A Rottweiler is a large-breed dog with a natural sense of aggression.
So yes, a Rottweiler can attack its owner like any other breed. There are no reliable studies that show evidence that the Rottweiler breed is any more prone to attack.
All dogs display disturbing behavior. Let’s explore some crucial scenarios for detection and prevention no dog owner should miss.
Why would a Rottweiler ever attack its owner? (3 reasons)
A Rottweiler may attack due to several reasons such as its natural protective instincts, retaliation to provocation, or when it is sick and vulnerable.
Again, these points can be valid for any dog breed, and some points may be more prevalent in Rottweilers and similar dogs. We’ll provide a breakdown of each point to paint a coherent picture of the causes of attacking. We will also discuss how you might detect signs of aggression, and how to avoid or prevent attacks.
Rottweilers attack by provocation
A Rottweiler may attack its owner because it felt provoked. Here, we should define provocation.
The definition is not the same for each owner, but it is for the dog. The animal is built to know when it feels provoked, and the owner may disagree that they were provoking or would ever provoke the dog.
For example, the owner nearly always has their own way of discipline. They may take the tough love approach and may even incorporate some nose taps and striking the animal. As disturbing as that may seem, the owner believes this is a good thing.
It may even prove effective in keeping the owner at Alpha status to the dog. However, if the dog misreads the message–one day–it’s game over for the owner, and an attack might take place.
That leaves the owner with a sense of bewilderment because of their own perspective. How could this happen?
Whether the cause is a less-than-healthy discipline technique or something else, the bottom line is a difference in perspective. There’s no blame in these cases unless there is abuse, then that’s a whole other subject.
There is a simple solution. Understand that every dog needs professional training. Or, the owner must do deep research and understand their breed completely.
Rottweiler is a complex breed, the same as any other. Taking the time to understand their unique language is paramount to preventing a Rottweiler from attacking its owner.
One excellent resource for professional training is some of the large pet markets with a pet adoption section. Typically, they will provide low-cost or free training to the dog.
Check out our article “How to Calm a Dog in Every Situation– the Right Way” for more tips.
Rottweilers may attack due to a protective instinct in extreme situations
It’s natural for any dog to protect its owner. The instinct is so powerful that trying to stop the animal can be challenging, if not impossible.
Some owners think this is a great thing and even find it flattering. Sometimes, however, the animal feels it needs to protect itself. Here, there may be a reason that is unknown to the owner. It can be a mysterious thing brought on by several seemingly innocent interactions.
The way to understand why a Rottweiler attacks its owner to protect itself is to observe their moods and note any changes and triggers. You should also observe them with others and note any triggers around them.
For example: Are there any kids around that may play or interact with the dog in a way that is not favorable to them?
You may be onto something if the dog seems stressed out or jumpy. This is only one example, but for a Rottweiler to attack its owner out of the blue from a protective instinct is rare and won’t be for no reason.
So, how do you know the dog is specifically trying to protect itself? Typically, the dog will snap as you try and put a hand on it or touch a part of its body that they usually would not react to. Look for this and similar things.
For this, the solution is to understand the reason why the dog is suddenly self-protective.
Are they like this with everyone? Did they stay with another person and then develop this self-protective behavior? Can you recall any incident the dog had with you that could have triggered this behavior? If it continues or worsens, take the dog to the vet and get them evaluated.
Possible attack or bite due to illness
A Rottweiler can attack its owner if it’s not well, and animals have no way of telling you what’s wrong. This is especially true if the dog has been in a particularly aggressive mood or keeps itself away from the owner more than is usual for the dog.
- Licking or Biting: If the dog is licking or biting an area of the body excessively, especially over or near the joints, it may mean they have pain or discomfort. This can denote anything from arthritis to an allergic reaction to a bite and, in rarer cases, cancer.
- Pacing or Hiding: A sick animal may display signs of agitation, like pacing or hiding in a particular room for long periods. In addition, they may show teeth or growl when you approach. Also, watch the hackles or hairs on the back around the shoulder blades. If they are raised upon your approach, you may have a sick animal that could bite or attack the owner.
For this, get the dog to the vet ASAP. Regular checkups are essential to detect potential issues. A dog can go a long time in pain undetected by the owner until they snap and bite the owner one day.
What should you do if your Rottweiler attacks you?
If a Rottweiler attacks you, you must know what to do quickly to protect the areas of the body they may attack, what not to do, and how to end the attack quickly with minimal damage.
Let’s address this situation should it ever happen. These tips can be used with any dog.
Before the physical attack happens
Before the actual attack happens, you’ll know it if you can see the dog. Rarely, if ever, should a Rottweiler come up behind their owner and attack.
Anything is possible, but it would be only under exceptional circumstances. If you can see them, you can anticipate. Once you’ve perceived the attack will happen, protect your vital areas, especially the throat and neck.
- Don’t make sudden moves. Waving hands and arms is the best way to alert the dog you want them to attack. Why? It’s a matter of language. What you mean to say is I’m a giant, and you need to run away! Their interpretation is; I am showing you my weaponry, and I am about to use it, so you better defend yourself.
- Please don’t yell. If you do, you’re barking, and no one really knows what language you’re speaking because every human has a different pitch, and there are so many other elements going on when you are in a panic that alert a dog to attack.
When an attack is in progress
As much as we love our furry friends, we may have to defend ourselves once an attack occurs. If a Rottweiler lunges at you, there are quick actions you must take because dogs can kill–not because they’re Rottweilers, but because they’re animals.
- If you’re standing, you may knee the dog in the chest and punch the dog in the snout between the eyes if you can.
- If you are carrying an object at the time or you have something close by you can throw at the dog to distract them, do that. Hopefully, they’ll bite that and not you. It may also give you a chance to get away.
- If you’re strong enough and you can remain calm, you can put the dog in a spin as it’s in the air coming at you—kind of like taking the momentum and using it against them. You can do this by reaching out and grabbing them by the neck or leg and essentially flinging or pushing them in the opposite direction.
- If you’re not too frightened or have no choice, then after knocking them off balance, get the dog on the floor and lay on your side pressed against their side. Protect your face from their mouth, though. You can also press them into the ground with both hands, and this should get the message of who is Alpha across.
Are Rottweilers aggressive dogs by nature?
Yes, Rottweilers are guarding dogs and carry average aggressive potential. However, they possess no more potential than any other guarding breed.
They must be trained to be uber-aggressive or mean. You are not rescuing and taking home the killing machine that people may believe– at least not by nature.
At what age do Rottweilers become aggressive?
Typically, around 1.5 to 2 years old. It depends on when your particular Rottweiler matures emotionally. Once your Rottweiler is bonded to you and wants to protect you, it may become reactive around others if it feels you are threatened.
The bottom line about whether a Rottweiler ever attacks its owner or not is not the dog itself, but the way they are trained. How the owner and the people around them treat them regularly molds their disposition. If they are molded to restrain aggression until needed, they will maintain a harmonious life with their owner.