Socializing Your Rottweiler Puppy

We all know that rottweilers are big softies at heart, but since they're large, strong dogs, they do have the potential to be dangerous if they're not brought up properly. It's extremely important to socialize your pup from an early age so that he gets used to other dogs, people and all kinds of new experiences. Puppies who aren't socialized properly can grow up to have issues with fear or aggression when they reach adulthood and there's an increased likelihood that they will end up being rehomed or – in extreme cases – even euthanized.

Why is Early Socialization Important?

When your rottweiler pup is between 3 and 12 weeks old, he is at his most accepting of  new or different experiences. An older dog, on the other hand, may get frightened of new dogs, people or things. This is why it's vital to socialize your dog from as early an age as possible. A dog who is well-socialized dogs is much more easygoing and relaxed, which makes day to day experiences and occurrences far less stressful for him and for you. If your dog doesn't get properly socialized, he might become frightened or aggressive when he's exposed to something unknown. Due to this, it's advisable to take your rottweiler puppy to socialization classes as soon as you can, even from as young as 8 weeks old.

Vaccination Issues

You might be thinking that 8 weeks old is far to young to take your pup to a socialization class, since he won't have had all his vaccinations until he's about 16 weeks old. Although he won't be fully vaccinated at this time, and this does pose a small risk of illness, experts from the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior state that the risk of illness is less significant than the risk of a dog being improperly socialized. As you now know, the critical window for socializing your pup is only until he's 12 weeks old, so anyone who waits until their puppy is 16 weeks old before introducing him to other dogs or taking him out of the home may find that their dog has behavior problems in the future. While it's obviously a bad idea to walk a young pup down the street or take him to the dog park, as these kinds of places are dirty, an organized puppy socialization class on a newly cleaned floor shouldn't be dangerous. That said, your baby rotty and any puppies he comes into contact with should have had his first set of shots at least a week prior to attending.

Other Socialization Methods

Along with classes, there are some other safe and effective ways of making sure your puppy gets well socialized. Invite as many friends and family members over to your home as possible so that he can get used to meeting new people – it's unlikely that many people are going to pass up the chance to hang out with your pup. Drive your puppy around in the car so that he can see different areas and smell new and interesting scents. If you know anyone with a healthy, vaccinated adult dog, invite them over so that the canines can have some bonding time.

Puppy Training Classes

While puppy socialization classes are more like playtime for puppies and are generally unstructured, puppy training classes will teach your rottweiler the basics of obedience. It's also a good idea to attend these kinds of classes, as it will teach your pup recall and other commands that could be essential to staying safe and under control when out of the home. However, these kinds of classes aren't as time sensitive, so you should wait until your pup has had all his vaccinations before you sign up.

As long as you make an effort to socialize your rottweiler from an early age, there's no reason why he shouldn't grow up to be a balanced and well-behaved dog who is accepting of new experiences and friendly toward other dogs and other people. This will make life easier for the both of you and make dog-owning a wholly enjoyable experience.

Photo credit: Gerry Eisenhaur/Flickr