Can Rottweilers be Kept with Children?

If you have children and you're looking to bring a new canine family member into your home, you may be concerned about whether or not he will be good with your kids. While rottweilers sometimes get a bad rap, they're no more likely than any other dog to snap at a child. However, they are big, powerful dogs, so they have the potential to accidentally hurt a child if they get too rambunctious. The most important thing to do is teach both your children and your dog how to interact with one another in a positive manner. Set out guidelines and be vigilant, and there's no reason why your kids and your rotty shouldn't be best buds.

Always Supervise

Younger children, up to around 10 years old, should never be left unsupervised with your rottweiler. The majority of accidents or injuries of this nature occur when a child is alone with a dog. It's easy for a play session to quickly spiral out of control and your rotty to get too rough, not because he's a badly behaved dog, but just because that's how dogs play with one another. Toddlers and very young children can also push their luck with dogs, by pulling their tails or poking them, and any dog can get annoyed when provoked. While it might be a hassle to grab your child every time you leave the room to answer the phone or take the washing out of the dryer, it's a small task when you think of the alternative.

Teach Your Dog How to Interact with Children

It's important to do some basic obedience training with your rotty and teach him how to act around children. He should learn that children are to be treated gently and with respect. Before you allow them to play together, ensure that your dog knows commands such as “sit,” “lie” and “stay,” and that he will obey them even in an exciting situation. That way, if he gets too rough or rambunctious, you can tell him to sit and stay until he's calmed down. If things ever get out of control, don't punish your dog, but do give him a time out in the yard or another room, so that he knows he'll be separated from his family if he gets too excited around the kids.

Teach Your Children How to Interact with Dogs

It's equally important for children to learn that dogs also need to be treated gently and with respect. Your kids should learn that it's never alright to hit, poke, tease or intentionally excite your rottweiler, this includes excessive running or screaming in the vicinity of the dog. They should also know not to eat around your rotty. Some dogs can become food aggressive and will snap or bite when food gets involved, but even dogs who aren't food aggressive still get interested or excited by food. Younger children often drop a trail of crumbs behind them and it's possible for your dog to accidentally hurt or knock over your children when following them around and trying to hoover up their leftovers.

Choosing a Dog

If you want a rottweiler who has a proven track record with children, you might be better off adopting. Shelter staff will carry out detailed assessments of the dogs in their care and determine whether or not they're suitable to keep with children. Some dogs come to a shelter through no fault of their own and may have come from a family home where they were raised with children. If you're buying a puppy, make sure you go to a reputable breeder who will have well-socialized their pups. Ideally, pick a puppy who has been brought up in a home with children or has met and been socialized with kids. 

Photo credit: Joaquim Procopio/Flickr