My Rottweiler is Going to Eat You.
This was getting a little bit frustrating. Scratch that. Not a little bit. Just frustrating.
Here is the story.
When I walk my rottie, I usually pass at least 5-6 houses with dogs on our street alone. Sometimes all at once, and other times just here and there, the dogs would be sitting outside, and when they see us walk by - they would bark, and follow along the lines of their property, until we are out of sight. Every single yard we walk by has electric fencing in place, and the dogs stay within their boundaries, but nonetheless, they bark quite a bit, and not in a friendly "let's play" manner. The breeds in our neighborhood sway heavily towards yellow and chocolate labs, with a couple of mixes, a couple of little things along the lines of yorkie terriers, and a bernese mountain fellow. My Rottie never responds to barking. She has no trouble tolerating other dogs' overexcited protection instincts. Besides, since she was little, I began attention training with her, and when we approached a yard with dogs, I would treat her if she held her eyes on me. Piece of cake - no problems there. I'm not looking for accolades, I'm simply stating the fact.
She never had an issue with guarding her food, or any of her toys. You can take her prized raw marrow bone treats straight out out of her mouth. In the very heat of playing tug of war, she is always willing to listen to "leave it", and obediently lets go of her most beloved rope. She is doing so well in her classes, that one of our trainers has stated she has never seen an adolescent behaving this well. She is good with her leash manners, and never needed special harnesses to teach her not to pull. When another dog attacked her and ripped a clunk of fur from Ella's side, leaving a bold spot to be filled in for three weeks, my rottie never fought back. She cried out, and licked her wound.
Here's the frustrating part. At the age of six months, she is entered her "Second Fear Stage", and if you know anything about dog development, it is the time around 6-9 months when dogs become fearful of things they seemed to have accepted before. Ella's thing became bikes, skateboards, joggers. She never cared about cars (well, I shouldn't say "never", on our first few walks, she was a bit apprehensive, but she quickly got over it), but people doing unusual things began to freak her out. If you paused and "talked" to her, she'd come right out of her funk, and lick your hand, and move on with her life, but it was work, and it had nothing to do with her being a Rottweiler. It had everything to do with her being a six months old pup.
My frustration comes in with the patient comments of our neighbors, "Yes, yes, she might never grow out of it. That's just the breed. You can't change that." How come no one is saying that about the evil yorkie? or the two grown labs down the road that sound oh so very menacing every.single.time. I walk by their house? Why isn't anyone running to hide their kids when other dogs misbehave? How can I teach my dog to accept you if you insist she is dangerous and won't introduce yourself to her? Self-fullfilling prophecy, if you ask me.
I am grateful for those few who recognized that puppies are not perfect, and helped me through that stage by saying hello and offering words of encouragement, and their own stories of raising mischievous pup. Rottweiler or not, every dog needs training, and I assure you, mine is getting her share of discipline. But even now and then, when we are out in public, one sees a person crossing the road just because I have a Rottweiler on the other side of the leash.
Has anyone considered that maybe Rotties are known to be aggressive because so many people act fearful and distrusting around them? Something to think about.