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3 Rottweiler Aggression Signs And 4 Common Causes

3 Rottweiler Aggression Signs And 4 Common Causes

The Rottweiler is a breed that has some misconceptions tied with its name. They make the best guard dogs. They have it in their nature to protect their owner and their territory. But, does this make Rottweilers aggressive dogs? The short answer is no.

Every dog breed can show signs of aggression, and this is no different with Rotties, but unfortunately, their name, along with Pitbulls, are mostly connected with aggressive behavior. Why is that? Well, if you have an encounter with this dog, the first thing you will notice is its size and its muscles.

This can, of course, be intimidating, but we can assure you that they are truly gentle giants. They make perfect family members, and they are amazing with kids. But, the thing is that you need to start training and socializing your Rottie while it is a puppy.

They are also known to have the strongest bite out of all the other breeds, which can also contribute to the thought of them having aggressive tendencies and problems with bad behavior.

One thing we want to make clear is that no dog is born aggressive. They can be more stubborn, hyper, or louder, but never aggressive. Most of the time, we, as humans, are to blame if your dog starts to show behavior problems.

We will present you with some Rottweiler aggression signs, and what can possibly cause them.

Rottweiler Aggression Signs That You Should Know

aggressive rottweiler outdoor

As a dog owner, the last thing you want your dog to do is show signs of aggression towards you or other people and animals. This breed of dog sometimes can exhibit the behavior of a pack leader. It is important that you teach your Rottweiler puppy that you are the leader of the house.

They can show some behavioral issues, like any dog breed, but because of their intimidating looks, they truly are the ones that are bashed the most. Rottweilers are considered to be a dangerous breed sometimes because of the way they look. These dogs are used as police dogs, guard dogs, and even therapy dogs. This is similar to German Shepherds, but they aren’t connected with a bad reputation like Rottweilers.

But, if you end up with an aggressive Rottweiler, we are going to list you with some warning signs of aggression that you might want to look after.

– Growling and snarling

– Snapping

– Biting

– Nipping

– Lunging

– Barking

Some of these, like barking, nipping, and sometimes even growling can be considered as playful dog behavior. You need to monitor your dog from a young age, and know how to distinguish bad from good behavior. You need to learn how to read your dog’s body language.

As a female Rottweiler owner, you need to know that your dog will probably show some of these signs when having a litter. This is the way she protects her babies, even from you. This doesn’t mean that every female Rottweiler will showcase this behavior, but we want you to keep that in mind.

Now that we listed potential signs of aggression, we will describe them a bit.

Growling And Snarling

Growling is the most common sign when a dog is showing that they are mad about something. They used to show some other emotions, which is why sometimes dog owners can’t really understand what their dog wants to show them just by growling.

But, we can say for sure that if your dog is standing still in front of you or any other person or animal, and is staring you directly in the eyes and growling, you can consider that to be a problem.

Another thing that can definitely indicate that your dog might have some aggressiveness is showing their teeth while growling. This is called snarling, and this is the way your dog is showing you that there is something bothering them for sure.

This is a bit harder to notice when they are puppies, but if you see that their growling is a bit unusual and you don’t know how to handle it, you can always take them to obedience training. At least you can find a professional who can assess the situation.


Biting is also one of those things that can be interpreted as either playful behavior or a sign of aggression. This can get confusing when looking at a Rottweiler puppy since puppies tend to play mostly by biting or nibbling.

Nibbling is mostly a friendly sign, but sometimes it can be a sign of aggression. This is the most difficult one to identify. If you think that your puppy is biting a bit too much or that your dog is nibbling on you frequently, you can always ask a professional for their opinion.

The thing that can surely tell you that your dog might be showing signs of aggression, whether it is a puppy or an old Rottweiler, is biting without letting go. When they are a puppy, you can hire a dog trainer to stop those types of dog bites.

But, if your adult dog does this, especially a Rottweiler breed, this can be really dangerous. It can seriously harm you, other people, or other animals. This is something that needs to be corrected immediately.

Charging With No Contact

This is a sign of aggression that you can not mistake for any other behavior than aggression or a guarding instinct. If your Rottie sees you getting attacked or senses that there is something dangerous, they usually charge and then go into attack mode.

But, charging or snapping without being touched or provoked is a sign of potential aggression. Puppies sometimes have a moment where they do this in order to look bigger or more intimidating. But, if you notice them doing it regularly, you should start training them.

This can turn into a real dog attack so as soon as you notice your dog doing this, start the obedience training.

Types Of Aggression

Aggressive Rottweiler Barking and Showing Teeth

When talking about aggression, you can see that it is a bit more complex than it seems. A lot of people think that if dogs show any sign of aggression, they are going to be mad about anything and everything.

Well, this is not true in most cases. Some Rottweilers, or any dog, have some triggers that can possibly cause aggression. Sometimes, it is fear – sometimes it is shown just when they are eating or when they see another dog.

There are a lot of types of aggression, and we will list a couple of main ones and their potential signs.

Signs Of Fear Aggression

When you think of fear in dogs, you probably think of a tucked tail, ears that are low, and your dog taking a lower position and running to you. Well, sometimes this isn’t the case. Some Rottweilers show fear by showcasing signs of aggression.

Some of those signs are lunging at other dogs and people, growling and showing their teeth, barking uncontrollably, and in the worst-case scenario, going for a full attack. This will mostly happen if your dog was previously attacked by another dog, especially if the attack happened when they were young.

Another thing that might cause this behavior is psychological or physical abuse by a previous owner. Since the Rottweiler dog is one of the most common dogs used in dog fights (and if you rescued a Rottweiler that was used for that reason), you can expect them to have this issue.

If your Rottie was previously owned by a male dog owner who was abusive, that Rottweiler is probably going to have fear aggression towards almost every male.

These cases are unfortunate, and they can sometimes be reduced by a proper training program that is specific for this problem.

Try not to punish straight away or lunge or scream at your dog if you know that it had a difficult past. The worst you can do is hit them as a form of punishment. This can only lead to worse behavior and trauma, and even an attack. Try using positive reinforcement and staying as calm as possible.

This is why we advise you that adopting this type of Rottweiler should be done by someone more experienced.

READ MORE: Will My Dog Forgive Me For Hitting Him

Signs Of Dominant Aggression

Almost every male Rottweiler will show some type of dominant behavior at some point in their life. This is most common around the one-year mark because this is thought to be the phase when their natural instincts kick in.

This is something that needs to be worked on since the day they come to your house. Dog training, whether by a professional or by yourself, is the key when talking about dominance problems.

Some of the signs of dominant aggression include your dog demanding attention all the time, blocking the path of other dogs or people, mounting legs of other dogs, putting their head on another dog’s back or shoulders, putting himself between other dogs or people and you, lunging for no reason, etc.

Mostly, these Rottweilers have an issue with separation anxiety. Another thing to know is you should never test your dog’s behavior in a dog park. If you think your dog has a problem with dominance aggression, seek help from professionals or try to solve the problem yourself in a more secluded area.

Dog-To-Dog Aggression

Some of the signs of dog-to-dog aggression are lunging, staring at the other dog’s eyes, pricked ears, showing teeth and growling, posturing, coming close to the other dog’s face and growling, raised hackles, etc.

This type of behavior is common with Rottweilers that were attacked by another dog or were in dog fights for some period of their life. If that is the case, you almost need to re-teach them how to relax and play with dogs normally, and that not every dog will cause them harm.

This can be a problem that can affect the quality of your dog’s life. You may ask yourself why? Well, most owners try to solve this problem by avoiding other dogs completely. Your dog will not have any dog friends, and dog park time will be reduced to a minimum.

You won’t have the freedom of letting your dog play and run. You will always be on the lookout for another dog if you decide to let your dog run for a bit.

To relieve both yourself and your Rottweiler of the stress, hire a professional to help your dog with this problem.

Causes Of Aggression In Rottweilers

Rottweiler guard dog on training

It can truly be heartbreaking if you see your Rottie showing signs of aggression. This can happen with a bit more of an inexperienced owner. But, sometimes it has nothing to do with you, but with the previous owner.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) defines Rottweilers as being gentle, caring, and loving dogs so who could imagine that this type of dog could be anywhere near aggressive. Well, there are some stimuli and reasons that can turn a loving Rottie into an aggressive one.

Lack Of Socialization

When dogs are puppies, the way they are introduced to the world is by socialization. The other thing they can learn is who to trust and who not to trust. Since Rottweilers have a natural guarding instinct, and can be very protective, if they are not socialized when they are young, they can think that every other person or animal could be a threat.

This is usually showcased by being aggressive to other people and animals, but not to you. These dogs can also become really clingy and, because of that, really possessive, which can also cause aggression.

If they get used to meeting and being around a lot of people and animals, they probably won’t show any sign of aggression in the future. Dogs that are properly socialized when young can later on make amazing service dogs.

But, don’t worry – there are ways to socialize aggressive dogs. This should be done by a professional who knows how to handle a dog that has some aggressive tendencies. Sometimes, some Rotties are unfixable, but you need to give them a chance.

Lack Of Exercise

Exercise is something that is very important when it comes to Rottweilers. They need at least one to two hours a day of being active. The AKC recommends that two hours a day is the best option for this breed.

If deprived of exercise, they can show unusual behavior, which can end up as aggression. Just as humans, Rotties that aren’t exercised enough bottle up their energy and emotions, which is the main reason for aggressive behavior.

If you are busy sometimes, try to find someone who you trust that can take your dog out for a playdate, or hire a professional dog walker.

Lack Of Training

This is the most common cause of aggression, especially with this breed. Rottweilers are intelligent dogs that need mental stimulation. They have a personality of their own, and usually, this needs to be regulated by we humans.

If your dog doesn’t go through proper training, which doesn’t need to be anything too intense, it could cause them not to know how to behave in any situation. They will behave how they feel they need to – not the way they are supposed to.

Since they don’t know the rules, they will mostly show a bit of mischievous and playful behavior, which can frustrate a lot of owners. Because of this, owners try to discipline them, and by doing that, they will only confuse the dog.

When you add all that up, you will end up with a confused dog that can show signs of aggression. It is best to correct this as soon as possible by starting the training from a young age. There is a saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Well, in some cases, that is not true.

If you think that you can’t do it yourself, you can always contact a professional dog trainer.

Psychological Trauma

This is a reason that will definitely cause your Rottweiler to become aggressive. Mostly, this is showcased as fear aggression. This is a hard case, and you should be more experienced when handling these dogs.

As we already mentioned, Rottweilers are commonly used for dog fights, which can cause them serious trauma. These dogs show aggression toward other dogs and other people.

Also, since they are guard dogs, sometimes bad owners think that they need to be aggressive in order to be good guard dogs. Since Rotties are kind by nature, they sometimes refuse to be as aggressive as their previous owner wanted them to be.

Unfortunately, because of this, they are usually mistreated physically and left. This can cause extra trauma. These dogs will need a lot of attention, and you need to shower them with all the love in the world.


Aggressive Rottweiler barking mad

At What Age Do Rottweilers Become Aggressive?

The first thing that we need to say is that not all Rottweilers become aggressive. In fact, a small percentage of them do become aggressive, and it is mostly because of we humans.

There is no specific age that we can say for sure can showcase their aggressive signs. Like most male dogs, male Rottweilers can also show some dominant behavior when they turn one year old.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that they will turn out to be aggressive at that point, but you need to be more careful with training and socializing during that period.

What Do You Do If Your Rottweiler Growls At You?

Firstly, you need to assess whether this is their playful side coming through or if it is a sign of aggression that could potentially lead to an attack. At that moment, you shouldn’t react angrily and shout and punish the dog because it could turn out badly for you.

Try to use positive reinforcement, give them their favorite toy or treat, stay calm, use their favorite words, and do anything that can calm them down at that moment. After that, you should seek help from a professional.

Try to do these things as soon as possible before you end up with an even bigger problem.

In Conclusion

The important thing is to never imply that one breed is aggressive while others aren’t. No breed is aggressive if treated properly. Some dogs like Pitbulls, Bull Terriers, Staffordshires, and Rottweilers included are breeds that have a more scary and powerful look to them. This is the reason why these breeds are unfortunately used in dog fights where bad stereotypes begin.

A Rottweiler’s behavior can go from cuddling to guarding in a second, but this is mostly because they are trained to protect their family. If your dog hasn’t been surrounded by any aggression triggers, and it has had proper training, you have no reason to worry.

We hope that we have helped you by listing some Rottweiler aggression signs. As soon as you notice any of them, react. But, we are sure that you are a responsible dog owner, and that you will do anything to make sure that your dog will live a long and happy life.

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