The Rottweiler, or Rottie as they are affectionately named, are described as confident, calm, courageous, and loyal family guardians. They are an ancient breed of dog that have worked and trained alongside humans in various capacities for centuries. They’re also considered one the smartest dogs breeds on the planet.
So are Rottweilers easy to train? Rottweilers are easy to train due to their high intelligence, and high drive for work. They respond well to a calm and firm pack leader, and obedience training can be mastered in a very short period of time under this sort of leadership.
Though the Rottweiler is easy to train it is important to note that if you are unfamiliar with larger working dogs, or training dogs in general, you will face challenges.
The Rottweiler needs the guidance of the pack leader, and without that guidance they can become unruly and misbehave. Below are some tips and resources to help you decide if a Rottweiler is the right breed for you.
Is It Hard To Train Rottweilers?
The Rottweiler can be hard to train for those without experience training dogs. Even if you have had previous ownership of a large breed of dog the Rottweiler can be in a category of their own. Despite their very high intelligence, they can make training hard if they don’t respect you as the pack leader.
Rottweilers will respond well to an owner who demonstrates a calm and firm leadership style. Dogs of any breed are looking for their place in the dominance hierarchy, if they are not able to establish who the alpha dog is, they might assume that role. Rottweilers will no doubt display this behavior in the absence of a pack leader.
It is important to understand your Rottweiler in order to make training less difficult. They are amazing observers and pick up on more than you realize. Showing them you are in charge through your calm and assertive behavior can engage their high intelligence and make training much easier for you both. Otherwise you may run into the “stubborn” side of the Rottweiler.
Why Are Rottweilers So Stubborn?
Rottweilers are naturally more of an independent and willful dog. Their high level of intelligence paired with this willfulness can be called stubborn by some. There is, however, a difference between a “stubborn” Rottweiler, and a “willful” Rottweiler.
A stubborn Rottweiler would have an attitude of “you can’t make me do that no matter what”, which is rarely the case. A more likely case is they are thinking “WHY should I do what you are asking?” This is the more common willful attitude of your Rottie.
They are excellent at observing and working out problems. Part of the hesitation you may see from your Rottweiler is them assessing the situation and figuring things out. This goes back to their intelligence as a breed. Your job is to convince them of the “Why” they should do as you ask.
Demonstrating the proper leadership and early, consistent training can bypass this willfulness and make training you “stubborn” Rottweiler that much easier and more enjoyable for you both.
How To Train A Rottweiler – 10 Basic Tips
There are few basic tips when it comes to how to train a Rottweiler. These can be used for any breed of dog really, but are especially important for large, powerful, and highly intelligent dogs like the Rottweiler.
These tips can make all the difference between having an overly willful, disengaged, and unruly Rottweiler in your home, or a well balanced obedient Rottweiler.
Keep It Short
Whether you are working on basic obedience commands or more advanced tricks, keep your training sessions short. 15-20 minute training sessions are a great chunk of time to practice and keep your dog focused and engaged.
The Rottweiler can pick up commands very easily and become bored with too much repetition, so try and increase the challenge as they learn.
It may not seem like a lot of time, but over time, these 15 minute training sessions really add up.
Keep It Consistent
Short 15-20 minute training sessions done everyday or a couple times throughout the day can reap great rewards in both the short and long term. This will be especially important with your Rottweiler.
Consistency is key with this breed and they need to be constantly strengthening their skills, as well as seeing you as the leader.
This will continually reinforce the behaviors and commands you are trying to pass to your Rottweiler, and will further solidify your bond with them on a daily basis.
Keep It Fun!
Rotties love to have fun, and engage with their family. They can become bored quite easily so making training engaging for them in your 15-20 minute daily sessions will ensure they are eager to continue learning.
Be sure not to get your Rottweiler too excited during this time. There is a difference between having fun and getting them wound up. Challenges and rewards in the form of treats and praise are great fun for the smart Rottweiler. Getting them excited will distract from the training.
Keep It Positive
Combining engaging activities with positive reinforcement will provide the best results when it comes to training your Rottweiler. They respond very well to firm commands and positive reinforcement.
If you find yourself getting frustrated, angry, or even yelling, then it’s time to stop the training session and try again later.
Both you and your Rottie will do better when things are done in a positive manner. Your Rottweiler will immediately see your frustration and lack of calm leadership, and this will get you nowhere.
Keep Them Fit
Giving your Rottweiler the proper nutrition, and the right amount of food can ensure they have the most optimal cognitive functions. A premium dog food can along with a good amount of exercise can be one of your best tools to have a Rottweiler willing and able to train.
Give Them Exercise
Rottweilers are working breed dogs and are full of energy. Giving your Rottie a good amount of exercise before a training session can help them focus on the task at hand. Taking a well mannered brisk walk and ending it with your training session can be an ideal setup for success.
While on your walk make sure that your Rottweiler is heeling and walking nicely beside you. This is the single most important activity you will do together, and training to heel and walk loose leash will create a very strong leader/follower bond. This makes all other training activities that much easier for your Rottweiler.
Give Them Activities
Giving your Rottweiler the physical exercise their high energy demands is important. Equally as important is their mental exercise. Rottweilers can get bored very easy when not given a job or challenge. Providing your Rottie with activities to stimulate their brain can provide fantastic results when it comes to behavior, and engaging them in training sessions.
Give Them Friends
Basic obedience is important. Leash manners, establishing house rules are also important. Socializing your Rottweiler from an early age is crucial in their development. The Rottweiler can be a rough and tumble play companion, and can also develop aggression issues with other animals when not properly socialized.
Early socialization is one of the biggest factors in raising a well behaved and balanced Rottweiler. They learn how to play, interact, and be social with other dogs, and people. Expose your Rottie puppy to as many dogs, people, sounds, smells, and different environments as you can.
By doing this you can bypass many behavioral issues that can develop around anxiety, fear, and protectiveness.
Give Them Rules
Sit, stay, down, off, and leave it are a great start for commands, but understanding rules of the household are as well. Your Rottweiler needs to understand their boundaries, whether that be not being on your bed, or jumping up to greet you. Firm and consistent rules are a must with the Rottweiler.
Work on establishing boundaries both in the home and personal space on a daily basis.
Start your training early with your Rottweiler puppy. Like children, puppies are little sponges and will learn a lot and fast, especially the highly intelligent Rottweiler.
This can be learning good behaviors and establishing your role as pack leader, or they can be learning what they can get away with, and assert themselves as the boss. Starting training early is your best course of action to avoid this behavior.
What Age Do You Start Training A Rottweiler?
Training your Rottweiler begins on day 1 of being in your home. Your Rottweiler puppy can start learning basic commands as early as 6 weeks old, and by the age of 6 months will have mastered them as well as some more advanced training.
Keep the training positive, fun, and consistent on a daily basis and you will be amazed at their progress.
Starting your training at a very young age with your Rottweiler is important because it establishes your bond as well as your role as pack leader. As your puppy reaches their teenage years you may begin to see a little more willful and challenging behavior. Keeping things calm, firm, and consistent can ensure you maintain your roles as they become a little more eager to test their limits.
Socialization from an early age is just as important. Once your Rottweiler puppy has had their necessary shots and is ready to explore the world, you get out there and explore.
Introduce your puppy to as many things as possible. Keep socialization activities fun and positive at all times, and allow them to explore and learn with other dogs, people and environments.
I cannot stress how important this early training and socialization is for making your Rottweiler training much easier. Laying a strong foundation in the early days will reap years of benefits when it comes to temperament and behavior.
How Do You Discipline A Rottweiler?
Discipline with your Rottweiler should always be fair and timely, and never involve shouting or physical abuse of any sort. When you catch your Rottweiler doing a bad behavior, say chewing on the couch, you correct immediately with a “No!” and redirect them from the activity and ignore them.
The key is catching them doing the behavior.
If you come home from work for example and your Rottweiler has destroyed the arm of the couch, discipline in this moment has passed it’s window of effectiveness. Saying “No!” or getting upset with them won’t work because they don’t know what they did wrong.
They have a short term memory, and chewing the couch early that day and being told “No!” won’t connect.
Ignoring your Rottweiler after a bad behavior has been corrected is a very effective discipline method. Rottweilers love their family and to interact with the family. Being ignored as a form of discipline after the “No!” correction shows them this behavior has consequences.
When rules are broken they get no attention from their family for a short period of time.
The couch getting damaged while you were away is on you however, and nobody else. Being proactive about your Rottweiler being left alone and what sort of trouble they can get into is your responsibility. Discipline has to be done in the moment of the behavior, or not at all.
There are some reasons why things are getting destroyed when leaving your Rottweiler at home. They are a very family oriented breed and may have some separation anxiety.
Rottweilers can also get bored very easy, and have a lot of pent up energy if not exercised enough. Giving them plenty of exercise before leaving the home can prevent these destructive behaviors.
How Much Exercise Does A Rottweiler Need A Day?
Rottweilers are very high energy working dogs and will need up to 2 hours of exercise everyday. This can be broken into separate 1 hour walks and activities throughout the day, but to ensure your Rottweiler is burning off all that energy in a positive and constructive manner, you need an exercise routine.
Giving your Rottweiler the right amount of exercise each day will drastically improve your ability to train them easily, as well as avoid unwanted behavior issues. Burning off that high level of energy allows for your Rottweiler to be in a calm and peaceful state which can be optimal for short training sessions. As well as your own peace of mind.
Walking your Rottweiler for an hour each and everyday should be a part of your routine. This is the absolute best way to establish your role as pack leader and strengthen your relationship with your dog.
Your Rottweiler should be heeling on the walks and following you. Do not let your Rottweiler walk you by pulling on the leash out in front.
If you Rottweiler is pulling on the leash you need to work on this training immediately. Do not engage in tug of war challenges with your Rottie, instead when they start to pull, you change directions to get them to follow you. Or you stop completely.
Teach them that pulling doesn’t mean forward progress on the walk, only when they are at your side with no tension on the leash. They must follow your lead.
How Do I Keep My Rottweiler Busy?
Along with a daily walk, you can provide your Rottweiler with a variety of other physical and mentally stimulating activities to keep them busy. Mental stimulation for your Rottie is important as they love a good challenge and a job to perform. Some great activities you can do with your Rottweiler are:
Playing a good old fashion game of fetch with your Rottweiler is an excellent way to give them exercise and work in some obedience training. Challenging your dog to bring the ball or frisbee directly back to you, and wait for the release command after throwing is great mental stimulation.
Now if you’ve ever met a Rottie, you know they can be a little slobbery with their toys. So if you want to play some hands free fetch to keep yourself a little cleaner grabbing yourself a ChuckIt! Ball Launcher on Amazon is a great choice.
And if you really want to have some fun, the Nerf Dog Tennis Ball Blaster Dog Toy on Amazon is a great option. You may have more fun than your dog when playing.
Nerf Dog Tennis Ball Blaster Dog Toy
Take aim with the new 16″ hand-held Nerf Dog Tennis Ball Blaster! High-powered blasting action launches your dog’s favorite fetching tennis ball over 50ft in the air.
Rottweilers can do agility as an added way to give them exercise and mental stimulation. Agility suits Rottweiler perfect due to their high intelligence and energy levels. They often excel in this sport as a working dog breed and will absolutely love the challenge.
Many cities have agility courses that you can use as practice facilities, but they can be a little pricey or hard to find. Setting up your own course in your yard is always an option, just make sure that everything is safe. You don’t want any accidents during your training.
Flirt poles can be a great way to have your Rottweiler channel their prey drive and develop their coordination skills as a puppy. They make a great supplementary exercise tool to give them both physical and mental stimulation.
One of the best flirt poles on the market, designed for large breed dogs, is the Weiba Dog Teaser on Amazon. These are designed for large breeds and have an extendable pole.
Tug-of-War can be a great interactive game you can play with your Rottweiler. Giving them a chance to exert some of their strength and determination while playing with their best friend.
It is important for you to train your Rottweiler to release on command when introducing this game. The dog has to know you are in charge at all times, and at a moment’s notice they must release the tug toy. Use this game as an exercise to develop this obedience command.
My Staffordshire Bull Terrier LOVES to play tug, and practicing the release command is great fun for us both. Our go to tug toy is always ropes. They make great Tug-of-War toys, as well as chew toys when the game is done. I highly recommend the one we use, the BlueIsland Dog Rope.
Spring poles can be a great activity for your Rottweiler to play tug-of-war with themselves. These are easy to setup in your yard and can give your dog some great exercise. This should be used as a supplementary activity and not your main form of exercise.
There are a large variety of strong spring poles you can find on Amazon like the Dibbatu for large dogs.
Puzzle games can be a great way to feed your dog their meals, or just a few yummy treats during the day. A Puzzle game will give your dog a chance to really engage with the toy giving them an excellent amount of mental exercise as they try to get to that delicious food.
I often use a Kong with my Staffy. Typically I fill up the Kong with her food and plug the end with some ice cubes, or thick wet food to make it extra challenging. Recently however we picked up this Piffzedo Dog Chew Toy on Amazon, because honestly it looks awesome, and works great.
PIFFZEDO Dog Chew Toy Slow Feeder for Heavy Chewers
The product is designed with the Viking warrior helmet as the main point, both slow feeding, chewing and grinding teeth function. It can be used to polish teeth while giving the product a wilder, more powerful look!
Search & Find
Playing a game like Search & Find is a fantastic game to engage your Rottweiler. The mental challenge of finding hidden treats or toys in the house or yard gives them a mentally stimulating job to perform, with a reward at the end.
If you want to add in some extra layers of training, you can try and teach your dog the “Hot & Cold” commands to alert them of their proximity to their treat. Just like you may have played as a kid, use this extra time to interact and challenge your Rottweiler.
Can Rottweilers Swim?
Though it has been done, and can be done, a Rottweiler for the most part can’t swim. Their large and muscular frame along with that giant head of theirs, don’t make for an agile swimming physique.
Water sports are not the ideal activity for your Rottweiler. Best to avoid unless this activity or exercise with every precaution including life jackets.
How Long Does It Take To Train A Rottweiler?
Training a Rottweiler can take up to about 3 month for them to learn and master basic commands. Starting your Rottweiler puppy training as soon as possible can ensure that by 6 months old they have a strong command of all the basics, and some more advanced commands and rules around the house.
That being said, your Rottweiler’s training should never really stop. Training a Rottweiler should be a lifelong journey you take together. Consistent daily training will help reinforce the good behaviors, and build a strong relationship to prevent the bad behaviors.
Make training your Rottweiler a part of your daily routine from the time they are a puppy until they are well into old age and still willing to engage. These animals are so smart, and not engaging that big brain of theirs would be such a waste of potential.
The Rottweiler is capable of learning so much from you, why not take advantage of that and train up the best dog in the neighborhood.
Are Rottweilers Good For First Time Owners?
Though the Rottweiler can be easy to train, they are not for everyone. First time owners of a dog, or a dog like the Rottweiler may not be equipped with the right personality to handle this large wilful breed. Owning a Rottweiler is a serious commitment for a serious dog, and may not suit first time owners.
The American Rottweiler Club has touted the breed as an exception dog. Heck they made a club about them so of course they think they are great animals. However even they want that a Rottweiler may not be the best choice for first time owners.
“Those of us who own them find they are wonderful pets and dearly love them. BUT . . . although we believe the Rottweiler approaches being the perfect dog, THEY ARE NOT FOR EVERYONE. Owning any dog involves certain responsibilities and this is particularly true of a large, protective breed. AS A ROTTWEILER OWNER, YOU ASSUME THE OBLIGATION OF CARING FOR AND CONTROLLING A DOG WHO IS PROBABLY GOING TO BE STRONGER THAN YOU ARE.”American Rottweiler Club
Consider why you want a Rottweiler as your first dog, and evaluate the level of commitment you have to put into their training and development as an ideal family pet. Giving this breed any bad press because an owner was negligent or unequipped to handle them is the last thing this beautiful breed needs.
When you have committed and are going to get a Rottweiler, seek out as much knowledge and education as you can about the breed, as well as training materials. Seek professional help, read lots of books, and set yourself, and the dog up for success.