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Thread: Rottweilers and Children

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    I've seen many a posts in forums about dogs and children. Common problems: Parents fearing for their loved ones - wondering what breed is right for their family, along with people having problems with their own dog biting them. Below is one of several letters I've wrote/e-mailed to people over the years when seeking out my advice. I hope this can shed some light on the subject...<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" />

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    How are Rottweilers around children?

    You have a very good question that is not easily answered. I have mixed issues with this because I’m honest about what can happen, but also know that bad things don’t always happen if people are careful, responsible, and have knowledge. I love this breed with all my heart, but I’m telling you straight up, they are not for everyone or for every type of family home setting!

    Generally, any dog is good with children if they are raised accordingly. I can honestly say, it wouldn't be wise to allow other people's children to play with a dog without having some type of special insurance coverage protecting you from accidents, bites, or even worse, death. I’m telling you right now that many of us pet owners who have Rottweilers are having difficulty finding home-owner’s insurance. Also, most parents if not familiar with the breed - hate them from fear and bad P.R. I know this from doing therapy dog work and just walking with my dogs in public.

    By sure size alone,a dogcan bump and hurt kids from just being large breed dogs. They hurt me and I’m a grown adult! Just stepping on my foot can make me scream at times. The dogs don’t do this intentionally and I know that, but what if a child was stepped on, then hit the dog! What would happen then?

    Do you have help to watch the kids and keep them away from the dog, since you said they would be together most of the time? Most children don't know how to behave around a dog - let alone a large breed one! They will do anything to a dog, until the dog can no longer take it, and then it tries to protect itself. Most children don’t know warning signs from a dog and to stop agitating it! Also, children love to, shall we say, ride large breed dog likes a pony or a horse! I’ve seen it done many a times, even if the dog is lying down.

    I have a neighbor who has a Rott. The dog has been thru temperament tests, etc. and is very well natured and sound. However, being that she is getting in her older years.... I was at their house the other day and there 2 year old can do just about anything to that dog without any signs of aggression. But on this day, the 2 year old first rode the dog like a horse, than she stood on the dog, jumping up and down on it. Needless to say, that didn't go well with the dog! And I can't blame it!!! I heard the dog starting to growl and I saw what was happening. I grabbed the kid off of the dog and we placed the dog in another room. No one was injured, but the 2 year old and the mother didn’t know what was happening. HONESTLY, I’d hate too have seen what would have happened, had I not been there to intervene. Our neighbor has 4 children and even a young newborn. The dog has always been with them, and no problems. But the mother does have her hands full with so many children and cannot watch every moment. Things happen in the home with dogs and children, and it doesn't matter what breed of dog it is!

    I can say that there are many who have Rottweilers and children. However, the most concerned parents are those with newborns, until the children reach teenage years, and they should be! If people have been in the breed a long time that do regular obedience and purchase a sound dog from sound breeding stock, normally there are no problems. Again I will say that Rottweilers are not for everyone. They are natural guardians of property, family, home, stock, etc. They also have been used to herd and bite cattle, sheep, and other livestock. They are known to pull carts, do agility, and other performance events and work, including police K-9, search and rescue, assistant’s dogs, and the sport of schutzhund. With dogs that can do anything you ask, they are a great all around dog for those who love to do activities with their dogs! However, they also have high prey drives, and usually high activity levels. They can also be used for hunting. Most don’t use them for this reason, but they can hunt with the best of hunting dogs. I’ve seen it with my own eyes and have 2 dogs of my own who would dart and kill a squirrel, rabbit, etc. if given half the chance to do so! Needless to say, most dogs have an instinctive prey drive, but most companion dogs can be controlled easier to not do what instinct tells them to do. I ask you, which is easier to control when going after something, a 100lb dog or a 30lb dog? These are issues you must think about.

    I’ve known kids who’ve been bit in their neighborhood from stray dogs because the children start to run away from the dog and then the dog kicks into instinct. Just ask my husband or my brother; both times it was a stray German Shepherd! Or think about the dog that runs the inside fence line because a child is running on the outside fence line – part instinct and part territory aggression. Even children or adults running – your own dog will chase after that person! It is a known fact about dogs! Once a dog does this, it is hard for them to back down. It is like a human trying to lift a car off of their dying child or a man that is angered over a woman and doesn’t know how to control himself! I’m sure you have heard of these types of instances, they’re very similar in nature.

    The question is for you, would you want too risk having a child hurt inyour home? No matter how much you separate dog from child, they always some how want to be with each other! That is always a fact!

    If you want a dog for a pet for yourself, I may suggest for you to go to the local humane society or rescue organization and get a medium to smaller companion type dog who is easily cared for and who is always known to be wonderful with kids. If you do have a dog bite a kid, it wouldn't be as fatal, if you know what I mean. But make sure to find out all the details about the dog before you purchase! Even little dogs can leave nasty scares…. ask my neighbor how her face near her eye was damaged? Small dogs even have bad bites… including cocker spaniels!

    I've been in the breed for a long time, and have owned all types of dogs ranging from all sizes and breeds. I've seen many different behaviors and temperaments from those dogs. The bottom line is, it is a risk to have a dog no matter what breed! All dogs have teeth and can bite. That is how they respond to certain triggers. It is a form of language. Does every dog bite a human? Not always, but it has a great deal with the way the dog is raised and how responsible the dog owner is. With proper guidance, training, obedience, socialization, breeding, etc. you can have a sound dog. This does take a great deal of work, patience, dedication, and more work. Do you have time to properly care for a large guardian working dog and supervise it at all times around other people? This is something for you to decide…
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  3. #2
    Senior Member rottielover2004's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Awesome post. I have a teenage rottweiler and a toddler. I can not say enough supervision. That is all I do. He has accidently bumped her, But I have also taught my daughter, you hit the dog, you time out, and no playing with the dog. She only has ever done it once, then she saw what happend. She does not want to leave the doggie, so she doesn't hit anymore.

    But Having this breed, I find it VERY important that if you get a puppy, Make sure the dog fits your lifestyle. If you will not be working your dog, the worst thing you can have is a very high prey drive with young children. Speak to your breeder, let them pick the right dog for you. BE HONEST. I can honestly say I went in blind with this dog, the breeder picked him for me based on my having a young child.

    Worked to the T
    Man does not need to fear a good Rottweiler,but a good Rottweiler has much to fear of Man !

  4. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    [img]smileys/smiley32.gif[/img]I agree Great Post...When my girls were young...9mos &amp; 2...we got a springer spanial pup..9 wks. The girls loved her &amp; she them, but from the beginning we taught the girls if the pup got up &amp; walked away from them ...leave her a lone. My youngest daughter loved Patches ears, would lay next to her on the floor &amp; rub them like a blanket....when she started teething she would chew on Patches ears....Patches would lay there &amp; let her do it..when she had enough she would move to a different place...that was her way of saying "ok time out" &amp; my girls were taught to respect this. they dressed her in play cloths the whole bit, painted her nails....LOL ...&amp; I could not have asked for a better friend of protecter for my girls...However they were taught to respect Patches &amp; her own space.....Now I know all of this is not about Rotts, but also dont the same principals aply??? How can we as adults always blame the animals for wrong doing??? As in the example above with the child JUMPING on the dog....what dog wouldnt react to that??? I am a very firm believer that if you show respect to them &amp; their space &amp; treat them lovingly no matter what the breed... you will get good results.but your children need to know the limits &amp; have rules established just as they would with anything else.... To this day I dont allow my daughters (now 16 &amp; 17 ) to disapline Roxy because they dont doit in the manner that I have raised her with...they get too excited &amp; their voices get to high pitched...she doesnt respond to that &amp; I never, never hit her. Ihad a bad experience with children with roxy...I was transfered to a new Waffle House &amp; was staying at the motel next to it ... I had her outside on a chain for a few hours when I got called over one day, some young boys....unsupervised by parents threw rocks at her hitting her in the head, she broke the chain trying to get away from them, and ran over to the WaffleHouse &amp; layed by my car. Thank god she didnt go after them!!!!&amp; one of the House keepers that new Roxy &amp; I saw it happen &amp; called me,aswell as reporting it to the parents. Bottom line in my opinion..... We as parents &amp; as adults not only need to teach our pets maners &amp; respect ,but also our children.And I feel if we do this many, not all, accidents can be avoided.&nbs p;&nbs p;&nbs p;&nbs p;&nbs p;&nbs p;&nbs p;&nbs p;&nbs p;&nbs p;&nbs p;

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  6. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    What great advice. I am considering a Rottweiler and have 3
    daughters, 14,8 and 6. I love the breed but am concerned not so much
    for my own children but for their playmates in my home. I would worry
    that the Rottie would be protective of our kids if it felt the other kids
    were playing rough, etc. Still debating what to do...

  7. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    I don't have a rottie yet, but I do have another large breed. I have a neighbor with 7 kids, and they have rules in my house with my dogs. I give them lessons on respect and touching ect. (my children have been doing this all their lives). My dogs like to hang in the basement cause they can be on that furniture. Little kids are not allowed down there without adult.,they all know it.

    It does take time, but he best thing is training the kids, and usually the dogs will be fine. LOL You will probably have to train all your childrens friends, and supervise any play.

    I also don't allow my dogs out in the yard (without supervision) with any kids. Better safe than sorry.

    I don't think for a minute that my dogs would bite, however they do have teeth!! LOL

    good luck


  8. #6
    Senior Member rottielover2004's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Update with Harley and my 2 1/2 yr old. Thy are inseperable. she feeds him, puts his leash on. She respects him which is the most important.
    But I still never leave unsupervised. My daughter was raised with this great breed. I do not regret one moment

    Man does not need to fear a good Rottweiler,but a good Rottweiler has much to fear of Man !

  9. #7
    Senior Member archer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Our Zena is great with everyone,,the neighborhood kids just love her. even so,,we just became grandparents to a little girl,,we have had Zena around her and Zena just gives her a sniff and has once gave her hand a lick,,,as she gets older we realize kids can do things to dogs that will tick them off,,Zena and our granddaughter will never be left alone with each other,,one of us will always be around the 2 of them, not that we even have the smallest inkling that Zena would ever hurt her,,,why take the chance. This also doesnt pertain to just Rottas,,we had a yorkie at one time and he wasnt feeling good,,,one of my sons friends came over and laid down on the floor to play with him,,,,he didnt want to play,,,he finally ran up to my sons friend and bit him on the top of his head,, it can hapen anytime any where

  10. #8

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    My first post here but have been lurking a bit and wanted to put my 2 cents in here.

    I am on my second rottie who is a 3.5 year old male. My 1st rott I got about a year and a half before my oldest daughter was born and then my second daughter followed a couple years later. At the time my oldest was born we also had a room mate who also had a rottie so both my kids were raised with them in the house until my wife and I got our own place.

    The mother in law often commented that "That monster will eat your children" and as the years passed not only was she proven wrong but she actually grew to like the dog, especially the security she felt when over at our place watching the kids.

    For me, I made sure that when I was sitting on the couch holding my infant daughter that I encouraged the dogs to come close and get familiar with the child. I always made sure they were calm and paid the dogs attention when the child was near if it was possible. My experience has been that rotts are very perceptive and realize babys are pups and to be careful but even so I did not want to create any tension or jealousy. I wanted the dogs to associate the close presence of the kids as a good thing and the dogs always got a little extra attention when the children were present to help reinforce this.

    As the kids grew they were tought to respect the dogs and the dogs were tought to be calm and gentle in their presence which of course was always supervised and preferably with the children on the couch(dogs arent allowed on furniture) when they petted the dogs. My rotts have always been "leaners" and they are just to big to be leaning against small children.

    As the kids got older their respect for the dog grew and in turn my trust in them in that regard but also my trust in my dog grew (never any form of aggressive behavior, food, toy or otherwise toward any family member). I limited "playing with the dog" to fetch and made sure the kids and dogs understood ANY kind of rough housing with the dog was not allowed.

    When I had to put my boy down at 11.5 years of age due to cancer my kids cried for days. He had always been there as their friend and protector and now in high school they were ecstatic when I got my new rott.

  11. #9
    Senior Member Nutz4Rotz's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Pacific Northwest

    Welcome and Nice post Exitium. I am sorry for your loss. It sounds like you and your family had a very special friend. Respect, trust and building relationship are all key in keeping any dog with children.

    "If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man."

    -- Mark Twain

  12. #10
    Senior Member RottiMomCT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    I was asked last week if Rottweilers are good with kids.

    My reply? "ome can be. ALL dogs require as much training on how to behave around kids as kids require on how to behave around dogs."

    My boy Ben is freaked by children, especially crying small children. I am aware of this and deal with him accordingly by removing him from the area if kids are crying. Honestly crying kids freak me out too &lt;LOL&gt;!!

    Baron gets very concerned and comes to us as if to say "GO HELP!"...

    Neelah was raised with children, and has been around my 20 month old nephew at least 2-3 times a week since her arrival - she thinks he's a little cheerios cereal dispenser, and he is happy to oblige her!
    Aisha Al Midfa likes this.
    Forever mom to:
    Phoenix's Cabaret Lady RN, CGC (Neelah)
    A Little Xtra Jolt O'Java RA, CGC (Jayda)

    At the Bridge -
    my heart dog, the one who started it all:
    North East's Oxford Scholar CD, RN,CGC, TT (Ben) 4/16/99 - 6/20/11
    and his nemesis -
    Ace Fighter Pilot (Baron) ~9/4/2001 - 11/23/11

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