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" />
How are Rottweilers around children?
You have a very good question that is not easily answered. I have mixed issues with this because I¬ím honest about what can happen, but also know that bad things don¬ít always happen if people are careful, responsible, and have knowledge. I love this breed with all my heart, but I¬ím 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¬ím telling you right now that many of us pet owners who have Rottweilers are having difficulty finding home-owner¬ís 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¬ím a grown adult! Just stepping on my foot can make me scream at times. The dogs don¬ít 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¬ít 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¬íve 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¬ít know what was happening. HONESTLY, I¬íd 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¬ís 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¬ít use them for this reason, but they can hunt with the best of hunting dogs. I¬íve 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¬íve known kids who¬íve 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 ¬Ė part instinct and part territory aggression. Even children or adults running ¬Ė 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¬ít know how to control himself! I¬ím sure you have heard of these types of instances, they¬íre 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¬Ö. ask my neighbor how her face near her eye was damaged? Small dogs even have bad bites¬Ö 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¬Ö