Rottie Tot- A Guide to raising a Rottweiler, The right way!
Why a Rottweiler?
Welcome to my blog which is here to take you through the journey of getting and training a Rottweiler from a puppy. Firstly lets talk about why I personally chose a Rottweiler over all the other breeds and crossbreeds that are available.
I have owned and dealt with so many different breeds of dog before, everything from Chihuahuas to Wolf Hybrids. I already had two dogs when I made the decision to get a puppy. I had a Yorkie/Scottie (posing as a Jack Russell Terrier :-) though ) called Patch who lives in my conservatory as he has extreme roaming/house training issues. I also have an Orange Sable Pomeranian Male called Teddy Ruxpin who lives in the house with me as he's a good boy even though he came to me as a rescue when the lady who he had been homed to unfortunately died two weeks after having him, he then went back to the original people who had re homed him and they tried to put him out with their Staffordshire Bull Terriers :/ wonders will never cease! When that didn't work, they contacted me and I said yes I could take him. Well I couldn't bare putting him in an outside kennel so I brought him in and he has been here ever since!
Anyway back to why I chose a Rottweiler, I thought to myself, what do I want in a dog, why am I getting another dog and what sort of dog will best fit my lifestyle and the things I wish to do with the dog. I live in a country house with barn incl stables and fields all around and I work from home so my time is flexible and it means I'm not always gone for several hours everyday which meant that I could choose a big breed (which is what I wanted, I love big dogs! -No offense to Ted and Patch! ) and a breed that needed a fair amount of exercise as I would be taking down to my local stable yard to play with the abundance of dogs down there on a regular basis. I grew up split between America and England and in America where we were anyway in North Carolina there was probably at least one or two Rottweilers on every street. A popular breed there. This being said I knew I would be able to own a Rottweiler and bring it up correctly.
I must admit Rottweilers aren't for everyone. They are a large dog and they do need excersize but mostly they are known for being an 'agressive' breed and if you don't train them correctly and show them who the pack leader is, you can end up with a 150lb narly monster. Yes I am just being honest here. They are a breed who will rule the roost if you let them! This is part of why I've created this blog, to tell people the right way to raise one so it doesn't end up in a rescue or on the free ads.
If a Rottweiler is for you and if not but you have or are going to get a puppy then read on as the techniques in this blog don't just relate to Rottweilers, they are the same for any puppy and even dog! :)
Finding a Puppy
So once I had decided on a Rottweiler puppy, I started my search for one. I searched everywhere, every website and page I could-heck I reached the end of Google! and even the vets and ad boards near where I lived. I couldn't find one in my price range ( I didn't have a whole lot to spend on one and somewhere like 700 pounds each!) I was used to in America where you can pick one up for free outside Wal-Mart lol True!
So I kept looking everyday and never saw any new ads for Rottweiler puppies, lots of older Rottweilers but I didn't want to risk that as I have an 11 year old cat and although he's seen more dogs then he has mice lol I didn't want to risk a giant dog suddenly changing his/her mind about being good with cats.
I had seen an advert for some Rottweiler puppies and thought oh the advert is old so they are probably all gone and never bothered to contact them, well one day I was fed up with looking and saw the advert again so I rang them. A nice lady answered and she said yes we have three girls left and I've reduced the price! I couldn't believe it! They weren't registered but she said she had the Mother and Father there and that her friends and relatives had the other relations of the Rottweilers as well. So pleased with that I said I will come up on the train and 'have a look' well have a look obviously was going to turn into have a look and take one home! :)
I went up on the train and there were three puppies in a crate and the parents were outside in the garden. Nice big traditional Rottweilers so I was happy with the parents. The puppies looked sleepy but they came out of the crate anyway as the ladies young daughter grabbed them all out to play.
Two were very similar and the other one was the runt which the lady said almost didn't make it and she had to hand feed it to help it to survive. It was very cute and I was thinking perhaps one that would be smaller would be good but my better judgement told me not to pick her as she had had all those problems just making it in the early days/weeks of being on the planet. So I had the two larger ones to choose from. The puppies were nine weeks old so when I say larger I don't mean they were big puppies, think of the Andrex Puppy well these where smaller than that. I didn't have many factors in deciding which one, they both looked the same and pretty much acted the same so I picked the one without the little speck of white on it's chest ( not sure about that but went with the one without just to be sure)
I paid the lady and then made my journey home on the train, in the station I had a few people ooing and ahhing at her and asking questions which was cool. Finally made it to my hometown train station where I had parked my car with a kennel inside it, so I put her in and drove down the road to my house.
So, I arrived home with my new Rottweiler puppy (who I hadn't named yet). I took her out of her kennel in the car and put her on the grass on her leash to see if she wanted to to her stuff and she did, I was proud of her.
Then I took her in to meet Teddy and Co and he loved her, he was all over her and at this point she was still a bit shy so didn't take too well to Teddy ambushing her! I had gotten her kennel ( a plastic travel crate-vari,petmate style) and placed it in the house with some newspaper and a blanket. This would be for her to sleep in at night and whenever I went out.
Vital for housetraining, you want to make sure whichever one you get, either a metal more open air style or a plastic style that it is only just big enough for your puppy to stand up, turn around and lay down in it. Any bigger and they will poo/wee in one part and sleep in the other part which is not what you want. You want your puppy to only do it's stuff when you take it out of the crate and outside to an appropriate area. You can chose as specific area that you want your puppy to go in and then the puppy will learn to do it in just that area outside, or you can just take it outside to any suitable area and not have a set place. A set place though can help because they will smell that they did it there last time and it will encourage them to do it there again.
If you have a fenced garden you can take the puppy and place it outside or if not or if you prefer you can take it out on a leash and collar which is sometimes more useful because you can control them staying out there until they do it and also the place where they do it. I like to at least start of with taking them out on a leash and collar and then progress to just letting them out in the garden (in my case paddock lol ) plus my other dog goes out so she will follow him, if you have another dog you can use this to your advantage as they will help in a 'doggie see, doggie do' sense.
All in a name
Now that I had her home, I needed to decide on a name for her. I had picked out a whole list of names but they were mostly boy names-oops lol, I had a name picked out for a boy that I thought I could convert into a girl name by adding A on the end. The name I had picked out was Roush which is from a type of American Car (I'm really into cars as well :) The Roush Mustang, Roush being a type of car tuning company. I added A to the end to make it into a girls name so her name became Rousha said like Row (like having a row) and Sha so Rousha. Pretty cool huh? Easy enough to say and to call out which is what you want in a name, you don't want to be at the dog park calling Mr. Fluffle Bottom Brownski or something like that. lol
The early days
The early days with Rousha were interesting and tiring all at the same time. The day after I got her I decided to take her to the vet to start her course of vaccinations. Puppies have a first vaccine which is usually one or two of a combination vaccine that combines several protections into one. Vaccines like Bordatella (Kennel Cough) are optional but are a good thing to for your dog to have as it can pick KC up from anywhere nowadays, particularly if you go to a dog park with a lot of other dogs or if you also rescue other dogs as well.
Your puppy will need to go back in two weeks for another set of vaccines which are to catch anything that the first set didn't. At this time you may want to have your puppy microchipped which is so useful if your puppy goes missing at any point in it's life and can also help if it gets stolen as well as anytime it is scanned it will come up as you and the details you registered when the chip was done. Make sure you always update your details with the chip company any time they change as so many dogs that have ended up in pounds get put down or rehomed to someone else because they were either, not chipped or the details were out of date.
Whilst out on the vet trip I went to the grocery store to purchase food for Rousha, my dogs eat adult dog food which is either by a company called Wagg or if it's on sale they have Harringtons both of which I've found to be very good dog foods and both contain Yucca which is great for deterring those flatulent smells which can often occur!
Obviously Rousha being a puppy those foods would be unsuitable for her. She would need food tailored for her growing body. I received a free trial bag of Science Plan puppy from the vet which was great but before hand I purchased a large bag of Lathams Large Breed Puppy food which lucky for me was on sale. Another good brand of puppy food I've found is Pedigree. All the dogs I had growing up were on Pedigree and they all loved it and did well on it which is why I was going to get it for Rousha but the store didn't have the large breed puppy one which Pedigree do so I chose the Lathams which is a fairly new brand of dog food that promotes that it contains all sorts of vitamins and raw ingredients rather than just cereals and chopped intestines which a lot of dog food contains which personally even thinking about it isn't nice. You think you are buying succulent Chicken and Rice when in actual fact you are buying colon and cereal for your dog. Yuck!
So make sure you choose a food that is right for your puppy, if you have a large breed puppy such as a Rottweiler then go for the large breed puppy food, if you have a small breed such as a yorkshire terrier then you will want to go for the 'mini' or 'small' breed food. Feel the size of the kibble through the bag as you don't want to get all the way home to find out the kibbles are too big for your pup. Also note that foods labeled 'junior' aren't for young puppies, they are for older puppies.
I like to buy a food which I can get in my local grocery store so that I know if I run out it's easy to go and get some more as some pet shops have odd hours and are a pain to get to with parking and everything, plus if you do run out and you can't get to the store yourself it's easy to say to someone can you pick me up a bag of dog food when you go to the store and they don't have to make a special trip to a pet shop. Also some grocery shops now deliver so you can order online and have it brought to your door.
Intitially I mixed Roushas food so she had some of the Science Plan and some of the Lathams which she liked. When feeding your puppy you want to have a designated place and bowl to feed it at/with. I feed mine twice a day but you may want to feed yours three times a day if you are able.
In the morning I wake up and take Rousha out of her kennel and take her straight out to do her stuff, I don't let her walk herself as she could do it before she gets outside so I carry her outside and praise her when she's done her stuff. Wait outside until they've done it! Might be in 5 mins or it might be 15 mins either way just wait out there until they've done it.
When you come in you can feed your puppy. Put the measured amount of food in the bowl (the bag will tell you how much to feed in relation to the weight of your puppy) then make your puppy sit and wait for the food. If you haven't mastered sit with your puppy now is a good time to teach it or you can just teach it wait at this time, so hold the bowl in the air and say to your puppy WAIT as you put it down and she/he goes for the food and pull them back if you need to. They may not get it the first time or the first few times but they should soon cotton on.
Ideally you want them to sit and then wait for their food. This mimics in the wild where the mother dog or leader dog would eat first and then tell the others when they could come and have some. You want to establish yourself as the leader of the pack. This is important for all dogs you may have but extra important for a breed such as Rottweiler. You want to always be the leader no matter what. Not just when you feel like it or in certain situations. Some people enact their leadership in the house but then when it comes to taking their dog out on a lead they get dragged down the street and into every lamppost and bush there is along the way. Not what you want! One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing people getting dragged along by their dogs oh and flexi leads! I HATE them with a passion! More on that later!
After your puppy has eaten then take it straight back outside to do it's stuff, make sure it doesn't come in until it's done it and praise it when it does! Follow this routine for every mealtime and your puppy will soon learn where the best place to do their stuff is! Make sure also that when your puppy is not crated that you watch it all the time so that you can sense when it is going to need to go out and you can pick it up and take it out straight away,
Always crate your puppy when you go out and at night, it's not cruel it's SAFE! Better to come home to a safe,happy, healthy puppy than a dead one because it chewed through an electrical cord, ate some cleaning fluid or strangled itself with the phone cord! Yes it's happened before to dogs and it could happen to yours if you aren't careful and don't crate it until you are sure it has learned not to chew or get into things it shouldn't.
Walk This Way/Why I hate flexi leads!
This section is to explain all about walking your new puppy.
I bought Rousha a collar that would fit her and I already had a nice leash that would match it. Initially when you put a collar on your puppy it won't understand the concept as it will have probably never had one on before. They may scratch at it but this is nothing to worry about as they are just getting used to it. You want to make sure you have a tag attached to it as well with your phone number and at least post code on. Putting the puppies name or your name on the tag is optional.
You will need to get a leash with your collar, some collars come with matching leashes and some you will buy separately. Please buy a normal leash that's not too long, not too short and that is either nylon,leather,pvc or similar. A lot of people buy the flexi leads which extend out. These leads are terrible! Especially when training a dog that has never walked on a leash or who has leash walking issues. Flexi leads allow your puppy to be the leader and go wherever it wants, including in the road! Dogs who always walk on extendable leashes never learn to walk to heel and as such always pull whenever they are put on a normal leash. This is what you do not want. You want your dog to always be relaxed and balanced and walk to heel and know that you are the leader of the pack and never pull you along. Yes it's ok during potty time to allow the puppy to explore whilst on the leash so it can sniff out a place to do it's stuff and yes it's ok to allow it to sniff some stuff whilst on the leash, just not every tree, bush and lamppost.
In the beginning your puppy won't understand the leash and may jump around on it. This is ok and they will get used to it in time. Don't pull on your puppy too much, just let them walk along the best they can and encourage them to walk and when they do give them praise. How you will walk your puppy when it is little is different to how it can be when they are bigger and understand more. Correct any extreme pulling by gently tugging on the leash to the side and the puppy will come to your side. Don't pull hard on your puppy as you could damage their growing, fragile bones and muscles! Don't scold your puppy if it doesn't walk on the leash well first off, it will soon get the hang of it.
If your puppy is reluctant to walk on the leash and you have another dog who is good on a leash you can tie the puppys' leash to the sensible dog and it will encourage the puppy to walk along as it walks. Again with the 'doggie see, doggie do' concept.
As your puppy gets bigger and older you can work on more proper leash walking. I will be detailing this more later on as my puppy Rousha gets bigger and older and I'm able to take her places and walk her more. I will also be detailing some off leash techniques including first time off leash in an area besides your garden.
Walking your puppy should be a fun experience for both you and the puppy and teaching them to accept a leash now will pay dividends later when they are 150lbs :)
Vet visit number 2
So, it had been two weeks since Rousha first went to the vets and it was time for her to go again for her second set of innoculations. I took her in the car to the same vets she had been to before and she was very good and had her vaccs. Also at this time she had another dose of wormer which was in the form of a treat, so that was ok for her. She would need to be wormed once a month after that for a while and would also need to be weighed at that time which the vet said they could do for free when I came to buy the wormer.
She wouldn't need to be vaccinated again until a year from now and yearly onwards with a booster vaccine. Which is the same for all puppies once they have had their initial set.
You want to make sure that going to the vet is a positive experience for your puppy so that it always is ok to go in the future. Give your puppy lots of praise when she does well at the vets. Your puppy will be small enough still to pick up so you can pick him/her up and take them into the vets and place them on the table or hold them in the waiting area. Until your puppy is fully vacced you don't want them to be on the floor of the vets incase they contract something which they aren't protected against yet.
Also you avoid the problem of potentially having to drag them into the vets, something which you don't want to do as it will create a bad experience which they will remember for next time and when they are much larger and more difficult to maneuver!
As they get older, you can walk them into the vets whenever you need to go and you can encourage them with lots of praise and even a small treat once they are inside. Another thing which you can do which helps create a positive vet experience is to take them into the vets even when they aren't booked in to go. Just walk them in and have a look at the ad boards for example and then walk out that way your dog doesn't always associate the vet with getting shots or medicine. If the vet happens to be out in the reception area you can have the vet meet your dog and give it praise and then your dog will get to know your vet as someone who is friendly and nice towards them.
A week- After your puppies second vaccs you will have to wait a week before you can start taking them out and socializing them with other dogs etc. I can't wait to be able to take Rousha out! One of my friends has a 6 month old collie puppy which she will be meeting and they will play together and go on walks together and also one of my other friends has a rottweiler x American bull terrier which she will get to go and play with, that should be great to watch as they are similar, apart from size as he's fully grown! I will get a pic and post it for you all to see and also some pics of Rousha before she gets too much bigger. Just need to get some batteries for my camera.
Little and Large
Yesterday I took Rousha to meet my friends dog Buster who is a Rottie x American Bulldog. He's pretty big! Looks just like a Rottie apart from some white on his chest.
When I first went into the house my friend was on the floor holding him down so he didn't charge over to Rousha. I thought that was quite funny really. We slowly introduced them, initially Rousha was scared of Buster but after a bit she warmed up to him. He sniffed her all over and wanted to play with her.
After a little while we took them for a walk over to the field and Rousha was doing well on the leash, unlike Buster who was right in front on the end of his lol. Once we got to the field we walked around and waited for all the little dogs to be out of site before my friend could let Buster off his lead. Once he did then Buster just ran around and ran around and around Rousha and then I decided to let Roushas leash go but still have her be connected to it so I could grab her if she started to stray.
They played like crazy and then I got out the treats I had brought with me to get Rousha to learn to come and heel a little bit and as I did Buster would come over and do it too! So I had one treat in each hand saying sit and both of them would sit! My friend thought it was very funny and so did I.
All in all it was a good introduction and I think Rousha essentially enjoyed herself and we can't wait for next time. :) Check out the pics of Rousha and Buster together and see the size difference, Buster is nearly 2 years old and Rousha is just over twelve weeks old.
Out and About- Nature Reserve
Ok, So as you know Rousha is now able to go out as she's completed her vaccinations. I decided to take her and Teddy out with me when I had to go and get some shavings for my ponies bedding.
I took them in the car, both on the front seat but tied in with their leashes. You always want make sure your dogs are secure in your vehicle and there are several ways you can do this.
The first way which is the easiest is to tie their leash to a secure place in the car, in my case the seat. If you want you can purchase a dog car harness which your dog wears and then it secures into the seat belt of your vehicle. You can also get just a clip that secures into the seatbelt buckle and attaches to your dogs collar if you prefer not to mess with a harness. Another option is to have a crate which they can go in whilst in the car, this works well for larger vehicles such as Landrovers, Jeeps and the like.
Whichever way you choose make sure your dog is secure while in your car and make sure it's not going to cause any harm to your dog i.e. it's not too tight, or could strangle or is made of weak material or hazardous materials. If you have a crate, make sure it locks shut securely and that it is big enough for your dog to lay down, stand up and turn around in.
After going to get some shavings, I decided to take Teddy and Rousha over to my local nature reserve for a walk. It was cold and muddy but it is winter so what can you expect really. Teddy goes off leash and loves it. I kept Rousha on her leash as she hasn't had full off leash training yet (more on this later). I make her walk beside me at all times when on her leash so that she learns to walk to heel.
I keep my leash relaxed when she is beside me and if she goes forward in front of me or too far out to the side of me I just give a simple sharp pull to the SIDE on the leash. Don't pull back on your dog because then you are encouraging the pulling behavior by empowering your dog to have a forward, full chested stance. Not what you want. You want your puppy to walk calmly beside you. If your puppy sees something and tries to go after it, you can use the same simple correction ( pull to the side) to refocus your puppy. Make sure to walk with a purpose, have your shoulders back and your leash arm relaxed and concentrate on looking and moving forward. You can let your puppy sniff things but keep this controlled, i.e. they don't need to sniff and wee up every tree and bush. Also make sure that any gates, doors, thresholds etc that you go through that YOU go FIRST and that your puppy FOLLOWS you. NEVER let your puppy go in front unless absolutely necessary as this teaches them that they are the leader of the pack! I personally wouldn't want any of my dogs to think they were the leader of the pack but especially not a Rottweiler who's going to grow to 150lbs!
If you are having any issues with any of the techniques described here, please don't hesitate to comment below and i will help you.
There are many different places you can take your puppy to and you should take them lots of places because the early socialization is key in developing a well balanced dog. Especially focus on places and things that are in your life on a regular basis, i.e. children, going to a stable yard, friends dogs they will be having play dates with, Other animals you may have in your home such as cats,birds,rabbits etc basically focus on everything you can but more so on the things that are most prevalent in your life.