Rottweilers are one of the most popular family dogs, according to the American Kennel Club, and little wonder. Many people like the intelligence, energy, and looks of this powerfully built, handsome breed. But this dog has made negative headlines and has a fearsome reputation. So, are Rottweilers good with kids and babies?
We take a look at the Rottweiler’s character and the traits that make it what it is. We then see whether it’s really suitable for families with kids and babies, and why. We discuss ways you can train your dog and kids to behave around each other. And we talk about the things you shouldn’t do if you want to raise a child-loving Rottweiler.
Are Rottweilers Good With Kids?
If you take care to raise your Rottweiler lovingly and teach him well, the answer is yes. It is also a big yes if you teach your kids how to behave around a dog. This energetic, loving, and loyal dog will be the perfect playmate for your kids. He’ll even lay down his life to save theirs should circumstances dictate.
A well-socialized pup that knows his place in the pack will be a joy with the kids. He will bond with every family member, however little they may be. You just need to be aware of his physical strength and strong instinct to guard and protect.
Are Rottweilers Good With Babies?
Rottweilers will usually protect the smaller members of their pack, including your precious little tot. They’re very unlikely to intentionally harm your baby in any way. It’s just that they can sometimes fail to realize their own strength and size.
Pups, in particular, are babies themselves, and may accidentally push a tot over while trying to play. But if you teach your Rottweiler pup how to behave, he’ll make a great companion for your baby. Just remember that no dog should ever be left unsupervised with any baby, regardless of breed.
How to Train a Rottweiler to be Around Kids and Babies?
Rottweilers are a very intelligent breed, very loyal to their owners. They can also be surprisingly patient with kids, even when the kids encroach on their personal space. Even so, it’s not a good idea to just leave things to themselves. There’s a lot you can do to help make sure your Rottweiler is good around kids and babies.
Socialize Your Pup Early On
Don’t wait for your Rottweiler pup to get older before getting him to meet people. Expose him to as many different people of all ages as possible. Do your best to get him to meet all your family members early on and get used to them. Rottweilers are protective dogs, so understanding who is part of their pack is vital to avoiding unwanted aggression.
Just as with humans, a dog’s habits are best formed early on. Expose him to all sorts of situations, including noisy, rambunctious ones with kids. He will learn to stay calm and take it in stride instead of reacting nervously or aggressively.
Establish Some Basic Rules
Dogs are social pack animals and do best in a structured environment with a lot of constants. Your Rottweiler will feel more secure if he knows exactly what is and isn’t allowed. Establish some house rules from the word go. Then stick to them like glue.
Your dog shouldn’t eat from your kids’ plates and vice-versa. He should know not to grab toys from the kids’ hands, and to step aside when anyone is passing by. Whatever rules you establish for your dog, stay firm. Make sure all family members enforce them, too, not just yourself.
Practice Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is one of the best ways to get your dog doing what you want it to. Encourage good behavior around your kids with lots of attention, praise, and treats. At the same time, ignore any bad behavior. Rottweilers are intelligent dogs, and they’ll soon put two and two together. They’ll start associating your kids with good things.
As soon as this mental association is formed, your Rottweiler will naturally start behaving well around your kids. This, in turn, reduces the chance that the kids will be startled or frightened by the dog and react in a way that provokes him to act aggressively.
Respect Your Dog’s Feelings
Dogs, just like human beings, have very individual personalities. They also have moods. Your Rottweiler may initially be reluctant to hang out with the kids. He might be anxious or fearful around them.
If this is the case, don’t try to force the dog into anything. Let him take his time getting used to your kids. Reward him with praise for every step made forward, but don’t punish him for being reluctant.
Use Crate Training
Rottweilers generally love kids. But the noise and rough-and-tumble can get too much for anyone. Your pup will do better around the kids if he knows he has an escape route. Teaching your pup to see his crate as his personal safe haven can do a lot of good.
A crate-trained Rottweiler will see his crate as a safe, relaxing spot to be. Any time things get a bit too much with the kids, he’ll know he can go there and not be disturbed. It will go a long way in preventing any kind of aggression towards the kids.
(Find out more about crate training your rottweiler puppy.)
Train Your Rottweiler to Not Jump On People
Rottweilers are big, energetic dogs. They may not mean any harm, but if they jump on somebody when they get excited, they could cause an accident. It is especially true if the individual is a smaller, lighter child.
Use commands and positive reinforcement to teach your dog not to jump on people. Be firm in your training until he stops doing it. It will ensure that there are no scrapes or broken bones from a kid being bowled over.
And if you haven’t given your rottweiler any formal training, now is the perfect time to start. Training your rottweiler properly, is the best way to get them to act appropriately around children and babies.
If you’re not sure how to train them, then I highly recommend checking out Brain Training For Dogs. It’s a training program based on positive reinforcement instead of punishment. Which has proven to be more effective.
If you want to find out more about Brain Training For Dogs, you can read the review here.
Get The Dog Used to Baby Sounds and Scents
It is especially crucial if you’re expecting a new baby in the house. Give your Rottweiler a chance to get used to all the baby stuff. Let him have a good look and sniff at the pram, new clothes, bottles, toys, and so on.
It’s also a good idea to have him visit dog-friendly people with babies, or have them visit you. Keep him on a leash, so you have full control at all times. Reward good behavior with positive reinforcement.
Never Leave Your Dog and Kids Unattended
You can socialize your Rottweiler and invest some time in his training. It will undoubtedly make him a better dog. But remember, at the end of the day, both your pet and your kid are your responsibility. Never leave them together unattended.
Your dog may not intentionally bite your kid, but it could happen as a reaction to something your child did that the dog didn’t like. The simplest solution is to always have both in your sight.
How to Teach Your Kids to Act Around Your Rottweiler?
You can thoroughly socialize your dog and teach him to behave well around kids. But it could all come to nothing if your kids don’t know how to behave around your dog. Teaching your kids how to act around your Rottweiler is just as important as training the dog itself.
Get Your Kids to Help
Get your kids to help you take care of your newly arrived Rottweiler pup. It is a great way to get the kids used to having a dog around the house. Involving the kids in walking, feeding, and grooming your Rottweiler will make them feel more connected to the dog. Even a very young child can join in at his or her level of capability.
Taking care of the pup will help the kids understand that he’s a living, breathing animal. They will realize that he is not just a stuffed toy and needs to be treated with care. It will also help your kids understand that there are rules involved.
Teach the Kids to Reward the Dog
Show your kids how to reward and praise your Rottweiler pup. It is a great way to get the kids to approach your dog correctly, especially if they are fearful of it. Your dog will realize that kids are to be loved and respected, reinforcing his good behavior around them.
Your Rottweiler’s Crate is Out of Bounds
Your kids must learn not to encroach on your Rottweiler’s personal space. Just as you get frustrated and stressed when someone is too much in your face, so does your dog. Kids often do this inadvertently, giving the dog no peace.
The crate is your Rottweiler’s escape route. It is his personal space where he feels safe from all threats. It must remain so. Teach your kids, even the youngest crawling babies, that the dog’s crate is off-limits.
Kids Shouldn’t Mess with Your Dog’s Food
Another important lesson your kids need to learn is to leave the dog alone when he’s eating. It’s okay (and a good thing) for them to participate in feeding him. But once the food is in his dish and he has permission to eat, he needs to be left in peace.
Your dog is likely to view kids messing around with his food as a threat and respond in kind. Just as he isn’t allowed to take their food, they shouldn’t be allowed to take his.
Teach Your Kids to Read Dog Behavior
Nobody is asking your kids to understand everything the dog does. But it can save your dog a lot of emotional stress if the kids know when to leave him alone. Rottweilers generally love kids, but they will sometimes want their space too.
Teaching your kids to understand when your dog is looking anxious or aggressive will stave off potential problem situations. It is also helpful to the kids when dealing with other dogs. Your Rottweiler may be friendly and love them, but not every other dog will. Knowing when to leave a dog alone is important for your kids’ safety.
Teach Your Kids to Be Polite to the Dog
Rottweilers are strong and sturdy, and will often happily join in rough-and-tumble games with the kids. But there are times when the dog will not enjoy this kind of handling, for example when it is sleeping.
Kids need to be taught to always approach a dog calmly and handle him appropriately. Young kids love to scream and make a lot of noise, which many dogs will not like. They also find it natural to hug, another thing your dog doesn’t naturally like.
Teach the kids the correct way to approach and pet a dog. Teach them to be polite and treat him with respect, and they’ll be the best of friends.
What to Avoid Doing?
Given proper socializing and training, Rottweilers make brilliant family dogs. Energetic, affectionate, and loyal, they want to be a part of every family activity. Are Rottweilers good with kids and babies?
They most definitely can be. It’s all about how you raise your dog. And let’s be honest, it’s also about how you teach your kids to behave. Even the gentlest dog can turn aggressive if provoked enough. There are some things you should never do to prevent any nasty situations from happening.
Never Let the Kids Hit, Throw Toys At or Shout at Your Rottweiler
Kids need to be taught to treat all animals with kindness and respect. Hitting the dog or yelling at it, throwing toys at it and sitting on it, is not going to result in anything good. Your Rottweiler may be patient and put up with this kind of behavior for a good, long while.
However, just as with humans, sooner or later, the dog will decide it has had enough and explode. It is something very easily avoided simply by teaching the kids to treat the dog with respect.
Don’t Yell at Your Rottweiler
Yelling at a Rottweiler is never a good idea, but this is especially true around your kids. He may be jumping on them or doing something else you don’t want him to do. But yelling at him will only make him feel insecure and create negative associations around the idea of being near kids. It may also freak your kids out and make them panic, making the situation even worse.
If a dog really must be restrained, do so firmly, but gently, without any yelling. And it goes without saying, but never hit your dog either.
Teach Your Kids Not to Pull Things Out of Your Rottweilers Mouth
Whether it’s a toy, bone, or tasty treat, your kids should never try to take it out of your Rottweiler’s mouth. Dogs see this as a direct threat and sign of aggression. Far from all dogs will tolerate this kind of behavior from children.
Teach the dog to drop what it is holding on command, and teach the kids this command. Make sure the kids understand that if the dog doesn’t listen, they should come to an adult for help.
Never, Ever Leave the Kids and Your Rottweiler Together Unattended
We’ve already mentioned this, but it bears saying again. If you have kids and a dog (any dog, not just a Rottweiler), never leave them without supervision. It can and has caused all sorts of incidents, including fatalities.
A simple hug from a child may be interpreted as an act of aggression by a dog. There are so many things a young child or baby can inadvertently do to provoke your pet. Always make sure both the child and your Rottweiler are in sight.
Rottweilers are a strong, intelligent, and loyal breed of dog. They are physically very strong, with a stocky, muscular build. Media and film have given them a largely undeserved reputation for being aggressive and dangerous.
The truth is that if raised lovingly and socialized well at an early age, Rottweilers make great family dogs. They are energetic and affectionate and will want to be a part of the family in every way.
Are Rottweilers good with kids and babies? In a word, yes. All you need to do is be a responsible dog owner and be aware of your dog’s needs. Invest some time in making sure both your dog and your kids know how to handle each other.
Socialize your pup from early on, and establish some ground rules. Never yell at your dog for doing something wrong. Instead, use positive reinforcement. Give him a chance to get used to baby sounds and smells, and teach him not to jump on anyone, not just kids. Finally, make sure he has a personal space, such as a crate, where he can go to get some peace.
Likewise, make sure your kids know to treat your dog with respect. Teach them how to approach your dog and care for him. They need to learn to understand when he’s anxious or stressed and leave him alone. Equally important, teach them what not to do around your dog.