, but this is about necessary “quality time” for you and your dog. You’ll both enjoy and benefit from the training sessions, so make sure your schedule is adjusted accordingly and you commit enough time.

Be Social As Much As Possible

Socialization is vital for any dog, especially Rottweilers.

Ongoing socialization while ensuring each and every experience is a positive one is very important.

From the day your Rottie is born they are learning about the world – and more importantly learning how to act and how to react. These initial positive experiences will lay the critical foundation for a dog that is comfortable and happy in many different scenarios and around many different things, people, dogs and other animals.

It is important that you proactively introduce your puppy to different situations, people, other dogs and animals in a calm, controlled, positive and safe way. If this isn’t something you work on, your dog may develop certain negative behaviours around those specific things later on. As they get older these behaviours can get worse and be much more difficult to resolve. Prevention is KEY.

A lot of the time socialization can be about working through your dog’s comfort levels and preventing fear based behaviours. Be smart – never rush your dog (whether a puppy or an adult) into new experiences. Remember dogs learn slowly and get more comfortable in stages with the right calm energy and positive experiences.

Set your puppy up for success. Socialization is extremely important but be safe and don’t rush your dog. Always be aware of your Rottweiler’s energy and mental state as you progress through their own unique stages of comfort.

Be A Great Leader

Being a great leader means being a strong but calm presence in your dog’s life so they have someone they trust completely and always want to follow. This is incredibly important but let’s clear something up first.

Being strong or firm, DOES NOT mean dominating them or being the “Alpha” through force and dominance. This is a scare tactic and is sure to create a fearful dog and can easily lead to fear driven behaviours. A fearful dog is definitely not a happy dog.

Being a great leader is all about setting your dog up for success without dominance. No angry yelling, no verbal frustration and DEFINITELY NO physical harm or extreme force used. Period.

As mentioned in the “Be Calm” essential, a great leader is always working on their calm energy but you still want to be confident and firm. Rottweiler’s can respond better to confident, firm leadership but as always, this is never mean, angry or harsh in any way! Learn as much as you can about this important skill and remember, it can take some practice while working with your Rottie to get it all right. Always be aware of your energy at all times and how it is affecting your dog.

Following the information in this guide will help you develop the habits and skills of a great leader that your Rottie wants to please and follow.

Leadership is all about:

  • always being a calm but firm & in-control presence for your Rottie to follow.
  • having patience when teaching your Rottweiler the habits and behaviours they need to learn.
  • respecting the process and the time it takes, as each dog learns at their own pace.
  • setting them up for success in every way you can.
  • always guiding them in a calm, relaxed way and never showing anger, harshness or frustration.
  • challenging yourself to learn everything you can to ensure your Rottweiler’s ongoing development.
  • being fully committed to your Rottweiler’s physical and mental well-being throughout their life.

Keep Learning and Working Hard – It WILL Pay Off

We hope you enjoyed our list of essentials and learned even just a few things that you’ll take into practice with your Rottie. This list is meant to be an introductions to the many key concepts in training a Rottie. This amazing breed that we all love is so commonly misunderstood and it’s our responsibility to teach them and raise them in the best possible ways. Keep learning and keep working at all your skills and training habits. We wish you and your Rottie the very best and hopefully we’ll see you soon in our other content, guides and upcoming courses!