• Guardian Rottweilers takes FIRST PLACE KENNEL at the 2013 ADRK Klubsieger in Rottweil, Germany!!

Q & A

This page is under construction still, and eventually I will try to organize the questions into topics to make searching for information easier, so forgive the chaos right now.


TAIL DOCKING

Sharon Davies, the coordinator of Rottweiler-Central said something very interesting about Rottweilers. I am curious to know what you think because I am now a little confused. I like the rott with the tail and I agree that if God put it there then it should be there. She said:

1. Should Rottweiler’s keep their tails, or not?
“Docking the tail is not a stressful procedure for either the pup or the dam (mother dog).  The pup recovers within minutes of the procedure and either goes back to nursing or falls asleep.  If a Rottweiler were to still have a tail, the tail would significantly affect the dogs balance.  The center of gravity would be shifted back.  On a Rottweiler, this can cause problems with training the dog and using him as a working dog.  The tail should not be removed on an adult dog – it will disrupt the dog’s sense of balance, as well as cause him unnecessary pain. If you are considering a pup that does not have a docked tail, you may want to reconsider whether this is the best choice for you. Unless you or the breeder has some concerns about docking, a dog that does not have a docked tail implies a breeder that is not knowledgeable about the standards for the breed.”

So now I’m a little confused.

WOW!  Where to begin!?!  

I am not familiar with Sharon Davies or the “Rottweiler-Central” but wow, is she ever WAY off the mark.

First, I am sure EVERYONE knows that the Rottweiler is a German dog.  The ADRK sets the breed standard and per ADRK standards, the Rottweiler should have its tail.  Please see the ADRK standards: http://www.adrk.de/5_standard_e.htm  If someone is unfamiliar with the breed standard it is Sharon.

Second, as far as suffering- there is a reason most reputable vets are making a big push against tail docking.  The newborn puppy is held down screaming while his tail is clamped and then sliced through skin, nerve, muscle and cartilage.  The puppy continues to cry for awhile.  Does it move on and eventually cry itself to sleep or begin nursing again?  yes, the same way all dogs adapt even when they have been shot or bitten or hit by a car or any number of horrible injuries.  Dogs do not dwell on how horrible they feel, they just suck it up and drive on.  I have seen absolutely horrific injuries on dogs and the dogs still went about their day.  HOWEVER, not all puppies are strong enough to do this!!  The rate of “failure to thrive” or “fading puppy” syndrome is SIGNIFICANTLY increased in puppies whose tails have been cut off.  They often whimper in pain for days, do not have a strong desire to nurse and will either fall behind in growth or even die!  When I first began breeding, I too was ignorant about the ADRK breed standard and believed everything I was spoon fed by AKC and the AKC Rottweiler Club I was a member of at that time.  I would offer my customers the option of keeping the pups tail or having it docked.  Some litters were all docked and some I would partial docked (where I dock some and leave some with natural tail and EVERY SINGLE litter that I had partial docked, the pups were SIGNIFICANTLY behind in size- as much as half!!  If it is a breeder that has docked the entire litter, they may not notice the difference because all the pups will be equally behind- not just from exerting so much effort into healing this massive open wound at the end of their body instead of focusing all of it into growing, but also from the possibility of digestive issues associated with the antibiotics (the pups really needs the antibiotics because the open would is directly above where the feces exits the pups body, so the risk of infection is obviously significant.)  Where does she base her assumption of “not a stressful procedure for either the pup or the dam”??  Has she been there when the pups tail is chopped off??  I HAVE!  After I saw what REALLY happens when the vet takes the pups back to another room, I KNEW there was NO WAY I could do that again!!!!  Has she seen the distress from the mom??  I HAVE!  Mom cries and whimpers and had to be PHYSICALLY RESTRAINED!!  Did the dam tell her that she had no problem having her newborn pups hacked up because someone thought it looked cute???

Finally, YES, the tail does SIGNIFICANTLY affect the balance of the dog and those without the tail LACK!!  The reason that Germany and Europe abolished tail docking over a decade ago was not just because of how inhumane it was, but also because of how much BETTER the dogs with their tails perform!  They use the tails as a rudder and for balance.  If the dogs perform better without the tails, then WHY do German Shepherd Dogs, Malinois, etc. that are FAMOUS for their field and working performance ALL HAVE TAILS!?!

Please read my webpage Tail of tails: http://www.guardianRottweilers.com/the-Rottweiler/tale-of-tails/  as it provides even more information regarding tail docking and breed standard.

Best Regards,
Alice

 


TAIL DOCKING TO PREVENT INJURY

I’m a fan of your name too hahaha I also go by Alice amongst my co workers and clients! 

Your M litter seems like the best fit for what my fiancé and I are looking for -absolutely gorgeous by the way- we are looking for two male brothers. What will it cost us for two male pups from that litter?

Also, is tail docking totally against your contract? I know you dislike it, but there are vets who perform laser tail dockings under anesthesia and it’s particularly nice for a working dog (my fiancé and I are active and live in the mountains so camping, fishing and hunting is the norm for us). I worry about a fully intact tail – particularly when I have had friends whose dogs have broken their tails and had to dock later in life.

Thank you so much!

Thanx (on the name! lol)  It is not such a common name now-a-days, so it was awesome when I saw we shared it!
Yes, it is in my contract that the tail must remain fully intact.  Limbs (legs) are broken and injured FAAAAR more often than tails- we have had our dogs go on to do everything from military, police, search and rescue (amongst ALL types of terrain) service, dock diving, agility, schutzhund, explosive detection, herding- and every thing in between and only 2 times has there been a tail injury that required either a vet visit or amputation- one was a freak accident with a steel door and one was a terrible fall that should have caused much greater injury than simply a broken tail.  However, I cannot even begin to count the number of toes, hocks, legs, elbows, knees, etc. that have been injured in the line of duty.  If the rationale is to amputate in order to prevent injury, then all 4 legs would need to be amputated!  But why stop there, teeth get injured and have to be pulled, running through the brush could cause bodily harm as well… once we start removing body parts in an effort to prevent future harm, we slide down a very slippery slope.  
You mentioned that, in addition to preventing injury, you wanted to remove the tail so that you could use him for working.  The ENTIRE center of balanced is DRAMATICALLY effected when the tail is docked!  They use it as a rudder, it aids in balance and they are such better athletes with the tail.  It is why you see Belgian Malinois, German Shepherds, Collies, Labs, and just about every other sport dog WITH a tail.  Two of the “go-to” breeds for search and rescue in mountainy areas are the Labrador Retriever and Burmese Mountain Dog- BOTH whom have tails and would not be nearly as effective at their jobs without them.  And that is just with our domesticated dogs- look at your fox, coyote, wolf- all who arguably sprint through rough terrain on a daily basis longer and harder than you could ever imagine working your dog and all who have big beautiful (even fluffy in some circumstances 😉 ) tails and I have never seen one either on TV, a documentary or in real life that had a tail injury- however, again, you see them coming up lame all the time from injuries to their limbs or some other bodily injury.  So, in case you did not gather with my enthusiastic and vehement defense of those beautiful tails- it is not something that I am at all movable on.  If you are insistent on hacking body parts off of your puppy/dog, unfortunately, I will not be the breeder for you.  I love and treasure my fur babies greatly and would never allow harm to purposefully be done to them- not for any amount of money.  I hope you can understand where I am coming from.  
I do wish you the absolute best of luck in your endeavors.  If you decide that you are willing to love every bit of a Rottweiler, then let me know as I would love to welcome you to the Guardian Rottweiler family.  If not, then I hope at a minimum you will at least learn more about the vital role the tail place and how truly barbaric mutilating any living, breathing, sentient being simply for the sake of fashion is.  
God Bless,
Alice


WHITE HAIRS UNDER TAIL
I was sent this photo by a customer with inquiry about some white hairs under the tail.  They are more than likely not white, but rather very light tan, but either way, they are normal and expected.  Here is the reply I sent along with some reference material.  Thank you Natalie for a great question.
unnamed

 

Is that the under tail or the top of the tail?  If under-tail, then totally normal.  Thought I would copy/paste an excerpt from the FCI/ADRK breed standard here for you (you can also find a link to the FULL breed standard on my The Rottweiler page http://guardianrottweilers.com/the-rottweiler/ ) so you can see that white/tan/grey hairs on the tail are NOT faults:

 

Fault: Tail : Set on too high or too low.

Disqualifying: Tail : Kink tail, ring-tail, with strong lateral deviation.

Here is a link to the ADRK breed standard directly too:
Along with this qualifier: “a few white hairs do not constitute a marking” when referring to white marks on other spots on the body- although, as previously stated, on the tail they are considered completely normal and expected and as such not even mentioned in the faults or eliminating faults categories. 
Overall, a great question.  Because keeping the tails is a relatively new concept here in the US (even though it has been the breed standard for nearly 2 decades!), I do not think enough people know as much about tail standards/expectations, so I am going to add that question to the Q&A page as it is a wonderful opportunity to hopefully help educate everyone else as well.  I hope this helps, but, as always, please do let me know if you have any other questions at all.
Have a blessed weekend,

Alice

 


WHITE PATCHES

Hello Alice, Im not sure if you remember me, I bought two dogs from (breeder in Canada).  Zues and Nora. I have had my first litter of puppies out of them and I have two with white on their chests. Since I know you have a great deal of knowledge in this breed I thought I would ask you if there is any significance to this? Is it a negative trait, where could it have come from? Im just looking for a little further understanding of it…. Any help would be greatly appreciated on the subject:) thank you i hope all is well at your kennel.

The breeder that you get the dogs from is always going to be your best source of knowledge as he/she will not only be very familiar with the pedigrees, but also any progeny.  Although I am familiar with Zeus and Nora, I have never had any pups from either Zeus or Nora, so, unfortunately, I could not tell you which one was more likely the carrier.  The patches of white can crop of now and again in just about any bloodline, although they do appear more often in some bloodlines than others.  And no, they are not a desirable trait and any puppy with white should be classified as a PET QUALITY puppy and NOT be used for breeding.  Although it is possible for white to be produced even if both parents are not phenotypically expressing the fault, if you breed a puppy that IS phenotypically expressing it, he/she will not only produce the white with greater prevalence but also with increased size. White patches are a fault- but not in and of themselves significant of a bad breeding. You will get faults to some degree with every litter you produce- be in ears, bite, markings, knuckling, angulation, zygomatic arch, drive, etc.  The key is to try and ascertain what breeding combinations give you the highest probability to not produce as many faults and/or breed out the faults that seem to be occurring in your current lines.  I hope this was helpful, hun, and congratulations on your new puppies!

God Bless,
Alice

 


CHOOSING A BREEDER

I receive LOADS of questions concerning other breeders and breeding programs.  I typically avoid offering personal opinions about other breeders, but do have a webpage on CHOOSING A BREEDER that has a lot of information on it and I also sent this reply concerning a request for approval of a breeder today:

Read your puppy contract carefully and be sure you know what to expect from your breeder- that is the most sound advice I can give- simply having a contract means nothing if the contract does not actually protect both you and the puppy.  I have not seen her contract, so I cannot proffer any thoughts on that.  If the puppies were not at least 6 weeks old when you picked yours out, you are really taking a chance on getting the character you prefer.  Puppies are born with eyes and ears completely sealed and they do not open until 2-3 weeks of age.  Once open, the eyes can take up to 10 days to really focus and see what is going on around them- so personalities on puppies that are only 4-5 weeks old might only be reflective of a puppy that is not completely aware of its surroundings and/or just starting to become familiar.  They need time to acclimate before accurate character can be established.  That having been said, hopefully she also knows the characters of her bloodlines well (parents, grandparents, great grandparents, aunts/uncles, what each have produced thus far etc.) so that she already has a good idea of what to expect in the pups.  I would also ask what her breeding goals were with that particular pairing- what were the sire’s strengths; what were his faults/weaknesses; what were the dam’s strengths and weaknesses in conformation, health and character.  Where they hoping for show or working dogs in this breeding?  What aspect of the Rottweiler were they most focused on highlighting and/or helping?  Yes, a breeder should always be focused on “the total Rottweiler” but if the sire’s line has a propensity towards bad bites or high set ears or long in the back or poor angulation, etc. then the breeding goal should be focused on improving those; or if the attributes were exceptional character, or good drive or workability, etc.- then perhaps one of the breeding goals was to be focused on enhancing or preserving that.  ALL BLOODLINES HAVE FAULTS- if there were a perfect Rottweiler, the owner would be a billionaire 😉  The key in breeding is being knowledgeable enough about the bloodlines to know what faults are most prevalent in the bloodlines and to breed AGAINST those; i.e. my CROM is a direct son of MAMBO VD CROSSENER RANCH- an INCREDIBLE male who pioneered the extreme head type, HOWEVER, because of how short his muzzle is, one must be careful when breeding on that line to avoid shortening the muzzle any more and creating bite problems (a Rottweiler should have 42 teeth and you can only go so short on the muzzle before you can no longer accommodate the 42 teeth and then you have over bites, under bites, missing teeth, etc.)  So, MAMBO lines- SUPER for fixing a lot of head problems- topskull, zygomatic arch fill, etc., but you must also be careful and know what you are breeding.  This is the same for EVERY bloodline.  Also, at the price of $1500- are you getting a PET or SHOW quality puppy?  If it is SHOW quality, any guarantees on it not having faults that would prevent if from being shown or bred (eye color, bad bite, incorrect coat, etc.) and if it is PET, be sure you know what about that puppy made it PET quality so that you know if there is anything to look for or be aware of in your developing puppy- i.e. is it a conformation fault that made it a pet puppy, and if so, is it something that could impact the health or mobility of the dog down the road; is it a character issue that made it a pet, and if so, is there something extra you should be doing in training to help the pup/dog overcome this as it is growing.  Those are also good things to know when selecting your puppy to be sure you are getting what you are looking for. 

I hope everything works out well for you and please feel free to use my website as much as you like- there are loads of puppy tips, nutrition, training, etc.  Embarking on the journey of a new puppy can leave you filled with both trepidation and excitement- but at the end of the day, there truly is no psychiatrist like a puppy licking you in the face 😉

 


HOW CAN I TELL IF MY PUPS ARE FULL BRED?

Hello there my name is Ada Lee I live in deep south Texas. My husband and I have two Rottweiler’s with the names Debo (our male)  and Felicia (female) they are our first Rottweilers. Before getting together he owned a Pitbull and I owned a Chihuahua and a Bluenose Pitbull. Unfortunately we both had to give up those dogs when we met due to small living space. Our dogs went to good home. Once we settled in to our new house we decided to get a Rottweiler. We got Debo and a few months after I got pregnant he is so protective of my son.  Around two weeks my son was born we got another dog Felicia. Now that my Dogs are 2 and 3 years old they had puppies on December 29th to be exact… Since an are of the fence was not yet finished I’m afraid these puppies are not full bred… How do we know the difference of a full bred or mix. We plan on keeping just one pup the rest once old enough will go to my father in laws ranch. If you can tell me what to look for in them I would appreciate it thank you in advance.

I do not know where to start.  I presume that neither of the dogs you bred had any health clearances done (hips, elbows, heart certified, etc.?) and I presume also that there was nothing of not to prove breed worthiness of either the sire or dam- no shows, working titles, or mental suitability testing?  Without DNA on the parents, you really have no idea whether or not either the sire or dam are purebred either.  There is also a SIGNIFICANT difference between “purebred” and “well bred”, although I presume the puppies are neither.  If you are really concerned with whether or not they are full bred or mixed, then I would suggest doing DNA for all the pups and the sire and dam.  It is NOT POSSIBLE to tell if a dog is “full bred” based on looking at them- they could be very poorly bred and still be full bred and would not look at all like a Rottweiler.  Or they could be mixed and still look like a Rottie.  I would also highly recommend spaying and neutering your dogs to prevent any unwanted litters in the future.  
Best Regards,
Alice

BEST DEAL ON A GIANT ROTTWEILER
I’m contacting several breeders checking where I can get best deal on what I want I’m wanting info on a giant rottweiler puppy   just old enough to leave it’s mother 

Good Evening Scott,
 
I am glad you are doing some research and contacting different breeders, but the questions you should be asking are not “where can you get the best deal” or simply a “giant Rottweiler puppy”, but rather which breeder has the healthiest dogs, the best bloodlines, correct character and temperament, does genetic testing to ensure that dogs are free and clear of heart problems, hip and elbow dysplasia, etc., and which breeders are willing to stand behind their dogs with lifetime puppy contracts and lifetime breeder support.  A breeder that sells you a puppy for $1000, but spends $0 on genetic screening for the parents, $0 on character and conformation testing/evaluations to ensure that the dogs that are bred and strong, correct representatives of the breed and healthy in body and mind, $0 and zero time traveling, training and/or working their dog, spends very little, if any, on vet care, pre and post natal care of mom and puppies, and a breeder who buys the cheapest crap dog food they can find is pocketing $990 of that $1000 you gave them to buy themselves a new car or their kids a new x-box.  But a breeder that sells you a puppy for $1500 but spends tens thousands on health screenings for the parents, travels all over the world training, competing, handling, and working their dogs, buys only the best breeding stock and bloodlines the world has to offer and imports them directly to the United States, spends thousands on the best holistic food money can buy for their dogs put maybe $5 from that sale into their pockets- more than likely to buy extra treats for the dogs as the other $1495 has gone back into the dogs/puppies 10x over.  And if you get from a breeder without a contract or with a contract that does not offer a lifetime genetic guarantee, then you might save a little bit of money now, but you will spend thousands and thousands down the road on health and character problems that could have been avoided with good breeding and a correct start.  And speaking of “correct starts” any breeder that will sell you a puppy that is “just old enough to leave its mother” is not only breaking the law (illegal to sell a kitten/puppy prior to 8 weeks of age) but also setting both you and that puppy up for failure.  A puppy that has missed out on those vital couple of weeks of socializing from siblings and discipline from mom will be significantly behind socially.  He/she will be much more likely to be food aggressive/resource guard as he/she never learned to share food and toys; he/she will be stubborn, more willful and harder to correct as he/she was never corrected by mom and never learned anything about boundaries from siblings, etc.  Not to mention the nutritional gap that will undoubtedly be present from being pull too soon from the healthiest thing for that puppy- mom’s milk and potentially too drastic/rapid a transition onto dog food (and if it a ‘breeder’ that is ignorant and cheap enough to let the puppy go that early simply so they do not have to pay for vaccinations, wormings, microchipping, food and/or clean the puppies, you can absolutely be certain that it is a cheap breeder that is using cheap, crap food!)  

Let me clarify myself what I meant by best deal is everything you said I apologise for not making myself clearer yes I definitely want good blood lines I don’t want a cheap one cause you buy cheap you get cheap  but when I buy one I want a giant rottweiler  and so far your reply has caught my interest more than any of the others  thank you for your reply in a month or so after me and wife gets some stuff settled  if not sooner I’d like to maybe come and see your litter how many hands tall is a healthy male and what is top weight.

 

Thank you very much for the clarification.  Rottweiler heights are measured in inches or cm at the withers (top of the shoulders).  I Rottweiler male should be 61-68cm (24″-26.6″) and their weight should be 50kg (110 lbs).  A bitch should be 56-63cm (22″-24.8″) and their weight should be 42 kg (92 lbs.)  I would love to have you out Scott, however, if you are looking for a Rottweiler that is oversized and unhealthy, then you will find you time wasted by coming to see me.  A correctly bred Rottweiler should be a powerfully built, robust dog, not a sloppy, oversized mastiff; the Rottweiler should be a powerful athlete, not an awkward dog that is exhausted from a trip to the end of the driveway because he was mixed with mastiff or great dane for size or was produced from poorly bred representatives of the breed with no concern or thought to character, conformation, angulation, top and bottom lines, type, etc.  Before going to look at any dogs from any breeders, I would HIGHLY recommend you taking a look at this webpage:
http://guardianrottweilers.com/the-rottweiler/conformation/ This page goes over correct conformation (physical type) of a Rottweiler with photos and illustrations.
and this website:
https://adrk.de/index.php/en/rasse/standard  This is the German ADRK Breed standard (with heights/weights and all other conformational information.)
Afterwards, if you still think you are interested in coming to see our dogs, it would be my pleasure to have you out.  
Have a blessed day,

Alice

I didn’t know that giant rottweilers were bred with different dogs to make them big I thought it was just different breed of rottweiler  so your saying a giant rottweiler is not pure bred if I’m gonna spend 3000 on a rottweiler I want a pure bred

There is no such thing as a “giant Rottweiler” sometimes called a “Roman Rottweiler” these are either mixed breed dogs or poorly/incorrectly bred dogs.  The Rottweiler has been the size on the ADRK German website I sent you a link to for over a hundred years.  Anything else is just clever marketing by someone who thinks you are a sucker.  Not too difficult to verify- ask for DNA.  All of my dogs have DNA on file so there is absolutely no question- not just on their lineage, but also of course confirming that there are no other breeds other than Rottweiler in the DNA.  Any good breeder will also have DNA done on their dogs, and for any breeder who does not have DNA on their dogs, it is not difficult at all to do- all it takes is a mouth swab and about 6-8 weeks.
Hope that helps.

 

 


COMPETITION

Hello again Alice,

You’re going to hate me lol.

I am prepping an article asking several dog show handlers/breeders: In Dog Shows… Do You Compete Against Other Dogs, Other Handlers Or The Standard? 
I wanted to have your input so I can add it along with the other breeders’ answers. I would enjoy putting out there different points of view so it ignites some sort of debate.
Let me know if you can send me an 500-word answer to this question and I’ll add it 🙂 
Thank you Alice and sorrrrry for being annoying!
Lazhar
LOL!  No worries at all!  It is my absolute pleasure and you are not in the least bit annoying <3 As I said before, I respect and admire what you are trying to accomplish and I am honored to continue to be included.   

Well, what a loaded question!  Should spark a great debate!  I think my best answer will be none of the above.  I compete with myself!  With every litter I produce, I have a breeding goal in mind.  There is something that I love about both bloodlines I am bringing together and something that I am hoping to improve.  I am always striving to make each and every generation better than the one before it.  When I select my top pick(s) from a litter, I am hoping they will be the absolute best that both the sire and dam had to give.  By competing, I am getting the opportunity to exhibit and work my progeny and prove how successful that breeding was.  We also put a great deal of time and energy into training that puppy/youth/adult to get them show ready- working on drive and focus, learning correct stance and how to correct the stance with simple lead adjustments, and learning how to run the ring- the correct distance to pace, building stamina, how to keep that working drive and stay alert and focused, and not get distracted by other dogs/handlers, so it can be very rewarding to see the fruition of that hard work and sacrifice.  

I do want to dispense my 5 cents about judges and the standard.  There has been an unfortunate trend in our breed (Rottweiler) of late, and everyone wants to blame the breeders.  The heads are going too extreme-bordering brachiocephalic with muzzles that are too short to be effective and compromising the breathing and stamina of a working breed and/or bodies that are too short and cobby also rendering this great athlete incapable of the work and ability that this breed was intended for.  The judges that both breed and promote this “new” standard hold much more culpability than the breeders.  They are almost insisting that we conform to their version of the Rottweiler if we intend to place.  I believe the focus of a dog show should on the standard and each breeder doing their absolute best to uphold that standard.  It should not be “a fashion show” with the latest trend idolized.  It should be about the standard that has created this exceptional, sound of body and mind, courageous, capable, biddable, determined breed that we all love and cherish.  It should also not be a gossip ring for trash talking other dogs/breeders and trying to tear each other down.  We are all working for the same team, or at least we should be.  We should be more eager to work cohesively to improve our stock and work together towards breeding out the issues that plague our breed.  I am sure this could/should carry across the board to most breeds.  A competition is put in place to not only prove our dogs and bloodlines and of course ourselves as breeders, but to learn and grow from the shared knowledge of other breeders, handlers, trainers, owners and judges.   It should also be a platform to reinforce the set standard and for us to exchange experience- to see what worked and what did not so that we can collectively improve ourselves and our breed.  
 
I do not have a word counting program, but I think that is around 500 words.  If my very opinionated opinion about the direction of dog shows strays from the topic at hand, let me know and I will refocus on the actual question at hand.  
 
Have a great day hun!
Alice  

 


GUARANTEE A PUPPY

Thanks Alice
Sorry, I thought you had a litter that was ready to go home?
If we do a deposit, does that guarantee a pup or two with this liter?
I have another option, but like how you raise the dogs and believe you have a good service.

Thanks

Our litter that is ready to go home now has all gone to families that were on the waiting list.  If you would have placed your deposit(s) when you came out here over a month ago and spend the evening with us and our Rotties, you would have more than likely gotten exactly what you wanted from that litter as PICK MALE went to the person that was second from the bottom of the waiting list.  I never make guarantees about a litter of pups- first, I never know who will be show and who will be pet; if someone wants a show puppy and they are all pet pups, then there is nothing I can do about that- I will not sell a puppy with FULL REGISTRATION/BREEDING RIGHTS if he/she is not the best representative of the breed simply to satisfy the waiting list; second, I never know what everyone on the waiting list will decide- there could be 11 people wanting a male and 10 of them change their minds and go for a female instead.  In the last week, I have done probably 10 or more interviews.  This is the time of year that everyone thinks about puppies <3  I appreciate your compliments and would love to be able to give you 2 of our puppies, but I do not want to sell you a bridge in China either.  If you think we are your best option for a breeder, then hopefully, we are worth waiting on.  I know for a fact that there are only a very small handful of breeders in the entire world that can compare to us.  Our dogs routinely rank in the top in just about every international venue and we were awarded First Place Kennel/Breeder at the ADRK German KLUBSIEGER- the largest International event for Rottweilers in the world- essentially the olympics for this breed.  Our Rottweilers have been published in International Rottweiler Magazines, been on Animal Planet, National Geographic, and many other publications.  There is a reason the good breeders have a waiting list, and it is because people from all over the world want to own their puppies.  I am sure it must be the same with your husband.  With him being a top Olympic trainer, I am sure he is in great demand and that there is a significant waiting list for his services.  I would imagine that someone could not simply walk up with extra money in their pockets and jump the line of all the talented people who had worked and trained hard to be where they are at and did due diligence in seeking out the best trainer and accomplished whatever was necessary to be in his consideration.  Of course I do not know anything about the Olympic world other than what we watch on TV, so I could certainly be way off base.  But at least with my waiting list, the integrity of the list is of the utmost importance to me.  The choice to pick a puppy from a particular litter or pass and wait for the next available litter is done in order of deposits received.  The puppies form this litter that just went home went to Italy, Serbia, Canada, India, Las Vegas, North Dakota, Portland, Oregon and Chicago- all were hand delivered by either my husband or myself.  In addition to having some of the best dogs and bloodlines in the world, we also offer unparalleled breeder support with knowledge of bloodlines, training, health, etc. that most breeders simply do not have.  
If there is anything else I can do for you or any other information I can provide, please do not hesitate to ask.  I do wish you the best and hope we are able to make you part of the Guardian Rottweiler family.  
God Bless,
Alice

 


BREEDING A PET PUPPY

(This is a compilation of some of the many, many questions I get on this topic.  I hope this clears it up a little.)
Sorry, I do not understand the pet/show puppy difference.  For me, the whole litter looks amazing.  Are you saying that your pet pups do not conform to the breed standard?  Does that mean they are not well bred?  If the puppy looks good to me, why can’t I breed it? 

When the pups are about 6 weeks old, we give them a thorough evaluation, usually spending a couple of hours on each pup.  We are checking top and bottom lines, front and rear angulation, head type, muzzle to top skull ratio, ear setting and carriage, tail placement and carriage, marking definition, pigment, dentition, etc.  We are also checking drive, workability and temperament of the pup.  Unless you are cloning, it is impossible for every pup produced by a sire or dam to be exact replicas of the sire or dam.  As a matter of fact, you would not want that anyway because the very purpose of breeding is to combine dogs and bloodlines in a way that will enhance both sides of the pedigree and hopefully make the pups even better than the parents.  However, every pup in that litter will be slightly different.  Some will meet your expectation, some will exceed them, and some will fall short.  A GOOD BREEDER will look for the subtle differences and discern the pet pups from the show pups.  Unfortunately for the breed here in the USA, most breeder do not do this 🙁  They simply say all pups are XXX price and if you want breeding rights it is XXX more.  Some breeders do this because they simply do not know the breed standard well enough or understand how that translates on a 6 week old puppy.  Some unfortunately know the pup has a fault, but are willing to sell breeding rights to it anyway if that means more money can be collected 🙁  The problem with this is that even if it was an excellent breeding, if you give breeding rights to a puppy with a fault- even if it was a minor fault, and then that dog is bred to another dog with that fault, then that minor fault will not be a moderate fault in their offspring.  Then one of their pups exhibiting moderate faults is bred to another dog also lacking and now you have within the space of only 2-3 generations ruined decades of hard work to preserve and better the breed 🙁  When we designate a puppy as a pet puppy, it may be a very minor fault and one that the average person would not even notice, but it is my job as a breeder to be objective, critical and thorough for the sake of this breed.  If the breeding was done correctly, even the ‘pet pups’ should be remarkable.  The faults that would characterize a pup as a pet pup are not always conformation (physical beauty) either, sometimes the faults that make a puppy a pet are in the character.  For instance, if I have a puppy that has no drive (desire to work) than even if he/she is spot on on the conformation, he/she still is not conforming to the breed standard because the Rottweiler is a working dog and must possess that working drive.  That gentle, laid back personality might be perfect for a pet or even Therapy work, but it would not be the character required for many of the other jobs given to the Rottweiler.  Sometimes the converse it also true- I can have a pup with EXCELLENT drive but maybe the tail is too curly or the ears are not set correctly or the markings are too muddy.  Even though a pup like this would be pet, he/she be a great working prospect if you did not want to compete in conformation shows or breed.

 


WANTING TO BREED
Hello,

I have an AKC female rottweiler that was purchased with the intent to breed and I’m looking for a stud service. She just turned a year old on May 29 so she will not be able to breed for another year, but being new to this, I’m working ahead. We are located in Southern IN.

What is your process and what is your stud fee? 

My bitch was purchased from ***** in Williamsport IN.
 
Sincerely,
Robyn
 
Hello Robyn,

Unfortunately, the only breeders I really know about are those that I see at competing and working trials.  So if it is a breeder that is not active with their dogs or does not attend competitions, then often I will not know who they are.  I had never heard of this breeder, so I googled them 😉  I could not find anything on their website about hip and elbow clearances, heart or eye certifications, working or conformation titles or temperament testing, however, they may just not have it on their website.  Before you consider breeding your female, try to get to know her pedigree to learn what assets she will bring to the breeding table as well as where she lacks so that you can hopefully choose a male that will compliment her.  I would contact your breeder as he/she will be an invaluable asset in learning more about your dog’s pedigree, the pairing of that particular sire and dam, what they hoped to accomplish with that breeding, anything you should be aware of both positive and negative based on the history of each bloodline, and they should even have bloodline suggestions for mating.  If the puppy was purchased with the intension to breed, I would also ascertain what, if any, guarantees the breeder gives you regarding the suitability of that female for breeding– i.e. if she does not have a correct bite, passing hips, incorrect conformation, etc.

I am so glad to hear that you are waiting until she is at least 2 years old before breeding so that she can be done growing physically and mentally, that is so very important.  Between now and then, try to see if you can get her in any local shows.  Even if it is not a passion that you will pursue (although, you might be surprised how much you enjoy it once you go!! <3 ) it is important to have an unbiased judge be able to give you an honest critique of your dog.  Show and working titles are so important in breeding as they prove the dog’s merit.  A breeding goal should never be simply to produce puppies, it should ALWAYS be to preserve and better the breed, and by breeding dogs that are an asset to the breed selectively, we can accomplish this.  You will also want to get her hips and elbows x-rays and certified as well as her heart.  Joint problems, such as hip and elbow dysplasia and heart problems such as SAS are the most common health issues that plague this wonderful breed, and by making sure anything that is chosen for breeding is clear of any of these issues, we can continue to work towards decreasing how prolific these issues are.

Here is another page that might be of benefit- even though it is entitled “Choosing a Breeder” many of the same topics apply when choosing to breed.  http://guardianrottweilers.com/puppies/choosing-a-breeder/
Please feel free to take advantage of my website as a resource as well- both in raising your girl and in considering and preparing for breeding.  There are pages on Rottweiler health, breeding and whelping, puppy care, etc.  If there is anything else I can do for you, please do not hesitate to ask.
Best Regards,

Alice

Hi Alice,

thank you for the info and suggestions. My dog is currently in training at our local obedience club (Evansville, IN) for competition at the obedience trial level, but they don’t offer a rottweiler conformation show. I don’t think that the breeder I purchased her from is anywhere near the level of technical sophistication that your kennel has. They have been breeding rottweilers for 20 years out in the country and are very nice people with beautiful dogs with great temperaments, all family raised around kids. Our girl is on the small side and we are waiting to see how she looks at 24 months before we breed or spay. She has a fantastic personality and I know she will pass CGC and beginner obedience with no problem at all.

For me, it is indeed a pity that the previous breeder has been “breeding” for 20 years and during that time has not bothered to do right by the breed.  If they are not doing health exams and working their dogs and getting the opinions of judges on the breedability of their dogs, then, frankly, they should not be breeding.  It has nothing to do with sophistication, it has to do with respect for the breed and choosing to do right by them- and of course all the unsuspecting customers.  It would be like me opening a hair salon without investing anything in quality products, competent workers that were trained to cut/color hair, or even trying myself to learn what needed to be learned about the world of fashion, beauty or health, and just did whatever I wanted to customers hair.  Sure, I might get lucky on a few that only needed a trim or wanted it all shaved off- something a trained monkey could do, and have a few satisfied customers that think I am great, but on average, I would, without a doubt, have a lot of issues 🙁  ALL of which should so easily be avoided with a little bit of homework, investing in my “product” and making sure that those I had participating in  my “business” were competent and qualified for the job asked of them as evidenced by applicable degrees or titles.  I cannot even begin to imagine how many dogs with hip or elbow dysplasia, heart murmurs, SAS, entropion, etc. they have produced in 2 decades without genetic testing 🙁  Not to mention the character and conformation disasters that are sure to have come about without selective breeding 🙁  I am very happy for you that you have such a wonderful girl, and please do not mistake my frustration for her breeder with any negativity for either you or her.  I also think that it is wonderful that you are getting her trained and are working her.  There is no greater bond than that between handler and dog <3  
If there is ever anything I can do for you, please do not hesitate to ask.
God Bless,

Alice

 


BREEDING REQUIREMENTS
Hi Alice, glad to see that things are getting better at the kennel after the rough start to the year you had. Hope you saw the pictures I sent to you of him, he’s in great shape about 85-90 lbs, incredible strength and very handsome. We just started doing some bite work with him, which he is a natural at, not surprised. I will send some pics, and videos as he progresses. I think we may end up doing some tracking work and/ or nose work also. This dog, needs a purpose, he is very different than DJ, and is not big for lounging around. I know that somewhere you had mentioned the types of check and certifications that need to take place for breeding later in life, but I just can’t remember them. I know there is some testing at one year, and also some at 2 years. I ask, because if he ends up not suitable for breeding, I may neuter him. Could you send me a link to where I would find that when you get a moment.

Hope all is well!

Thanks, Scott

 

Yes! <3  I did see the photos and I do agree- he sure is a handsome fella <3  Wonderful to hear how well he is progressing with his training too- although, like you, I am not surprised 😉  When you get with good, working lines and there is something more between the ears, you are correct, it is not a dog that is content to just sit.  It is one of the reasons I require reading of my Rottie Facts page http://guardianrottweilers.com/the-rottweiler/rottie-facts/ before purchase.  Most people that think they know a Rottweiler are not familiar with either the conformation or mindset of a real working Rottie.  I am so excited to get photos and video as he progresses <3 <3 
I highly recommend getting prelims (preliminary x-rays) of the hips and elbows at 12 months of age.  You cannot yet certify at that age as he is still growing, but it will give you an insight on how they look as well as something to compare to down the road.  I also suggest getting his heart certified.  You can do this through your vet or a cardiologist.  Then, at age 24 months, you can get his elbows x-rayed for certification.  I HIGHLY recommend using a vet with experience on the x-rays- the wrong x-rays can either make a great dog look poor or a poor dog look great :/  and you want to have an accurate window into what his hips and elbows really look like if you are considering breeding.  Although excellent hips and elbows does not guarantee a dog will never produce a dysplastic puppy as environmental factors in growth and development play just as much of a role as genetic factors, it is still imperative to only breed dogs that have correct hips and elbows so that at least the factors we can control are done to the best of our ability.  
Because he is an import, you will also want to be sure you have DNA done on him.  You can order this directly from AKC
It is about $45 and very simply and easy.  They will mail you a kit that has very thorough instructions for collection- it is just a cheek swab, so not invasive.  Hardest part is getting him to sit still long enough LOL  and I usually have to straddle them.  
You will also want to get his bite checked and there are plenty of ways to do that.  If you enter him in any conformation shows, it will be the first thing the judges do; you can have your vet check it or you can visit my conformation page with a diagram and check it yourself.  
I always recommend show and/or working titles on any dog that will be bred as well.  Sounds like you are already well on the way with working him, which is, in my opinion, the most important.  But I would also suggest entering him in at least a couple of conformation shows to get the unbiased opinion of an expert judge on his overall conformation.  When and if you are ready for that, it will be my pleasure to help as well. If it is a show I will be attending, I would be happy to help handle him for you <3  You can find information on upcoming shows/events at zooza http://www.zooza.com  You can also sign up here to receive emails with information on upcoming events!  
If there is anything else I can do for you, please do not hesitate to ask, and like I said, please do send me photos and video of our handsome baby boy as he progresses!  I could watch working dogs all day long (and often do 😛 lol)
Have a very blessed day Scott,
Alice


 


BYB?

Hello, my name is Vee, I was wondering if I can email you occasionally for advice on my new Rottweiler puppy. This is my first time in my adult life that I get to have the responsibility of owning a Rottweiler.
However, I have a few questions and concerns.
First, I don’t think he came from a (real) breeder, probably a byb.  he cost $300 and has white on his chest and back feet. This does not mean I love him any less. I have 3 dogs; Safari, a Mastweiler. Brandy, a Rottweiler and probably pit bull mix. When I purchased her they told me she was a mastweiler, but 3 years later and less than half the size of Safari, I’m beginning to think they lied. And Brutus is the newest addition.
I am getting information from everyone saying he is not pure, I wasted my money, he is a mutt, or that yes he is pure and sometimes they have white.
I have been doing so much reading since getting him, but who’s information can i trust?
After stumbling finally upon your page I started to have hope. Lol 
Would you be able to give me some advice and guidance to raising a good male Rottweiler? (Even if he isn’t full bred) 

Sorry for the delay in responding Vee.
I can absolutely guarantee you that he came from a back yard breeder at only $300 as it cost more than that to deworm, vaccinate, microchip and get his check-ups– let alone the food, bedding, pre and post natal care for mom and pups, etc.  So definitely sorry that you inadvertently supported a puppy mill 🙁  First and most important thing you want to do is get him fully vetted- take in a stool sample to your vet and have it checked for intestinal parasites as there is a much higher probability of those when coming from a puppy mill or byb.  You will also want to get the rest of him checked out and get him vaccinated and microchipped.  Nutrition is the next most important thing.  Here is a page from my website on nutrition:
Socialization and training are your next big hurdles.  You can find more information on both of those here:
The fact that you are coming to me and unable to ask the “breeder” you purchased him from is definitely another absolute clue that he is from a byb or mill 🙁  A good breeder will ALWAYS stand behind their baby and do everything they can to help you in feeding and training and raising him.
Please do take advantage of my website as there is a ton of info on there- over 300 pages!  I am sorry you got hosed, but I am happy you now have a new buddy and I wish you the absolute best of luck with him.
God Bless,

Alice

PS- he looks happy and loved and at the end of the day, that along with his health are much more important than his pedigree. <3

 

 


SAGGING SKIN
I have a 5 month old Rottie. She is very healthy according to the Vet.  Im a little concern.  She has sagging skin on her face an where her breast are.  Is this normal?  She goes through this phase where she looks big an healthy and then maybe a few weeks later she looks thin.  I dont know if this is how their growth spurts are.  PLEASE HELP

Hello Octavia,
The breeder you purchased her from will be your best source of information.  He/she will know the bloodlines and be able to tell you what to expect from them.  Whether or not that is normal will depend on whether she is mixed with anything (shar-pei, bloodhound, mastiff, etc. all have loose skin even as an adult), as well as her breeding- parents, grandparents, etc.  Puppies, like children will go through different growth phases, and some loose skin is expected, but, quickly becoming thin can also be a symptom of intestinal parasites or other health issues.  I would bring your concerns to the attention of your vet and,of course, if you are ever concerned about anything else in her development, make sure to keep your vet informed as well.
Hope this helps <3
God Bless,
Alice

FIRST HEAT?

Hello,
Eugene typing. Ruby is our purebred Rottweiler. Could she be hitting her first heat cycle? She is more aggressive tho she will not hurt us. She plays and plays and plays then will drop to the ground to sleep…….like she just did.
When she and I play I let her bite my hand. She “knows” what gentle means and she knows what no bite means. The last two days she has bitten me harder than usual. When we go down the driveway checking our water, she has jumped at my hand and bitten (or tried to) and snapped at my hand. Totally unusual. Her wonderful and gracious play girlfriend is Xuin, a nine year old Pekingese. Ruby knows how to treat her. Today Ruby was stealing the toy Xuin wanted to play with or was playing with.
I did find one redish, clear, about a quarter size spot on the kitchen floor this morning. She is drinking water well and plenty. When she pees it is normal color and a good quantity, not thinking of bladder infection. After peeing the last two days a semi thick yellowish half inch long liquid may hang……not every time tho. I took her to True Value with me and before we went in i wiped a inch and a half long clearish, yellowish liquid just haning there.
Mostly……she is acting more excited/agressive, is panting, her tongue is about one and a half inches out, will obey but thinks about it longer….or just ignoring me.
She eats Hills Science Diet Puppy food. Her coat is GORGEOUS. For a week now she has been eating her dinner at fiveish with a giant tablespoon of canned Science Diet mixed with two cups of dry.
Thank you for your article about Rottweilers. 
My Wife Christine and I LOVE Ruby BUNCHES. SUCH AN INCREDIBLE GIRL!
Thanks,

Eugene

Good Morning Eugene,
5 months is a bit early for a Rottie’s first heat cycle, however, your breeder would be the best source of information on that.  She/he will know the bloodlines, what to expect, if there are any character changes, how long the heat cycles typically are and how long between them.  Of course, not all daughters will mirror their moms, but at least knowing the bloodlines will give a great deal of insight.  
Because she is a bit young for heat and especially because of the discharge you are describing, my best advice is to get her to a vet asap for a physical exam to include an X-ray and/or ultrasound to rule out pyometra- a potentially life threatening infection of her uterus.  Coming into heat can cause character changes, but so can an illness, and without a certified vet and thorough exam, it can be impossible to distinguish.  
I would also highly recommend having her spayed if you are not intending use her for breeding (which should require getting her trained and titled, get all her medical clearances necessary for breeding (hip, elbow, heart, eyes, DNA).  By spaying, you can eliminate the potential for reproductive cancers as well as pyometra and of course the mood swings that can accompany heat cycles.
I would also invite you to please look over my page on Nutrition.  A large breed dog has specific needs that differ GREATLY from a small breed puppy and more often than not, a “puppy” food that is not a “large breed puppy” formula will be way off on the protein and fat levels, amongst other issues.  Science Diet is not the worst food out there, but a dog does not need corn, wheat or soy- ever- nor should they have these things as these 3 are the number one dog food allergen.  
I am very glad that Ruby is fortunate enough to be with a family that treasures her and is diligent in doing what is right for her.  I hope some of this was helpful, and I will keep your little Ruby in my prayers.  
Have a blessed day.
Alice

 


BLOODLINES/PEDIGREES/BREEDING PROGRAM
I am asked quite frequently to give my opinion on other breeders dogs/bloodlines.  It is obviously a topic I generally try and avoid for many reasons- 1) It is not my job to judge another breeder- as long as they are doing right by their dogs, getting health clearances, conformation and character testing, etc., then we will all have slightly different opinions- different areas we focus on, etc.  2) Almost always when someone asks me evaluate their dog and/or pedigree, they do not really want my candid opinion, but rather validation regardless of merit.  So I prefer to let my breeding speak for what I like and value- if it is a dog or bloodline I think will improve my breeding program, then I will include it; if it is a dog or bloodline that either will not improve my breeding program or that I do not like the inconsistent character, health and or conformation of, then I will not.  But I do want to be clear on a common misconception- having a well titled dog “somewhere” in a pedigree or frankly, even have a slew of well titled dogs does not in and of itself make a great pedigree.  Country of origin also does not guarantee quality.  Obviously, as a general rule, Germany and much of Europe will have an overall better, more consistent quality of dog simply because of the way their breeding has been structured for generations.  However, that does not negate human error- breeders that simply lack understanding and do not breed in accordance with what their bitch/dog needs, or greed- breeders that are too lazy to do things the right way, take shortcuts and foolishly believe that as long as the dog is “German”, “Italian”, “Serbian”, “Hungarian”, etc., that is all that is needed sell pups at a premium.  As consumers, we need to be even more vigilant than the breeders.  Educate yourselves on bloodlines- with the luxury of the internet, there is truly no reason for anyone to not know pedigrees and bloodlines.  Educate yourselves on the breeder- I have an entire webpage on my website dedicated to this endeavor: http://guardianrottweilers.com/puppies/choosing-a-breeder/  And educate yourself on the breeding goals of that particular pairing- i.e.- was the breeder hoping to produce good working prospects- hard, driven dogs with strong working pedigrees?  If so, be sure that you are capable of handling and training such a dog as a true hard, working dog is too much dog for the average handler.  Or, was the breeder going for extreme head type- if you are expecting typical, oldskool German head type and you get an extreme head type, you may end up disappointed; conversely, if the breeder was hoping to breed a good agility dog and chose pedigrees/representatives with that breeding goal, but you were wanting a lot of bone and substance, you may also be disappointed.  Even if you choose a great breeder, be sure that their breeding goals- in general and with specific regard to the litter you are considering, are the same as yours.

Hello after looking through your site and dogs,beautiful Rottys as well,.
I noticed you’ve done alot of research and travel to kennels around the world.
I recently bought a puppy and was looking for more information on his pedigree and wondering you you could tell me anything you know about his pedigree or the Kennels in Europe his ancestors came from.
Any info would be greatly welcome and appreciated.
I am trying to learn more about blood lines and reputable breeders
Thank you Don 

 
Good Evening Don,
Thank you very much for your kind compliments.  Who is the breeder you bought your puppy from?  They should be your best resource for bloodline information since, if they are a good breeder, they will know the bloodlines inside and out and have carefully chosen each breeding pair hoping to capitalize on specific qualities as well as improve in other areas.  
I am quite familiar with his pedigree, know some of the breeders and have handled and/or owned some of the dogs.  But before I step on anyone’s toes, I would suggest getting back to your breeder and asking them to tell you about your puppy’s pedigree, why they chose that breeding pair, what they hoped to accomplish, what qualities they wanted to improve on from each of the bloodlines, and which ancestor they think your puppy takes most after in conformation (physical beauty) and character/temperament.
I hope you have had a blessed Memorial Day Don, and congratulations on your new puppy!
Best Regards,
Alice
 

Thank you for your repsonse.
I have talked to my breeder about his blood lines. His Dam and Sire compliment eachother very well.
This is my second Rottweiler ive owned in that time, I see a rise in Serbian kennels, I am wondering do they further the breed and are for the most part reputable?
You are sort of a second opinion so to speak lol.
I thank you for your response and knowledge in this area.
Regards Don. 

 
Sorry Don, busy with a litter of newborn puppies 😉
Serbia is no different than any other country- there are back yard breeders interested in greed only as well as dedicated breeders who are passionate about the breed.  There are many Serbian kennels that have had a tremendous impact on the breed and a lot of your top competing and winning dogs around the world are from Serbia.  But, much like USA, there are also many back yard breeders who ride the coattails of a well bred dog and think that by breeding to a popular dog, they can sell the pups for a good price.  Putting several great names together on a pedigree does not make a breeder a breeder- understanding bloodlines and breeding with specific goals does.  So, the short answer to your question yes, there are some amazing Serbian kennels and lines, but that does not make a “Serbian” dog superior automatically- just like having a “German” dog does not guarantee correct breeding or excellence.
Hope that was helpful.
Best Regards,
Alice

WAITING LIST, FROMM FOOD, DEPOSITS, AVERAGE # OF PET PUPS

 

Hi Alice,
Thanks for the reply.
*How many people are on your waiting list for the next two litters you are expecting? 
*Your contract states the $500 deposit does not expire or restrict to a particular litter.  Do you return deposits?  If yes, any stipulations?
*You mention professional quality dog food on your contract.  I have been feeding Fromm.  I see you no longer feed Fromm.  If I feed the pup Fromm, would you not consider that a quality dog food?  I know ANP is less expensive and there is often a reason why anything can be sold for less; cutting a corner somewhere.  I asked Fromm tons of important questions and they answered all of them to my satisfaction.  ANP refused to answer any of them.  Made me suspicious of ANP plus 3 of my dogs stopped eating ANP so I bought a new bag and they refused to eat that as well.  I asked if my daughter’s German Shepherd was liking his ANP and she said he hasn’t been eating very much lately.  That was enough for me to stop feeding ANP.  I went back to Fromm and all dogs ate readily again.
* I am looking for pet quality, I do not show my dogs.  On average, how many pet quality pups do you have in a litter?
Thanks again for your time,
Tricia


Hello Tricia,

*How many people are on your waiting list for the next two litters you are expecting? 

?My waiting list is not “per litter”.  Although everyone can indicate which litter they are interested in, they are not obligated to that litter.  For instance, if someone put a deposit down 2 months ago for an Eva male, and she had all females, it would be unfair for them to now go to the bottom of the waiting list for Vlinder’s litter if they put a deposit sooner than the other people on Vlinder’s waiting list, and it would be even more unfair for them to be forced into a female if they had their hearts set on a male.  So everyone goes into one “pot” and everyone gets asked about every litter irregardless of which litter they put a deposit on.  So, for instance, there is a family towards the top of the waiting list that wants a puppy from Ikon.  He does not have a litter on the ground yet, but I know they will not take any other puppy other than one of his, however, I still ask them on every litter if they are interested when I get to them on the waiting list as they have that right.  There is currently ?21 people on the waiting list and currently 2 of them are wanting a puppy from Eva’s litter and one wants a pup from Vlinder’s litter.  The others are either waiting for summer, waiting for a kid to leave for college, waiting for a service dog, waiting for a future litter, or perhaps just waiting for the correct pup for their situation.

*Your contract states the $500 deposit does not expire or restrict to a particular litter.  Do you return deposits?  If yes, any stipulations?

?Absolutely no refunds, period.  The decision to purchase a puppy SHOULD NOT BE on a whim.  It is not an impulse buy and by not permitting refunds, we ensure that the decision has been well thought out.  So if you are still on the fence, then you should do more research on the breed or us as breeders before we continue with the interview process.?

*You mention professional quality dog food on your contract.  I have been feeding Fromm.  I see you no longer feed Fromm.  If I feed the pup Fromm, would you not consider that a quality dog food?  I know ANP is less expensive and there is often a reason why anything can be sold for less; cutting a corner somewhere.  I asked Fromm tons of important questions and they answered all of them to my satisfaction.  ANP refused to answer any of them.  Made me suspicious of ANP plus 3 of my dogs stopped eating ANP so I bought a new bag and they refused to eat that as well.  I asked if my daughter’s German Shepherd was liking his ANP and she said he hasn’t been eating very much lately.  That was enough for me to stop feeding ANP.  I went back to Fromm and all dogs ate readily again.

  ?Here is the long story short with FROMM- I got a shipment full of mouse droppings.  And by shipment, I am not talking about one or two bags, I am talking about an entire palate- $4500 worth.  Unfortunately, that was the last straw for me as prior to that, I had SEVERAL conversations with Manny, my FROMM representative over formula changes that were effecting customers that I had referred to their product.  No, I do not consider Fromm an inferior product, I would not have used it for a decade if I did.  I do think it is a premium food and the biggest reason I made it crystal clear on my website that my issues were with my representative/dealer were because I do not have an issue with FROMM, just the irresponsibility and lack of trust with my representative.  I have not decided definitively if I will stay with ANP- I have not been on it long enough for that.  Because I order everything by the palate, the price difference really is not an issue for me as it is only $362 difference per palate with the dealer price I get from FROMM and the 5# bags of Fromm that I sent home with my customer I earned credit on whereas I now buy those outright from ANP, so on a whole, it will likely be more expensive for me to stick with the ANP- although again, price is not in any way, shape or form a deciding factor for me.  My dogs eat better than I do and their nutrition is extremely important to me.  I only went with ANP because of how similar it was to the Fromm.  Their prices difference, as least as it was explained to me when I sat down with the representative came from lack of marketing and I know Fromm spends a great deal of money on marketing- TV commercials, dog shows, etc.  The representative I had, I literally spoke to for over an hour and he answered everything quite thoroughly.  But again, as I said, I have not been on it long enough to know if I will stay with it.  I have also just ordered a palate of Solid Gold Bison for some of my adults.  I have a customer that RAVES about it, so I am going to give it a try.  I hate that after 10 years of being set, I am back to the “flop around” phase on food :/  It is extremely frustrating, but, at the end of the day, I am learning and growing and most importantly, making sure I am still on top of current nutritional developments and getting an opportunity to try more things and maybe even find something even better.  I will also be trying a Canadian brand called Arcana and there are a few new formulas of Orijin I want to try.  

I do very sincerely appreciate your feed back on the ANP.  That is unfortunate, and it if becomes a trend, then it will be a much shorter trial than anticipated.  I have tried their Sensitive Care, Buffalo, Exhibitor and Endurance and have liked all of them thus far as have my dogs.  But I have not tried all their formulas and my small group of dogs is by no means a completely inclusive test so I absolutely welcome any and all feed back.?

* I am looking for pet quality, I do not show my dogs.  On average, how many pet quality pups do you have in a litter?

?As a breeder, my goal is to produce a litter of pups that is greater than the generation before it.  So, in an ideal world, every single puppy would be not only show quality, but even better than his/her parents- and with the quality of dog I already use in my breeding program, that would obviously be incredible.  However, the reality with genetics is that there are always slight variations, and in all honestly, it is exactly what we want.  If we were to “clone” then there would never be any improvement.  It is those slight variations that we hope for as they are the way to continuously improve.  There will inevitably be some pups in the litter that meet my expectations, some that exceed my expectations and some that fall short in one or more aspects.  Those that fall short are the pet quality puppies.  They can be lacking in either physical type (conformation) or in character (lack of drive, lack of confidence, lack of workability, etc.)  It can be a drop dead gorgeous pup with near perfect conformation, but if I roll the ball or bring out a bait toy and it could care less and would rather climb back into your lap for snuggles, then it will make a great pet, but is not drivey enough for show or work and therefore should not be bred as the Rottweiler is a working dog.  Thus character is given just as much weight as the physical conformation.  I do not think there is an “average” number of pet pups.  I have had litters that were all pet and litters that were all show; from my last 2 litters, I had a litter of 9 that had 3 pet pups and 6 show and I had a litter of 7 that had 2 show and 5 pet.  I will not make a puppy a “show” puppy simply to satisfy a deposit.  That puppy is either an excellent representative of the breed and worthy of being a show/breed quality puppy or it is not.  Because of how selective I am in the evaluation process, there have only been about 3 litters that I can remember not having a single pet quality pup, so most litter will have pet pups in them.  ?

Thanks again for your time,

I am sorry that some of my answers are probably more ambiguous than you would like, but I would always rather answer candidly.  If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to ask.?

 


SIZE = QUALITY?
I have a couple questions. 

Do you expect a litter around the start of the new year?
What is the difference between a $3,000  puppy and $1,000 puppy? With your breeding a can you tell a difference at 6 weeks verses 5 years? Just curious because it seems there’s a lot of conflicting sides to this.
Is there a difference in size between these pups when they grow up (between first pick and last). I. Other words will a first pick male go 125 pounds and third pick go 95 pounds?
 
You are the pro. We are wanting a BIG male, big boned, block head. First impression is timid until people see the personality. 
 
What would you recommend. We are located in Texas.
-Chase


Here are a couple of pages that can help you out greatly Chase:
When the puppies are about 6 weeks of age, we do a comprehensive physical, social and character evaluation on the puppy.
http://guardianrottweilers.com/the-rottweiler/conformation/fulllimited/  The answer is absolutely I can tell.  Not only do I work with bloodlines that I have known intimately for generations and therefore know what to expect (i.e. is it a bloodline that grows slowly, like Mambo, or a bloodline that does most if its growth in the first 8 months, like Marsio; is it a bloodline that might have a soft topline as a youth but will have a phenomenal topline as an adult, etc.) as well as I know what “a,b and c” on a 5-6 week old puppy will translate to that same puppy as an adult because I have nearly 2 decades of experience and have watched hundreds if not thousands of puppies throughout the growth and development process and watched those all of those of puppies compete, and eventually produce their own progeny that I could also follow.  I have so much confidence in what I do that I back it with a LIFETIME CONFORMATION guarantee on all show quality puppies!  
Pet pups start at $1000 and range from $1000 to $2000.  The closer that puppy is to fault-free, or the greater the possibility that the fault that puppy possesses will dissipate as he/she ages, the closer he/she is to the $2000 price; the more faults, or more obvious the faults, the closer to the $1000 price range.  If you look at the conformation page, even though it is not yet completed, you will get a good idea of what we go through the puppy looking for.
No, size rarely factors into the evaluation process.  The largest puppy in a litter of 9 is either the one getting the most groceries, or potentially a puppy that is older than his/her siblings (dogs are multiple ovulaters-meaning a bitch can release up to 20 eggs at a time, each one being individually fertilized and they do not have to be fertilized at the same time- in fact, usually are not).  When I evaluate a puppy, I am looking for correct conformation, drive and focus, confidence, workability, head type, top and bottom lines, front and rear angulation, compactness of the build, stance, bone and substance, etc.  For example, a puppy that is the largest pup in the litter, but is lacking in bone and substance and has poor conformation will rate poorly when evaluated vs. a puppy that might be smaller, but has a ton of bone for his size, is very compact in build and has overall excellent conformation.
Hope that helps answer some of your questions.  Please let me know if you have any more or if there is anything I can do for you.
Have a blessed day!
Alice

 


WHITE MARKS
Hi Alice,

Thank you for all the information, have been looking forward to your email!
I sure hope the puppies get well soon!
Wondering, if for some reason I don’t get a puppy from either of the 2 litters, when is your next litter planned?
Also, just curious, how come some of the puppies have white marks and some don’t? Is it common for them to have white marks?
Hope you have a fantastic weekend!
Julie

 

The closer you are to the “old German bloodlines” the more they pop up- it is because of the Bernese Mountain Dog that was used as part of the natural creation of the breed.  The further forward you go in a dog’s bloodline, the less it should occur as breeders (good breeders) will breed against it by making those that do have the white mark PET QUALITY so that those that are phenotypically expressing the trait and genetically more predisposed to passing it on do not get that opportunity.  There are some bloodlines that will carry it more often, just like there are some bloodlines that will carry high set ears more often and some lines that will carry a higher propensity for an incorrect bite, etc.  As a breeder, we educate ourselves on this so that we can become aware of what bloodlines are compatible and which are not as well as, say for instance, if I have a line know to throw the white make more often, even if the dog I have is not expressing the white mark, I would still know to be aware of what I breed him/her to in hope of preventing it.  Unfortunately, many of the bloodlines I love because of character and body type can also carry it more often.  With every single mating, there will be the possibility of faults.  There is no such thing as a flawless dog (except Diesel 😉 ) and no such thing as a fault-free bloodline.  As a breeder, I educate myself on what faults to expect and which ones I am WILLING to expect.  I.e. a bloodline famous for throwing nice pumpkin heads and super character, HOWEVER, also has an unfortunately high probability of throwing out SAS (Sub Aeortic Stenosis- a heart defect), then no matter how super the “positives” are, it is not a risk I am willing to take.  Conversely, a stray white mark here or there in exchange for the opportunity to have a Balou line breed this close to the front of the pedigree and the possibility of producing another Balou or Jackomo or Ambassador- totally worth the gamble for me as the white mark 1) does not always stay when the adult coat comes in and 2) more importantly for me, has zero impact on health or character. 
When I first started breeding, breeding correctly was much more difficult.  Most kennels do not advertise the faults in their lines 🙁  As a matter of fact, most will vehemently deny them.  So you have to be willing to do the foot work- to watch dog after dog after dog at dog shows and see what each bloodline is producing; to go to kennels that have pups out of that bloodline and see what he/she is producing; to get on places like working dog.eu and look up pedigrees and go back generation and branch out sideways to siblings, Aunts, Uncles, cousins, etc.  And if it is a cross that no one has yet done- like when I crossed Marschall’s daughter, Maxy (old school Serbian bloodlines) onto my Balou grandson/Like v. Sittard son Dunjo (very old school German bloodlines) then it is baptism by fire resulting in one of my best females of all times, Geneva.  I actually sold Geneva as a puppy to a breeder in Serbia.  Then I went to a dog show when she as about a year old and was so blown away with what I saw that I had to have her back.  I sold her for just over $3000, but bought her back for just under $20,000 :/  For a 12 month old youth that is not yet full developed and has not been proven as a producer, that is a good chunk of change, but her owner know what he had with her and would not part with her for pennies on the dollar.  I have no regrets- one of the best investments of my breeding career!  
Unfortunately, there are many (most 🙁 ) breeders in Germany and Europe who consider dogs with faults to be genetically inferior to the extent of being a blight to the bloodline/pedigree and will put the pups down at birth 🙁  Years ago (over a decade ago), when I first started attending REAL dog shows in Germany, I was talking to a German breeder from a kennel that, prior to my conversation, I held in the absolute highest of regard and was so eager to talk with him and learn from him.  He told me that the most important item to have on hand when whelping was a bucket of water.  I said, “ok, to help keep everything clean?”  and he said, “no, for the puppies”.  The confusion must have been quite blatant on my face as he went on to explain that when you have one with a fault born, just drop it in the bucket of water.  I was shocked and horrified, to say the least 🙁  And unfortunately, I learned after many, many conversations with breeder, judges, handlers, trainers, etc. that this was considered “common knowledge” – although there were many variations on how to quell the puppies 🙁 Not only is this, in my opinion, extremely barbaric, but it also made learning faults associated with bloodlines more difficult.  I could go and look at a litter of 6 puppies sired by Astor and see what faults or assets I could find, however, if the litter was 12 puppies at birth and half were put down for a fault, I would never see that or learn about it 🙁  I do not think that my “education” would have taken the last 2 decades (and still learning every day!) if the information would have been more readily available.  It is one of the main reasons I do not hide faults in what I produce.  Every single litter I have ever produce is readily available on my “GR Produced” page- clear for everyone to see what faults to look for, what health/conformation/character issues there may have been as well as what worked best- which breedings yielded either the least amount of undesirable faults or which breedings yielded the greatest rewards (ironically, sometimes, those can be the same liters!  with great risk, comes the greater potential for high reward– i.e. this line breed on Balou.  I knew going in that the white marks were going to be almost inevitable, however, as I said, the expectation I had on the possible builds and more important MINDS on these puppies made the risk ever so worth it!  Even though I had a litter of more faults than fault-free– more PET than SHOW, even the puppies with faults, I can guarantee the families will be ever so blessed with the characters and it will be the most talked about asset in this litter!)
I did want to make one thing clear, however.  Although, all bloodlines have fault in them, please also be aware that in poorly bred bloodlines, you will these faults quite often as no one tried to “weed it out”.  For instance, if I took a dog that had a significant white mark on the chest and bred him to a female that also had a white mark on her chest, the offspring would not only have larger white patches, but a greater percentage of them would as well as they would not carry it more dominantly when breeding.  In as little as 2 or 3 generations, you can undo over a century of careful breeding :/  And that does not just go for white marks, it goes for head type, ear set, eye color, structure, substance, and most importantly, character.  If you have a dog that does not possess correct character and you breed him or her, the resulting offspring will possess that same incorrect character and almost always amplified.  For instance, if I had a dog that was timid or shy and bred him, his offspring would not only be timid, but there would almost certainly be some that were so scared that they were fear aggressive 🙁  It is one of the reasons you can expect such great minds/characters from German bloodlines- every single generation has been temperament tested.  So you are not only breeding a sound dog, but you are breeding a sound dog from a sound pedigree. 
Because Geneva’s litter was not only a line breed on a very old German bloodline but also had Crni Lotos relatively close to the front of the pedigree, I expected there to be some white in this litter, however, Miss Kandy definitely caught me off guard! lol  
Ok, I have avoided heading out to clean the kennels long enough.  Off I go.  I hope everyone has an absolutely blessed weekend and I will update if there is any new news on the puppies <3
God Bless,
Alice

 


PROBLEMS WHELPING
My 4 year old rott just gave birth to a litter or 9 pups. I am not a Breeder, but I have many friends who, after meeting mine, really wanted a rott. I am in a very uncomfortable position, and I am sorry to burden you with it, but I don’t know anyone personally to ask. One of the pups has a rear leg facing the wrong way. He is half the size of the others and I don’t know what to do. It seems a tragedy to enter a crippled dog to the world, and I don’t have the resources to have a vet fix it. I need the advice of someone experience. Thank you, Ty Clark

I know you probably do not want to hear everything that I am going to say, but it needs to be said.  I appreciate that predicament you have gotten yourself into.  I am happy to offer my advice, but you also must consider what you are doing.

As well intentioned as you may have been, you should have never considered breeding unless you were in a financial position to do so correctly.  How can you say that you do not have the resources to take this pup to the vet?  It is too late to make that decision!  What would you have done if your female had complications and needed a c-section? or didn’t stop bleeding, or any number of complications that can cost thousands of dollars?  What if she did not or later does not accept these pups and you now must hand raise 9 newborn puppies?  Have you read or watched or studied anything to help you know what to do and what to expect?  The number of complications possible to your dam and pups is limitless!  Has your bitch had her hips and elbows certified? heart? eyes?  has she had her conformation proven in a show ring?  any temperament testing?  DNA? registration?  how about the stud you chose?  This could very well be the reason for such a severe birth defect.  

What kind of prenatal care did your female receive?  What food did you have her on?  Lack of proper care and nutrition can also contribute to birth defects, low birth weight, and failure to thrive.

Was your bitch alone while she was whelping?  Could his leg be the result of an injury from mom?  Especially with such a large litter, being inadvertently squished and even killed by mom is not uncommon, especially if no one was there to assist in the delivery.

The only advice I can offer on your pup is to have him/her seen by a vet to see what the extent of the injury or defect is and what your options are AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!  Borrow money, charge a credit card- FIND a way- you OWE your puppy this much!  You also must now see to the welfare of the rest of your pups as well as your mom.  She will need a good, quality food high in protein and fat while she is lactating (producing milk).  You will need to check the milk supply of your female to be sure she can nurse the pups and I would also recommend supplementing your pups as well not only because the dam will likely need help but also because she has such a large litter and the smaller pups will get pushed off nipples and fall behind.

You will also need to have your bitch seen by a vet to ensure that she is indeed finished with the labor and that she has not retained any fetuses or placentas as this can cause life threatening infection for her.

I would highly recommend that you do yourself and your dog a favor and have her spayed after this especially if you are not in the position to take care of them properly.

I wish you and your new little ones the very best.

God Bless,
Alice Velasquez  

 


HAND RAISING NEWBORN PUPPIES
Hello, My name is James.  I emailing you in regards to some helpful tips of hand raising two 24 day old rottweiler puppies. My wife is a vet tech and we have fostered dogs in the past, but never day old puppies.  Currently we have two full blooded rottweiler puppies that we started to take care of when they were 5 days old.  One of the puppies is doing great while the other has pneumonia. At about 2 weeks, we noticed that Miah was breathing heavy and had started a cough.  While my wife was bottle feeding her, she never aspirated, or at least we thought.  she never had any formula come out of her noise or mouth.

My question to you is and your group is what are tips in hand raising these puppies? When should we introduce the puppy mush? Currently Ranger weights about 2.35 pounds at 24 days and Meih weighs about 2 pounds. How many MLs should we feed per sitting? How often should we feed them? Currently we are doing about every 4 hrs.

Thanks for your time,
James

Bless your heart James.  Hand-raising pups can be very difficult.  You are correct in the assumption that the pneumonia is more than likely caused from aspiration.  Even if you did not see excess come out the nose or mouth, it is still possible the suck, swallow, breathe sequence still somehow failed your little one just as it is possible if you did not get all the air out burping them after each feeding that she later either regurgitated or just burped up enough milk to aspirate 🙁  Pneumonia is unfortunately one of the number one causes of attrition at this age 🙁  Amoxicillin is safe to give at this age and I highly recommend it.  If you do start her on Amoxi-drops, not that it can deplete the digestive tract of good bacteria so you might have to add pre/pro-biotics back in via either adding whole yogurt or supplements.  My vet prefers and recommends Proviable-D, but there are several brands out there.  I usually start introducing semi-solid food at 3 weeks or as soon as I feel the teeth through the gums.  I make my own puppy formula as well as my own semi-solid.  You can boil ground chicken, turkey or hamburger and add a bit of rice or oatmeal for a basic recipe.  You can add to that whole yogurt or canned pumpkin especially if there are any digestive upsets.  Because your 2 little ones are behind right now, I would also suggest you asking your vet about Hills Prescription Formula A/D.  It is a very high calorie yet easily digestible formula that is often given to recovering puppies/kittens.  I would also go ahead and deworm if you have not already.  Roundworms are the most common, especially at this age and they can cause severe malnutrition in young puppies.  If these puppies had any exposure to fleas, you should also consider the possibility of tapeworm.  I would take a stool sample into the vet, however, do not assume that a negative stool is synonymous with no parasites as there can still be intestinal parasites present even if they are not detected in the stool.  Here is a great page for the most common tummy bugs as well as our deworming protocol.  http://guardianrottweilers.com/health/intestinal-parasites/
I wish you the best of luck with your little ones and will keep them in my prayers.  If there is anything else I can do for you, please let me know.
God Bless,

Alice

 


WHY DO YOU BOTTLE FEED THE PUPPIES AND WHAT’S IN THE BOTTLE?
I saw the video.  How adorable!  Just out of curiosity.  why do you bottle feed as well?  What’s in the bottle?  I’ve never seen puppies in action that little and was just wondering! 

Thanks Alice! 
David

Had some EXCELLENT questions (by someone else on the waiting list) and thought I would go ahead and send everyone the info.  Most breeders do not supplement- they let the moms do all the work.  Of course, there is no substitute that is as good as mom’s milk, but we make our own home-made formula and it is pretty great- again, still not mom’s milk, but has everything the pups need for a great start.  We use:
whole, fresh goat’s milk:  goats milk is much easier for their tummies to digest than cow’s milk- loads more expensive, but totally worth it as they are able to digest it and get what they need from it
whole organic yogurt: Just like with the milk, it is important to use WHOLE and not skim or 4%, etc.- these puppies need all the extra fat and vitamins they can get.  The whole yogurt also has a very important added benefit- it is very helpful to little tummies.  It is naturally high in pre and probiotics that are essential to good digestion, so in addition to the added protein, calcium, vitamin D, etc., they also get good bacteria for their still developing digestive system.  Incidentally, whole yogurt is great for them at any age!  Most of the treats and foods that I prepare for my other dogs/pets also include yogurt (great benefits for people too!)  And anytime I have a dog with an upset tummy or soft stool, one of the first things I reach for is my yogurt!
Fresh egg yolks:  This is where our birds earn their keep 😉  It is VITAL that the egg yolks that are used be farm fresh eggs.  It does not matter if they are chicken, duck, turkey, etc.  The ones you buy in the store are bleached and processed and even the chickens that lay them are treated poorly and fed poorly resulting in vastly inferior eggs.  Once you have eaten fresh farm eggs- or even SEEN the difference (instead of a pale, pasty yolk, you have a rich, vibrant, yellow-orange; instead of a thin, fragile shell, you have a thick, hearty shell, etc.) I doubt you would ever put a store egg on your plate or in the bellies of your loved ones again!  EQUALLY IMPORTANT that it be the YOLK ONLY.  Egg whites contain avidin, a Biotin inhibitor.  Biotin is one of the B vitamins and super important in fatty acid metabolism, good skin and coat and cellular growth.  Because the egg yolks are so high in Biotin, as long as you feed the whole egg, it would really take a LOT of egg whites to cause a significant deficiency, however, why risk it and/or give it if there is a better way.  So, we use the egg yolks for the puppies and then use the egg whites either in an omelet or give them to the adults.  It is also important to note that when you cook the eggs, you eliminate all of the enzyme inhibitors found in the egg whites, so cooked, whole eggs are ok at any age.  But since cooking makes you lose a pretty significant amount of nutritional value, we just give the raw egg yolks.
The last ingredient in our homemade formula is a product call Nutri-Cal.  Nutri-Cal comes in a tube and is something we keep on hand with all of our whelping kits.  It is a  sweet paste that is very high in calories and vitamins and more importantly, readily available.  Meaning, when we rub this on the gums of all our puppies as they are born, the sugar and life saving energy is immediately absorbed and available- it does not have to wait to be digested before it is delivered to the bloodstream.  We give it to our babies as soon as they are born as well as every morning and evening when we do our weigh-in’s and check-ups.  Not only does it give a little boost, but also makes the whole experience of getting their check-ups and weighed in a positive, pleasant one that they soon look forward to.
The basic recipe for this formula was given to me years ago by the mother of a German breeder/judge.  I have modified it over the years slightly to ensure the absolute best for our puppies and it is lightyears ahead of any ready made formula you will find in stores.  I absolutely credit this formula for saving the lives of many pups.
So we have answered the what now the why.  Anytime we have a mom that has more than 5-6 puppies, we will always supplement, but often, even when it is a small litter, we will do at least a little bottle feeding.  But if mom’s milk is the absolute best for the puppies, why would we want to interfere with that?  A few reasons.  First, when it is a large litter, there will, without a doubt be some puppies that are smaller than others- even in a small litter, there will always be a size difference.  Because dogs are multiple ovulaters- meaning a bitch can relate up to 20 eggs when in heat, each egg can be fertilized not just at a different time, but by a different male even!  (cats and many other animals are the same way!) So, if you ever see a stray or not weak guarded female cat or dog that has a litter that literally looks like one of everything, it is generally because it is!  Male A could breed her on Monday and fertilize 1-2 eggs (or more of course), then Male B breed her on Wednesday and fertilize a couple more and then Male C come on Friday, breed her and fertilize a few more.  Leaving her with not only a litter sired by several males but also babies that can be a week or more apart in development!  They do this because, in the wild, it is the best way to ensure not only a greater chance for a large, healthy litter, but an opportunity for the cliche, survival of the fittest- since she does not know which males are the most “potent” or those that are capable of producing the strongest offspring, she has a greater opportunity to achieve that goal by allowing multiple suitors.  Obviously, we do not permit multiple suitors with our females 😉 but we do have them bred multiple times.  Some breeders will test progesterone on the bitch daily and only breed when she is at peak ovulation.  Because that breeding date varies for each female and because I do not like to (pardon the pun) put all my eggs in one basket, I will permit them to breed “for as long as the bitch will stand”.  Meaning, as soon as she flags (moves her tail out of the way and approaches the male) that she is ready and the male is willing to mount (many males will check her often, however ignore any advances from the female until they have ensured she is ovulating), I permit breeding daily until either she refused the male or he is no longer interested.  This may be 1-2 days or it may be fore a week.  
In addition to differences in ages, some puppies are naturally more vigorous eaters than others and the more aggressive eaters will plow the less aggressive eaters straight off the nipple (you can see this in the video I posted of Pink getting pushed off her her turn on the bottle- but don’t worry, I gave the bottle back to her and let her finish her meal <3 Everyone gets a full belly when I feed them <3 )  So, if you have a puppy that is born a week or more younger than everyone else and in addition is also not a strong eater, that puppy can quickly and easily get pushed regularly away from the food and either get undernourished or even completely starve to death 🙁  So, then, we should only bottle feed the ones that are not getting enough, correct?  No, we top everyone off.  If we fill the bellies of the more aggressive eaters or larger puppies, then, when it is time to get more milk from mom, they are not “starving” and will give the little ones a better opportunity to get a full belly of the good stuff from mom.  It is important that the little ones get just as much or hopefully more from mom than they get from us.  In addition to benefitting the puppies, it is also a huge benefit to mom.  A mother of a large litter can quickly become overwhelmed with feeding and cleaning (she has to lick and stimulate the puppies to eliminate and little puppies go OFTEN- pretty much constantly lol- so that is a LOT for her to keep up with).  By helping her out with both the feeding and the cleaning, we not only ensure a cleaner, healthier environment for the puppies, but give mom a bit of a break in what her body has to sacrifice to keep up with the demand.  Mom also gets her food soaked in the milk we make so that she gets a lot of the nutrients that she has to expend making milk back.  Makes for a happier, healthier mom, and of course ultimately, happier, healthier, better fed puppies.
Finally, another very important reason we supplement feed the puppies is socialization.  The puppies, from birth, associate our scent with taking care of them- meeting their nutritional needs, helping clean and care for them and of course all the snuggling and bonding- the most import of these to a puppy is of course food 😉  This way, even before their eyes and ears are open and before they can see or hear anything in their environment, they are already instinctually drawn to us, the humans.  This goes such a long way in socialization down the road.
So there you have it, why, how and with what we feed our little ones <3  The whole family gets involved in feeding along with any friends they bring home with them so the puppies get loads and loads of socialization even before they are old enough to be aware that it is socialization <3 
As always, if anyone has any questions at all, please do not hesitate to ask <3
Have a blessed day! <3
Alice

LOSS OF A PUPPY

Hi

I am reaching out on a limb here not even sure if I will get a response but I’m desperate. I am a big dog lover especially my rotties so when I decided to breed her it was a tough decision.  She had a small litter 6 puppies all healthy fun of energy until I noticed one slowing in feeding and not playing. I rushed him to the vet and they suggested a respiratory infection as he had nasal discharge after receiving antibiotics.  I took him home with antibiotics, up 24 hrs insuring he is feed and giving meds. The next day he makes a turn for the worse he is constantly crying, and will not stand or receive food supplements. So I rushed him back to the hospital.  He was hospitalized and placed on an IV drip. I was told he was taking a turn for the worse with vomiting blood clots and needed to be placed on oxygen.  They were unsure of what is going on so we ordered more test and $2500 later he passed. I’m not sure what went wrong and I am so heart broken. I am reaching out to inquire if this is something you have encountered? What could I have done differently to keep this from happening again? How often do breeders lose puppies? Again I’m not sure if this will receive an response but I will be great full to gain any insight.  Thank you

Dear Camron,
I am so sorry for the struggles you have/are going through.  Losing a life always has been the most difficult part of being a breeder- and frankly, the times where I have seriously considered whether or not I had what it took to do this 🙁  I applaud you for taking all the steps you did to do right by mama and pups and try to save him.  Did you order a necropsy?  If it is not too late, that would be my best suggestion.  There is unfortunately a million things it could have been- anything from a bacterial infection to aspirate pneumonia or a virus like mycoplasma or even a degenerative or congenital issues that just did not present until now.  If you have a local university, that is your best option for a necropsy as they are typically not much over $1-200, and provide so much useful information to help you going forward, especially if there is the potential of it effecting the rest of your puppies.
As far as how often breeders lose pups, that is a difficult question to answer.  Some ‘breeders’ are not very involved and leave everything essentially up to nature.  I read a book by a breeder once when I first started that quoted a loss of 40% as being acceptable 🙁  That I cannot even imagine.  There is no way I would have the heart or stomach for this if I lost 4 out of every 10 precious little babies.  We, however, here, are extremely involved- weigh-in and complete check-ups twice a day, vet checks, pre and post natal care of mom, etc., so thankfully, we do not lose our babies very often.  Unfortunately, even the most vigilant of breeders cannot win every time and I have been in your shoes more times than I would like.  And I know from personal experience that there is nothing I can say that will ease your pain.  I am truly sorry for your loss.  
I will keep you and your babies in my prayers.
God Bless,
Alice

 

 


UMBILICAL HERNIA/ PUPPY’S FIRST VET VISIT
Hi Alice,
Jumanji is doing great. He does have a fabulous personality. The vet check went fine. He did say that the hernia could be hereditary, but I explained that it was the bitches first litter and there were three other puppies with the same issue. He also said that when they took in the back for a stool sample that he seemed snesitive to hands near his face and paws. I haven’t observed this, but he suggested we handle him a lot there to prevent any issues later on.

Have a great weekend.

Bill

 
There are complex hernia’s are are indeed hereditary, I do concur with your vet on that.  In 15 years of breeding, I have only come across them 2 times, and both times, the pups were spayed/neutered at the time of closure, and the breedings that produced them were never repeated.  There were not 3 other pups, there was a total of 3, 2 more in addition to your baby boy-his brother and my girl that I am keeping.  We did not do surgery on her as I will be keeping her and I expect it to close on its own, but we did do surgery on both boys.  I did not read through everything my vet sent home, so I am not sure if it states on there how slight the hernia on Jumanji was- literally, less than the size of a pea, and not at all complex.  When it is an actual hernia, it is about the size of a quarter, or larger, even at birth.  In the case of one puppy we had, it was already the size of a quarter at birth and by the time she was old enough for surgery, it was at least the size of a golf ball, maybe larger and it extended up into her diaphragm.  Here is some more information on hernia’s from a veterinarian that had dealt with show dogs for quite a number of years:
It is important to note that the above article also references what most vets call “innocent murmurs” which are also very common in growing large breed dogs.  Sometimes there are intermittent heart murmurs heard as the puppy grows that are not indications of any real problems and self eliminate.  
And here is another article.
There is also a link here to the AKC rulebook so that you can see clearly it is not considered a fault, even if unprepared.  
Meaning, since I chose to not repair my girls hernia, if it has not self corrected by the time I enter her in her first show, then it is still acceptable (although I truly have no doubt it will be corrected by then- in all my years of experience, the tiny hernia’s caused by an overly aggressive or inexperienced mom have always self repaired by the time the puppy is 6 months of age).  There is a great debate amongst breeders on whether to repair a slight hernia or leave it be.  In anyone that I will keep for myself, I leave it be.  However, when it is a puppy I will sell, I simply do not want to put that responsibility or potential expense (if it must be repaired later) on you.  I do not think that is fair or what you signed up for.  I have a Diesel daughter that I sold to Holland about 10 years ago.  Her mom was also a first time mom.  She had an umbilical hernia.  She has had 8 litters, all large litters (smallest litter was 8 puppies, largest litter was 14!).  Well over 100 puppies and not a single one with an umbilical hernia.  Her owner and I are good friends and have gotten even better friends since I sold her my Diesel daughter <3  The fact that I am keeping my girl, despite her hernia, should hopefully tell you something as well.  I will make a puppy “pet” quality if I do not like how his/her ears set; I will make them a pet puppy if I do not like the fill under the eye; I will make them a pet if I do not like how the tail is carried… I am VERY picky with what I consider a show dog.  From Geneva’s litter of 7, for instance, only 2 were show quality!!  Trust me when I say if I had even the slightest reservation, he would have been a pet puppy, period.  It is not at all worth it for me to sell my very hard earned reputation for $1100 (the difference in his price from a top PET puppy).
Face and feet nervous???????  I do not even have words for that!!!  First of all, I do not EVER allow a vet to take ANY of my pets “back” away from me, EVER- not unless they are having a surgery!!  I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA AT ALL WHY IN THE WORLD YOUR VET WOULD NEED TO TAKE HIM “BACK” FOR A POOP SAMPLE!!!!!  He can either ask you to collect it, or he can get it either from the thermometer he put in the rectum to get his temperature (as that should be sterile before being inserted into your puppy) or from a fecal loop that is also inserted into the rectum to retrieve a bit of fecal matter.  I was a combat medic for the United States Army as well as a Lab Tech.  I can tell you that it only takes a very, very minute sample to test and/or look at under the scope.  And your vet could have obtained surplus of that sample directly from the puppy while performing his exam.  Having a puppy taken “back” is exactly how many, many puppies have been RUINED!!  I can put you in contact with loads of people that have horrific horror stories of dogs that now completely do not trust vets or vet clinics because of things that were done to them.  If you listen to any advice at all from me, please, please, PLEASE do not ever let a vet take your puppy “back” EVER AGAIN unless it is for a procedure (like surgery) that must be done in a surgery room.  Even a blood draw can be done right there in the room with you.  If your vet refuses, then sorry, you need a NEW VET!  I can ABSOLUTELY GUARANTEE YOU, WITHOUT A SHADOW OF A DOUBT that your boy has confidence in spades!!  He has been handled by myself, my kids, their friends, etc. from the moment he was born.  He pranced around an airport terminal as though he were born there.  He has NEVER, NOT ONCE ever shrunk away from anyone petting him, EVER.  He is happy go lucky, eager for attention, and eager to please.  I would stake my ENTIRE REPUTATION on the character of that puppy as it was/is the most defining aspect of him!!  I do agree that it is always a good idea to have his feet handled regularly (and it is in your “Grooming” pamphlet too) so that he is not uncomfortable with getting his toenails trimmed, however, that has already been done by all of us!!  My kids are such experts as this that it is almost impossible to see one of them holding a puppy without playing with his/her feet as I have emphasized this from the moment they were little.  The last thing you want is a 100+ pound Rottweiler that does not want his toenails trimmed.  Because of how great mom’s milk is, those pups get their toenails trimmed at least 1-2 times a week and no one, NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THEM has any hesitation about it!!  All of our puppies also get vitamins daily (Nutri-Cal) that is smeared on the roof of the mouth FROM THE DAY THEY ARE BORN so, once again, that is a totally normal and routine thing for them that they do not object to.
I cannot remember ever once in all my time as a breeder ever telling someone to be sure of their vet after just one vet visit, but, unless it is a vet that you already greatly trust and respect, I would give a GREAT DEAL OF CONSIDERATION to him/her before continent to take your puppy there!!!  They seem to be doing everything right to make your puppy HATE VETS.  Keeping that puppy with you where it feel safe and comforted especially after you have had him less than a day is absurdly common sense!  Teaching him to love, trust and respect a vet from such a young age is ESSENTIAL!!  Some day he might be in real trouble- hit by a car, swallowed something, etc. and if he is already paranoid and untrusting of vets, it will make treating him difficult and dangerous 🙁  Sorry if I seem enraged, but I AM.  I am sure you could probably tell he was my favorite in his litter and frankly, I just want to throttle your vet at the moment.  I always try to give vets the benefit of doubt- like with the hernia question- is is possible that he/she is either mis-informed or not sufficiently informed.  My vet has been working with my bloodlines for over a decade- not just with my own dogs, but the countless customers I have brought to him with my sold pups, youth, adults, rescues, trainees, etc. so he has had the opportunity to expand his learning from the numerous things he has had to look up/research/refer/follow-up on over the years, and I do not expect all vets to be as great about breed specific knowledge as Dr. Udrasols is, HOWEVER, I truly, for the life of me, simply cannot imagine what your vet was thinking “taking him back”.  Back where?  For what??  To what end???  Away from the only person he trusts after such a life changing separation from his entire world here at Guardian Rottweilers, and why???  What could he have possibly needed to do “back” that could/should not have been done in with you??  Was the rest of his exam in front of you??  I so sincerely hope so!  And if yes, did he seem fearful of the vet? (and I am not meaning slightly unsure, as that is to be expected from someone he does not know looking and poking in places with instruments, etc.) I am asking was he fearful?  If yes, then that should have been a HUGE RED FLAG as that was the EXACT OPPOSITE of what I am sure you saw of him at the airport even AFTER flying in 2 HUGE metal birds with turbulence and hoards of people taking photos and grabbing at him, even after leaving everything he knew behind to embark on a new adventure, even after being hours without food and water in places that looked, smelled and sounded so completely foreign, and even after wearing both a collar and a leash FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME EVER- he still was his social, playful, fun self!  The very reason we hand deliver each and every puppy is precisely this!  We want them to know that, even in the presences of such overwhelming new sights/sounds/smells to take it, they are not alone.  We are with them every step of the way to reassure and comfort them so that the adventure become just that, an adventure rather than a scar.  SO if he was different with your vet, then that is surely your first red flag.  If he was NOT different while in the room with you and only displayed ‘sensitivity to hands near his face and paws’ after being “taken back” then I have to wonder how the treatment “back” was 🙁  And that makes me sick to my stomach 🙁  The 3rd option is that he was not afraid even when taken “back” but rather you have a biased vet who has seen too many poorly bred or poorly raised dogs that are fearful of having their face and paws touched and assumes that because he is a Rottweiler, he must surely be headed in that direction.  And in my opinion, that is the absolute LAST vet you ever want to take him to!!  🙁  If they are so backward that they will judge him based on his breed, then you absolutely do not need that ignorance around him, and he does not need that negativity in the air when he is at the vet.  In addition to the photos I sent you, I had video of the pups at the vet as well and I will see if I can figure out how to attach those.  There was no apprehension AT ALL and as a matter of fact, all he did kiss Dr. Udrasols and try to eat the stethoscope lol
Please do give consideration to what I have said about the vet.  I do not know him/her and have nothing to gain and/or motive other than my love for my puppies.  It is possible that I have misinterpreted the situation, and I do hope that, but I have heard enough horror stories to be concerned.  He is so impressionable at this age.  And everything he experiences in his first 2 years are what molds and forms his character for life.
Give sweet Jumanji my love and do not hesitate to let me know if you need anything at all.
God Bless,
Alice 
 
Hi Alice,

I appreciate your comments (and passion) about my vet experience. I had actually already decided not to return there and discussed this with my wife. I think you nailed it- he did not seem to be a Rotti fan. I only went to that vet because I had researched online and it was highly rated on Google and closer to my house than the vet we used ~ five years ago. Even the office staff did not seem that pleasant. I will be sure to enforce the ‘stay in the room’ policy at the new vet.

I have spent a lot of time with him and know that he is a teddy bear 🙂

What a pity 🙁  If Jumanji were a confident adult and set in his ways, I might say that going to that vet might be good for the vet and the staff to really get to meet a real Rottie.  But unfortunately, their ignorance will cause more harm than the good he has to offer and with him being a young and impressionable puppy, it is just not worth it 🙁  What a pity they are like that 🙁  Truly 🙁  I am glad, however, that it is their prejudice that shaded his judgement and that they did not *hopefully* intimidate and/or be excessively rough with him 🙁  Make sure the next vet visit you go to, just to be on the safe side, to take some of his favorite treats.  He gets some in the waiting room, some after he goes back to the office room, some from any of the staff that are willing to participate and then some after he is finished.  My dogs all LOVE to go to the vet- and that is even after vaccination, some surgeries here and there, etc.- that is because 1) they are thoroughly convinced that the vet and his staff are cookie dispensers (I have never brought any treats with me, they just always have them on hand <3 ) and 2) because we always stop by Dairy Queen on the way home for ice-cream 😉 lol
And yes, even if it is a vet/vet tech that has been trained or taught to take the pet “to the back”, as I said, they can do that all right there and most of the time, all you have to do is ask.  It is the same with kids- could you imagine taking your child in for vaccinations and the doctor said, “I’ll be taking him to the back and bring him back to you when we are done.”??  Most parents would respond with “LIKE HECK!!” 
Ok, off my “to the back” soapbox now, I promise 😉  How is he doing?  Has he acclimated well?  How is his appetite?  Don’t forget his probiotics and antibiotics.

Have a blessed evening hun and give him a great big hug from all of us! <3

 


GERMAN vs. BALCAN/EASTERN EUROPE

OK, heart just skipped a beat!  I’m, at this moment, scouring your past litters and wondering what your plans are for the future (as in rest of the year).  
We had made our minds up to get a Bull/Eva puppy and Lazlo is keeping me awake at night, but honestly the timing stinks.  Our son is getting married June 24, which takes us to Ft Wayne for 3 days.  I know I won’t have a trustworthy caretaker for a puppy during those days because they will all be at the wedding, and we’ll all be in a hotel!  Uggh!  I’m hosting a bridal shower May 12, and a big worship team retreat for our church on the 21st (30 people).  So, my plate is full for the next couple months, and I so want to devote my attention to a puppy when we make our choice, and not have him stuck in a crate all the time.
If you can help me out I’d really appreciate it!  Here are my thoughts/hopes for a Guardian Rott to join our family.  What litter, current or future, should give us the best chance for this?
*We’re partial to the Balkan lines for looks (MARSIO!) and temperament
*On a drive scale of 1-10, probably a 5-6?  A “shadow” puppy that still loves to go outside and play with intensity? Does that make sense?
*The German lines seem a bit more intimidating/drivey?  I just don’t have enough experience, especially with males, to know how I’d like that.  Zarabi is stunning!!  But what will Kaos’s German blood add?  Crazy interested in the good health aspect of that breeding, but wondering if Kaos will add braun or just energy/drive/work-i-ness??? 
Haven’t been able to research Pantera/Lucky!!  I can see Pantera is outstanding but can you help me with Lucky??
What are your plans for Isis?  Any plans to breed Ikon or Ice?  If I could hand pick, I’d take a Marsio/Isis puppy like these boys!  Be still my heart!!!
So, to summarize, if my next 2 months weren’t so full, I’d take Lazlo today!  Trusting you to give me some advice on what’s coming after June, as late as October, if you have thought that far ahead.  With the length of your wait list (proof of success!!) I’m not worried you’ll talk me into taking Lazlo in order to make a sale! 🙂  BUT, I will take him, and make it work, if you think he absolutely fits the bill for our above mentioned needs!
Sorry to get so lengthy!  I really do want to make the right decision!
Thank you so much!! 

(praying for Diesel! ?)

 

Ok, I will try to respond to all 3 emails, but I apologize in advance if I leave anything out 😉 
Yes, I 100% agree with you- pure German working lines are usually too much dog for the average person.  They are, without a doubt, what makes my heart skip a beat <3  dogs like my Dunjo and Ulan and Crom and Diesel, even though he had a Serbian dad, was 100% his mama’s boy (Mandy was a hard as nails German working bitch) I just love a hard dog, but like I said, too much for the average handler which is why I love to temper them with the Eastern European lines- especially Serbian.  Serbian is a country that does not get nearly as much recognition as it deserves in what it produces! Nearly all of your most recognized dogs- Ecco, Marsio, Baster, Bull or kennels like Earl Antonius, Crni Lotos, Se Ungo-Rot etc. that people think “what a great German dog, or what a great German kennel….” most do not realize that these are all Serbian dogs and Serbian lines.  They have proven show after show to have some of the top competing dogs in the world- take “King” Marsio lines for instance- he is probably one of the most recognized studs in the breed history save only for maybe Mambo, Balou and Rik…  and Marsio Ri Moby Dick was Serbian!  But, what I love the most about Serbian dogs is that, for the last few decades while they have been making a name for themselves, they have focused on SHOW dogs.  This is important because a beautiful dog that has zero drive cannot be a show dog- if he/she will not stack up, show ambition, run the ring, etc. then they cannot win anything and if it is sufficiently lacking, will even be dismissed from the ring!  So, not only have they focused on structure- specifically a “beefier” dog than most German working lines- heavier bone, larger head, etc. BUT they have focused on a dog that has the drive, ambition, biddability, workability AND still the much less serious disposition.  They are still quite capable of working and still without a doubt the courage and heart of a Rottie (just try to come into my home at night or even during the day uninvited if you think that laid back = lacking courage!!)  So yes, when I do a breeding like I did with Zarabi and Kaos, I am hoping for MY type of dog- a hard as nails drivey dog, BUT, I am also anticipating some taking after mom and grandma simply because I know already how much Whisky carries herself forward several generations later (take her granddaughter Kashi for instance).  Some bloodlines, I am specifically looking for workings dogs as I have people on the waiting list (police, military, search & rescue, farm/herding, etc.) that specifically want a working dog and of course some litters, I am looking for a great show dog but balanced and a great fit for even a novice to the breed.
I do not know what to tell you in regards to waiting or choosing now.  Me, personally, the puppy would come with- but I am just crazy like that 😉  I cannot remember any vacation, hotel stay or road trip I have ever taken that did not have at least 2-3 Rotties involved 😉 lol  HOWEVER, we will ABSOLUTELY have excellence down the road as well.  For Pantera, she was not bred to Lucky, she was bred to ECCO- same sire as the Imports and my 3 Musketeers 😉  My LUCKY breed is with HANA (and Lucky is a Lex son, if that helps- I do not know how much you know about lines?  But I will be putting a ton of info of him up later now that Hana is confirmed pregnant 😉  Like I said, there will be plenty to choose from, so do not stress if you decide waiting is best for you <3  
Hope that helps 😉  Let me know if you need anything else.
God Bless,

Alice

PS- Just reread your email and realized I did miss at least one question- yes!  I do have plans to breed Isis- currently contemplating Kaos, but have not ruled out Lex 😉  will not be until her next heat of course as she just had a litter a couple of months ago and even though it was only 2 pups, she more than earned a break with Illusive and Image!!! and YES!!  Anything Marsio goes well with anything Kafu or Marschall… although JMHO- anything Marsio is always grand 😉  

 

 


SENDING A DOG AWAY FOR TRAINING
I am often asked about sending dogs overseas for training or handling- whether or not the absence makes the dog forget his/her owners or lapse in training, etc.  Because of how often I am asked, thought I would post this response to that question.
 

*Note* I never recommend sending a dog AWAY for training unless you can competently handle/train him/her yourself.  I can handle just about any dog and have them following basic obedience often within minutes of meeting them.  This does not mean that the same dog will go home and obey his owners.  Nearly 100% of the time (I say “nearly 100%” to allow for the possibility of it being the dogs fault, but in over 2 decades of working with this breed, handling thousands of dogs and puppies, and rescuing and rehabilitating dozens of dogs from shelters or rescue groups, I have never encountered a problem that was not the fault of the other end of the leash.)  The most important aspect of training is that YOU the owner/handler get trained.  But, if your dog is trained and you want to send them on tour for show, or you want to take their training to the next level but already have a great rapport with the dog and a good working/training relationship, then sending them away for training can be a solution.  

Ocho, his daddy, is co-owned with my dear friend Phil.  Ocho lives full time with Phil, in his home, sleeps on his bed, etc., and he was worried about the same thing.  He said, and I quote, “he did not skip a beat when he got home- went to his favorite spot on the deck and has played all day with his favorite branch which I kept for him” <3  Dogs, as I am sure you know, are very complex thinking and feeling dogs.  They live in the moment, but accumulate thoughts, memories, experiences, etc. and they never forget.  Some people think a beat dog continues to lick the hand that beats him because he forgets- he does not, he simply chooses to forgive.  I feel, with every fiber of my being, that dogs are much more advanced than most humans emotionally.  He can be gone a day or 10 years and he will not, for a single moment, forget about you <3  I wish I had and extra pair of hands and could have video taped when we went to pick up Serenity, Tahlia’s dog, after she spent about 6 months in Europe.  It was the toughest 6 months of Tahlia’s life as those 2 were inseparable and still are.  Serenity was, if I remember correct, about 4 years old, making Tahlia about 7.  Serenity had no “need based” bond with Tahlia in the since that Tahlia was 3 when we got Serenity so Tahlia never fed or or walked her or trained her, just loved her, and that was all Serenity wanted or needed from her.  I was, admittedly a little worried that Serenity would be more excited to see me, the person who did cook for her, feed her, walk her, train her, etc. and I thought it might disappoint Tahlia when we went to pick her up in Italy.  When Uros let Serenity out of the car, there in the parking lot of the hotel where he met us, Serenity was crying, LITERALLY crying she was so excited to see her Tahlia- I am not talking like a little whimper- look, I am tearing up right now thinking about it <3  Serenity briefly acknowledged me with a quick kiss, but she would not take her eyes off her Tahlia.  She kept herself between Tahlia and everyone/everything the entire trip home- she has always been protective of course of her Tahlia- but this was different- not only was she making it clear that NO ONE was getting next to HER Tahlia but also that her Tahlia was never again going to be out of her sight <3  So, even with little kids, if anything, the bond is even stronger.


TOENAIL TRIMMING
Alice,

Hi, I hope everything is well at your house!  Christmas at our house was great, the kids all came home excited to see the Rottweilers!  I’m not sure who was more excited Bear & Jasmine or the kids! 

Anyway, I’m contacting you about our boy Bear.  Bear will not allow us to trim his nails.  I have taken him to the Vet, they could not trim them either.  The next step would be to use anesthesia, let him take a nap & trim his toenails.  I was hoping you might have some suggestions as this would cost $111.00 to have Bear’s nails  trimmed this way.  I didn’t know if you would want to give it a try?  You can give me a call whenever you have time.

Thanks,
John

Hello John!
Glad to hear you are all doing well.  Ugh, the dreaded toenail trim.  Ok, I will save you the lecture of staying on top of playing with his feet since he was a puppy to avoid this issue 😉  
You have 2 choices-
1) You can use a dremel to “file” his nails.  I have heard loads and loads of positive stories about dogs that LOATHED the nail trip but did wonderfully with a dremel.  Of course you would want to introduce it slowly and make sure he is comfortable with the sound, etc., but again, I have only heard positive feedback.
2) You can start gradually reconditioning him to nail trimming positively.  You would want to start by playing with his feet and toenails so that he becomes comfortable with you touching them.  Start by holding paws, next touching the nails, then pulling and manipulating the nails.  Give loads of treats and make feet touching a positive thing. Once he is comfortable with that, hold nail trimmers in your hands while playing with his feet.  NOT USING THEM, just holding them so that they are not considered such a  threat.  Again loads of treats and positive reinforcement.  After he is comfortable with that, take the trimmers and PRETEND to trim.  Just hold them and use then the same way you would if you were trimming.  Maybe pull on the nails a bit so that he is getting the same sensation without the threat.  Next, trim one nail and then pretend to do the rest.  Just one and just a bit.  Make it no big deal.  Then of course, move on from there.  This positive reinforcement technique may takes days to weeks.  You will have to go at his pace and his comfort level because if you push him, you will only reinforce that it is negative thing.  It requires patience, so if you are feeling frustrated, wait until later to try again.  Try to start getting him used to having his feet touched and played with many, many times a day.  You want it to be as common placed as a pat on the head.  PLEASE BE AWARE that if you have not trimmed his nails in awhile, the quick will have grown out with the nail and you will NOT be able to simply trim back to where you wanted it, you will have to slowly bring them back shorter and shorter over time.  This is true if you use the dremel or clippers.
Helpful tip- If you can get him out often on a rugged surface like a concrete sidewalk or street, walking alone will also help keep the nails down.  HOWEVER, you will still want to keep him comfortable with you playing with/manipulating his toenails for when you do have to trim them.
I hope this helps hun.  Please give our stinker some lovin for us and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
God Bless,
Alice

 


TOENAIL TROUBLE!
I am so upset by what you are being put through. I have followed your fb page and website for a while now. I can not imagine a more loving and compassionate Rottie mom. I am behind you all the way. Good luck with the zoning MTG. I will be praying for you and your family. I adopted a 5 yr old male Rottie in March. He is smart beautiful and loving. His daddy couldn’t keep him because he was moving across the country. So we opened our home to Dax. He is my first Rottie. I have always had large breed dogs and they are so easy to love. I have a question. When his first daddy had him he had his nails trimmed too short and now he won’t let you trim them now. It is the only time he shows any aggression. He will shake and you can pet his paws. But don’t put pressure on his nails. Any suggestions other than muzzle and huge vet bill just to trim him?
Paulina

Good Evening Paulina!

Thank you so much for your expressed concern for us. This has definitely been a nightmare 🙁 I appreciate so much your prayers.

The previous owner may have not even injured his toenail, he may simply not have gotten him used to this procedure and/or made it uncomfortable for Dax.  This is one of the reasons we HIGHLY encourage all new puppy owners to play with their puppies toenails ALL THE TIME!  While you are sitting down watching a movie and they are curled up in your lap, just mess with the toenails.  If it becomes a regular, daily occurrence, then it is no big deal.  Even if a toenail is accidentally trimmed too short, it is one bad drop in the bucket compared to the hundreds of thousands of good times that the owner played with the toenails.  But if the only time you ever go near the feet is the one a month (or often fewer than that even) dreaded toenail trim where more often than not, it will be a not so great experience, then it can make for an uncomfortable, if not belligerent dog.

Few suggestions for your baby. First suggestion is to try to find some rough concrete, like side walks, and take him on long walks to see if that can help keep them ground down a bit. The next thing you are going to want to do is work on desensitizing him to the nail trims. Find something he REALLY loves- cooked chicken, bits of bacon, etc. Sit down and just play with his toenails. Start out simple- just touching them and then offer a bit of the treat as a reward. Then work up to where you can play with them as much as you want all while giving bits of treats. This will be a long, gradual process, so patience is the key. After he is good with that, get the nail trimmer out and just let him smell them. Then a bit of treat. Then they sit by his paw- bit of treat. after he has gotten comfortable with that- days or weeks, whatever it takes, then take the trimmers and PRETEND to trim the nails- so that there is no real cutting, just the act and then a treat. Again, may take days or even weeks. Once he is good with that, then trim ONE nail. Treat. then pretend to do the rest. And then gradually work up from there. VERY IMPORTANT to keep it positive and to avoid injury- even if that means only trimming just a tiny bit at first. Also important to NEVER end on a bad note. Once he has gotten comfortable with you trimming them, if you ever do accidentally get one too close, take care of it (styptic powder) and then give him loads of treats and praise and THEN PRETEND to cut a few more nails all while giving loads of treats. You want his first and last memories to be super positive even if there is a bump in the road mid-way, his final memory will be that it was no big deal and I got loads of the best treats ever!

Hope that helps! Thank you for rescuing him and giving him the home he deserves. Please feel free to use my website, including the Q&A page for loads of other helpful tips!

Have a blessed day!
Alice

 


SKIN PROBLEM

Hey Alice
I wanted to ask some advice if you have some to give…
We took in a foster dog (not a rottie) but a bully breed of some type, that has been so mistreated & overbred & has a terrible skin condition…the poor girl had been so so badly used up by mean humans. Although she has every reason to bate humans & other dogs for that matter…she is sooo submissive & loving! Her toenails were never cut & so were so long they curled almost twice & wdre very yellow. We have trimmed her nails as much as we can (as you know we have to wait for the quick to receed) but when she itches sbe rips herself open. She has a horrible skin condition & ber nipples are ripped & bleed. I just want to help this poor girl find some comfort.Do you bave any advice for me as to what I should do to help her emotionally, mentally & pbysically??? If you do I would greatly appreciate it.
Thank you Jodie
She looks so sweet, bless her heart <3  I just want to hug that sweet face <3  
First thing to do, if you have not already, is try to find out what the skin condition is.  Rule out mange (don’t panic if it is, it is treatable) rule out ringworm (also treatable- very contagious, even to humans, but also very treatable), make sure she is free of any external parasites (fleas/ticks) as well as internal parasites (giardia is known to cause dull coat and dry skin) and see if vet thinks it is maybe bacterial- if so, then antibiotics are a good start- and as a matter of fact, I am not normally a huge fan of any “blanket meds” but if she has enough open wounds on her, then a good broad spectrum antibiotic (oral or injection) would be a good idea any way to make sure she does not get any infections in her open wounds 🙁 
Next, help in healing.  You know that even though I have the utmost respect for everything we can accomplish with modern medicine, but I also love to use holistic healing whenever possible.  I would suggest coconut oil (applied externally and injected) for starters- give her about a tablespoon every day and rub some on her wound as well.  It has SUPER healing properties both internally and externally!  It will also help sooth.  Next, I would also add salmon oil (and even baked salmon) as the omegas in there are also super for skin and coat, as well as vitamin e- you can give her human vitamin capsules at the recommend human dosage.  Raw egg yolks are also super- if you can find farm fresh eggs.  I am not a huge fan of store eggs at all :/  and would only recommend the farm eggs.  We yield about 40-50 a week with our birds! <3  so they more than earn their keep!  1-2 a week over her food is super <3  Also, see if you can get ahold of some tripe- even canned- that is also very super for digestive and overall health/healing along with other organ meat (if you are not already friends with a local butcher, make friends!) <3 
As far as spiritual/mental healing- loads of love and patience and LOADS of play!!  They say the fastest way to a dogs heart is through their stomachs, but that is not true- just like kids, no dog or child will turn down “a cookie” but if you play with a dog or child, you have more than this temporary gratitude- you have a friend for life! <3 
Let me know if you have plans for Memorial Day, if not, would be a great day to come over <3  Will have lots of other doggie friends here too <3
Hugs and love,
Alice

 


VACCINATIONS

My vet is a bit confused about shot records/schedule.  Lucius  is showing DAPPV @ 6 weeks,  8 weeks,  and the last yesterday @ 9 weeks. Is this a schedule all your dogs go through? She feels this is excessive and said the standard she uses is 8, 12, 16 weeks.  The last thing I want is to overvaccinate him. Any info would help. 

Thanks, Scott

I always vaccinate at 6, 9, 12, 16 and 20, per recommendation of my vet, however, in the case of imports, I always, even with adults, revaccinate upon import.  Our viruses/titers can be slightly different than those in Europe.  About 8 or 9 years ago, I imported pups that were 4 months old and fully vaccinated n Europe.  They unfortunately ended up getting Parvovirus here 🙁  It was at that time my vet recommended revaccinating everyone I imported.  My vet is Dr. Jeff Udrasols at Meridian Veterinary clinic in case you or your vet would like to speak to him.  His phone number is 317-888-4405.
He will be good now until 12 weeks, then another one at 16 and final vaccination at 20.  Some vets that are not as familiar with the breed will suggest final vaccination at either 12 or 16 weeks, but Rottweilers are more prone to parvovirus than may other breeds and respond very poorly to treatment once they do contract this deadly disease 🙁  Because of that, my vet recommends a final vaccination at 20 weeks.
In order to understand vaccinations, this very short little video does an excellent job of explaining how immunity and vaccinations work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXMc15dA-vw  When puppies are born, mom’s first milk contains all her antibodies.  Depending on her titer load and the amount of colostrum each individual puppy gets, that will determine how much of her antibodies he/she has.  The antibodies received from mom diminish as the puppy ages.  If the vaccine is given too early, moms antibodies bond with the viruses and render it useless in provoking a response from the puppy’s immune system.  HOWEVER, we have not way of knowing at precisely what age the moms antibodies are dangerously low and leaving the puppy at risk of contracting diseases and when it is too high to make the vaccine effective.  Because of this, we give a series of shots.  In actuality, the puppy only needs one vaccination given at the precisely correct time to form his/her own antibodies, but, as mentioned before, we have no idea of exactly when that would be and because of that we do a series of vaccines every 2-3 weeks waiting for that perfect window of susceptibility.  Here is another great page that explains all of that in pretty simple terms:  http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2115&aid=959  It also states in this article that, “The length and timing of the window of susceptibility is different in every litter, and even between individuals in a litter. A study of a cross section of different puppies showed that the age at which they were able to respond to a vaccine and develop protection (become immunized) covered a wide period of time. At six weeks of age, 25% of the puppies could be immunized. At 9 weeks, 40% of the puppies were able to respond to the vaccine and were protected. The number increased to 60% by 16 weeks, and by 18 weeks, 95% of the puppies could be immunized.”  This of course reiterates the vaccination timing by my vet of between 6-20 weeks to be pretty accurate.In the case of imports, if the viruses are slightly different in Europe (like how the “common cold” is really a series of different, unique cold viruses, or “the flu” as well…) then the antibodies produced by mom or received in vaccine would be slightly different as well and unfortunately useless against the viruses your puppy would come in contact with here.
Vaccinations, as a mom, has been a very difficult subject to wrap my mind around and make sure I am doing the right thing (for both my 2 and 4 legged babies).  You hear of all the issues associated with vaccinations, but then you are equally bombarded by all the issues of not vaccinating.  For me, I personally made the choice to vaccinate for the serious, life-altering or life ending diseases only.  For instance, we do not get flue shots, and I do not vaccinate my pups with the “7-way”, etc. (the vaccines that also contain for lepto and some of the other diseases).  However, having been through parvovirus and see the horrific, deadly outcome first hand and felt the utter helplessness of being so powerless to do anything for then, it is not one that I mess with.  
I hope this was able to answer your questions on vaccinations.  If you have the time, I highly suggest both of the links I shared as they are pretty spot on with their explanations.  I also would be happy to speak with your vet if he/she would like.
How is our baby boy doing?  Korbin was so disappointed when he came home from school yesterday and Gil was gone.  These kids crack me up- they have all these other puppies, dogs and pet here, but they get attached to one and that becomes all that matters.  Bless their hearts <3  
How was his first night?  How is your little princess liking her new buddy?  Do give little Lucius some lovin’ from all of us <3  
God Bless,
Alice

 


PUPPY BITING AND LEASH TROUBLE
hi,
i have a couple more questions.  what is the best way to correct puppy biting? and how much is normal? i just want to make sure I’m doing the right thing now while he is little so its not an issue when hes 50 lbs.  when he bites we’ve been redirecting. grab his collar and take his teeth off whatever he is biting and saying no bite, then giving him his rope or puppy kong.  sometimes it works but today and last night its like by grabbing his collar it gets him going and he wants to fight and bite and jump lol.  i cant make him stop because if I’m not holding on to his collar he’ll go after our feet or the couch or something and if i grab him he goes after my hand. and twists and rolls.  i didn’t know if when he does that i should hold him by his collar until he calms down and submits, like Cesar or if: 1) too early to do that and 2) if I should even being doing that or if that’s only something someone more experienced should be doing.

also, how should i build a good association with the leash?  Ive only put it on him like twice, but i want to start teaching him to recall and i need to have the leash to do that, but he tries to bite the leash too.

when hes not biting, hes real calm and he’ll just sit there and stare at you, he’ll sit on command before we give him food, or even tonight when he was biting a lot i finally put him in the kitchen to get him to calm down, after he quit crying i walked over and he came to the door i told him to sit, and he did then i let him back in the living room… then he started biting again.  this might be normal i just want to make sure I’m handling everything the right way.

i don’t want to feel like I’m always yelling at him or correcting him by grabbing his collar and i def don’t want to make him fight ppls hands or anything like that.  i didn’t know if it maybe i should try the Cesar neck poke, or if its too early, i don’t want to hurt him or give him a bad impression of human hands.

thanks for the help, i know these are probably newbie questions, lol
Brandon

Unfortunately, all puppy biting is quite normal, but that does not mean that it cannot be corrected.  I teach my kids to pop them on the nose.  This is VERY effective.  You do not have to do it very hard to make it count because their nose is quite sensitive just like ours.  Because I am an adult, I use my fingers (like when you are trying to flick a coin or something with your second finger and thumb).  The biggest thing to remember with this technique is that 1) you must do it EVERY TIME he bites and use the word NO as well so that he associates the 2 and knows what the word no means and you must do it every time so that he does not just think that sometimes biting is ok and sometimes it is not and 2) you must use that same hand to lovingly pet him and rub him once he is cooperating so that he does not become hand shy and learn that the hand is not up only to correct (like his mom would use her mouth to feed him and clean him and move him and nuzzle him, but she would also use it as a for of correction and nip at him if he was misbehaving and of course always accompany it with a growl so that he eventaually learned that the growl meant “stop or I will bite.”)  I thinks Cesar’s jab at the neck simulating a bite is much more effective then the collar grab as all that really does is send most dogs into either a panic if they are not well socialized or stimulate play if they are well socialized (just like a sibling grabbing the tail or the collar).  And right now it seems like he certainly thinks your corrections are part of the game.  And you are TOTALLY correct!  You DEF. want to get these issues resolved while he is little so that by the time he is large, you are already in charge.

Get a cheap leash (Walmart sometimes has them) and let him use it as a drag line- this means that he can drag it around when he walks so that he becomes comfortable with the leash and learn that even with the leash attached to him, he is still able to walk comfortably.  You also want to start walking him with the leash so that he also becomes more familiar with the process.  Also, you do not have to use the leash for the recall and you certainly do not have to drag the puppy to you when he is not coming.  You always want the recall to be a positive thing.  If you have to bribe the pup with treats, then so be it.  But even with a leash, all you will do is gently encourage the pup to walk towards you.  But we start working with recall from the time they are about 4 weeks old, so he should still  come most of the time now when you call him even without a leash.  If he does, reward him every time with treats and/or affection and he will learn to come more quickly every time to get his reward.  The most important note on a recall is to NEVER USE A RECALL to correct your dog.  If he has been naughty, you must ALWAYS go to him.  If you call him, then correct him, he will NOT associate the correction with whatever bad behavior you are correction, he will associate it with his recall and quickly learn that if he comes when you call him, he will get in trouble.

I hope those 2 tips help.  Please let me know if you have anymore problems and as always give him some lovin’ for us!
Alice

 


STUBBORN ON LEASH
He’s great & he has the best love that a puppy could have , just stubborn on his leash, any tips on walking him, he continues plopping down & won’t move.

First thing you want to do is get a “drag line”- go and get a cheap leash that you do not care about at Walmart or wherever and clip that to him and let him run around all day with that clipped on.  This will get him used to having a leash on him.
Second, if he is laying down in the middle of a walk, perhaps the walk is simply too long for him.  He is just a puppy.  If he is not participating at all, then make sure walks are fun.  Training a good heel and proper leash manors is important, but if it is not fun, he will not be interested in participating.  My number one advice is always seek the help of a trainer.  It is MUCH more effective to work with a trainer who can watch you and your puppy interact and make corrections and suggestions according rather than simply reading instructions.  That being said, here is the best way to train a heel while keeping it fun and encouraging.
Get a handful of treats-something he really treasures like cooked chicken.  Keep them in a pouch with you (or a ziplock bag).  Put one in your fist and hold it against your chest.  Let him smell it and then bring it back to your chest- this brings his focus up to you.  Once he shifts his focus to you, reward him with the bit of chicken.  Next, bring him to a heeling position on your left, use the word “heel” and wait for him to sit beside you, looking up at you.  Reward this with a bit of chicken.  Repeat until he understands that “heel” is beside you, but focused on you.  After he has this mastered.  Again give him the heel command and then walk forward a few steps.  Hopefully he will stay at the heeled position and looking at you.  If he does, reward this.  If he does not, then back up and work on heel some more and make take just one step rather than a couple.  Each dog learns at their own pace.  Once he can take a few steps with you, then gradually, you can lengthen that.  BE PATIENT!  That is the NUMBE RONE RULE OF TRAINING.  It might take 20 minutes at a time, several times a day for a week or more just for him to get the heel.  It will be worth it so do not get frustrated and keep the training fun and positive.  If he is not readily picking it up and you get frustrated with him, then he will shut down and no longer desire to participate.  You will reinforce to him that walks are a terrible thing.  Keep in mind that, for now, the goal of a walk is not to go anywhere, so if you never leave your living room or driveway, no worries.  For right now, the goal of a walk is to work with him- to teach him it is FUN to be with you and to encourage him to walk with you, in a heeling position.   
Hope this helps <3
Alice

 


FUR SAVER, STRUGGLING ON WALKS, CORRECT AGE FOR A TRAINER and GROWLING WHEN MOVED

My trainer that I used with DJ said that he was not ready for a leash until 16-17 weeks. We’ve been using one since day 1 with him. I was considering buyin him a fursaver collar because his current soft collar is useless for training. Thoughts on this?

I have to disagree with your trainer.  I use leashes on my pups as early as 8 weeks.  As mentioned before, a Rottweiler is not your “average dog”.  Although I do love fursavers, I do caution with them at this young age, especially if not used CORRECTLY.  Once again, I would defer you to an experienced trainer who can show you how to “dead ring” a fursaver or you might simply need to move the collar he is using UP higher on his neck as it should be just under the jaw for the best correction.  The lower you are towards the chest, the less effective it is.  ALSO, keep in mind, the collar is there to guide your puppy, but your words are what you train him with.

Would you rather I stay with his cloth collar for now? The biggest thing I’m trying to train right now is walking by my side. He’s constantly lagging behind and sniffing the world. Like stated before I do know how to dead ring a fur saver , choker, etc. I’ve also considered a harness? I don’t want to be constantly pulling on his neck because he’s not next to me. Any futher suggestions is greatly appreciated. I can’t do a trainer until he’s fully vaccinated, which is 20 weeks per your schedule. BTW, he is SUPER SMART. He’s already mastered sit , and both left and right paws coordinating with the hand you put down to shake. We just started learning stay and come, and it was not hard to get him on that either. 

As far as his attitude problem, the biggest thing we’re facing is picking him up and removing him from something he’s not supposed to be doing, or to take him out of his playpen.  Last night he was trying to eat a connection of the electric dog fence that I just installed. It is not hooked up yet, because I’m not sure if I’m ready to let him experience that yet.  Anyways, when picking him up  he tried to snatch his head around and bite me. I corrected him with a pop on the nose and brought him over to sit in front of me.  Julianna came to pet him, and he snapped at her, also followed with a correction from me. I know you can’t see it, but hopefully I’m giving you a visual as to what went down. Any tips on that is greatly appreciated as well. Like I said, it’s hard without being able to go to a trainer for a few months. I want him to be a joy for our family, and for him to enjoy his home. 

Here are some new pics. He’s picked up 5 lbs already. The extra 1’2 cup for meal seems to be calming his food drive “slightly”. He also got his first taste of ice cream last night, topped off with a large milkbone of course. 🙂

TTYS, Scott

 

If he is not responding to corrections from the cloth collar, then you certainly do not want to go with a harness as there is virtually no correction available with the harness.  If you know how to dead ring a fur saver and you know how to use it the correct way when it is on the live ring, and you had a puppy that was non-responsive to corrections with a cloth collar, then yes, I might go ahead and make the switch, however, I am not convinced that is the case with Gil.  A fursaver can be a very useful tool and it is the only type of collar we use.  I typically discourage it at too young of an age as most people DO NOT know how to use it correctly and end up dragging a choking puppy 🙁  or teaching him that every walk will be met with choking not only rendering the entire purpose of the fursaver useless, but potentially causing irreparable damage on a young, developing puppy.
HOWEVER, in his case, I do not suggest that you offer a harder correction as he is not attempting to defy or disrespect you on the walks, but rather not motivated to “keep up”.  What I would suggest is going back to the beginning with his training.  Teach him the basics of “here” “sit” “look at me” “stay” “down”.  Then I would use bits of food to tempt him into keeping at a heeling position when walking.  Remember 2 VERY important parts to training: 1) ALWAYS KEEP IT POSITIVE and 2) ALWAYS BE PATIENT.  It is also more productive to train when he is hungry as he will be much more motivated by the food.  He is not struggling with defiance on a walk, but rather not yet mastered the heel.  You do not want to start giving harsh corrections and make the walk unappealing, but rather make it so much more appealing to stay at the heel. Also remember that there is no price for going the furthers the fastest on a walk.  If you spend half an hour on training a good heel but do not even make it to the end of the block, IT WAS STILL A SUCCESSFUL training/exercise period as long as 1) you kept it positive and especially ENDED it on a positive/victory and 2) there was some progress/forward momentum, even if it was baby steps.  Rome was not built in a day, however, with patience, it became one of the greatest empires and still a city of unparalleled beauty <3
Again, not trying to beat a dead horse, but there must ALWAYS, but ALWAYS be ZERO TOLERANCE for aggression, no matter what the reason is.  How a puppy reacts can be understood and often is very logical in response, and we can benefit from trying to understand the reasoning behind the aggressive action or intent, however, it still cannot be accepted.  The reason I hesitate to suggest methods is because it is much more effective when the trainer is able to observe his body language, your body language, his responses, your responses, etc.  Is he growling because he is nervous, startled or uncomfortable being moved?  Is he growling because he feels he has a high enough pack position that he can dictate whether or not he is to be displaced?  If it is out of dominance, are you flinching when he growls, therefore feeding into his “power”?  If it is nervousness, are you coming on strong with a correction when he growls, therefore making him even more nervous?  If he is growling because he is nervous/uncomfortable, then you want to desensitize him and condition him to being displaced as a positive, and there are some great techniques for that; however, if it is out of dominance, then placating him is seen as permitting or even encouraging the behavior.  You are correct in that a Rottweiler puppy is not fully vaccinated until 20 weeks of age, however, it is still possible, intact common to start working with a trainer much sooner than 5 months of age.  Have all the trainers you spoken to refused to see him until he is fully vaccinated?  As long as they are only taking clients who are vaccinated, then there should be no problem in them beginning working with him.  Unfortunately, parvovirus is considered “omnipresent” meaning it is pretty much everywhere because of how prolific it is.  What you want to avoid with an unvaccinated dog is coming in direct (fecal-oral) contact with a concentration of the virus.  When a dog has active parvovirus, the virus is shed in massive quantities in the stool and that is when it becomes dangerous for your puppy.  I suggest keeping at bay from common dog areas where the care/condition/vaccination history, etc. is unknown to most of the visitors like dog parks, etc.  However, any trainer of merit will insist on vaccination records before he/she will even evaluate the dog/puppy.  If that is the case with your trainer, then the inability to correct a potentially dangerous habit in your boy is of greater threat than the parvovirus.  
Yes, our dogs like their ice cream as well 😉  and I am glad the addition to his amount of food intake has been helpful, but still take advantage of the times when he is hungry to sneak in a bit of training <3  A trained puppy/dog is a happy puppy/dog! <3 
Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you guys and have a blessed day Scott <3

Alice

 


PRONG COLLAR/ PULLING
Hi Alice, how are you? Here is me again with more Gabi/Chloe questions. We are struggling a bit with the leash. She is perfect 70% of time, and will pull my arm off the other 30. She completed Puppy 1 and 2 Petco training and we are waiting for her to turn 1 year to go for the adult dog training they offer. We just found a potential trainer that trains all kinds of dogs, but has a lot of experience with German Shepards. He is pretty direct about a need for a prong collar, that i know you have advised us against. My husband is adamant about it as well. I wanted to find a middle ground and maybe suggest to start with a Martingale collar. She is super smart, but i feel that it is more of a challenge than anything else, she knows many commands, but does them when she chooses. She is also coming out of the heat (i was surprised with how early it came, at 7 months). The best personality, awesome with kids. The walking is getting to be a bit much, as she is already at 70lb, and i am 120, Thanks for any advice you can give.

Not an uncommon problem at all- there is a more advice on this topic on my Q&A page as well. I usually advice again the prong collar because most people do not know how to use them and essentially make them ineffective. They are a tool, and when used correctly, can be effective at correcting a dog, but in my opinion, a good fur savor collar can accomplish that as well. The whole point is for the correction to be sharp and unmistakable- not a constant “choking” or “poking”. When training her not to pull, you have to make pulling effective, and that is a game that will take a lot of patience.
Start here, with an excerpt from my Q&A page:
Ok, you are correct, she is getting older and “testing” her boundaries. You might have to do some retraining with her. Start with the “leave it” command at home. Use this with favorite treats or toys. Place them just in front of her and tell her to “leave it.” When she complies, reward her with another treat or toy. As she gets more proficient, make her wait longer or make it more tempting (some yummy cooked chicken, etc.)
Now that she has mastered the “leave it” start practicing this on your walk with her. Everytime you see another dog, squirrel, ANY distraction, make her STOP, SIT and tell her to “leave it!” DO not even allow her to look at the object. She must learn to COMPLETELY ignore it when given the “leave it” command.
Choke collars and prong collars. I do not have a problem with either, but ONLY when used correctly. They are meant to provide a sharp, quick correction. If the dog simply leans into it and pulls it tight the entire walk, he/she will simply learn to ignore the discomfort and it will be pointless- not to mention that, used incorrectly, both can be dangerous. I personally have never used a prong collar for any of my dogs, not even rescues or difficult dogs. We use fur savors- kind of a German choke collar. When used correctly, they provide enough correction on their own. Remember, the whole point of the prong collar or a choker is to provide quick, sharp corrections, and then relax upon compliance so that the dogs essentially trains itself that pulling results in correction and compliance results in comfort.

Before trying a prong collar, I would work with a fur saver. You might be surprised at how effective a fur saver is when used correctly. It is consistent training that teaches the dog much more than over-the-top out-of-the-blue corrections. When re-training on correctly walking, you must be patient and be prepared to spend an hour going absolutely nowhere. It is repetition until the lightbulb goes on that pulling is ineffective and we do not progress that way.

Then, when you take her on a walk, this is what you need to do.
You start by walking her, and if she starts to pull, you immediately put her into a sit with a “look at me”. Once she complies, she gets a treat. Then the walk starts again. If she pulls, you stop, wait for compliance, reward the compliance and continue. You also want to periodically reward compliance as you walk- i.e., she knows you have a treat in your hand and and you use it to encourage her to not pull ahead, but rather focus on you. As she walks correctly beside you, you give her bits of treats. She will learn that compliance results in both treats and forward momentum and pulling results in correction and no forward momentum. Most important tips:
1) PATIENCE- she is still VERY MUCH a puppy. She is not trying to frustrate you or make life difficult, she is just a puppy with normal puppy ADD wink emoticon everything is a game and a toy and focus is difficult, so just be patient
2) CONSISTANCY- nothing sets training back further than being inconsistent.
3) Train when she is hungry- treats are much more appetizing then wink emoticon and make sure they are highly coveted treats as well- the more she wants them, the harder she will try to focus and do what you ask.
4) keep the praise and affection coming just as readily as the treats. Rottweilers LIVE to please us heart emoticon Knowing you are content with her efforts will mean the world to her.
5) ALWAYS end on a high note. If she she is has had enough and you are reaching diminishing returns, put her in a situation where she will have easy compliance so that she can end the training with positive reinforcement. This will make the training something she looks forward to returning to rather than something dreads.

Please let me know how it goes. My kids have been able to control our dogs that re over a hundred pounds since they were toddlers, so I can promise you it is not about size- it is 100% training. I teach them from the time they are old enough to talk that their most powerful asset when working with the dogs is commands and I can trust this because of how well the dogs are trained.

Have a blessed day hun.


DOG DOMINANT

Hi Alice,

Do you have any thoughts on what makes a dog insist on being queen bee to begin with?  Febea is a wonderful dog but she is kind of a bully to most other dogs.  I wonder if there is something we should be doing in the beginning that would curb that behavior to begin with. 

Thank you!
Sarah


Dogs are more like people than most people think- some get along great with everyone, some only get along with certain people, some are like sheep and ok to follow whomever is in the front of the flock, and some are natural leaders never content to take orders only give them.  Because of the strong German bloodlines on both sides of her pedigree, I am not at all surprised that she expects to be the Queen 😉  Serenity has ALWAYS been extremely bitch dominant- even as a puppy.  We worked with her a lot on training so that she could learn what was acceptable and what was not and to obey our commands even when she thinks she needs to handle business, and she does brilliantly– HOWEVER, I would NEVER EVER leave her unattended with another female dog.  I know she will listen to and respect me when I am there, but if I am not, then she will assume that role, and that is just Serenity.  Training helped us control her, BUT, there is no amount of training that would have changed who she was– just like with people.  I have never been and never will be a follower- nor will I be the person that ever sits back and watches something happen- I will always step up to the plate.  However, years of learning better social skills has made me realize that I do not have to be in charge of everything and everyone 😉  and that sometimes, the people who are dead wrong just need to go on about their business while I tend to mine 😉 lol  So, the very long answer to your short question is that yes, there is a lot you can do in the beginning to help with a more head strong dog- training so that they respect any command given to them, socializing as much as possible, teaching the “leave it” and the “look at me” so that even if they are not ‘friendly’ with other dogs of the same sex, they at least know to ignore them and focus on their leader.  Because true German and European Rottweilers come from working lines, most are not very friendly with others of the same sex– they are intelligent, confident, and natural born leaders– Rottweilers are not like the “sheep” breeds that will follow just anyone, which is why they require a worthy pack leader.  

Hope that was helpful.

God Bless,
Alice

 


PUPPY AGGRESSION

Good afternoon Alice

Danny and I have a question for you regarding Nanuk/Atlas. We had him neutered in January. He is 6 months now. He has started to bite and bark very aggressively! I have bruises and scratches all over my arm and am a little concerned when my youngest is home alone with him.
 
He is normally a pleasure with the typical puppy stuff. We walk him for about 20 min in morning and 30-40 min at night. We are using the Fromm puppy food….we are doing all the things I believe we are supposed to do. He’s great during day when we are home, loves car rides, etc. He is cage trained. He’s up for a few hours in am before we all leave for work and school. He’s in cage from 9am to about 3:30 when my oldest gets home. Then everyone trickles in from there. He’s fed at 6pm and then walked for about 30-40 min. 
 
Basically this is what’s happening. Out of nowhere, really, nowhere, (no signs, no one is threatening him…I wasn’t even near him last night when he flipped.) he nips, then jumps up and bites the shit (excuse language) out of your arm, leg, stomach whatever he gets to; barking….We tell him no, we take collar and take him down gently to the ground, I’ve tried the hand like a claw and place it on the side of his neck and body, knee up if I can. It’s as if his eyes roll in the back of his head and he just goes crazy biting. My 11 year old daughter has no idea how to handle it when she’s alone. He’s 47 pounds of biting teeth. We basically have to take him by collar and get him to the cage. He sits in a time out for about 15 min. I notice that it is when he is in a very playful or hyper mood. Again, we are walking him. Got a little vest thingy for him too so he can carry little water bottles on his pm or weekend longer walks. 
 
Is this normal? How do we stop this? We are starting our second round of puppy classes next Wednesday and are thinking of calling a trainer in for private sessions regarding the new biting aggression. Is it just a coincidence that it started after the surgery? Any ideas would help.
 
Thank you
You are totally doing everything correct.  Without being there to see it first hand- see body posture, etc., it is very difficult for me to diagnose- much like a doctor trying to tell you what is wrong over the phone 😉  However, the 3 biggest possibilities that come to my mind are: medical, playing, testing pack position.  First health.  If it truly is out of nowhere, you might want to have the vet give him a thorough check-up just to be sure there is nothing wrong.  It could be something as simple as dental (a cavity or even a baby tooth that never came out) or parasites, or even an injury that he has masked.  When an animal (or even a human really!) is in pain, they can often act out aggressively.  When I worked in the ER, I learned the hard way that there is a reason some patients need to be restrained!  They were good natured people once their issues were resolved, but pain can make us do some crazy things 😉  And especially since the new issues started after the surgery, it is always better to be safe than sorry and just be certain that there is nothing pinched or injured.
Next possibility- he is wound up (too hyper) and acting out just because he wants to play.  Just like a child (and he is definitely a child still at 6 months old) that gets too hyper and can get out of hand.  It is also possible that if this is the case, that he is not clearly getting the message when you are correcting the behavior and thinks that the correction is part of the game. (like “tag, your it!”)  When a puppy wants to initiate play with his siblings, he will grab a tail or ear or leg, etc and start biting and pulling and then the other puppy will growl and bite back and they start playing.  So the act of growling or biting back is actually part of the game so when the other puppy does this, it is a social cue to continue the play.  In order to make to make it clear that this is NOT a game and NOT tolerated, you have to be almost over the top in your correction.  He is a confident Rottweiler so you will not hurt his feelings.  But you cannot let him grow up thinking that this play is acceptable.  Human are different than dogs.  We do not hat thick fur and loose skin to protect us from puppy teeth and claws and he must learn that now.  If this is the case, and it is just rough housing (and believe me, that comes out of nowhere with my dogs too- really with the kids and cat too- you will be just sitting down watching TV and one cat will pounce on the other or on one of the dogs and then it is ON!), the first thing you need to do is make sure you are not initiating any rough play with him at home- i.e. no tug play, wresting, etc.  You can later incorporate that into his play once he has learned when it is acceptable and what no means.  The nest thing you need to work on with him is the “out/aus/leave it” command.  Pick a word or phrase- leave it, out, etc. (we use aus here- German for out and pronounced “ous”).  You start this by putting him in a sit and have him focus on you.  Have a treat (something really yummy that will command his attention- bits of cooked chicken work well) bring the treat up towards your face and tell him “look at me” or “focus” or whatever phrase you want to use when wanting him to look at you.  Once he complies, give him the treat.  Gradually start making him focus longer.  Once he has this down, he now understands that he is “working” for that treat.  Now you can have him look at you and then set the treat down and tell him to leave it.  Have a second treat in your hand and once he leaves the first treat and refocuses on you, he gets the second treat from your hand.  You will have to repeat this a few times for it to click.  Once he understands this, start making him leave the original treat for long and longer periods of time.  Then try it with toys, etc.  This will be a helpful command for all sorts of practical application- a ball rolling into the street, a squirrel, etc. If he knows that “leave it” means to leave the object alone AND focus on what I need from you, then not only is it potentially life saving for him, but also a great foothold in later training.  Once he has this training element mastered, you can use it to make him let go of toys or objects on command and you can practice by engaging him in play- toss the ball and every time he brings it to you, tell him to “out”.  Small reinforcements like this help to hammer in the command.  Now, if he engages in rough play with you, rather than “play” back, you can give the “out” or “leave it” command and it will hopefully refocus him.  If he is so engaged in the play that you are unable to refocus him with a command, then you MUST make it clear that this is NOT a game to you and you are SERIOUS.  If he were to engage an adult in the pack that did not want to play, they would give a “grrrr” and if that went unheeded, they would bite and bite hard and/or pin him on the ground very aggressively!  The next time that dog “grrr” and was not playing, that young pup would now know what that particular “grrrrr” means!!  It would be a hard lesson, but it would stick!  Of course I am not suggesting that you bite your puppy 😉 LOL  But you are big enough and strong enough that when he FIRST starts this (KEY component- when he FIRST engages you inappropriately- not after he is already even more worked up and/or been doing it for a few minutes) you need to grab him and put him HARD on the ground with a very DECISIVE “NO!!”  It should intimidate him if you did it correctly!  Do not worry- puppies are not humans and they do not keep hurt feelings (and quite frankly, some parents need to better teach their kids that no mean no too 😛 lol).  But you MUST remember to use your words and commands because you eventually want him to respond to the command alone without the physical correction.  (the same way he would respond to the “grrrr’ from a pack member without always needing the physical bite).  It is SUPER IMPORTANT that EVERYONE in the house is on the SAME PAGE and consistent!!  If your daughter is not big enough/strong enough to correct him correctly now, DO NOT LEAVE THEM UNATTENDED together.  Even if he does not really hurt her, he will nonetheless learn that he can get away with bulling her into playing his game!  However, if he is CORRECTED 100% of the time the CORRECT way, it will not take long at all for him to understand the rules of engagement.  Just like with kids, anytime there is physical aggression, or the potential for someone to get hurt, there must be a ZERO tolerance policy!!  Another great thing you can do is dramatically exaggerate your injury.  When puppies play with one another and someone gets too rough, they yelp out and cry.  This is a signal that the play was too rough.  They are not trying to injure one another, they are just trying to have fun.  But sometimes they just get too rough and someone cries.  They learn very quickly what this means and modify their play accordingly.  When he grabs you- even if he only get clothes or does not really harm you- cry out “ouch!” in a high pitched ‘yelp’.  Let him know that it hurts.
 
Third possibility is that it is indeed aggression- like a teenager, he is testing his boundaries.  This also must be met with a ZERO TOLERANCE policy and handled in much the same way as the rough play, but with an even more decisive tone.  It must be made clear now, while he is young, who the alpha is and what the pack structure is.  This is where it would indeed be helpful to have a trainer come in and at least observe and offer a professional analysis of whether it is rough play or an actual play for pack position.  If you do go with a trainer, a couple of key things to look for/ask for.  1) it is paramount that they have experience with WORKING DOG- Rottweiler specific experience is preferred, but really working with German Shepherds, Malinois, etc. is very similar in approach.  BIG DOG experience is NOT working dog experience.  Rottweilers are NOT Labradors!!  TOTALLY different mindset!
2) ask for references!  A bad trainer can COMPLETELY RUIN a dog (or at least make your job 10x more difficult!)  Although with a Rottweiler, a “no thank you” approach is not going to be strong enough to work, at the same time, being a heavy handed bully will not work either!  Your dog will see you as an unbalanced, mentally unstable bully and not a fair, effective pack leader.  Just like we do not elect a president to lead our country based on who is meaner, neither does a dog elect a pack leader based solely on biggest/strongest.  An effective pack leader is firm, but fair.  Strong but balanced.  The Rottweiler is an INCREDIBLY intelligent, perceptive breed of dog and being and effective pack leader is ESSENTIAL- ESPECIALLY now while he is an impressionable puppy.All in all, you are doing everything correctly.  You had him neutered at a young age, so it is not likely testosterone, although if it were, it does take a couple of months for the testosterone to completely leave his bloodstream, so do be aware of that also.  He has a good routine from your description and most importantly, you care catching AND correcting any training issues while he is YOUNG and not waiting until he is 3 years old, full grown with 3 years of bad habits and incorrect training!  I do most definitely recommend hiring a competent trainer to get you started.  Having someone show you tips and techniques that are not only specif to your situation and your dog, but also demonstrating rather than typing is extremely valuable.  This guy will be part of your family for hopefully another decade and a small investment now will makes loads of difference later.  Please do keep me informed and let me know if there is anything at all that I can do to help.
 
Give naughty Atlas a hug for me and tell him he does not want me to send his daddy down to straighten him up! lol
Best Regards,

Alice

 


YOUTH AGGRESSION

Hi Alice,

We have Gage (G Litter: Rolex and Hana) and need your assistance. His call name is Dexter and he is our healthy and beautiful baby boy. 

We have had Dexter in private training and group training since he turned 11 weeks old. In fact, he is amazing on leash. Up until a few months ago, i would take Dexter everywhere with me. 

A few months ago he started barking and lunging at other dogs in training class and people when we would take him for walks. He is even barking at people when we are driving and he sees people standing on the side of the road. We have corrected him for this behavior but have not seen any improvements. We have also noticed he has become very possessive over objects. However, he is not possessive over his food or food dish. He still sits prior to eating and waits for the command before he can approach his dish. 

Yesterday, he picked up something and I was afraid he would swallow it so I grabbed for it. Dexter turned around and started to snap and attack me. Luckily, my husband jumped out of the shower and grabbed Dexter’s collar. However, he managed to get in three or four good snaps before my husband got him under control. Yes, this was not smart on my part and in hindsight I should have grabbed his leash and not the object. Lesson learned!

It  seems like he goes from 0-60 in 1 seconds. His eyes glass over and he gets into a frenzy and I really can’t identify why. I love that little guy so this is breaking my heart. Any assistance and wisdom you can give is greatly appreciated. I know my trainer would love to speak with you get some of your Rottweiler expertise.

Thank you,

Tracy

First question is whether or not he is neutered.  If he is not, and you do not plan on breeding him, that would be my first suggestion.  When those hormones come in, they are very much like hormonal teenagers 😉  Next, I would find a trainer who has specific experience in large breed WORKING dogs and specifically in this area.  Much like a teenager who starts to think they are in charge of something and must be QUICKLY reminded of their place, he must also.  When he needs any what we call, “safety corrections” they cannot be, “no thank you” corrections, they must be swift and without confusion as to what you are expecting!  Think of how a wolf pack would react.  I am sure you have seen National Geographic of Nature shows and see what happens when a youth starts to think they are too big for their britches?  The correction from the alpha male or alpha female is almost over the top- but that is what is recognized and responded to.  Please take a look at my Q&A page for some more step by step corrections on some of the issues up described.  But most importantly, as I said, the corrections must be stronger than his reactions!  If he were to have snapped at me, I would have grabbed him by the throat, slammed him on the ground and truly put the fear of God into him.  I can ABSOLUTELY guarantee you that he would not have ever thought that an option again!  Not all of your corrects must rise to that level, but I can absolutely guarantee you there are other choices, smaller ones that have bigger implications than you realize, that you are making on a daily basis that is giving him enough room to think he can make these assumptions.  For instance, when you walk through a doorway or threshold, who goes first?  Does he push past you?  Only the pack leader goes first, so every time you let him do this, you are teaching him that HE is in charge!  Also, if he is in any way disrespecting you (which of course he is!) then all of his “privileges” also need to be revoked- no more on the bed or couch and if he eats when you eat, you need to start making that AFTER not before.  Please take the time to go over my Q&A page and read all of the tips on resource guarding, aggression towards other dogs, leash trouble, etc. and please also seek the tutelage of a good professional.  They will be able to help you pinpoint where the breakdown in communication is which is vital to re-establishing yourselves as the pack leaders, because the way he is acting and reacting makes it crystal clear that he does not think you are.
Please follow up with me after you have read up on all the rest of the tips on my Q&A page and have started with a trainer to correct these behaviors and if you need me to talk any with your trainer, I am happy to do that as well, just give me the contact info.  
God Bless,
Alice

 


GROWLING

Hello,

My name is Rachel. I don’t know if you normally do this but I have some questions about my rottweiler Toby. I have had him for a long time now and I really don’t want to get rid of him. 

    For the past year Toby has been acting really weird, such as. Myself or someone in my family will be petting him and he will start growling like a warning growl. I got Toby from my dad when he was 7 months old so I didn’t get a lot of puppy time with him. As a result of that, he tries to bite anyone who trys to cut his nails or even holds his paws in your hand. 
  I have a 4 year old son that I am afraid to leave alone with Toby. Even though Toby is an excellent guard dog and loves my son he will still growl at him and be tense around him. All of this started last year when my dad came to visit. As any dog would Toby was very protective of his house and didn’t really remember my dad. While my dad was visiting he tried to do some work with Toby after a few days of being there. Then when my dad left the growling started. Toby was like he was different dog. 
   I am not sure what to do. I don’t want to get rid of him. When he’s not acting weird he is an awsome dog. My son loves him and so does the rest of the family. I have had dogs all my life growing up but Toby is my first bully breed and rottweiler. I would really be thankful for some advice for toby.
Thank you for your time,

Rachel

 

I am sorry for your struggles Rachel, but I am glad you do not want to give up on Toby.  I personally do not like the term “bully breed” for any dog, but especially not a Rottweiler.  A correctly bred and raised Rottweiler is a very level headed, balanced dog, high in courage and loyalty.  He is a working dog, and needs a decisive pack leader, but he is not an indiscriminate bully.  
My first question would be whether or not he is neutered.  If he is not, that is the absolute first thing you need to do.  An in-tact male with hormones coursing through him will be more stubborn, more dominant, and, unchecked, harder to control and predict.  
Unfortunately, there is a lot of the history of your Toby that you do not know.  You do not know how he was bred- if he came from a back yard breeder or was bred correctly.  That will have a tremendous impact on his character.  Just as you can breed for a certain “look” you also can breed for a certain disposition.  If a dog that is skittish or nervous is bred, he/she will produce puppies that are nervous and skittish- a fearful dog is the most dangerous mindset, even moreso than an aggressive dog.  You also do not know how he was raised, especially during some of the most impactful months of growth.  Without meeting Toby and seeing his interactions with you and your family, it is impossible for me to diagnose or provide correct direction for you and Toby.  If it is out of aggression, it is treated one way; if it is dominance, a totally different way; and if it is out of being unsure, yet again, a completely different approach.  My best advice for you, your son and Toby is that you seek a professional trainer.  Not a trainer from Petco that wants to teach you dog how to sit, and shake, but a professional trainer, one that has specific experience with large breed working dogs.  You need to research trainers in your area, asking for their specific experience with what you are going through and even asking for references and/or a curriculum vitae.  It is not something that anyone can help you with over the phone or computer as they need to come and physically observe his interactions with you and yours with him to truly understand the situation and how to address it.  Even a poorly bred or unbalanced dog can be helped with the correct intervention.  You will need to be trained more than your dog, your dog will mostly require rehabilitation.  
Once again, I respect you very much for not giving up on Toby, and I implore you to seek out a professional trainer in your area so that you can give this poor boy an earned and deserved shot.  
I wish you the best of luck and I will keep you both in my prayers.
God Bless,
Alice


SOCIALIZATION ISSUES

Hello!

It looks like you have some super cute puppies!! I love looking at your website!
I need advice from you!
I’ve gone to 2 different trainers with Winter Bingo but haven’t been able to improve people greetings with her. With some people she is great and others(male/female) she is fine at first then she backs up and barks at them. There doesn’t seem to be a similarity between the people that she does this too. She is constantly exposed to people so it definitely isn’t lack of exposure. For instance, Dave and I were out for a walk yesterday and we walked by an older couple who stopped and chatted with us. After about 5 minutes of conversation and David shaking the mans hand they asked if they could pet her. I of course said yes, but then she did that weird ok I’m going to smell you but as soon as you try to pet me I’m going to back up and bark at you.(this scared the man but we explained that we’re working with her and he was fine! These people have two dogs themselves and are dog people.) On the same walk we met up with a man and his dog. Winterbingo was perfect with him and played with his dog and there were no issues.
I need some advice on how to handle these random situations! Has this happened to you?
Thanks,
Megan

Good Afternoon!  
Wonderful to hear from you, but sorry it is under a less than ideal situation.  Very sorry as well for the delay in getting back.  Liliana graduates high school next Friday and not only am I NOT at all ready for that (not sure I could ever be!!!) but there is just SOOO much to do between now and then!
Unfortunately, there can be a lot of cues we do not pick up on that she may be uncomfortable with, even something like scent.  I have had an off the wall experience even with Serenity and Isis- 2 dogs that I would have never thought I would get a reaction out of- still not sure what it was and it was only one experience with each dog- Isis about 6 months ago at the airport when a lady locked eyes with her and smiled and Serenity about 5? years ago when someone got in the elevator with her (and us).  Both times, Isis and Serenity- did not back up or posture, just let out a low growl- but it was just so unlike them.  I am sure we have all met someone that just did not make us feel comfortable, and we are not nearly as in-tune with our senses as dogs are.  You are doing the right thing by making sure she is constantly introduced to new people as well.  She is at an age where she is starting to feel more grown up, and some of the “grown up” responsibilities- like protecting her pack- that come along with that, and she is just trying to sort everything out.  Here is what I would suggest doing- something we have done with a lot of our rescues with great success.  Find a treat that is absolutely irresistible to her- if she does not have a favorite, try bits of cooked chicken or cheese.  Get a nice supply chopped up into little bite-sized bits, and then go someplace public with her (even like a tractor supply store or pet store).  Stand near the entrance and tell everyone that you are working on her socialization and ask them if they would be willing to greet her and give her a treat.  Each time, tell her to sit, allow them to give her a treat and tell her what a good dog she is.  You have to be willing to put yourself out there a bit, which can be a little awkward, but you will get more socialization opportunities with all walks of life in the space of an hour than you would just going for a walk all day.  As she gets more comfortable with this, do the same thing when you are out for a walk with her.  Tell her to sit every time someone comes up or even passes by.  And if they want to greet her, perfect, they can give her the treat; if they do not want to greet her, then you give her the treat.  Either way, she starts associating new people and greeting with treats and happiness.  Do not worry about this effecting her ability to be protective. It is the same for us- when we head off to college- we are anxious over everything.  But the more nice people we meet and the more positive experiences we have, the more relaxed we become; however, it does not make us oblivious to our surroundings or make us forget to be protective of those we love.  I would also try to do the same thing with your vets office.  See if you can come by a couple of times a week just for her to come in and say hi to everyone and let them give her some treats.  Vets offices are notorious for making dogs feel uncomfortable for several reasons- 1) usually, the only time they go there, it is not necessarily a pleasant experience- poked and prodded, etc. and 2) there are SOO many different smells- other dogs, cats, exotic pets etc. and that can either over-stimulate or over-whelm.  This will be yet another way for her to, not only stay comfortable with your vet, but learn that just because there is something that looks or smells different, it does not mean that I have to immediately assume the defensive posture.  Now that the weather is getting nice, try to hit as many big events as you can as well- 4th of July celebrations, cook-outs, concerts in the park,  even farmers markets- anywhere there are loads of people, lots of different smells and sounds, etc.  Dogs are not so different from people- some are extroverts and take to socialization like they were born to do it; some are introverts and would prefer solitude, but most fall in the middle where they want to socialize, but can  feel uncomfortable with new situations.  Anytime you go somewhere and you know there will be an opportunity to socialize, do not forget to take you treats to continue to make it more positive.  Obviously, eventually, you will not need the treats, but they are so helpful in breaking the ice initially- just like we use candy and cookies to motivate kids, but eventually, as adults, we are happy to work with one another without the candy and cookies 😉   Please follow up with me in a couple of months and let me know how it is going. 
Give her a great big hug from all of us.
Alice

 


ROUGH PLAY and EATING MULCH

Hey Alice,

 
It’s been a few weeks. I hope you’re doing okay. I read that the decision from the board has not been issued yet. It will be interesting to see which way they go, given the lack of legal argument from the neighbors. Are any of the board members attorneys?
 
Anyway, I’m writing to you about Trigger/Rex. He’s doing reasonably well with his obedience – still doesn’t really know his name or recall/come, but does very well with sit, heel, and okay on down. I am having some aggression/dominance issues, though. Every time I sit down, whether on the sofa, a chair, or the floor, Rex climbs into/on top of my lap. I push him off – over and over – and he does not take no, he just keeps on coming. Once there, he basically flattens himself on top of me (I’m 5’0 tall), and starts to mouth/nibble. Again, I push him away, harder each time. Sometimes when I take him outside, he goes into “crazy mode” and starts attacking my legs and also jumps up to grab my clothes or arm. I have done everything from flicking him on the nose, to whacking him on the nose, to holding/pinning him down, to picking him up by his neck, and he just thrashes and snarls and keeps trying to attack. The only thing I have that has stopped him, and this is in the house, if I can get to it before he jumps up on the coffee table, is the squirt gun with vinegar water in it. I have an e-collar, which I used with my last Rott, but we only needed it for a very short time – he was 6yrs old by then and had decided to stop listening to me. He was already advanced in his training. Another problem I’m having is that Rex will not stop eating the mulch – and sometimes dirt – in my yard. I have reached down his throat an pulled out wads of the stuff. One day it gave him explosive diarrhea (gross, I know).
 
Alice, I’m very frustrated. Generally, he is an awesome dog. I think regular obedience will not be enough for him, as he will need something more challenging for his intellect. However, I need to get him under control. I have resisted going to the e-collar for the puppy, but am wondering what, if anything, you suggest.
 
I’m sorry to bring you such news. Rex is a total love, and a happy puppy, but I do need your help.
 
Thanks,

Karen

Hello Karen,
I am sorry that you are frustrated with him and having a rough go.  First, let me put your mind at ease and tell you that it unlikely that he is being aggressive and much more likely that he is just playing too rough.  Of course it is impossible for me or any trainer to effectively ‘diagnose’ him via computer or a phone call, so my first suggestion would be that you seek a trainer SPECIFICALLY with working dog experience.
Ok, I am going to address all of your concerns in the order you presented them to me.  First, he has or rather had an EXCELLENT recall here and came 100% of the time even with the distractions of 4 kids, cats and kittens, cars, ducklings, etc., so please let me give you some suggestions.  First, the recall must ALWAYS be a positive thing.  You can NEVER EVER use the recall to call him over to take something away from him, scold him or put him in his crate.  If you need to correct him in any way shape or form, you MUST go to him.  If I said, “Karen, can you come here?” and the moment you came over I either took something away from you, locked you in a box or made you come inside from whatever fun activity you were doing, the next time I called your name, you would think twice about coming!  Now if I said, “Karen” and then as soon as you came, I gave you a cookie or a great big hug or played your favorite game with you, you also would come, quite eagerly every single time I called you!  Even if you are calling him because he needs to come inside or go in his crate, it is PARAMOUNT that BEFORE you put him up, he gets loads of attention, cookies if you want (treats) and at least a couple minutes of your time and attention.  He will then not associate coming with going into the crate, he will associate coming with attention/games/rewards and he will associate going into the crate as a natural conclusion of the game, attention, etc. He should be an expert at sit as my kids know that they are not permitted to give any attention to any of the pups until they are “asking politely” by sitting.  Honestly, we did not do a lot of work on down or any tricks, just the basics.  But if you stay on top of it, keep the training sessions brief so that he does not get bored (just a few minutes many times a day) and always positive, he will pick up anything you want very quickly.  He is a brilliant puppy and very eager to please- you just need to find an effective way to communicate with him. Him climbing on your lap and laying down and even the growling and nipping are all play and attention seeking and not done out of aggression at all.  Although he clearly does not have respect for you as an authority figure (we will address this later) he is not attempting to dominate or be aggressive- only to entice you into playing or turn your corrections into part of the game.  He is a puppy.  He is not a grown adult that can sit quietly in the corner all day.  He wants constant attention and will have loads of energy to burn.  Because he stayed here longer, not only did he have an extra month to rough play with other puppies here and grow accustomed to that form of play, but he also had a month of playing with 4 kids.  It is a huge adjustment for him and you.  You will need to find an effective way for him to burn off some of that energy.  If you can throw a ball for him for 20 minutes or so or if you have a friend with a dog where he can romp and play and get worn out on a play date or go for long walks with you.  Either way, he must have an outlet for his energy.  The jumping all over you and going into “crazy mode” is him trying everything he can to make the game look fun so you will want to join.  He is confused as to why you would not want to run and wrestle and romp and play.  Having an only puppy is quite a bit like having an only child in that they do not have siblings to entertain them, so the entirety of that job falls on you.  This does not mean that you need to get down and rough house with him- as a matter of fact, I would strongly advise against that if you are already have communication and respect issues.  It just means you have to find a way for him to get his playing in that also fits into your lifestyle- this will mean some modification for both of you.Yes, he is an extremely intelligent puppy.  One of the reasons I spend so much time on my website delving into pedigrees, titles, etc. is because of their great importance not only in the “looks” of your puppy, but in the character of your puppy.  His pedigree is filled with working dogs and Service dogs.  His character, therefore, will be that of an intelligent, biddable, wanting if not needing to work dog.  His “jobs” can be as simple as escorting you to the mailbox or bringing you the paper or even some tricks that he can practice a few times a day, but he is a puppy that will need structure and some “jobs”.
Before we go any further, I want to address the respect.  You MUST fix that now while he is a puppy.  Again, without me being there to see exactly where the breakdown is, it is nearly impossible for me to tell you where you are going wrong only that with 100% certainty, you are doing something wrong- not necessarily meaning that you are doing something incorrectly, could only be that whatever you are doing is not right for him.  Because of this, I HIGHLY recommend having a session or 2 with a GOOD trainer- not someone from petsmart that knows how to make a dog sit and give cookies, but a real trainer EXPERIENCED with WORKING dogs (not just ‘large breed dogs’ as a lab is a TOTALLY different dog than a Rottweiler), preferably Rottweiler specific experience.  He/she will be able to observe the two of you together and let you know exactly where the breakdown in communication is and based upon their observations of Rex working, they will be able to then redirect you with him.  Right now, you have a wonderful puppy and a wonderful owner who both are speaking foreign languages with completely opposite cultures and no real way to communicate with each other.  That needs to be addressed now while he is still a puppy as it will only get harder the longer he continues to practice doing things the wrong way.Mulch.  Thankfully, he did not have that issue here and we have TONS of it!  Maybe yours tastes better?  The absolute only effective thing you can do right now is to train him to avoid it.  This will likely mean keeping him on a leash anytime he is near it and telling him to LEAVE IT!  (please see my page: Q&A http://guardianrottweilers.com/puppy-tips/q-a/ for all kinds of techniques on “leave it.”)  It will feel quite repetitive initially, but if you correct him 100% of the time and do not permit any deviation, he will learn to leave it.  A great deal of puppy training (and kid training for that matter 😛 ) is repetition- sometimes until you have exasperated by it- but it is an unfortunate necessity.I MOST CERTAINLY DO NOT recommend an e-collar on such a young puppy.  I have no problem with an e-collar and they can be an effective tool in training- but should only be used as a last resort, when all else has failed and only in dogs whose mindset is already at “red”.  The collars do not hurt the dogs into submission, they simply get the attention of the dog and as a puppy, there is no need to resort to such a strong stimulation.  Again, this is where a trainer would be able to look at the situation with you and Rex and let you know exactly where everything is going wrong and help you get back to the basics of respect and obedience.  I can absolutely tell you here that 100% of the time he was compliant even with my 7 year old letting him know when he had had enough and even with a friend’s toddlers.  But disrespect here had never been an option from day 1.  For whatever reason, he has assessed your “pack” as having no leader and with you and he being equals- where he can tell you when he wants to play, when he has had enough and when he does not wish to comply- almost like siblings.  Please read on my Q&A http://guardianrottweilers.com/puppy-tips/q-a/ page for some more tips and techniques concerning re-establishing yourself as the pack leader with a disrespectful puppy.  There are also some great videos from Leerburg on this topic.  Please do keep me updated on which trainer you decide to go with and/or if you need in help from me in selecting one.  Also, after you check out the tips on the Q&A page and/or some of the Leerburg training, please let me know if you had any questions or needed some more suggestions.  Please let me know what routine you will establish for him as a healthy outlet for energy both mental and physical and most importantly, please let me know how both you and Rex progress.  HE WILL BE A PUPPY FOR TWO YEARS and the training and socialization choices you make during those 2 years will be the greatest determining factor on Rex as an adult.  Having a Rottweiler is a huge commitment- this commitment is the biggest reason we have such an arduous process to get on the waiting list as well as require so much reading from you prior to considering ownership.  And much like with kids- the sharper and smarter the puppy (or child) the more of a challenge he/she can be, but equally, the greater potential!  It is a relationship that will require hard work, but I can assure you, the returns are always 100-fold on your investment.  If you put the time and effort in now, you will have the best friend and companions you have ever had in your life <3
Loads of love from all of us here.
Alice


RESOURCE GUARDING AND SOFT STOOL

(Heather had contacted me previously to let me know that her puppy was becoming possessive of certain toys/chews and we had discussed some option on how to help him and her so I followed up several weeks later to see how the training was coming along and this was her response.)
Hi Alice! He’s doing much better! He hasn’t done it in a couple weeks at least. And he will “leave it” for me anytime I ask. My vet also suggested not giving him those items that he becomes so possessive over, unless I am putting him in his crate. So, I really haven’t given him the opportunity to snap at the kids again.  
There is another issue I am wondering about… Hank stools maybe 10 times a day. He will go in the morning once, walk around a bit, and then go 1-2 more times. He then comes in to eat, and goes another 2 times. This continues all day. The stool starts solid but after going a couple times, becomes less formed. We switched foods to Wellness Core grain free thinking this would help. It really didn’t. We had him on a 10 day antibiotic to help treat colitis, and that didn’t change anything. We also added a prescription probiotic to his food. Didn’t help. My vet said the next step would be sending away a stool sample for a more detailed analysis. But, maybe this is just normal? Have you noticed this in any of your other dogs?
Thanks!

Heather 

Good Morning Heather,
I am glad to hear there has been improvement, however, I do disagree with your vet on that aspect.  The situation has to be addressed while he is a puppy.  By simply not giving him the items, you are not teaching him to not behave like that, you are just hiding/ignoring the behavior and that is never the solution.  Same concept if he were jumping on people to greet them and you just put him up in another room.  He would not learn at all to stop jumping as the behavior would never be addressed/corrected- just ignored and permitted to continue.  Especially in his case, by just giving him those items in his crate you are inherently teaching him that he deserves his space and privacy when with his treat/toy/chew and it will ultimately make him even more resource protective because if he ever gets that coveted item outside of his crate, he won’t know how to deal with it.  
Now that he is rocking his basic obedience very well, I would start slowing reintroducing some of his coveted items back meanwhile he is out.  Remember, the key is to never take the item from him, but rather him from the item- that way you are not teaching him to be fearful that someone will take his toy/treat, but rather teaching him that by displaying unwanted behavior he is simply denied access to the items.  It corrects the behavior without instilling paranoia.  So give him the coveted treat, but have something even more desirable with you (i.e. a bit of cooked chicken, a chunk of cheese, etc.) and tell him to “leave it” with the previously coveted toy/treat/chew and when he does, tell him what a good boy he is with loads of love and praise and of course the even more yummy treat.  Practice this often as well as reaching down and petting him when he has his coveted toy/treat.  If he displays any inappropriate behavior- including lowering his head and “hovering” over his treat/toy, then ask him to leave it and reward accordingly.  If he does not leave it, then remove him from the toy/treat with a very firm no!  This must be repeated until he leaves it willingly.  And the whole “exercise” will need to be practiced several times a day until you are comfortable with where he is with his training.
Almost any grain free will be WAYYY to rich for a puppy and Wellness is no exception.  
The nutrition page on my website is a great tool to use when trying to switch foods.  You want to keep the protein at or around 25% and wellness core is half again that at 35%.  Not only is this too rich for his digestive system, but it is also bad for his growth.  What I would suggest is, until his still firms up, keep him on a limited ingredient diet- if you like the Wellness brand, they have one called Simple
the protein is right at 25% and the fat is 1/3 lower than it is in the rich Core formula.  Puppies do poo often, they grow really fast and their metabolism is just burning at a really high rate because of the rapid growth.  He should poop just about every time you take him potty, so his “numbers” do not surprise me, but I would like to see a bit more form to the stool.  Which antibiotic was he on?  Was it metronidazole?  Sometimes the antibiotics can exaggerate the problem by killing both the good and bad bacteria, but your vet seems very squared away by adding the probiotic in to make sure that did not happen.  I presume they have already checked for parasites including an enzyme test for giardia?  That would be a normal first step with soft stool, but never hurts to double check.  Intestinal parasites are so prolific and the very nature of how puppies and dogs play/experience their world (picking up sticks, catching leaves, drinking from puddles, etc.) it is no wonder that the intestinal parasites are accountable for most soft stool cases.  
If the stool has already been checked, especially for the enzyme test for giardia, then we know it has something to do with diet/digestion.  Keeping him on the probiotics is essential and since it is prescription strength (what brand?  provable D maybe?) it should also have a prebiotic in it.  Keep him on that until he has better consistency with his stool.  As much as I want him off the way too rich Core yesterday, make sure you switch him gradually or you will only cause more digestive upset.  Directions for that are also on the nutrition page.  Eventually, you are going to want to have him on a formula specifically formulated for large breed puppies so that he can get all the vitamins and minerals required for the rapid growth he will continue to have- especially chondroitin and glucosamine, but in the mean time, the limited ingredient will help his overworked digestive system.  You can also add a spoonful of canned pumpkin to help firm up his stool.
Please let me know how it goes with both issues, and please give that little rotten-weiler some lovin from all of us <3
God Bless,
Alice

 

 


GASTROPLEXI
Hi Alice,

I had another question I’m hoping you have can help me on.

When he’s old enough, I’m going to have the Gastropexy surgery done at the same time he gets neutered.  My vet does what is called a simple incision method.  This is what Febea had done & she had a really rough time.  From what I gather, they pretty much gut the dog & have a fairly long incision, making it a pretty invasive surgery with a 2 week (+/-) recovery time.  The upside is that it is the most durable process there is & what is done on police dogs, etc.

I can take Alex to Purdue University & they do a laparoscopic assisted method, where there are 2 small incisions made & recovery time is just a couple days.  From an invasive, painful, recovery standpoint, this seems like a no brainer but my vet suggested trying to gather data on the success rates of this method.  I have searched & searched the web but am having no luck comparing the 2.  I can get info on what each method is & how it’s done, but as far as info on how often a laparoscopic method may come detached, etc I am coming up empty.

My vet is very professional & wants what’s best for the animal.  She’s not one that just wants to keep the business / dollars in her office, so I don’t believe she has alterior motives for saying this, but I am really on the fence on which method to go with.

Do you know much on the pros & cons of each?

Also – Alex (Gavin) is doing great!  He’s getting so big & really doing a great job getting up to speed on the house rules & manners!  He is sooo precious!!!!

Thank you!
Sarah

Sorry for the delay in responding Sarah.  I have been delivering puppies all week.  But yes, I have heard of both procedures, but unfortunately, do not have any direct experience with either.  I always recommend the more invasive one for females that will be spayed as the vet is already pretty much there when doing a spay, and the laparoscopic one for males so that there is not such an invasive procedure, but to be honest, I do not know what the statistics are for the necessity of a repeated procedure.  Have you asked your vet what are the possible complications associated with each method?  And/or how often each has required repair?  I would think that in this circumstance, she most likely has loads more experience than me.  I am sorry that I am not more helpful 🙁  But please do let me know which one you go with and what information you are able to glean on both procedures to that I can not only become more educated myself, but be of more use to others in the future.

I am so glad that Alex is doing super <3  
Have a blessed day hun.
AliceHi Alice, No problem!  JMy vet was partial to her method, which is the more invasive one but very durable.  The surgeons at Purdue were more partial to theirs, the laparoscopic, and said they had never had any issues.  I do believe the simple incision is more durable, and would have that done if it were a spay since they’re right there anyway – as you said, but I haven’t found anything saying that the laparoscopic has XX% chance of failure compared to the other, so that is the one we are going to go with for Alex (Gavin).  It is only $200 more – coming in at approx. $700 for the neuter & gatropexi.  My vet was going to be $500 for both.  If I can save him 2 weeks of pain & suffering, it is well worth an extra $200.  Febea had such a horrible time with hers & we hate to put another through it if we can’t find any statistics telling us the success rate would justify the suffering.  Not to mention that with the amount of rough-housing & excitement him & Febea have with each other, I would worry about him staying calm long enough to heal.


TOO PLUMP

Hey Alice
I know I have already asked for your advice on brands of glucosamine to order off line for Dozer…I now am also wanting your advice on feeding him. I seriously, seriously, seriously want to get him leaner & healthier. He will be 5yrs old in March which is still young for him & he should have so many years left with us. I do not want his life span to be cut short simply because he is overweight. That is just not an acceptable reason to lose him for me. I know I am the one who can control that for him & help him be healthier & happier. I wanted to ask you what should I feed him, how often should I feed him & should I get him on routine schedule of feeding time? What about treaty-treats…he knows the word treaty treat & loooves getting them 😉
Right now his food (along with our other 2 dogs & we always have a foster dog from the shelter in the house) their food is just left out all the time & filled whenever we see an empty bowl. So I don’t know really, who is eating how much out of the 4 dogs or when exactly. As for treaty treats we have cut back & use things like green beans & gotten recipes to make some home made treats. Dozer loves Bully Slices from Red Barn but I have a feeling he probably shouldn’t have those. I have guilt for taking things away that be likes so much but I want to do right by him. I am hoping you’ll have some advice to help me to help him & maybe some good ideas for treats that he will like. How do u feel about the Kongs & the different recipes of things to put inside them?
Whenever you get time…no hurry.
Thank you!
God bless to all of you at Rottieopolis!
 
Oh honey 🙁  Bless your heart.  That is like me trying to lose weight and living at a buffet restaurant.  You are right.  You have complete power to control his weight gain and he is indeed too young to have the complications of all that excess weight.  I am not surprised at all that he weighs what he does if he just has whatever he wants :/  You need to cut him back to about 4 cups of food per day and keep the treats to veggies- carrots are also yummy and coveted along with banana.  He can also have the occasional low calorie treat, but again, the OCCASIONAL low cal treat 😉  Otherwise it is like me eating an entire bag of reduced fat baked chips- it is not at all helpful if you consume more than necessary 😉  You also need to restrict his access to everyone else’s food.  They will either have to get fed at scheduled times where they can be separated from him, or fed in areas he does not have access too.  It will not take him too long to lose weight once you get him on the proper amount of food.  Make sure it is a reduced calorie food too- and there are tons out there.  Definitely stay away from Taste Of The Wild or anything Diamond!!  Bully sticks are also ok as are filled Kongs.  Both are fun and can be great busy toys.  Remember, food does not equal love, especially if it is at his detriment.  Spending time, taking long walks, playing ball- that equals love <3  
Please do keep me posted on how his diet goes (hopefully better than mine! lol)  And do not ever worry about asking me anything.
Hugs and love,
Alice

 


POOP EATING!

Alice,
Hey I hope things are going better now.  I have a question.  Electra seems to not be getting something that she needs mineral wise I think.  She will eat our other dogs poop.  It doesn’t matter if it has been on the ground for a bit or fresh as it comes out of the other dog.  Is there somehow a way to figure out what she is needing or wanting?  She has done this with the Fromm dog food and now with the food we are giving her (black gold Lamb and Rice).  I am waiting to get some black gold fish and potatoe to see if that helps.  Any help would be great.
Thanks

Seth

 

Hello Seth!
 
So wonderful to hear from you! <3

Poop eating.  There are 3 main causes of it
1) just a bad habit.  If mom was a very fastidious cleaner and constantly are the pups poop (yes, it is gross, but completely necessary– in the wild, she cannot have the smell of her newborn puppies attracting other predators so the dogs have evolved to consume the puppy’s poop), then the puppy may have picked up a bad habit from mom.
2) feeling famished.  All too often, people want to feed what the back of a bag of food tells them to feed.  That is VERY rarely sufficient.  The back of a bag of food tells you how much a 10# or 20# puppy may need.  What it does NOT consider is that it is not just a 10# or 20# puppy, it is a puppy that will grow very much and very fast with a very high metabolism.  I tell people all the time to completely disregard what is on the back of the bag of food- for starters, they do not take into account what the end result of the dog will be, which will of curse dramatically change his nutritional needs (i.e. if the puppy is 10 pounds, but will only be 20 when he is done growing, then he does not need as much as the puppy who is 10 pounds but will be 100+ when done growing as that puppy is clearly at a completely different nutritional need) and second, they do not take into account different metabolisms and fluctuating nutritional needs as he grows.  So I always tell people to use it as a guideline only and to feed based on TIME not QUANTITY.  Feed whatever your puppy will eat in 10-15 minutes 3x a day.  Like babies, they will almost always only eat what they need and then walk away.
3) A dietary deficiency.  Even if the puppy is on a very high end food, there is always the potential for something to be missing.  Every puppy is different just like every human is different- there is no one food that is correct for all of us and some of us require more than the average of some minerals, vitamins, etc.  There may also be an issue with how his body is processing the food.  If there is an imbalance of probiotics in his digestive tract, then he/she will not be able to correctly breakdown and assimilate the nutrients.  So it may be as simple as needing some probiotics and/or digestive enzymes.

Believe it or not, poop eating is such a big thing with dogs that there are actually products out there to help! lol  Solid Gold makes one called SEP (stop eating poop) there is also another one called Potty Mouth and another one called For-bid- those are just the ones that popped into my head, I am sure there are dozens and dozens more.  I have tried a few different ones over the years and do not really have a favorite, usually just buy what is on sale, but they are all- at least the ones I have tried- pretty effective.  Just go to your local pet store and I am certain you will find something there.  Give the recommended amount.  It makes the poop taste bad (funny, huh?  like it did not already taste bad!?!?!)  So that will help to immediately start breaking the habit.  You will need to add it to your other dog too so that it will make their poop taste bad too.  Next, make sure she is getting a sufficient quantity of food.  Although I would much rather see a growing puppy that is a bit ribby rather than an obese puppy, you also want to make sure she is getting enough.  Next, I would also consider adding probiotics and digestive enzymes to her diet.  If she is not digesting it completely, she can be missing a lot of the nutrients she needs (just pooping them out) which would not only make weight gain slow to impossible but also make her feel the need to consume other things (like his poop) to try and fill in the gaps in his diet.

My vet loves Proviable D and I have also used Probios and Herdsmith Flora.  The only digestive enzyme additives I have tried were Solid Gold D-zyme, Holistic Pet Organics Digest (which also contains pre and pro biotic) and what I am using now which is The Missing Link.  I really liked all the above products, but I am hooked on Missing Link.  They have all sorts of formulas including the one I am using on Diesel now that has made such a massive difference in him.  I swear it has take years off of him.  About a year or so ago, he really started to show his age (he is 14 now and was 13 then) and almost overnight just got so old 🙁  The representative from The Missing Link stopped by to give me a spiel on his products and left me with a package of the Ultimate Senior formula.  I was only about 1-2 weeks into using it before I saw Diesel back to being the Diesel he was when he was 10 or 11 years old- and at that age, Diesel could keep pace with any 4-5 year old!  Even now at 14, the large breed dog equivalent of 10 years since he first started slowing down at age 13, he is at least as good as he was then.  He is definitely no spring chicken, but he still climbs up and down the stairs after me, still has to pee on everything in his permitter, still wants to say hello to all the ladies when they come into heat 😉 and still thinks it is his sworn oath to see to the safely of everyone in his house.  We have had Serenity on it for the last year as well and even though she has been fighting cancer for 3 years, you would truly never know it!
You would probably be looking at these formulas for him:
or

I have never used anything other than the Senior formula, but if it is so fabulous, I have to assume the rest of their line is too.

Please let me know if you or Miss Electra need anything else and as always, give her a hug from all of us.
God Bless,
Alice

 


LAXITY IN WRIST LIGAMENT (LIMP WRIST)

Hi alice!   We are a little concerned how Thors leg is turning.   He has not had any injury; wil rarely limp.  Have you seen this before? Concerned with amount of still growing to occur .  Any help would be beneficial and appreciated!
unnamed-4

Yes, I have seen that before- in show dogs, the judges will often refer to it as “easty- westy” because the left front foot wants to go east and the right wants to go west.  That is caused by a weak wrist.  It is not so much the leg turning as it is the wrist weak and unsupportive.  A vet will refer to it as a laxity of the ligaments.  I got the best advice on what to do about that from a friend of my in Germany that is a Rottweiler judge.
1) he needs more vitamins- especially glucosamine and chondroitin.  Bone growth is always faster than soft tissue (joints, ligaments, etc.) so we are always trying to keep the bone growth slow and stead to give the tendons a chance to catch up.  What food is he currently on?  
The next thing you want to do for him it to raise his food and water to a point where he has to stand almost on his tippy toes to reach it.  Because eating and drinking take up good quantities of his day, you are constantly reinforcing for that foot to move into the correct direction.  It is easy for us here to do that with the kennel bars- we just move food or water higher up and in the house, I have built a couple of platforms (real easy- and made from 2″x4″s.  I do not think such a product exists on the market, so you will have to build one yourself.  If you are handy, it does not take very long at all. 
The 3rd and probably most important thing to do if find some gravel- pea gravel is the best, but really any gravel will do- and take him for long walks every day on it.  What makes the gravel so effective is that the foot is constantly tipped one way or the other while he is walking, forcing those ligaments/tendons to be reactive.  
I had a Crom x Serenity puppy that was REALLY lax in the wrists and I went to my vet who sent me to a specialist who suggest splinting, and said if that did not work, they could do surgery to tighten the tendon.  All of that seemed pretty drastic, and I did not see the splints as being effective as, in my opinion, preventing use/movement would make the wrist weaker, not stronger.  SO before I went that route, I talked to a few breeder/judge/trainer/handler friends of mine and decided to go with the collective advice.  I have had several pups/youth over the years that have had this issue, and I have fixed it each and every time by following the above 2 steps!  Healthy, natural, cheaper than some surgery would have been, and most importantly, effective!!  <3
Hope that helps!  Other than that, how is he?? <3
Hugs and love,
Alice

 

 


RESOURCE GUARDING

Hi Alice!

I hope all is well! My rotty is doing great! It’s crazy how much they turn into being like your own kids and the strong relationship you build with them.

I wanted to run something by you. I gave Zeus a raw bone and when I went to take it away he got a little aggressive with me. He has never shown any sign of aggression and I understand it was probably because I was taking something away from him that he never has has before. I just wanted to know the correct way to handle the situation if that where ever to happen again.

Thanks,
Tim

Good Afternoon Tim!
I am so glad you guys are doing well.
 
Naughty Zeus!  I have had a few over the years that are super with all toys and food but then go bananas over a raw bone- especially if it is not an everyday occurrence (which I can understand because I am the same way with my Godiva! lol) The safest way is to have a drag lead on him next time (a drag lead/leash is a cheaper leash that you are not worried about getting stepped on or messed up) so that you can SAFELY control him.  Hopefully he knows the “leave it” or “drop it” command.  Always start positive first and only go negative if necessary.  Give him a bone (or if he does not know the command yet, start with something less coveted) but let him see that you have another bone- or a piece of chicken, etc.- something he would REALLY want.  Show it to him and tell him to “leave it” or “give it” whatever your command it and as soon as he complies, give him his reward.  After he takes his reward, use the leash to lead him away from the bone.  Put him in a sit or down stay and give it back to him.  This way he learns that you taking it does not mean it is gone forever, and that he can still get it back.  Keep repeating these techniques until he has it.  Most important thing is if he is acting in an aggressive/protective manor, remove him from the object instead of the object from him- by taking it from him, all you do is INCREASE his need to be protective of it by CONFIRMING that someone will take itIf this does not work, let me know and I will walk you through how to escalate the training, but like I said, I always prefer to try positive reinforcement first.  HOWEVER, you also cannot EVER let him get away with acting like that either!  He needs to understand that is NEVER, EVER acceptable.
 
Please let me know if that helps or if there is anything else I can do for you.
 
Give our love to the naughty little furbaby!
Alice

 


STEALING FROM THE BABY

Hey Alice,
I hope all is well with you. Obie is doing great. He is so sweet. He chews on anything and gets in to everything. So, basically, doing everything he is supposed to be doing. Quick question… How do I train him not to take things away from the baby? Especially when she loves to try to hand him things…

Thanks!
Stephanie

Consistency!!  Do not leave her unattended with him until you are sure he has mastered it and STERNLY correct him EVERY single time he attempts to take something from her.  If you catch him every time and give him a strong correction, it will not take long before he realizes what the rules are AND it will also reaffirm his position in the pack vs. your daughter’s!  A 2-fer! 😉  It would be the same if he were in a wolf/dog pack.  If he attempted to take a treat/toy/food from the alpha, the correction would be swift and decisive!  He would VERY quickly learn that EVEN if the alpha left his possessions unattended, they were OFF LIMITS.  But like I said, you MUST be consistent.  If you leave her unattended with him and he takes something away successfully, then it will undo all of your training.  It is like a kid with candy.  If mom says rules are no candy, but the kids can grab the candy from the bowl on the table without correction, they will do so as often as they can!  He needs to learn that even when he is offered something from your daughter that she is so superior to him that he is not even permitted the privilege of accepting.  Sound harsh I know, but dogs are pack animals and we must train accordingly and VERY soon he will be bigger and stronger than your baby and if he does not know the rules now, it will be much more difficult to UN-TRAIN him later.

Same applies to the chewing.  DO NOT leave things in his reach that you do not want chewed. period.  EVERY SINGLE time he chews something inappropriate and you are not there to correct him before or during (because we all know that correcting a pup or dog AFTER they have done something incorrect is pointless.  The DO NOT SPEAK ENGLISH and have no idea why you are pointing at a chewed up shoe or a pile of poo.  A dog lives in the moment.  MANY people think that the dog looks guilty when scolded and therefore understands.  OF COURSE he looks guilty, you are yelling at him!  If I were to walk up to you and start yelling at you in Russian, SURE you would know that I was not happy, but you would have NO IDEA what I was upset about!) you are teaching him that it is ok to chew on that.  So unless you are DIRECTLY supervising him, do not leave ANYTHING within his reach that he is not permitted to have and give him LOADS of options that ARE permitted.  Very similar to how you would tend to a toddler.  You would never leave a toddler in a room unattended full of breakable and dangerous things to play with and if he/she was in a place that was not completely toddler proof, you would stay right there with them to constantly remove things that are pulled on and/or placed in their mouth 😉 

As long as you remember the following, training will ALWAYS go favorable:
•  always stay calm and patient.  Just as you would shut down and ignore someone neurotically yelling and losing their mind all the time, and or have absolutely no respect in their ability to be a leader, so will your puppy.

•  be consistent!!  Your puppy  is ALWAYS learning- every moment of every day.  It is up to you if he is learning to do inappropriate things or learning how to be a well behaved adult 😉

•  BE THE PACK LEADER!  You must be calm and patient, but you also must be decisive and firm when it is called for.  If your child was about to place her hand on a burner on the stove, you would be swift and stern with your correction to prevent her from doing anything dangerous in the future.  The same must apply to your puppy.  The Rottweiler is a very intelligent, strong minded breed of dog.  You MUST be the pack leader from the time he is a puppy to avoid challenges as he matures. 

As long as you follow those 3 tips, you will see that the Rottweiler is, without a doubt, the absolute bestest companion He has ever blessed us with!

Loads of love to you all and have a blessed Christmas in case I do not talk to you again between now and then.
God Bless,
Alice

 


TEMPERAMENT PROBLEMS

This may be a very strange email to receive, however my name is Chalene and some friends of mine just got a puppy. The “breeder” got rid of it at a little under 5 weeks old. My friends took it in and I have some questions and concerns about it’s temperament. I only know American Staffordshire Terriers, being that those are the only dogs I have ever known. I also know that breeders are worlds more knowledgeable than regular dog trainers. So when this now 6 week old puppy is nervous about a situation it lashes out at people, she put a couple of good puncture marks in my shoulder as well as a bruise to accompany it. She bit her owner in the chest and wouldn’t let go of their 20 year old son. I don’t know the temperament of these dogs, but after reading your website and countless others, I know they are supposed to people friendly. I know with most breeders of Amstaffs, the puppy would be put down, but these are amstaffs and again, i don’t know enough about rotts. In my opinion Mishka was taken away from her mother and siblings too soon, all because of a white marking on her chest, and hasn’t learned how to behave properly, but it could also be her temperament. Though the guy calls himself a breeder, he’s most likely some SOB BYB who just wanted the biggest rotties in town disregarding the stability of the dog. I experience it a lot with pit bulls in this town. She attacked my male amstaff and my foster female pit bull (not that she hurt them at all other than their feelings) and when I scooped her up she then tried to take a chunk out of my shoulder. She is definitely what we would call a fear biter, and it seems like a dangerous temperament to have around young children who frequent the house. Is there any sort of help that we could provide. They have never had a power breed before, just little dogs. Despite that, I worry for the dog and kids, she’s very young and I hope that you can give some insight on what can be done.

Thank you for your time,
Chalene

There are 2 parts to a dog’s temperament, and this is true of any breed.  The first half of the equation is breeding and bloodlines.  Just like you can breed for markings, or size, or color, you can also breed for temperament.  Because most of the breeding done here in the US is done out of either ignorance (not bothering to take the time to learn the correct breed standard physically or mentally) or indifference (knowing that the dog or bitch you are breeding is incorrect in either physical confirmation or character/temperament and still breeding it anyway just to make $$$) most of the Rottweilers produced here in the US lack significantly in health, temperament and physical confirmation.  For this reason, nearly everything we use in our breeding program is either imported from Europe or produced by us.  The breed standard is so much higher over there and has always been so you have entire bloodlines of healthy, conformationally and temperamentally correct dogs.  That is why we are able to stand behind all of our dogs with a lifetime contract and lifetime breeder support.  Most people do not realize how crucial good breeding is even if you never intend on showing.  Good breeding not only brings you a more beautiful dog, but more importantly, and health dog with a sound mind.  A dog that is not failing in courage, highly intelligent and a constant companion.  The second half of the equation, is environment and is also very important which is why we require an interview and contract with every puppy we sell.

The problem with your puppy is more than likely 2-fold.

1) if the “breeder” the puppy came from was too ignorant to keep the puppy beyond 4 weeks, they more than likely pay little attention to proper breeding to include health, confirmation and temperament.  Improper breeding and poor bloodlines will produce unstable dogs with bad character and temperament.  This can mean either an over-temperamented (aggressive dog) or an under-temperament dog (fearful).

2) the second issue as you said in your e-mail is that the puppy was removed too early and has missed out on the critical socialization/ discipline that comes from mom and siblings.  Lacking in both temperament and correct socialization, the puppy really needs to be with someone that has experience or you will have a dangerous dog on your hands.  The fact that she has already bitten is certainly a red flag.  At this time, I would highly recommend seeking a professional trainer.

Sorry for you misfortune and I hope that things will improve for you.

Best Regards,
Alice Velasquez

 


SEPARATION ANXIETY AND REFUSING TO EAT DOG FOOD

Alice,
You know that I love Belle with all my heart and give thanks for her being in my life.  I take her to the dog park a few times a week, though recently the weather hasn’t been pleasant.  And, Belle has made friends with some of the regulars, as have I with the owners.  Belle’s friendly disposition and loving nature have most people calling her to them to pet her.  But, there are two problems I have with her, one I hope you can advise me on.
The first is how difficult it is for her when I leave for work.  She whines and whines as I grab my keys to leave.  I was fortunate to get another job after leaving Brant Construction, but I am putting in 10 hours a day – for 8 hours pay – just so I can learn how Hasse Construction does all their paper work for projects.  I had to turn in two bids with two days notice for renovation work at Purdue.  I got the bigger of the two projects and have a high percentage of profit.  Hasse Construction is very professional and everything is recorded and accountable.  But, back to my little girl.  So, she has separation anxiety problems, I guess you would call it.  And when I come home –  oh my – what a welcome.  She doesn’t want to wait until I get in the house to get hugged.  I look forward to her welcoming me home.
The second problem, and one that is bothering me, is she will not eat dog food.  When Jake was sick I fixed both of them a lot of chicken and liver.  Now, that is all she wants to eat and I am sure she is not getting the nourishment she needs.  She went two days without eating before I broke down and gave her chicken livers.  Should I just wait her out?  I mean I paid $35.00 for some Freshpet Vital chicken-beef-salmon and egg in the refrigerated section at Petsmart.  She didn’t even taste it.  She walked over to the plate it was on, sniffed it and walked away.  Should I just let her go hungry until she starts eating her dog food?  I want her eating the Orijen, again, but she won’t eat kibble even when it is mixed in with chicken.  It is amazing how she will eat all the chicken and have kibble on the floor all around her plate.
I will close now, I am weary and want to sit on the couch with Belle close to me.  She is a wonderful dog.
Sincerely,

Jerry

Hello my dear Jerry!
Always so wonderful to hear from you.  I am sorry to hear about the separation anxiety, but unfortunately, not too surprised 🙁  She went from a home where she was loved to a home where she was not, and then finally back to a home that literally wept for her nearly every day because of the amount of joy she brought to us and the immense heartache and anger I felt when I thought of where she had been before us… and then to a new home, where she was equally loved and bonded with Jake, and now his loss + you being gone all day and her not understanding that your being gone is not permanent like Jake’s.  Dogs do not have jobs in the wild.  Every member of the pack goes everywhere together and the only time someone wonders off is to 1) go and have pups (which she can tell you are not equipped for…) or to permanently leave- either for death or from being kicked out of the pack.  When we, as humans, understand this, we can understand better where the separation anxiety comes from.  I wish I had a magic answer for helping with this 🙁  I do not currently have another Rottie that would work for you with her or I would send him/her to you without hesitation for miss Belle.  I can tell you some of the tips and techniques I did for Diesel when he was younger.  Believe it or not, my big, tough rock actually got SEVERE separation anxiety when he was a youth.  Literally so bad that it gave him diarrhea and it was EVERYWHERE when we got home- furniture, walls, doors, windows- he walked on it and then pawed at every surface :/  It was as much frustrating as it was heartbreaking.  I never could get cross with him for it because knowing that someone loved me so much that it literally made them physically ill when I was gone- how do you get mad at that???
I tried EVERYTHING in those first few years.  The things that helped the most were as follows:
1) try to have her as worn out as possible before you leave.  If she will play fetch, have her run after that ball until she can barely stand up.
2) have special “busy” toys that she only gets when you are gone- stuffed kongs, marrow bones, wobblers (you put treats in them and the dogs have to tip them to get the treat out- you would be surprised at the amount of IQ dog toys out there…
3) do not make a big deal out of when you leave.  This one may be the hardest- at least it was for me.  But if you just walk out like you are simply walking from one room to the next, it will not be as big of a deal for her.  Think about it- if you and I were sitting in the living room and I just got up and walked out, you would think I was going to go get something and not think anything about it.  But if I made a big production and told you how much I would miss you and what a great friend you have been, etc., you would get worried and wonder if I had any plans that you should be worried about.
4) change your routine.  Dogs are smart, and Rotts are even smarter.  When I would get up at night to use the rest room or check on the kids, Diesel would lift his head and make sure he kept me within eyesight, but not necessarily get up and follow me.  However, if I put my slippers on or if I grabbed my robe, he popped up before I had even stood up from the bed.  He knew I was either going downstairs or perhaps even outside and would therefore need to be escorted 😉  So, if Eliza Belle gets upset when you grab your keys, start grabbing your keys at random times during the day.  Just put your shoes on, grab your keys and come and sit down and watch TV or read a book.  Grab your keys every time you walk past that room- pick them up, hold them, and put them back, etc.  If there are other “triggers” for her, begin to make those benign as well.
5) Desensitize her to you leaving as well.  We would all get in the car and drive around the block.  Come back inside for a bit, then get back in the car and drive around the block again.  
6) This one was super hard for me, so I imagine it will be for you too.  Don’t act like it is a big deal with you come back.  Again, if you were at my house and I walked outside to do something in the yard and came back in, you would not think anything about it.  If I came back in and flew to you showering you with hugs and kisses as though I never wanted to walk out the door again, you would think that either something had happened to me while I was away and be worried, or think that I had contemplated never coming back but perhaps changed my mind- either way, you would be concerned and it would reinforce your opinion that me leaving was a very bad thing.  When you first get home, you can give her a little pet on the head or say hello, but keep it brief and “unimportant”.  Once you set all of your stuff down and she has relaxed, then you can sit down with her and love her like there is no tomorrow.  She will associate that extreme loving with you just sitting in the living room or standing in the yard or laying in bed, etc. rather than associate it with the “I’ve been gone and I never should have left  and I will never go away ever ever again!!!” 
7) Make sure you collect her “special while dad is gone” toys, treats, etc. and put them up so that they are only to be played with/kept busy with when you are not there, making them special and hopefully entertaining her for longer.  Make good with a local butcher and get her a femur or knuckle bone and do not give it to her until you are ready to leave.  Let her take off to go enjoy it and they you can leave without the pomp and circumstance.
ALSO, have not had a chance to try it, so I cannot say if it is snake oil or the real deal, but I do know that there are products sold that you can plug in to the wall, like the glade plug-ins, that release a calming chemical in the air.  Again, no idea if it helps any at all, but if it is not too expensive, might be worth a shot.
Eating.  When you have a smart dog, they can indeed get spoiled quickly and easily.  She has you very well trained and she knows it 😉  You have a couple of options.  You can make her wait until she is hungry- but then you have to actually make her wait until she is hungry!  If she knows she only has to hold out for 2 days and then she will get her chicken livers, then she will hold out! lol
Your other options are to modify the kibble or start her on a raw or cooked diet.
You can modify her kibble by soaking it in broth- easiest thing is to take whole chicken and throw it in the crock pot.  Once it is fall off the bone ready, debone it, reserve the meat, and pour the broth over her kibble and let the kibble soak for 15+ minutes.  You can add a bit of the meat in as well if you want, or you can throw them in the blender and make a puree that you can spoon a bit over the kibble.  One chicken should give you enough broth and meat for several days of adding.  Once you have her eating, you can soak the kibble for less and less time and add less and less puree.
I know ho much you love Eliza Belle, and her you <3  Please do give her some extra loving for me and I hope some of these tips can help.
Hugs and love <3
Alice

 


LARGE BREED PUPPY FOOD

Hi Alice!

 Hope your doing well. We are feeding Jaz solid gold wolf cub (large breed puppy food). Should we keep her on puppy food or move her to adult? The lady were we get her food at says she should be on adult food. What do you recommend.

 Thanks in advance

 Joe

I am happy to hear that Jaz is doing well.  She should stay on LARGE BREED PUPPY food until she is 2 YEARS OLD.  Smaller breed dogs are done growing much sooner than large breed dogs, but large breed dogs do not reach full physical or mental maturation until about 2 years of age, and will need not only the higher levels of glucosamine and chondritin to help support optimal bone and joint growth, but also the correct level of protein and fat found in Large Breed puppy food to promote a controlled growth rather than huge spurts which can be stressful on the joints as well as large muscle groups including the heart.  If you feed a brand that does not have specifically LARGE BREED, then you should NOT feed the puppy food.  Puppy formula and LARGE BREED PUPPY formula are VERY different and most Puppy formula’s have levels of fat and protein that are too high for a large breed dog and will not provide a controlled growth.  Maybe the representative at the store was only familiar with “puppy” formula and made her recommendation based on that, or perhaps she was unaware that large breed pups are not finished growing and developing until 2 years of age.

Give her kisses for me, she is almost a whole year old!!!

Best Regards,
Alice

 


LIMITED INGREDIENT FOOD

Hi Alice!
I just have a question regarding Haley’s dog food. We have been feeding her Solid Gold large breed puppy and she has been doing great. They recently changed the design of the bag and she threw up the next morning after her first dinner with the new bag. I called the company to see if the formula of the food changed also because it looked a little different. They said they had made some changes (adding dried eggs, kelp, and some other vitamins/minerals) which counted for less than 2%. She ate it for a full day and now threw up again. She is pretty sensitive to things too. We had to change from Fromm to Solid Gold because she had constant horrible ear infections caused by any type of yeast in the dog food. Do you have any other recommendations for her? (Large breed puppy with zero yeast in it)Thanks so much! Lots of love,
Mary

 
It can be frustrating when you find a food that works and they change it :/  That has happened to me before too!  I used to use Nutro for years until they got bought out by Mars and then completely changed the produced (cheapened the ingredients :/ ) and it made my guys sick 🙁  
What you are going to want to look for is a LID food (Limited Ingredient Diet)  Anytime you have a person or a pet with a sensitive stomach, you want simple, holistic foods.  There are some really great limited ingredient foods out there.  Since Serenity was diagnosed with cancer, we have had her on one made my American Naturals Premium- it is a sister company to FROMM.  They have a food called Sensitive Care that has been great for Serenity’s more sensitive stomach.  Since you are already a Solid Gold fan, it might be a good idea to ask them if they have any limited ingredient foods or, specifically for you, something without the yeast.  It is a good company so I am sure you should be able to find someone competent.  She is old enough now that she does not have to stay on “Large Breed Puppy” PROVIDED the food that you do put her on has the correct protein/fat ratio, and if you are worried that their levels of chondroitin and glucosamine, or omega 3’s, etc. are not sufficient, you can always supplement.  Natural Balance also has a great selection of Limited Ingredient foods and even one for large breed: http://www.naturalbalanceinc.com/product.aspx?ProductId=106&product=L.I.D.+Limited+Ingredient+Diets®+Lamb+Meal+%26+Brown+Rice+Large+Breed+Bites%26reg%3b+Dry+Dog+Formula  
Please let me know how the food search goes or if you need any more assistance.
God Bless,
Alice


DIARRHEA

Alice,

Sorry I have so many questions.
Diarrhea — he’s going to go on sulfasalazine for 5 days, but the vet wonders (because he’s had this on and off for a while) if Rex may have pancreatic insufficiency, simply because he’s still so slight at 12.5 months and 75 lbs, maybe he’s just not absorbing the nutrients like he should. We thought Rock had that before we confirmed IBD, so I know what has to be done with the pre-digestive enzymes. That is probably better than just switching food and having the same problem, right? 
Sorry I have not gotten back to you sooner.  We have been “off the grid” for lack of a better term.  We are completely gutting the inside of our home trying to get our house ready for selling.  We had all the cables, internet, etc. boxed up and in the garage so that it was out of the way while we pulled carpet, scraped vinyl, painted, etc.  I am hoping to finish sanding and staining all the wood trim work this weekend as I have already finished the hard task of stripping them (not fun if you have never tried it…)
Diarrhea.  Not fun.  I have never had a dog with IBS (knock on wood), but I always try to think horses when I hear hoofbeats rather than zebras.  It is possible that because he was undernourished for awhile that maybe he was lacking on some of the digestive enzymes?  Have you tried pre and pro biotics?  I would try adding those to his diet along with maybe a bland diet for a bit and see if you can help balance him back out.  It might be just as simple as that?  I was not sure what sulfasalazine was, so I looked it up.?  It does not take care of any conditions, only help with symptoms.  I am always cautions around sulfa drugs with Rottweilers as they do very poorly with them and can develop platelet disorders (IMT) as well as secondary immune0mediated hemolytic anemia and diabetes, to name a few.  I am not sure if you started it already, and let me be crystal clear in that I AM NOT A VET and would never presume to make any presumptions on or over vet recommendations- but if it were my dog, I would try the pre/pro biotic regime along with a bland diet first and see if you could not reset and rebalance his gut.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  If you are giving him any supplements or treats, I would also cease with those until after he gut is balanced again.  Also important to know that, even though I personally LOVE Fromm, there is no one correct food for every person just like there is no one correct food for every dog and, after you switch him to a bland diet and get his tummy back in balance, if you put him back on the FROMM and he starts to have loose stool again, I would try switch him to a limited ingredient diet- there are several companies that make them and I would be happy to help you find one you like.  
Please do keep me informed and let me know how it goes.  As for the x-rays, yes, per the contract, he should have had his preliminary x-rays done by 12 months of age, and it does not matter whether you do OFA or PENN-Hip.  I personally do not have any experience with penn-hip, although my vet swears by it.  All of mine are either OFA’d or x-rayed in Europe for FCI certification.  I am glad to know you have a good vet near you as that is important.  Let me know how that goes too, please.
If there is anything else I can help you with, please do not hesitate to ask, and sorry again for the delay.  Give him a hug for me and a tummy rub too, poor baby.
God Bless,
Alice

 

 


ADULT FOOD AT 3 MONTHS?

We recently purchased a puppy, and really wondered about why the tails are always docked, so I was searching. I wanted to compliment you on your beautiful and informative website.

Should we ever decide to get another dog we may be looking you up again. Your dogs are beautiful, and by all the pictures here your family adores them.

I was especially appreciative of the nutrition section. The person we purchased from said the vet told her to take the puppies off puppy chow at 3 months, due to lower calcium content in adult dog food. This sounded odd to me, and I was going to double check with our vet. I think I’ll be following your recommendations, as they sound much more… informed, you’ve had much practice it would seem. I have tried to do as much research as possible, having a healthy and well behaved dog is important to myself and my family.

 

Thank you so much Jennina <3  I appreciate your kind words.  Yes, we do indeed love our babies very much, but not nearly as much as they love us!
The caveat to keeping them on puppy food is to make sure it is a QUALITY food SPECIFICALLY formulated for LARGE BREED PUPPIES.  I “puppy food” that is not specifically formulated for large breed puppies, and often just for small breed puppies, will be off in a lot of nutritional needs, not just calcium- they can have too much phosphorus, not enough glucosamine and chondroitin, too much protein/fat or poor quality protein.  Some vets do recommend switching off of a “puppy formula” but that is usually because it is just a puppy formula and not a LBP (large breed puppy).  I am so glad you found my Nutrition page useful, and please feel free to use any of the other information on my website in raising your new best friend.  Rottweilers are amazing, soulful, intelligent beings and I could never imagine a moment of my life without them <3
If there is anything else I can do for you, please do not hesitate to ask.  Congratulations on your new family member! <3
Best Regards,
Alice


 


EATING TOO FAST

Alice,

No problem. I know!!! We are all super busy and while Thanksgiving is something we look forward to, it just sends us over the edge. We had a blessed one; there is a lot to be thankful for year-round.
Alright, I just forwarded your response to Herbert and talk with him in the morning. He is not only in love with Phantom, but also with his half sister Edna, also Crom’s. They just have an amazing temperament and he is really having hard time with the idea of neutering Phantom and giving up on the opportunity to continue the legacy.
I do have another VERY IMPORTANT question, not related with neutering, that I know of. He is also scheduled to have a gastropexy done tomorrowWednesday even if he is not neutered. Reason being, that he has had several choking episodes throughout the year while he eats, they have been scary as we have not had that with the other dogs. Since he is so big, it the surgery was recommended to try to avoid “bloat”? We have never own such a large pup 🙂 So, what is your experience with this and thoughts? Will having this surgery be an issue if you want to use him? If so, I need to let him know today, as soon as possible. But, I am interested to know your thoughts.
I will send you some photos soon.
Blessings,
Sorelis
(I spoke to Sorelis on the phone before sending her this email and we talked quite a bit about both how fast Phantom eats and about the gastroplexy.  For those that are not familiar with this, it is where the stomach is tacked (stitched) to the abdominal wall.  This is done preemptively in hopes of preventing bloat.  If you have had a large glass of water to drink and then tried to run and felt that “sloshing” in your belly- that is where the stomach is moving around a bit.  However, because we, as humans, are upright when moving, the stomach stays pretty much where it is supposed to be.  With dogs, because they are forward on all four limbs, the stomach is in more of a suspended state with more “wiggle room”.  In barrel chested breeds (wide, deep chest), there is a greater risk of bloat.  Bloat is where the stomach twists on itself (if you have seen Marley and Me, it is what Marley died from 🙁 )  When the stomach twists on itself, it cuts off blood supply to the twisted portion causing it to become necrotic and eventually causing sepsis.  The premises behind gastroplexy is that by stabilizing the stomach, you prevent it from being able to twist hence preventing bloat.  For more information on bloat, please see our Health page: http://guardianrottweilers.com/health/)

Here is my email response to Sorelis after we finished out phone conversation reiterating the different options I had spoken to her about on the phone to help slow down his eating.

I hope you have/had a safe flight!
Ok, for a pup that eats too fast, there are several things you can try:
1) soak the kibble in water for about 15-20 minutes before giving it to him.  This expands the kibble before he eats it so that it does not expand more in the stomach and, it gives the food more volume so that he does not feel like he has to eat as much so quickly
2) you can get a muffin pan- the mini-muffin ones are the best.  Just put a little bit of kibble in each hole and he will have to slow down to eat it.
3) Kong makes a product called “wobbler”.  It is AMAZING!!  There are several other products out there that are similar too.  It has a weighted base and you fill it with kibble.  There is a little hole in the side and as the dog tips it with his nose or foot, a few pieces of kibble come out.  So he will not only slow down eating, but get mentally stimulated too!  It is a win-win!
Hope that helps and I can’t wait to see some pics of my baby boy!!
Hugs and love!

 


BROWN BEHIND THE EARS

Hi Alice,

I really like your dogs and someday I will hopefully own one! Lol

I have a question.  Is it common for Rottweiler puppies to have some brown coloring on the top of their ears? I have seen a few lately and was curious.

Thanks,
Chris

Hello Chris, and thank you for the kind compliment!  That is usually the undercoat showing through.  The Rottweiler is a double coated breed- meaning it has the shiny guard hairs that you are used to seeing, but it also has a thick, soft undercoat.  The undercoat can get much heavier and thicker in the winter and will often show through especially behind ears and around the neck.  The undercoat can be brown/tan or it can be a grey color- so sometimes you will see the brown/tan showing through and sometimes a greyish color.  It will usually dissipate when the dog/pup blows his winter coat for the summer coat.  
 
Hope this helps!
Alice

 

 


PUP WEIGHT AND AMOUNT TO FEED

Just curious how much Gaia should be eating at this time.  She was 37lbs at her last vaccination appointment yesterday.  We’re feeding her 3 cups of FLBP.  The vet thinks she is doing great, the puppies looked a little bigger in the photo so I thought I would ask.  We’ve kind of been using the bag and her looks as guidelines.

Thanks
Rachel

Her brother, Gambit is about 48 pounds and her sister, Gigi weighed 32 pounds when we left for Germany.  Boys will always be bigger than the ladies, so it sounds like your baby is somewhere in the middle.  She should be around 40 pounds at this age, so she is literally right on point- however that having been said, I ALWAYS caution about getting caught up in the numbers.  Go by how your dog looks, not what the scale says.  Each individual puppy will grow at his/her own rate.  You also want her to stay lean while she is growing so that she does not have extra weight affecting developing joints.  If your vet thinks she looks good, the I would bet she is perfect!  I also caution about getting too concerned about how much the back of the bag says to feed.  I feed based on a dog/pups needs.  Even as adults- I have some dogs that have a high metabolism (like Dunjo) that need 6-8 cups a day depending on how hard we are training; I have others that would quickly get overweight (like Blondie) if fed more than about 4 cups a day.  As Gaia grows, she will have different nutritional needs- some weeks she will eat like she has never had food before; other weeks she may not need as much.  Usually she will eat what she needs in about 15-20 minutes and you can remove her food after that until the next feeding.  But the best way is to watch her.  If she starts to look like a keg with legs, cut her back; if she starts to look riby, give her more.

Hope that helps!  Give her loads of love from all of us!! <3
Alice

 


SIZE/ WEIGHT

Hi Alice, 

Thank you for sharing all your knowledge with me. greatly appreciated. 
 
I was looking at your website last night. You must be exhausted!  Congratulations to you and your Rott’s on your awards.
 
I like everything you have to say about the breed and especially not  docking the tails. I have been doing a lot of research on this and don’t know  why we still do it in the USA. I’m hoping it changes soon. My kids and I   actually like the Rott’s look with the tail. I also agree that the female has as  much to do as the male for the offspring’s pedigree.
 
As I told you in my previous email I have been doing research now for  about 4 weeks and have found only 3 breeders I would get a pup from including  yours.
 
I would definitely want the most beautiful pup.We’re not sure about showing  or breeding but in case we decide to go that route I want to be sure he is the  best of the best. Beside I’m of the opinion if you want the best try to get the  best. I might be interested in a pup from a Europe if that will be the best  option for the best dog. This is something we can discuss.
 
From my research and talking with other breeders about what I’m  looking for. I’m finding for a good German Rott pup the male Male  should be around 66 – 68 cm 125lbs. +, and the Female around 62 – 64  cm 115lbs. + .
 
I have seen some breeders who have gone crazy and are producing Rott’s that  weigh 160, 180lbs. They don’t look like Rottweilers anymore! terrible!
 
I have to decide soon about reserving a pup because with the gestation  period and getting the pup at 8 weeks old if we were to agree now we are talking  about the beginning of next year already. I guess we need to talk soon and  decide if I would like to proceed with the process of getting a pup.  Then if we decide to proceed I would definitely come to Rottieopolis.
 
Regards,
Ken
Hello again Ken!
I am so pleased that you are taking the time to do the correct research, and I hope that you will find a lot of useful information and links on my website.  The only correction I would make to you is the size.  I am not sure where you got your information, but you numbers are quite off.  Here in the US, we unfortunately think size = beauty 🙁  We are obsessed with having the largest, super sized of everything- biggest SUV, double big mac, etc.  The Rottweiler, per ADRK German standard, FCI standard and even AKC standard is a “medium sized robust dog…”  The Rottweiler is not meant to be extra large and by over sizing him here in the US we are RUINING him 🙁  Did you know the average lifespan of an “America Rott” is 5-8 years and the average lifespan of a German Rott is 10-12 years, with 14 not out of the question???  All large breed dogs struggle with 2 main issues resulting from both their size and accelerated growth- bone/joint issues- mainly hip and elbow dysplasia and heart problems- SAS, heart murmurs, etc.  The more we oversize him the greater the predisposition towards these detrimental genetic issues.  Per FCI recognized ADRK German standard, the male should be 50 kg (about 110 lbs.) with an average range of 100-120 lbs. and the bitch should be about 40 kg (about 90 lbs.) with an average range of 80-100 lbs.  A 100 lb. bitch is considered very large.  An exceedingly large dog would be disqualified from show and if he/she could not compete in show and obtain a title, he/she could not qualify to be bred.  A breed suitability test would weigh and measure the dog (as well as check eye color, mouth pigment, bite, skull to muzzle ratio, angulation, tail placement, etc.).  The reason they are so strict on maintaining correct size is not just about the dog’s health and longevity and it is not just about the dog’s beauty (although a large, awkwardly built dog is certainly not a beautiful compact, powerfully built Rottweiler!) it is also about performance.  A dog that is too large and heavy could never have the stamina to perform the work required of a Rottweiler.  A mastiff, although a massive dog, will walk to the end of the driveway to check the mail and be done working for the day!!  He could NEVER run for hours herding, perform search & rescue work, or have the strength and stamina for protection/schutzhund work.  The Rottweiler is a working dog, and by staying compact he remains the most powerful domesticated dog.  I meant to say something to you in your previous e-mail when you suggested that the German Rottweiler was larger than American Rottweilers when typically the opposite is true.  The German Rottweiler will have heavier bone and a stronger head and be more powerfully built, but will be compact and not overly tall or awkwardly put together and will not have nearly the rate of health issues our Rottweilers have.  Did you know that according to OFA (the organization we use to certify our dogs hips and elbows free of hip and elbow dysplasia) only 7% of x-rays submitted will rate “excellent” 🙁  This should be unacceptable!!  In Germany, a stud could produce hundreds of pups and perhaps only 1 or 2 will end up with hip dysplasia!  Of course hip dysplasia is not strictly hereditary with a great deal of environmental and nutritional influence; however, it is impossible to negate the overwhelming discrepancy between “German Engineering” vs. cheaply mass produced American bloodlines where there is no thought or concern to correct size, health clearances, temperament testing, etc. and where conversely, ill tempermented dogs that are excessively aggressive or under temperamened dogs that are skiddish and even more dangerous are purposefully bred to produce a more vicious dog for fighting or guarding and/or over sized dogs are specifically bred (and often with mastiff and great dane mixed in to produce more size) because “bigger is better”.

Here are some pages with links that you will hopefully find useful.  The first is not yet finished, however, it has some great links and info in plain English on correct conformation.  The second is a brief and candid summary of the difference between AKC and ADRK.  The third is a concise history of the Rottweiler with some size examples.
http://www.guardianrottweilers.com/the-rottweiler/conformation/

http://www.guardianrottweilers.com/the-rottweiler/german-v-american/
http://www.guardianrottweilers.com/the-rottweiler/
 
If you are looking for an oversized black and brown dog, then unfortunately, I will not be able to accommodate you.  However, if you are looking for a powerfully built, compact, stocky, robust working Rottweiler, then it would be my pleasure to help you out.  I am sure you will talk to a great deal of breeders who say what you want to hear and will happily tell you their dogs are this size or that regardless of how much they truly weigh.  My dogs and my titles speak for themselves which leaves me free to say it like it is 😉  Our kennel is Internationally recognized and respected; our dogs have been on Animal Planet, local and international TV shows, and featured in the highly respected Total Rottweiler Magazine published in just about every country where you will find a Rottweiler.  Some find my candid nature abrasive.  Where as that is not my direct intension, I do shoot straight from the hip, good or bad as this breed deserves nothing less. 
If there is anything else I can help you with, please do not hesitate.
God Bless,
Alice

TOO LEAN

We love our Max! Can’t believe he is a year old! He is perfect!  
My only concern is he is really skinny- do you still do a mix of raw and kibbles? Please recommend a good kibble- currently using Fromm Large breed puppy. Need one to help him gain.
Cheryle

Ps he has been checked for parasites, no loose stool, very active and not a big eater.

LOVELY to hear from you and my little Max! <3  For food recommendations, I absolutely LOVE Fromm and still have all my pups on it.  We do still offer raw treats occasionally and our dogs LOVE them!  Glad you already checked his stool as that would have been one of my first recommendations.  It is estimated that 90% or more of all dogs carry parasites unbeknownst to their owners!  It is just the nature of these 4 legged furkids!  They love to get into garbage, they smell (and eat!) poo, they drink from puddles and streams, they put everything they find outside in their mouths and lick their bums 😉  Whenever I see loose stool or unexpected weight loss, I always run a stool sample to the vet as well.  How does your vet feel about his weight?  If he is underweight and just not a big fan of the Fromm, you can try another food for him.  Please see my Nutrition page (http://guardianrottweilers.com/the-rottweiler/nutrition/) for guidelines on choosing another food.  If he is healthy, and just lean, that is not necessarily a bad thing.  While he is growing, you want him to stay lean.  His first 12 months are mostly bone grown and they are often long and lanky during this time.   For those pups that have the tendency to get heavier, we actually try to keep them lean as it gives the joints less stress while they try to catch up (soft tissue always grows slower than bone).  He will be in his prime at 3 years old, so you still have 2 years for him to fill out 😉  A lot of Rottie owners get obsessed with numbers- they have expectations in mind for their dog.  But much like humans, every body’s body is different.  I have some that are built like bulls, some that are short and stocky, and some that have a more lean, athletic build.  His pedigree would suggest that he would fall into the wide and stocky frame at full growth, but that does not mean that his individual genetics do not point him towards the lean, athletic build instead.  My best advice is to watch him this year and see if he starts to fill out more.  If he is not at thick as you like by the time he is 2 years old, then you can give him a diet higher in protein as well as work his muscles more (pulling, swimming, etc.).  You do not want to increase his protein while he is still growing (Rotties are considered puppies both mentally and physically until 2 years of age) nor do you want to do too much weight pulling or too heavy exercise.  Crom’s bloodlines tend to grow slower as well which is why he has such great health results!    
Please give Max some lovin’ from us and please let me know if there is anything else that you need help with.Loads of love,

Alice


NOT FEEDING ENOUGH?

Okay. Apologies for the long response. 

In one respect, I misspoke. I had always given Rex more than what Fromm recommended, but when that didn’t help him gain I eventually switched to Nutrisca–like a month or two ago. I think the protein:fat percentage ratio in Fromm is 26/16 and Nutrisca is 32/18. Everything else nutrition wise is almost the same, including calories, and they both are grain free with very no “useless” ingredients. Rex was getting 4 cups of Nutrisca a day, which is the adult recommendation for a dog his weight, and was still skinny. I spoke with someone at the company who said puppies should get 25% more. Rex is getting 50% more and is finally not looking bony but still is  small. The vet hasn’t said anything to me about his weight, which was 55.2 last week, other than he is growing up faster than he is growing out. We haven’t discussed pro or prebiotic but I used to give my last a packet of Fortiflora daily because of his IBD. If you think that would help him absorb his food, or if you like a different product and tell me what it is, I will do it. I just think 6 cups of food per day sounds like a lot, and I really don’t know if 32% protein, in and of itself, is too high. There is no way I can just let Rex eat for 15-20 mins because he will eat the whole bag! He inhales his food in 3 mins flat and has done so since his arrival last August so I don’t know if you recall specifically from litter to litter but he has always sucked it down. I have even tried various toys etc to slow his eating. He has always had a raised dish–at least I don’t think he will get bloat.

So I come to you Alice out of concern with an open heart and mind because you have particular knowledge and because you have specifically dealt with this issue. I believe that on this issue you would know better than the vet. 

Take care and much love to all.

Best always, 
Karen 

 *NOTE* Once the puppies ween, they are on “free feed” here, so there is always food in the bowl.  One of the benefits of free feeding is that it encourages young puppies to not inhale their food nor be aggressive/resource guarding as the food will always be there.  An added benefit is that I can say with 110% confidence that I have never had a puppy eat a whole bag or eat more than they need.  Puppies are very much like babies in that eat when they are hungry and stop eating when they are full.  With the rare exception, it is not normal for a puppy to overeat.  The negative to free feeding being that, because we ‘free feed’ I cannot tell customers exactly how much the individual puppy was eating before leaving, so our advice has always been what my vet instructed me years ago- feed an 8 week+ puppy 3x a day (try to do it at consistent times for ease in potty training) and let them have as much as they can eat in 15-20 minutes.  That can decrease to 2x a day once the puppy is about 6 months old.  Once they walk away, unless it is momentary distraction, they are done.  Do not EVER let the back of a bag of food dictate how much to feed a puppy/youth/adult.  Let the body condition of the dog dictate how much they need.  If they are underweight, increase the amount you are feeding; if they are overweight, decrease.  On a growing puppy, it is always better to err on the side of lean than obese as excess weight on growing joints could be devastating.  
This was my email response to Karen:
The best advice I can tell you right now is that a growing puppy will eat 2-3x what an adult will eat.  Their metabolism just burns so fast while they are trying to grow.  Pre and probiotics are never a bad idea as they cannot harm and will only benefit.  He might not necessarily need them, but they certainly could not hurt and may very well help him.  Kinda like us eating yogurt- even if our digestive system is doing well, it never hurts to add a bit more balance.  As a puppy, no one in his litter stood out as an aggressive or fast eater- I went back and read the records on his litter.  It could be that he eats so fast because he is hungry.  Here is another great tip: take his food and soak it in water- about 15-20 minutes.  This will not only aid in digestion, but also make the swollen food take up more room in his belly if he does feel too hungry.  As long as he does not way over eat, you might try letting him eat as much soaked kibble as he can for a few days and see how he does.  Not only might that help him fill out, but it might also hep him feel full so that he does not wolf down his food at every meal.  As a puppy, it would have been very, very hard for him to have eaten too much in 15-20 minutes, so, if you would have followed the instructions on the pamphlets I sent with him 😉 and allowed him that, it might have given you a better sense of just how much he needed.  But he is still a growing puppy, so it is not too late to make sure that is not all he needs.  At his age, I would probably be feeding 4 cups 2x a day unless he did not need that much.  But I honestly NEVER measure how much I feed- even in the kennel.  I go down the line and those that are a bit ribby get more, those that are heavier get less.  A breeding male, for instance, may need more as will maybe female in heat; or maybe there are females in heat that are pre-occupying the male and he is not hardly interested in his food at all.  Same with the pups/youth we raise.  I have never, in 13 years, measured food.  I feed what the dog needs.  Too many dog food companies either put way less than what the dog needs so that they can say there are “x” amount of servings in the bag, making it seem more worth the price tag, or they simply fail to account for the fact that 1) this is a WORKING breed of dog and 2) that a growing puppy eats much the same way a growing teenager does!  I have 2 teenagers now and they have teenage friends and if I told you some of the QUANTITIES of food they could put down your jaw would drop off!!
Please do keep me updated on how it goes and if you still need me, I will try very hard to steel away a few minutes sometime this week. You can always reach me on my cell phone too as I have it with me even here in Muncie. 
God Bless,
Alice
PS- 32% protein is too high for a growing puppy.  26% or below is optimal.  It is better to eat more calories than food that is too rich.  When protein or fat levels are too high, it can have a negative impact on growing/developing bones and joints.  Please see my NUTRITION page for more info on the effects of protein and fat levels in dog food.


OVERWEIGHT

Dear GR Staff,

I just want to thank you for posting the conformation information on your website. I have owned 4 rotties in my lifetime (2 rescues and 2 siblings) and have a tendency to put too much weight on them. I had to put my brother and sister pair (they Were 13 Years old) to sleep within 3 weeks of one another which just about did me in. I rescued a 4 year old a few months ago and have overfed him apparently. I thought the vet tech was crazy when she told me he was overweight, but reading the recommended ideal weight from a legit organization, makes me realize I need to put him on a diet (ironically, I’ve lost 16 pounds from all the exercise).

Again, thank you for posting the information on the rottweiler breed. I stumbled upon the breed with my first rescue, but absolutely love them:) Best companions I’ve ever had:)

Most Sincerely,
Chris
Overland Park, Kansas

 
Awe! <3  Thank you so much Chris for taking the time to send such a thoughtful email!  It is sincerely appreciated!  I too have lost some precious souls over Rainbow Bridge and yes, it felt like my heart had literally been ripped from chest.  I can promise you that the ones you recently lost have some of the best dogs in the whole world up there to play with.  My Crom especially will take super good care of them until you are once again reunited.  He is a natural leader and quite devoted to his pack, so I am sure he has already give them the tour and showed them were all the best toys are <3
 
Best of luck with your newest rescue and God Bless you for rescuing! <3  Please feel free to use any of the other resources on my website.  There are over 300 pages on here with everything from common toxins to training tips to health and nutrition.
 
Have an absolutely FABULOUS day!
Alice

 


FOOD RECOMMENDATIONS

Alice,

Any knowledge of Barclay Farms?  I was looking into natural foods for Rottweilers and saw their website.  Do they know what they are talking about as far an diets go?
Jerry

I had not heard of them but checked them out when I got your e-mail.  I did not look into their dogs, bloodlines or breeding program, just skimmed the 2 pages on what they feed.  (http://www.Rottweilercentral.com/Rottweilerdietcontinued.html) I am assuming that is the one that you read along with the page on raw feeding?  They had/have the same delima as ALL of us do!  It is so stressful knowing what is the correct food.  I do agree with a lot of what they say, but not the dry foods they settled on.  Diamond (also the manufacturer of TOTW- Taste of the Wild) has long been know as one of the bottom of the barrel dog food producers 🙁  I have heard in the last few years that they have tried a major overhaul leading to the release of their new line including Taste of the Wild- but even that has been riddled with recalls and dead dogs 🙁  I am still too nervous of their previous reputation to try it until it is proven.  I also do not like Nutro Max.  Nutro used to be a super brand of food with quality ingredients- UNTIL it was bought out by MARS.  The first thing they did was change and cheapen the ingredients and then raise the price nearly $10/bag.  As I said, I do, however agree with much of what they put concerning the poor quality of ingredients in most commercial feeds as well as calcium levels (although phosphorus levels are also extremely important in growing puppies).  Please see my nutrition page for more info: http://guardianRottweilers.com/the-Rottweiler/nutrition/

Loads of love to you and miss Belle!  Sorry I took so long to respond, but I wanted to wait until I had sufficient time to respond thoroughly and research the website you requested.

Best Regards,
Alice

 


HARNESS, CHICKEN GRINDER and FENCE AGGRESSION:
Alice,
 
Jake is ‘big’!  The boy can eat like no other dog I have ever had.  He comes running when I whistle for him in the field.  Looks like a truck coming at me.  He continues to be patient with Belle and her aggressiveness with her biting his neck, but he has become very protective of any food he has.  He will not let her take any from him, though he does not have any problem with me taking something from him.  I knew he would be good sized, but even I am amazed at how powerful he has become.

A couple of things I need your advice with:

1.  I want to get Jake a harness.  He is so strong and I want to give him a good work out, I thought I would get him a harness and see if I can get him pulling some weight out in the field.  I still have the child’s cart I added poles to for taking kids for rides.  I promise I will send a picture of it later today.  Can you recommend a good, comfortable harness, and where to get it?

2.  I have thought of grinding up chicken parts that has had the skin removed to supplement their diet.  I would need a grinder that would not cost a lot , but would do a good job.  What is your advice on this idea, and if it is a good idea, any thoughts on a decent grinder  

As Jake has gotten healthier and stronger, he has now shown an aggressive side towards other dogs.  Belle started getting even more aggressive.  The little boy, Noah, that Belle just loves, now has a female lab mix, Coco.  When Coco comes down the field with Noah and his Mom Belle starts foaming at the mouth and runs along the back fence growling and barking as Coco sprints back and forth.  Coco is not quite a year old and a very sweet dog.  Yesterday I finally got down on my knees and tackled Belle as she came charging down the fence line.  She was so focused on Coco she would not listen to me.  I put her on her side and held both front paws in my hand to keep her on the ground.  I kept telling her ‘that’s a baby’, but she was determined to get Coco.  I kept her laying there for several minutes, until she started to calm done.  I just used a stern voice with Jake and he settled down.

There is a man that walks two large dogs down our sidewalk about the same time everyday.  Howard has told me both Belle and Jake start barking outside when they first notice the dogs, and then they charge into the living room and jump on the couch to see the dogs continue down the sidewalk.  A few times the man has stopped and watched Jake and Belle through the window as they act like they want to attack his dogs.  I need this to stop.  Any advice?
Best wishes to all – Especially, precious Serenity
Jerry, Jake and Belle
 
Hello Jerry!
I am glad to here Jake is doing so well.  It makes my heart so happy when a dog like Jake that was thrown away and neglected by his first family gets a chance at a REAL family that will love and cherish him.  I am positive that he could not have found a better home than he did with you guys! 
 
Ok, harness.  Pulling is a fantastic muscle building exercise on a dog that is done growing like Jake.  And you are definitely going about it the correct way!  Having a good harness is essential on weight distribution and of course remember to start with just the harness first to allow him time to get accustomed to it and then the empty cart to allow him time to get comfortable with that also before adding increasing weight.  There are tons of great websites out there for dog carting and pulling.  I went ahead a googled some for you and checked them out first to be sure I was pointing you in the right direction.
http://www.ikonoutfitters.com/harnesses.htm– this one has some fantastic harnesses
http://workingbigdogs.com/?id=23 – This one had some great ideas for do-it-yourselfers
http://www.k9carting.com/carts.html -This one is very similar to the cart we bought nearly a decade ago and it is till well used!
 
Next, chicken grinding.  I have made the raw journey a few times, and because of the general poor quality and lack of trust in most commercial dog food companies, find myself drawn to it over and over.  The problem is that, unlike most RAW website will tell you is that it is much more difficult for dogs to get sick on raw food then us, HOWEVER, it is still possible.  And when chicken is handled or processed improperly for and by grocery stores, it can definitely not be good for the dogs.  I do still love all the qualities of RAW feeding and I love that you KNOW and not just GUESS what is in the dog food, but just be cautious. Please see my page on our RAW journey: http://guardianRottweilers.com/the-Rottweiler/nutrition/raw-journey/
 
Last, fence aggression.  This is a common issue in dogs of ALL BREEDS.  It starts out as a benign instinct to follow, chase or bark at the object moving swiftly on the other side of the fence.  The more they chase and bark at the objects and are successful at making them go away or stay away, the more powerful and confident they feel.  Although this is almost always a habit and not actual aggression, it can still be quite intimidating.  As owners of Rottweiler, we have an enormous responsibility to make sure that not only are we in control of our dogs, but that we also try to dissuade them from behavior that will shed a negative light on this breed- there are already enough idiots out there that have made it their mission to ruin the reputation of this incredible breed, so I am always cognizant of how my dogs are perceived.  When a chihuahua charges you on the sidewalk, or a poodle runs up and down the fence barking, everyone is ok with that.  But if it is a Rottweiler, everyone (to my great frustration!) assumes “another mean man eating Rottweiler.” 🙁  Certainly is not fair, but it is nonetheless our responsibility to try and chance that notion.  Now, let me be clear- you cannot fix stupid- and some people are always going to have their presumptive prejudicial ideas about the breed and no matter how amazing our dogs are, there will be no changing their minds.  However, there are many others who have an open mind and are willing to let us show them the REAL ROTTWEILER.  
Ok, enough soapbox and back to the question at hand 😉  The fact that you now have 2 is unfortunately contributing.  They are getting not only confidence from each other but encouragement as well- he is doing it so I can; she is doing it so I can go even harder.  There is no shortcut to fixing this.  You need to, from now on until the situation is resolved, try to be outside with them EVERY TIME they go out to play and DO NOT LET THEM GET AWAY with it even once.  If they do not know the “leave it” command, now it a great time to learn.  Start inside with no distractions and use a yummy treat or a favorite toy, place it in front of them, and then tell them to “leave it.”  Once they have complied, even if only momentarily, praise them and offer a treat (cooked chicken, etc.).  Gradually start making the “leave it” last longer and longer to get their treat.  Have them sit and look at you and focus on you as they leave it.  After you feel that this is pretty well mastered, add distractions- kids, outside in the yard, cars, etc.  Now that they are getting the hang of leave it, it is time to go for a walk.  I would do one at a time for now unless you have a helper to walk the other dog because you do not want them to feed each other that energy.  As you are out on your walk, for every distraction you see- kids, an adult, another dog, a bicycle, etc. put them into their sit, have them look at you and “leave it.”  Make them leave it until it has passed.  Now, start practicing this same technique in your yard- this will be the hardest because this is THEIR territory and they feel very protective of this.  EVERY THING that passes regardless of whether it gets them going or not, tell them to sit and leave it until it has passed.  If you have some friends or neighbors that are willing to help, that is fantastic!!  You can have them practice going back and forth past the fence, walking their dogs, etc.  Each time, Belle and Jake must leave it and FOCUS ON YOU until it has passed.  By allowing them to still watch, they are STILL going to fixate and fixation is ALWAYS the precursor to action.  Be patient.  That have had plenty of time to “teach themselves” this behavior, so it will take time for them to “unlearn” it.  Be patient and have realistic expectation, but STAY WITH IT.  Every time you lapse and let them get away with an unwanted behavior, you are TEACHING them that it is acceptable.  With Belle, after she was attacked and bit in the face by the other dog (sorry I do not remember the name) she undoubtedly decided that dogs outside her pack were not safe, and her reaction fed Jake who in turn fed her until they both escalated to the point they are now at.  Although you can successfully retrain them to not react the way they currently do with passing dogs as long as you stay with it, it is unfortunately possible that Belle may never trust another dog outside of her pack and if Jake picks up on her body language and her “opinion” of them, he may not either, so just be aware of that.  
 
As always, firm, consistent, fair, and calm.  I am sure they will do great and look forward to follow up from you regarding this issue.  Serenity had a major problem with other dogs after Tahlia was bit in the face by a daschund.  We taught Serenity the “leave it” technique because where we lived at the time, there was little back yard so the dogs needed loads of long walks and there were many other dogs in the neighborhood.  Miss Serenity got so good at the leave it, we would often be walking when she would stop, sit facing us and just stare at us- sure enough, there would be someone walking another dog in the vicinity!  Even when an idiot would allow their dog to walk right up to her and get in her face, she would remain focused on me and completely ignore the other dog.
 
Loads of love to you, Uncle Howard and the fur babies.

Alice

 


DRY SKIN

Hello Alice,

Hope you guys are doing well! I remember you telling me about rotties and dry skin. Atlas is starting to have an issue with it. What would you recommend as a treatment?
Thanks!

 

So wonderful to hear from you Perry! <3
Yes, because of their short, black coat, dry skin quickly becomes apparent in this breed.  First, consider what food you are using and make sure there are no food allergies and that the food has a good amount of fatty acids/omega 3’s.  Next look at your grooming practices and make sure you are not grooming him more than 1-2 times a month and only with a mild oatmeal dog shampoo (not people shampoo- it will strip their skin of oil).  Also consider adding a conditioner after grooming.  If you think that you are not over-grooming and that the food is good, then he maybe just be requiring extra oil in his diet right now while he is growing.  You can add coconut oil (SUUUPER for skin, coat and digestion- maybe a tablespoon/day) egg yolk (not the egg white until he is over a year old UNLESS you cook it, then he can have the whole egg, but raw, just egg yolk), salmon oil is also great to add as is kelp.
Hope some of that helps, if not let me know <3
Please give him hugs and love for me <3
Alice

 


CRATE TRAINING AND POTTY TRAINING
HI Alice

We need some guidance with potty training! and when/ how to use the crate (which he doesn’t like). And a few minutes ago he showed some aggression, growled at me when I told him to stop biting at / tugging on my robe, then snapped at me (and this was not in a playful way…). Then put him in his crate where he is now whining and howling.

Hi Leila,

You should have received pamphlets in your puppy-pack about these issues, and there are a few pages on my website also, but here is the skinny:

Crate training.  
He will cry almost every time he is put in the crate for about the first week or 2 until he gets used to it.  There is unfortunately no short-cut to this.  Once he does get used to it, it will be fine and eventually he will prefer it and find comfort in it.  You can try giving him treats when he goes into the crate to help with the transaction.  But he has gone from complete freedom with a whole litter of pups, mom and plenty if kids to play with to now sleeping solo.

Potty training.
There are a few things to keep in mind:
1.)  A puppy should only be expected to hold it for about one hour per month of life.
2.)  The size of the crate is very important- the puppy should have enough room to turn around, but not much more.  If he can pee in one corner and sleep in the other, then it completely defeats the purpose of crate training.
3.)  A puppy will need to go potty:
          -as soon as he wakes up
          -as soon as he eats or drinks
          -right after he plays
          -right before he goes into the crate
          -first thing when he comes out of the crate
4.)  If you are not watching him, then he needs to be in the crate.

Keep in mind, he has NEVER been forced to hold it before and he is only 9 weeks old.  He has only been able to go potty by himself for about 6 weeks, so do not expect him potty trained over night.  If you stay consistent and patient, he will pick it up.

now to the important stuff.
He does not effectively see you as his pack leader yet for what ever reason, and sees you as a sibling.  So just like a 2 year old child, when you take away his toy he will be mad and if you hit him he will hit back.  Understanding that this is normal behavior for a 2 year old and a 9 week old puppy does NOT mean that it is to be accepted.  Just as you would not let a 2 year old smack you without consequences, you cannot allow this in you puppy either.  There are a few approaches to this and you can see what works best for you and your puppy.  One method is to grab the muzzle and firmly and decisively tell him no.  The method we use most in our house with our pups, youths and adults is to flick the pups on the nose (or for my kids who do not know how to do that with their fingers  they just smack the pups, but only on the nose).  The key to making this work is that as soon as they comply and stop nipping or growling or whatever they are doing wrong, you must praise them and use the same hand that popped them to pet them.  This way they do not become hand shy and realize that the same hand that corrects them also gives affection.  Just like a mom or other adult in the pack will nip them when they misbehave, but use that same mouth to lick them affectionately.  This way you are seen as a just leader and not a bully.  You must also remember to give praise when praise is due and emphasize the good not just the negative.
Rottweilers, especially the good ones can be strong minded dogs so you must make your position as pack leader clear now or you will continue to get challenged and in 6 months to a year, it will be much more difficult.  If you are finding it difficult to be the pack leader, you may also want to look into puppy training courses.  Look for a trainer that has specific working dog experience.  Until you are able to do your job correctly, your puppy will not be able to do hid.

So, to sum things up, remember that he is a puppy and set realistic expectations, but at the same time, you MUST set rules and regulations and enforce them.  Just like a good mom, you cannot always just be the friend, you must be the parent first.

Hope this helps!  Please let me know if there is anything else I can help you with.

Alice

 


GOING POTTY IN THE CRATE

Hello Alice. I hope all is well at Guardian Rottweilers.  Ms Presley is adapting really well. The only concern is her going to the bathroom in her cage. She can make it thru the night as we usually put her in it at 10-1030 and I get up with her at 0430-0500. It’s during the work day that she isn’t holding it and going in her crate. She will usually get put back in around 0800 and not get out til 1530 when I get home from work but she is and has done both, pee and poop in her cage. Is this normal?  I am feeding her at 0430-0500 and again at 1800-1900. I take her water up around 2100 for the night.

Part of the problem is that she is not accustomed to holding it all night and then holding it again all day.  She may also not be getting enough time to completely eliminate her bladder and digestive tract before going into the crate and trying to hold it all day.  She is still just a baby Mike, and that is a lot to ask of her.  That is literally asking her body to hold it a total of 6-ish hours over night and then again for 7.5 hours during the day.  That is over half the day that you are asking a 4 month old puppy to hold it.  The rule of thumb is 1 hour per month of life, so holding it for 6+ hours at night is already a big deal for her and that additional 1.5+ hours on top of the 6 she has gotten used to during the day might just be too much for her.  Do you have anyone that can come let her out about half way through during the day?  If not, you might need to consider getting her a smaller place, like a bathroom, where she can be confined but still have puppy pads to go potty on.  Because if you continue to ask her to hold it for more than she is physically capable of there are 2 possible outcomes- either she could get a UTI from holding it too long and/or she could see it as an impossibility to hold it as long as you are asking and just give up and go whenever and where ever she is.

Please let me know what you decide to do and how it works for you.  Give them both a hug from me and have a nice evening.

Alice

 


WON’T POTTY OUTSIDE

Hi Alice-
She is so adorable and fits in just well. We are however having trouble with her when it comes to going potty. We will spend 20-25 minutes outside with her and she wont go but as soon as we come inside she poops and pees in the house. Every time she does go outside she is rewarded and praised but it doesn’t seem to work. She gets taken out shortly after she eats but for whatever reason would rather pee or poop in the house. I know she is going to have accidents in the house but it shouldn’t happen after i just had her outside for a half hour. I was wondering if you might know why she is doing this or if you could give me a couple tips to help her do her business outside instead of inside?

Thanks,

Janelle

She has not learned that “outside” is the place to go potty because the weather did not permit us to have them out often and she learned to go inside on the potty pads.  Please go the the Q & A section of my website for TONS of potty tips:  http://guardianRottweilers.com/spoiled-rotten/q-a/

Every time you let her go potty in the house you are confirming that this is ok and that this is where she is SUPPOSED to go potty.  During the first few days there, she should NOT BE EVER unattended in the house so that she can NOT have an accident!  You need to catch her EACH AND EVERY time BEFORE she goes or IN THE MIDDLE.  Because you have not done this thus far, now you have to UNTRAIN her as well as train her to go outside.  Take a leash and clip it to your belt if you cannot watch her or put her in a crate- PERIOD.  Do NOT allow her to have accidents in the house while she is training or you are shooting yourself in the foot.  The fact that she is going outside and holding it until she comes in means you have trained her to go potty INSIDE and she is therefore holding it so that she can do the right thing.  You also MUST be sure to clean each and every accident with ENZYME CLEANER specifically designed for potty accidents or she will smell the accident and believe that it is ok to go potty there again (it is the same as seeing a “RESTROOM” sign for her).

I can assure you that she wants to please you.  She is only going inside because she believe this is what is expected.  Puppies will not ever purposefully try to irritate as some people believe 😉  But if you a chair in a room and every time your kids sat on it, no one ever told them no, then they would believe it was ok and permitted.  And concurrently, if you only caught them every now and then and scolded them in a foreign language (because rottie puppies do not speak English) then again, they would have no idea why you were upset and at best might believe that they are only allowed to sit on the chair sometimes and still not know how to determine when it was ok to sit and when they should refrain.  However, if they were never, ever permitted to sit in that chair, and every single time they even started to sit there they were caught and taken to an appropriate place to sit, it would not take them very long at all to figure out what you wanted- EVEN if you never spoke in the same language they spoke.

Do give her some love and snuggles for us and please let me know if you have any more issues after you have tried the suggestions!
Alice

 


REFUSING TO POTTY OUTSIDE
Good Morning Alice,

Hope this morning finds your well!  Was just wondering if you had any information back on Jasper yet?
Little Kiko / Knight is getting along well, No cough for the last couple of days but this morning he did cough once upon getting up out of his kennel and  one more when I took him out to go potty!  He is still getting all of his meds an I will continue until gone.
Potty training isn’t going real great he seems to not want to go when I put him outside but rather go when I bring him back  inside. It is like 50 percent, so I would say half way there. For some reason last  night twice  he didn’t want to go out in the yard and kept running back up to the door up to the house and would just sit on the step to the door to come in…..it was so very cold I didn’t push it more then 5 min and just brought him back in. He seems to be a little scared of the wind and all unfamiliar noises and of course the dog that lives behind me that comes up to the fence if he is out at the same time that barks. He is not curious enough to go check him out and greet him he just stays close to the house or runs to the doorstep to go back inside. 
Aubrey wants to bring her  4 / 5  month old pup over to play with him and he is current on all shots.  Do you think that it is ok if her pup comes over to play since her vet said it is ok now that he has all of his shot except his 1 year?
Got all of today off so I am going to get some stuff done and catch up here and work on puppy manners LOL.
Look forward to hearing from you.
Much Love,

Tracy

No, not heard anything back yet.  But it can take time- I wish I could remember exactly how long it took in the past- I just remember being quite anxious for it to get back..
You cannot placate him when he is apprehensive, it will teach him that that mindset is ok.  You need to encourage him.  I know it is not the ideal time of year when it is this cold out- I am in the same boat with my Isis girls.  Because they stayed sheltered so long with mom and could not go outside because of weather and, now that they are going outside, they are unsure of everything.  I even have to carry them outside as they will not willing step outside the door themselves.  Even the chickens intimidate them (the irony! chicken of a chicken! lol).  So, despite the fact that I loathe winter, I am making sure I am spending as much as half an hour outside with them every time I take them potty.  I take them up to interact with the chickens.  I walk around the yard with them, etc.  Jasper was very much like Ocho- so confident that even despite his setbacks, he did not let it effect him.  But my Isis babies and Knight are much more gentle natured.  Something that will be such an asset later is a bit of a hinderance at the moment.  Is he comfortable walking on a leash?  If not, get a cheap leash- from walmart or something, and let him drag it around so that he gets comfortable walking around with it- we call this a drag line.  Some puppies take to the leash right away, and some are a bit put off by what they perceive as a correction around their neck and are not sure exactly what you want of them.  If he is already comfortable with a leash, then start using it to walk him around the yard as well as the neighborhood.  You need to expose him to as much as possible right now and be calm but assertive.  Do not “oh poor baby” him, just be matter of fact about it- he gets nearly 100% of his social cues at this age from you.  If you are nervous, he will be, if you are frustrated, he will feel that and if you are impatient, he will feel that too.  Do not make coming back in before he goes potty an option.  Because you are letting him back in, you are teaching him that all he has to do is hold out.  Like the child that refuses to eat their vegetables and only wants desert.  If you give in after a brief encounter, you teach them that all they have to do is whine and pout long enough and they will get what they want. You might have to walk around with him for an hour at first- then so be it.  Eventually, he will learn that if he really does want back in, the only way and of course fastest way is to go potty.  When you take him out to go potty, walk around with him, but do not interact with him.  You need to completely ignore him so that he learns that he is out “on business”.  Once he goes potty, then you can immediately scoop him up and praise him and spend some time playing and cuddling.  Right now, you are teaching him that all he has to do is sit by the door and pout and look pitiful then he can come in and go potty at his convenience.  (he is training you well lol) I would also suggest using the drag line (cheap leash) to keep him with you in the house so that you can catch him BEFORE he goes potty.  You have to catch him before or DURING going potty in the house so that you can IMMEDIATELY clap or “AH AH!” and take him outside to finish.  Do not expect him to finish immediately when he gets outside either- when they are stopped “mid-stream” sometimes it takes a bit to get going again.  But every time you let him “get away” with going potty in side the house (meaning every single time he has an accident and you do not catch him either BEFORE or DURING0 even if it is immediately after) then you are teaching him that it is acceptable.  It is a HUGE commitment of time and energy to potty train in the beginning.  But if you stay on top of it in the first few weeks, then life will be so much easier down the road.  The people who put 100% effort potty train in no time; where as those that put in minimal effort get minimal return.  Potty training is the one thing that there are no short cuts to.  
Let me know if you need anything else and as always, give my little Knight in fuzzy armor all my love <3

Alice

PS- Forgot to answer your question on playing with the other puppy!  Since he is current on his shots and health, then it would be great for Kiko.  It will give him an opportunity to play and socialize and might also help him with his confidence if they can go outside and play together <3  Let me know how it goes! <3

 

 


POTTY TRAINING and NEUTERING

Hi Alice
More questions!!  No surprise, right??  I’m having one heck of a time housebreaking Enzo.  He is crate trained mostly…but he will pee in his crate with no problem at all.  We get up every few hours during the night to go out…but he doesn’t mind hanging out in a pee filled crate!!  In the last couple days, I cut his space inside the crate to a minimum.  He can stand up, turn around and lay down with no problem….but no more extra space.  He still peed in there last night.  He occasionally pees in the house when he doesn’t get his way.  For example, I shooed him out of the bathroom this morning and when I came out, there was a little puddle of pee on my bedroom floor right outside the bathroom.  Last night, when I put him on his tie down (His spot in the living room where he has his toys and a mat) he was whining and peed a small puddle after just coming inside from going pee in the yard.
Not sure what to do from here.  Should I start feeding him in his crate?  I already put kibble in there to get him to go in without issue.  I know he’s testing me on this…I can just feel it!!
Also, I’d really like your thoughts on neutering.  In a couple of weeks he’ll be 6 months old.  He’s on a prescription GI dog food for his issues with giardia – and it’s a slow grow puppy food.  My vet (who I love) is adamant that he “subscribe” to the slow growth plan because it’s better for his growth plates and she does not want him overweight in any way while he’s growing.  That said, he is about 40 pounds and I fear neutering him before 1 year will not allow his full growth potential.  Is it better for him to keep his male hormones for a year?  He has not shown any aggression to other male dogs – which he’s exposed to weekly at puppy play and again at puppy obedience class.  He humps Zedar all the time, but she just snaps at him and walks away.  He hasn’t started humping legs yet….I don’t know about marking since he’s a little pee-monster anyway.
I believe I made mistakes with my previous Rotties over the years and I’m just trying to do the best thing for Enzo.  Your expert advice is really important to me!!
As always, hugs and happy thoughts to you and your beautiful family,
Renee

Bless your heart.  Never fun when you have one that you struggle with on potty training!  I have experienced this in both my 2 legged kids and my dogs!  3 of my 4 kids practically trained themselves, but Korbin- I SWEAR I thought I was gonna have to send him to COLLEGE in PULL-UPS!!!!!!!!  We were at Circuit City one time and, TRUE STORY- he climbed up on one of the shelves while I was talking to a sales rep and POOPED IN HIS UNDERPANTS and it rolled out of his shorts and onto the shelf!!!!!!!!  I WAS MORTIFIED!!!!!!  He was 3 YEARS OLD!!!!!!!!!!  My girls were SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT IN UNDERWEAR BY 2!!!!!!!!!!!!  I have also had pups that picked it up seemingly within days and others that I was READY TO PULL MY HAIR OUT!!!!!!!  NOT FUN 🙁  His sister has been AMAZING!!  When we went to the Regional and National Sieger in Tennessee, not only did she handle the drive like a dream, but she slept in bed with Dunjo and the girls and stayed in the hotel room while we were at show and did not have a single accident!!  Come to think of it, I cannot remember her ever having an inside accident and only a couple in the crate when she first started training!!  Maybe she needs to come and have a chat with her brother 😉  Ok, first thing I would suggest is to have your vet take a pee sample and check for a UTI just to be on the safe side.  Urinary Tract Infections are unfortunately as common in dogs as they are in us humans and can cause uncontrolled accidents or frequent urination.  If it is a UTI, it is a simple fix with a round of antibiotics; if it is not, then we need to decipher what he wants.  Maybe he just has an underdeveloped bladder for his age and cannot hold it as long, or maybe he just gets distracted playing outside and forgets to pee- Jahzara had the worst time with that!!  She would go outside and play for like AN HOUR and then go potty within 5 minutes of coming inside!!!!  Once you rule out any medical issues, I would go back to the beginning with potty training.  Go outside with him every time, give him treats and/or praise for going potty and then when he is inside, keep his leash clipped to your pants or belt so that it is IMPOSSIBLE for him to start to go potty without you seeing it.  Also be sure you are using Nature’s Miracle or a similar product for clean-up to insure that you remove all traces and it does not smell like the place to potty for him.  They also sell pee sticks at the pet store that stake into the ground and have an attractant on them to stimulate the dog to want to pee there.  Maybe you can try teaching him to go directly there as well.  So, first vet check just to be sure, and then try some of these techniques.  Let me know how it goes and if we need to find a different approach for him.  Also, he may not understand that he needs to specifically signal you when he needs to go potty and by following you into the bathroom he may have been trying to let you know he had to go potty and then when you shooed him out, he left the present right there to let you know what he was trying to say 😉  Sometimes the pups need to train us as much as we train them.  Diesel has NEVER been one to “let me know” by barking or scratching at the door or ringing a bell, etc.  He would always just come and sit by me and slightly cock his head and I had to learn that this meant “take me out” 😉

LOVE that your vet insists on slow growth!!!!!!!  Could not be happier bout that!!!!!!!  WAY too many people get obsessed with having “the largest Rottweiler” and NO MATTER what his end size result will be, trying to force his body to do all of that growing too fast is a sure way to joint issues amongst other things!!  I have noticed with his sister that she has taken after Crom’s bloodlines more with the slower growth and likely more medium sized end weight.  Crom’s father, DT-VDH Champion, Multi CAC/CACIB, ES ’02, SCHWZ.KS ’02, O-KS ’02 MAMBO VON DER CROSSENER RANCH, SchH III, IPO III, ZtP (05.00), AD, BH, FH II was one of the most well titled, recognized and respected German Rottweiler studs OF ALL TIME credited by many breeders with having the greatest impact on the Rottweiler breed was only about 95 pounds!  Very compact, but VERY correct!  Like I said before, that is probably one of the main reasons why Crom HAS NEVER PRODUCED A SINGLE PUP WITH DYSPLASIA- one of the many reasons he is FCI recognized as CHAMPION IN REPRODUCTION!!  I would much rather have a CORRECT, HEALTHY 100# male than a 130# dysplastic or sloppy dog 😉  And I know you feel the same way, and apparently so does your vet, so that is FABULOUS!! <3  I do also agree with you that on slower growing lines, delaying neutering does give the dog more time to grow and “fill out”.  I absolutely do not have an issue with you waiting, however, continue to do what you are doing which is socialize him well with other dogs BUT keep an eye on him.  Once those male hormones come in, he may only be able to play with female dogs as males will become a threat or challenge.  As long as you are staying on top of the potty training, that will have no effect there.  Diesel is 11 and has had his “boys” for all 11 years and has NEVER marked in the house– well, take that back, he peed on my brother’s Christmas tree when he was about 6 months old 😛 (my brother was not amused 😛 ).  Dunjo is 8 and also intact and although he did mark when I got him as he had never been an inside dog, it took me all of about 1 week to house train him and he has not marked since.

As always, LOADS of love to you all and GREAT BIG hugs and kisses for my little ROTT STAR!
Alice

 


AGE TO SPAY/NEUTER

Hello Alice,
Firstly I want to let you know that August is the most beautiful pup in the world and we are so deeply in love with her! She is smart and perfect and healthy. No one if my family can get enough of her.
I will certainly send you pictures as soon as I get a moment to download — she changes so much each day.
I did want to learn from you if we need to spay August at 6 months (around now).  I ask because the puppy class we attend suggested 6 months, however it feels early.  Of course, I will ask my vet, but I thought to ask you first. Please let me know your thoughts.
Meanwhile, I hope you and family are doing wonderfully.  I have given your email to a few people who have asked about August’s breeder.
Best,

Patricia

 

I am so sorry that this email got buried in my INBOX Patricia 🙁  Between those wishing us Merry Christmas, those wanting a puppy for Christmas, those that got a puppy for Christmas from a less than reputable breeder and now need loads of help, and all the other normal puppy/dog questions, I had literally over 500 emails :/  I have been trying to sift through them a chunk at a time, but it seems like I answer 10 and then those 10 people write back along with 10 other new people *whew* 
I hope you had the absolute best Christmas with miss August and that the New Year has gotten off to a fabulous start for you.
Spaying.  What age to neuter and spay is a very common questions and unfortunately, I do not have an answer that will do you much good 🙁  Because everything we have falls into 3 categories- puppies/youth that will be going to someone else for their forever home; Rotties (usually adults) that we have rescued and immediately spay/neuter or our own pups/youth/adults that we keep back for our breeding program and obviously do not spay/neuter, the only spaying and neutering I really have experience with are on adult dogs, so I can only go by my vets recommendations and the literature I have read.  Unfortunately, there are so many conflicting theories on the best age to spay/neuter- it seems like every university has published a study and they are all completely different :/  Because of this, we always tell everyone to do their own research and speak with their vet and see what works best for their family.  I will pass along a couple bits of information to consider in making that decision.
1) there is a school of thought that if you delay spaying and especially neutering, you give the hormones a chance to come in and the dog will fill out more (kind of like when teenage boys get tester one and their chest fills out and their voice drops.) 
2) if you do delay in spaying or neutering, understand that their character towards other dogs of the same sex will chance.  A male will see the other males as competition and a female will see the other females as competition.  Their desire to roam may also increase.  A female will go off in search of a male when she is in heat and a male will absolutely come looking when there is a female in heat.  So if you do decide to delay in spaying/neutering, please be cognizant of those possibilities and be responsible.
If there is anything else I can do for you, please do not hesitate to ask, and, as always, give that beautiful baby girl my love <3
God Bless,
Alice

 


REVERSE POTTY TRAINING?

Question: is is common for them to “reverse” potty train? I’ll let him outside for up to 30 mins sometimes as I keep telling him to go potty. Then if he won’t go, I’ll bring him in and he will immediately squat right there! Ugh. Vico is such a sweet sweet boy otherwise… We fall in love with him more every day. Also, he loves baths. So much that I think he pees on himself in the crate on purpose, because as soon as I let him out, he runs and jumps straight in the bath tub!! And what different collars? He tries to get stubborn sometimes on walks and pulls away. Any suggestions would be appreciated.Vico says hi!
Allan

First, let me just say he is stunningly beautiful!  But I am sure you already know that!!  How absolutely adorable to see him perched up there in the cat condo!!  My only caution would be to be careful about him jumping out and try to avoid that so that you protect those growing bones and joints.

Hmmm….. For some reason, he has either not made the connection that you want him to go potty outside OR he is too smart and has figured out that if he goes potty outside, he is immediately taken inside and does not get the up to 30 minutes of play time outside.  So I will offer advise to cover both 😉  My first suggestion would be to COMPLETELY ignore him when you take him out.  As adorable as he is, do not interact and play with him…UNTIL he goes potty.  Once he goes potty IMMEDIATELY praise him and start play time.  If he has a favorite toy bring that out to play with as his reward.  It may take a few goes, but he will quickly put the 2 together and realize that the sooner he goes potty outside, the sooner play time can begin.  I would also suggest to AVOID AT ALL COSTS bringing him back in immediately after he goes potty.  Rottweilers are super smart, and puppies are certainly clever.  He is currently TRAINING YOU to give him longer outdoor play time.  EVEN IF YOU ARE IN A HURRY, take a couple of minutes to play with him after he relieves himself so that he unlearns that going potty = back inside and/or crate.  My second suggestion, just in case he is not being obnoxious 😉 and simply has not figured out that you want him to go potty OUTSIDE and not INSIDE, is to keep him tethered to you via a lead while he is in side.  You can hook the leash right on your belt loop.  This way he can not wonder off and go potty.  Of course the MOMENT you catch him in the act, scold him and take him outside to finish.  EVERY TIME that he goes to the bathroom inside your home and it is not corrected MIDSTREAM, he is training himself to go potty inside.  YOU CANNOT correct him AFTER!  Whether it is 2 seconds after or 2 hours after- once he has gone potty, he has moved on in his mind and taking him back to his accident and yelling at him in a foreign language that he does not speak and showing him a pile of poo or urine will NOT discourage him from repeating the behavior!  He has NO IDEA what you are saying or why you are showing him poop!!  If you were walking along in a park and I came out of no where and accosted you in a foreign language and pointed at a pile of poo, you would have NO IDEA what I was trying to tell you!!  (you might assume that I am calling you something unsavory in correlation with what I am pointing at!)  I know there are TONS or people out there that will tell you that shoving your dog’s face in it is the way to go– BUT I can absolutely guarantee you that these are the SAME people that are still trying to potty train their dogs 2 years LATER and/or have dogs that are so petrified of the big bully that always sticks their head in the toilet that the dogs urinate the moment the owners walk in out of nervous appeasement!!  ALSO, in case you are not already cleaning correctly, IT IS IMPERATIVE that you use the CORRECT cleaner!  Dogs are scent motivated- this is how they recognize each other, find food, greet their owners, AND determine where to go potty.  You MUST use a cleaner that has enzymes to eliminate the odor and NOT JUST COVER IT UP!!  If you Febreze the spot to death, it may indeed smell like island flowers to you, but to the INCREDIBLY SENSITIVE nose of your dog, it smells like a bathroom with island flowers!

Final tip- BE CONSISTENT and make sure EVERYONE in your family is on the same page.  If grandma lives with you and she lets the kids have ice cream and cookies for dinner by mom insists on vegetables, the kids are NEVER going to learn to eat their veggies first!  Same with the pup- if you are consistent on when to take him potty but while you are at work, he is just permitted to run all over the house and go potty as he pleases, potty training will be a VERY long road for you!!  There are no shortcuts with training your puppy- you get out of it what you put into it.  If you put the time and energy and be fair but firm and consistent, you will have to work a bit harder initially, but then you will have a well behaved Canine Good Citizen that you can proudly take everywhere.  Without at doubt, the people who complain about ill behaved dogs as adults are the VERY SAME people that either expected the puppy to RAISE ITSELF or let the puppy do anything it wanted and chalked it up to “being a puppy.”

LOVE it that he loves his baths!!  He will certainly love the water like his mom then!!  She has been in our pond nearly every day of her life!! LOL

Ok, walks.  Again, no shortcut and to teach him not to pull, expect to spend about 30 minutes to walk a block initially.  When you take him on a walk, as soon as he pull, put him in a sit.  As yo start to walk again, if he pull, stop and put him in a sit.  Again, you WILL have to repeat this OVER and OVER and OVER before the light bulb goes on that “if I pull, I do not really get to go anywhere.”  Once he figures this out, you will obviously start advancing at a better pace 😉  but be prepared to be very patient initially.  REMEMBER- just like with kids, when you are frustrated- the shut down and have no desire to be there LET ALONE try to learn anything.  Puppies are the same way.  Tension in your voice or posture will either intimidate him or simply take all the fun out of it so that he has no motivation to please you.  Once he does learn to walk well on the lead, STAY consistent on the walks repeating the stop and sit if he reverts to pulling.  This exercise is also super useful when you encounter anything on the walk that might distract or trigger a response in your puppy- another dog, a bunny, a jogger, etc.  As soon as you see the other dog, jogger, deer, etc., put your puppy in the sit and give him the “leave it” command and having him focus on YOU instead of the distraction.  This will come in SUPER handy later when he is old enough and big enough to REALLY take you for ride without the foundation of good training done now.

LOADS of love to my baby Vico!  I had his sister Vega (now Harley) was here last week for boarding and she is such a beautiful girl as well!!  VERY proud of this litter!!  I CANNOT wait to see the gorgeous Vico when he is all grown up!!

Have a blessed evening!
Alice


SLEEPING

Hi Alice,

Quick question, Enzo is almost 6 months old and he still wakes up every 2 hours all night long.  He goes pee most every time.  I cut off his water at 6:00 PM, but nothing helps.  I’ve never had a pup this old not sleep through the night.  I’m so freakin tired all the time I’m ready to give him doggie downers!!  Any thoughts?
As always, many thanks.
Renee and Enzo

Sounds like he may be a bit spoiled 😉  You are correct, he should not still need to get up that often at his age- typical is 1 hour per month- so he should be able to go 6 hours at a time by now.  Ok, try this, wear him COMPLETELY out before bed- run him or play ball or whatever his favorite game is until he is literally too tired to even think about anything but laying down.  Then put him in his crate and LEAVE HIM THERE until the correct time to get up.  if you have take away food and water at least 3 hours before bed and taken him out a final time after those 3 hours, then he should at minimum not be full.  WARNING: it may take a few nights of doing this before he gets the idea!  So expect accidents and loads of protest!  But it should not take him too long to get over it- you just have to retrain him.  He has successfully trained you to his routine and now you need to train him to yours 😉

Let me know how it goes! 
Alice

 


TRAINING
Hi,
I know you most likely get a million e-mails regarding your website, etc. But I have to respond anyway. I find it refreshing that you have not dedicated your entire website to the status of your breeding program, but more the “greatness” of the breed.
I lost our Tasha almost a year and a half ago to osteosarcoma. And to this day I still am brought to tears when I think about her. She was only introduced to me when I met my husband 10 years ago. At the time, really having no knowledge of Rottweilers at all…and quite frankly, a little hesitant about her. But it was not long before she won my heart. She became “my dog.” She followed me around the house, got up with me in the middle of the night when I nursed me own babies, and slept always beside my bed every night. She was truly the best dog that I have ever had. She has left a huge emptiness in our family and we miss her terribly.
Having said that, I have begun some research into getting another. It is frustrating for me because- she was my husbands dog first…and because he got her while he was in medical school (and had no intention of breeding her) He had no memory of her lineage. I don’t really even know where to start. We would not be getting a dog for breeding purposes- just another member of our family. My 4 year old daughter still walks around with her stuffed Rottweiler “Tasha”- I think it may be time for us to try to move forward. Even though we have 2 other dogs- they all have different qualities. My 14 beagle is totally deaf and is not my protector. I need a dog that can make me feel safe again in my home as my husband is gone a lot. I have not felt that since she has been gone.
I’ve thought about just rescuing a young Rottweiler, but my husband said that our Tasha was such a good dog because he worked with her every day. I think they are are highly intelligent and very trainable dogs- but how old is “untrainable?”
Regardless, I just wanted to thank you. I found your website so refreshing and so close to my heart. I appreciate all of your dedication for this wonderful breed. Maybe someday we’ll find a new member for our family from you!

Fondly,
Amy

Sorry for the delay in responding, I was in Germany, and then when I got back Ena had her puppies, so I have been SOOO busy!

Thank you so much for your very kind compliments.  Yes, my primary purpose behind the website is not to sell puppies, but to promote the breed and educate everyone that does not own a Rottweiler on what they are really like, and educate everyone who does own a rottie on how they should be cared for and trained.  I have been blessed to have several amazing dogs be a part of my life and the lives of my children, so I want to “pay it forward.”

My deepest sympathies are with you.  Having lost a few along the way a well, I know all to well how much it hurts.  It feels like your heart has been ripped from you chest.  My last one to leave me was my Nova, and there was no consoling me for days.  They are a very special dog that touch your life in the way only a rottie can.  You and your husband will be in our thoughts and prayers.

Yes, when I was a police officer, I worked nearly an hour from where I lived, and I worked very long hours in rough neighborhoods (Washington D.C.) so it was very disconcerting for me to be so far away from my family if they needed me, but having rotties at home, I knew they were well protected and safe.

Trainability.  Just like poor breeding can affect the confirmation (physical appearance) of the rottie, it can also have a profound affect on the temperament of the Rottweiler.  Rescuing a Rottweiler is great and noble thing to do for some very deserving dogs, and I have a links to a local rottie rescues if you are interested.  But because you do not know the bloodlines, or how the dog was raised, I only recommend this for an experienced handler and never to a home with small children.  Environment can play a major role in the mental development of a dog, but so can pedigree.  We give great consideration in temperament in our breeding program, this is one of the reasons we like to use the German and European bloodlines.  In Germany, all dogs are required to take a mental test and a breed suitability temperament test before they are even considered for breeding.  This is why we can confidently offer a temperament guarantee on our pups, youths and adults.  There is no age or dog that is untrainable.  Some dogs are easier to train than others because of the level of intelligence, attentiveness and desire to please.  It is always easier to train from the time they are a puppy, but even an older dog can be trained once you find what motivates them.  Consistency and positive motivation will get you the most success.

If there is anything else I can help you with, please do not hesitate to ask.  

Best Regards,
Alice Velasquez

 


GUARDING/ DISRESPECT
Hello Alice, Ajax is doing great.  Couple questions-  what do we need to do to make sure he isn’t showing dominance to our kids.  He is very good with Avery however a couple times he has not shown her respect.  Second question how do we teach him when outside people are at our house and kids our kids are present that these people are okay?  We know he wants to protect his kids however he needs to learn to calm down and let it be.  Thanks

I could not agree with you more!  In our kids and in our dogs, even when incorrect behavior is understandable, it STILL MUST BE CORRECTED.  ANY TIME there is an unwanted aggressive respones- even it if is just heckles standing up or body posture, for me, that is ALWAYS a behavior that requires an IMMEDIATE, SWIFT and DECISIVE correction!!  He must NEVER EVER think that even for a MOMENT he is allowed to reach that state of mine without your direct invitation or permission!  As you said, even though he most certainly means well, it can have terrible consequences for him and the child especially of the behavior goes unchecked and is allowed to escalate.  You have to put your big boy and big girl panties on for these issues and you have to be “mean” with him until he gets it.  Disrespect of the children CANNOT EVER BE TOLERATED because then you set him up for failure by allowing him to think his position in the pack is above the child.  Starting TODAY, you need to move him to bottom of the pack position, ESPECIALLY around Avery.  Meaning for now, he is not allowed to even look at her without your permission (she should have god-like status to him!)  If she wants to sit somewhere and he is near there, he needs to immediately vacate.  He cannot eat at the same time as her, etc.  It may feel like you are being over the top initially and even mean spirited, but trust me, you are not- this is EXACTLY how a pack would treat him!  The alpha and the alpha offspring would have the right to steal his kills, take his position away from him if he has a more comfy resting spot, etc.  He would greet them in a very appeasing manor and often go belly up every time they walk by just to show that he is trying to win favor.  Our domesticated dogs have learned from the time they were pups that if the go belly up, they will get tummy rugs, but in the wild, going belly up is the ultimate show if submission as it exposes the abdomen and throat.  You must also be VERY STRONG in your correction of him EVERY SINGLE TIME he disrespect her.  He cannot go through a doorway before her, he must wait for her before going down the stairs, etc. and he cannot have any furniture privileges while she is around- she is the queen and he is not worthy- that MUST BE your mindset if you will change his thought process.  Once he “gets it” then you can slowly start reintroducing the privileges.  The fact that he is protective of the kids certainly proves that he sees them as part of his pact and loves them dearly, his problem and it is not at all an uncommon problem is that he sees them as SIBLINGS rather than PACK LEADERS.  If you think about it logically, the way a dog does, you prepare his food, you prepare their food; you correct him, you correct them; you dictate when he can go somewhere, you dictate when they can go somewhere; etc. so sometimes a dog will logically assume that he is equal in pack standing to a child and he will still love and defend with his life his “siblings” but he will not respect them the way he would a pack leader the same way your children treat each other differently than they do mom and dad- if sister says ‘I want the toy’ brother will say ‘no!’ but if mom or dad says give me the toy, it is handed over.

Strangers.  The best way is to have him exposed to strangers as much as possible- walks in public, etc.  and if you have friends that are willing to help train, get some of his favorite treats and the “strangers” can give those to him every time they approach so that he learns that a stranger approaching does not necessarily have to signify danger.  I would also make sure you are practicing “good manors” with him.  He should be in a down stay when strangers are around and await your command and not take it upon himself to dictate interaction.  Depending on his level of protectiveness, your response should meet and exceed his reactions.  I.e. if he is just guarding/herding the strangers, then placing him in a down stay and making him remain there would be sufficient.  If he is showing any aggression, then that must be corrected swiftly and sternly!  He is out of Marsio and Marschall so I can tell you with 100% certainty that you will NOT break his spirit by being stern and you will NOT change his desire to be protective, you will only teach him that as pack leader, it is YOUR call not his.

Hope you have a blessed day and please let me know if those tips prove effective or if further training is required.  Biggest thing to remember is to BE CALM BUT FIRM AND BE CONSISTENT!!

Loads of love!
Alice


NIPPING

Hi Alice, 
I just wanted to give you a little update on our beautiful baby girl…….She is doing WONDERFUL!!!  She has her 2nd vet apt today so we’ll see how heavy she is exactly, but she has deffinitely doubled in size since we brought her home.  We are also starting our first training class tonight which will be fun to watch her with all the other pups.  I have to say that so far she has done fantastic with learning just the things that we have shown her, my father was over this past weekend and was amazed by how smart she is! She sits and lays down when asked, she knows that she must sit and wait for her food until I tell her that she may go ahead and eat it, she knows that she has to be the last one in and out of the door and she knows to sit and wait for her massage at the end of the driveway when we get home from our walks 🙂 That last one really makes me smile…..Walks have been a little tough and bringing my 4 year old along really seems to help to get her going and keep her moving…..everyday she makes more progress though and that’s all that we can ask of her. 
 
At night she does FANTASTIC……She has only had 2 accidents in her crate and that was the first week or so.  She also sleeps until 6-7 in the a.m. so again, we can’t complain!!  She has had a few accidents in the house and in her crate while we’ve been home but I think that we have to blame ourselves that we didn’t see the signal that she was giving us.
 
Nipping seems to be the only real issue that we are having but again, it’s par for the course!!  The only thing that I wanted to ask you was if it is normal that after I bop her on the nose that she growls and starts to jump at me to try and bite me…..I have to let you know that for the first couple weeks I misunderstood what exactly you meant by “bopping” her on the nose and now that I have started to do it in more of a “flicking” fashion she seems to be more agitated by it.  Michael keeps telling me that I need to stand over her to show her that I am the boss but sometimes I find it hard to get the distance between her and I so that she isn’t biting some part of me while I try to get her to calm down, which leads to me needing to bop her more…..if you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them….i will say though that the majority of the time she does amazing with the little ones…..our one year old just loves her to pieces!
 
I know that I might sound crazy….but although it has been tiring at times…..and cold standing out in the sleet/rain at 2 in the am……I so look forward to the day that we are able to get another one of your amazing dogs to join us in our home.  Pearl is so intelligent, loving, and beautiful…..I am so happy that I found you and thank you again for providing us with such a great addition to our family!
 
I hope all is well with you and your family and plan to get some pictures to you soon!  And although it is quite a ways from you all out in Indiana I hope that none of your loved ones were injured if they were at the race yesterday……Such a horrific thing to happen at such a wonderful event.
 
I’m sure if she could Pearl would send you her love so XOXOXOXOX on her bahalf 🙂
Thank you very much for your concern over my family.  Thank God, no one I knew personally was injured, but it left me completely heart broken 🙁  I wept over not just the innocent victims and the family of that little boy, but also for the families that thought to make this race a starting point for putting their lives back together after the tragedy in Sandy Hook 🙁  I just cannot wrap my mind around a person that would do something like that 🙁
You are absolute correct- nipping is totally normal for a puppy, BUT it also cannot be tolerated!  Please read some of my tips on the page Q&A: http://www.guardianrottweilers.com/spoiled-rotten/q-a/
It is a common problem and super easy to fix- you just need to be firm and consistent.  You also CANNOT tolerate her defying you by growling, etc. when you correct her!  This is the same thing as a 2 year old that smacks you or throws a temper-tantrum.  Even though it is certainly age appropriate, if it goes uncorrected, it will teach her that this is acceptable and effective and this will CERTAINLY be a problem later when she is bigger!  It is disrespectful and there has to be ZERO TOLERANCE for disrespect.  You can grab her muzzle or collar as well if bopping her on the nose is not working.  When she was a smaller puppy, I flick them on the nose, but since she is larger and already showing disrespect, you must step up your correction.  From today forward, it must be CRYSTAL clear to her who is in charge or you WILL have problems with her when she is older.  Do not worry, she is a strong minded, confident puppy with EXCELLENT breeding.  You WILL NOT break her spirit by giving her a strong correction, you will simply let her know who is the pack leader.  Her mother would do the EXACT SAME THING as would everyone else in her pack!  Moms growl first, then if that is not respected, they “muzzle punch” the puppies by nudging them hard with the muzzle.  If they are still not respected, the mom will nip at them.  For the naughty puppies that are still disrespectful after that, mom will stand over them pin them and SERIOUSLY growl and or hold them down until they yelp and submit.  She knows she must teach them respect and discipline because other members of the pack will not be as loving and generous as she is and will simply attack a disrespectful youth!  They learn VERY quickly in a dog pack what the pack structure is and how to respect their pack leaders! 
Please let me know if you have any other questions and please do follow up with me on how her discipline is going.
Loads of love,
Alice

 


HERDING
Hi Alice,
Hope all has been well!  Things have been good here!
 
I have a couple questions about Febea’s behavior I was wanting to get your opinion on.  She is great of course but just curious on a couple things.
 
She has always been quite the bully to the Golden Retriever, Katie, when they 1st go outside to run loose.  She’ll let Katie get a head start running, then chase her down and bite at her back legs and tail.  (Seeing as how Katie was such a bully to other dogs when she was younger, it’s hard not to find a little poetic justice in it but…)  We’ve tried to get her to stop – but to no avail.  It is a total game to her & she acts like Katie is her toy.  Do you have any suggestions?
 
The other things is when you’re sitting down to pet her she HAS to have her hands on you.  It’s kinda cute – like she’s trying to hold hands with you – but I’ve always felt that was her way of somewhat trying to “posess” you so I don’t let her do it to me – but she never stops trying.  Everyone else thinks I’m cook a roo, and that it’s just her way of trying to “pet us” back – so they let her do it.  Do you have an opinion?
 
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!

Hello Sarah!  So wonderful to hear from you!! 

First, Febea is clearly herding Katie!  The herding instinct is stronger in some dogs than others.  Diesel has always been a herder- kids, pigs, goats, other dogs, chickens… you get the idea 😉  By nipping at the hind legs, that is EXACTLY what she would do with the cattle, etc. she was given to herd!  But no worries, even though it is natural instinct, it is also correctable.  Diesel had a STRONG urge to herd the kids when he was younger- he did not want them getting too far away from us and would circle around them slowly driving them back to us.  Of course he also had the natural instinct to not nip to herd with kids, understanding that they were children, but I still did not want him thinking that it was his job to herd them (other parents might not find it as endearing 😛 )  So we simply corrected him and put him into a down stay every time he either attempted to herd or was too focused on them.  It did not take too long for him to get it.  And you are absolutely correct, it is totally a game for Febea.  There is no ill will behind it, she is just doing what instinct tells her and herding the run-away.  Now, be forewarned- that instinct will ALWAYS be there.  This will not be something that you spend 10 minutes teaching and then she is cured.  Even now at 11 years old, I will see Diesel when there are a lot of kids over and they are all running in different directions, he will want so badly to go and fetch them for us, but all I have to do is put him in a down stay and tell him to leave it and he is good to go.  So, be consistent!  I would start by putting Febea in a down stay every time Katie takes off running so that she learns that Katie running = lay down instead of Katie running = go get her 😉  Repeat putting her back in a down stay every time she attempts to pursue Katie.  Try to catch it every time initially so that Febea does not get mixed signals as to what is expected.  ALSO- VERY IMPORTANT- if you use the recall to place her in the down stay (meaning you call her to you to place her in the down stay) then you MUST continue to make the recall POSITIVE!!  “Good girl” with affection and THEN down stay.  If the recall becomes a punishment only, soon she will refuse to come when called.  ALSO IMPORTANT- if she is stubborn initially and refuses to cease herding Katie you must GO TO HER and put her in a down stay.  You CAN NOT allow her to get away with telling you what she will or will not do 😉  Often the dogs will teach each other what they will and will not tolerate, but for whatever reason, Katie has let Febea get away with it, so Katie has taught Febea that this is ok.  But like I said, as long as you are consistent, it is easy enough to fix.

I agree with your family, I do not see anything wrong with the pawing, however, I am also not there to see it first hand, so if you are not comfortable with it, it could indeed be her attempt at dominating even if passively.  This is also easy to correct, BUT ONLY if everyone is on the same page!!  If you tell her no, but everyone else allows it, she may eventually understand that you do not like it, but she will not stop the behavior.  I had a similar issue with Serenity.  She is very mouthy- she uses her mouth like a hand.  If she wants you to pet her, she will grab your hand and place it on her back; if she wants you to stop petting one of the other dogs and give her the attention, she will also grab-of course very gently- your hand; she also LOVES to lick EVERYONE and EVERYTHING!!  I did not like this behavior and corrected her EVERY SINGLE time from the beginning.  I, however, was not her owner, handler or “mom”, Tahlia was 😉  Tahlia loved it- loved all the kissing, loved that her best friend brought her stuff and picked up stuff and demanded attention when she wanted it.  Because of this, we STILL struggle with Serenity wanting to use her mouth at times 😉  (and by ‘we struggle’, I mean ME because Tahlia still loves it and still encourages it 😉 )

Hope this helps!  Please give miss Febea some extra love and snuggles from all of us! <3 <3

Alice

 


PUP PRICING
Hey its  Matt again… I just had a few questions
1) If I wanted a dog that looked like DUNJO would that be a $1500.00 dog? (I’m sure it would be but thought i would ask)
2) I was interested in the “V Litter  DUNJO X KENZI” I’m finished with school in early may, is that when they would be able to go to a home?
3) I also unfortunately just had to pay to put a new transmission in my car so I’m low on funds for a deposit… would there be anything we could work out? (like a trade?) I don’t know how old your kids are but I do have an extremely fun 1985 Honda Odyssey FL350 (needs some work but they sell for about $1500.00-$2000.00)
4) Do you offer any sort of payment plan? Its just a lot of money for me to just drop all at once. Food and vet bills would not be a problem but just this $1500 would hurt the pocket book till funds replenish.
5) Or what would work better for ME.. haha is if you could offer some sort of discount.

– I know you can and do make a lot of money from your breedings due to the caliber of dogs you have, but if you could do ANYTHING to try to help me out this dog is what I need in my life/family and I know that I could give it a wonderful loving home. I am picky about the dog i want and the quality but I’m just trying to make sure I get “MY” dog. I plan on getting involved in schutzhund and working with my cousin who is a K9 unit narcotics officer and trains his own dogs. I hope you can see things from my point of view I know this puppy would go to a great home where he would be loved and worked with everyday.

Sincerely,
Matt

Hi Matt,

You have been e-mailing me for over a year now, so I assume that you have researched around and found that the quality of pups and bloodlines we offer are not only some of the best in the country but some of the best in the world.  And I am sure that you have also discovered that some of the same bloodlines sell out of Europe for 3x what we ask.  

Your first question:  show/breed quality pups START at $1500 and can easily go up over $2000.  Dunjo is daughter of Akya, sister of the great AMBASSADOR VON SHAMBALA, direct descendant of world famous BALOU VOM SILBERBLICK.  Dunjo’s sire is LIKE VOM SITTARD.  Dunjo has some of Germany’s best bloodlines and is a Pink Papered total ADRK male, so even as a puppy you could not get him for anywhere near $2000.  As an adult, proven in the ring, proven as a producer and with the confirmation and drive that Dunjo has, you are looking at a six figure dog.

your second question:
Pups must be 8 weeks of age before they can go home.  Even though the mom will wean the pup earlier than this, those last few weeks of socializing they receive from their siblings and mom are of utmost importance in setting boundaries for behavior.

third question:
sorry, my kids are too young for anything of that nature.

forth:
yes, we will take any increment of payment provided the pup is paid for in full BEFORE you want to take it home.

fifth:
As stated in the beginning of the e-mail, our dogs/youth/pups are already well below what you would pay for the same dogs in Europe.  We try to keep our prices down because we want more of our pups in family homes rather than just show/breed homes, and when the prices are over $3000 each, nearly everyone will end up in a show/breed home.  I will not go any lower on my prices because I WILL NOT compromise the level of care, health, etc. that my pups and adults have.  As I have said many times before, if you cannot afford a quality, well bred dog, then ADOPT from a shelter and give a deservind dog a forever home.  DO NOT simply go with a “cheaper” dog from a puppy mill.  I am sure you can find a breeder that dock the tails themselves with an old pair of kitchen shears or rubberbands, skips the shots and wormings, feeds Old Roy, has not shown or worked any of the dogs they breed, done any training or character evaluations nor even knows what confirmation and temperament they should display in order to be bred and certainly does not do any health clearances on any of the adults and has probably only paid a few hundred for each adult.  In this circumstance, I am sure they could probably sell you a puppy for $4-500 and maybe even give you a “deal” on that.  A year from now, however, when you have invested THOUSANDS trying to fix health and character issues that cannot be resolved, you can decide for yourself if the pup was really cheaper.  But as you keep coming back to me, I am also equally sure that you have looked at what they have available and realized that most do not even remotely resemble a real Rottweiler in physical appearance or temperament, and you probably even asked about health or temperament guarantees and found that they are NOT given.

And finally for your last statement:
HAHA loads of money!  that is why my hubby works 2 full time jobs because there is nothing but profit in the dog business- travel, training, vet bills, food, new adults (some over 40-60k+), vaccinations, heartworm, website, advertising, whelping, etc.–that all comes for free!  Here is a quote from my website, it is a few years old so some of the totals are off, but you can get the idea:

“How much money can I make breeding?”
(my reply)  “Well, I have sold my pups, youth and imports this year for a grand total of $17,000.  If you take from that my expenses: about $800/ mo. on dog and puppy food, treats and toys (about $9,600/ yr.); vet expenses on puppies (about $2000/ litter for prenatal care of the bitch, microchipping, vaccinations, de-worming, flea/tick preventative, heartworm preventative, and puppy check-ups); vet expenses of adults (about $250/ mo.–about $3000/yr.– for Frontline and Inteceptor, about $150/adult for annual vaccinations and check-ups; import and customs fees ($1000-$1500/ import);  So, lets see–that’s about negative $2,250, but that does not include the extra expense of a sick puppy or adult, whelping supplies or the whelp box, items for the take home puppy care package (food, blankets, toys, collars, etc.), travel and entry fee expenses for the dog shows, my expenses of new imports for Guardian Rottweilers; nearly $1000 per adult to do all health clearances for breeding, the new couch one of the puppies ate, all the sleepless nights and hard work, and of course all the poop you can scoop!  So all in all–I guess that’s probably why my husband works 2 full time jobs and installs carpet on the side!!
Hope this was helpful”
* EDIT- The above expenses are from several years ago, and although all the numbers have gone up significantly, unfortunately, so has the gap between the amount of money PUT IN to the dogs vs. the amount of money made on the dogs.  Between training, travel, show, handling, constantly working to improve our dogs and breeding program, additions and upgrades to Rottieopolis- there are always many more expenses than what the bank account will allow!  Whenever there is a litter where we have actually come out of the red, it is usually put immediately into one of the rescues we take in and rehabilitated as many come to us needing advanced training/socializing and often with hefty medical bills.  I have said it before and it deserves repeating- if you want to get rich quick by breeding, you are barking up the wrong tree 😉


NAMING THE PUPPY
I was just looking over the contract and I was wondering one thing. By what your contract states I don’t even get to pick my dogs registered name, is this correct? If I am paying 1,500 for a dog I should be able to register its name as what ever I want as long as it abides by AKC rules and regulations for names. I have an AKC registered Chihuahua so I am familiar with certain types of names not being permitted. Is this one thing in the contract that can be worked around? I have a good solid name picked out for my Rottweiler.

The reason we give the registered name

1) all the pups is that litter start with the same letter, so when you call back 5 years from now, we still know exactly which litter your pup came from

2) If you ever do decide to show or compete in working events, you are walking into the ring or onto the field with a Rottweiler that has a well known kennel name which of course give you more credibility and

3) when you do show and your pup/adult places well, then Guardian Rottweilers gets credit for producing such a remarkable example of the breed.  All of GR puppies will be registered as “Guardian ____ Von Gottschalk.”  The blank (____) corresponds to a name starting with which litter we are on.  We always start the names with Guardian as a strong reminder of what this bread is best at- loving, affectionate, protective and loyal- a true Guardian.  And then they carry my German name Von Gottschalk in honor of my my grandfather.  So, we have puppies like “Guardian Riddick Von Gottschalk” from the R LITTER or “Guardian Indira Von Gottschalk” from the I LITTER, etc.  I have followed the method of naming litters that Germany and all of Europe have used for naming their pups and litters.  This is also helpful for a breeder to know, for example, that my Diesel’s sire is from CRNI LOTOS F LITTER so if I like that combination, I would look for another dog from the F LITTER;. or to know that BALOU’s A LITTER produced some of his best offspring to date (AMBASSADOR, AYKA (mother of my DUNJO), etc.)  We always invite suggestion for each litter letter we are on, and of course you are always free to chose the call name of your dog which does not need to correspond with the registered name-i.e- if your pup is named Guardian Goliath Von Gottschalk, but you want to call him Bob, that is totally your discretion.

When we import a puppy, the registered name will already be given on the EXPORT PEDIGREE and cannot be changed.  These names are given according to which litter letter the breeder(s) in Europe are on and accompanied by their kennel name.  (I.E. the 3 males I just imported from De Baron are Beni, Bronko and Brando Se Ungo-Rot.  Uross chose those names as he was on his B LITTER and named with his kennel name “Se Ungo-Rot.”

I hope this helps, and if you have any further questions, please let me know.

Best Regards,
Alice


DRINKING TOO MUCH WATER
Hi Alice.
Lately when Jaz drinks water she is throwing it up. I think it is because she is drinking it to fast. Have you ever encountered this and do you have any recommendations on stopping it?
Jaz also graduated yesterday from obedience class with flying colors.
Talk to you soon.
Joe

Hi Joe,

It is not uncommon, and you are right, it is typically caused by 2 things:  either the is drinking too fast and swallows too much air, or she is so thirsty that she is drinking too much and her tummy just can’t handle that much.  Most of the time it is a combination of the 2.  There are a few ways to go about it.  First, try only putting a small amount in her bowl at a time–forcing her to drink only a little then waiting before getting more.  HOWEVER, you MUST remember to then give her more later as you do not want her to become dehydrated.  Also try getting her to calm down after hard play outside before she drinks.

Try these tips and let me know how things turn out.  Give her big kisses for me!
Alice

Hey Alice,
Great advice we gave her a smaller amount of water today and she has not thrown up since!

Thanks Alice


BITCH IN SEASON
hi,
Ok so up to now Dagan has been pretty easy to deal with as a puppy, nothing too far out of the puppy norm aside from the intelligence and independence. He has always been SO good about going outside to urinate. Recently I was glad when he started to hike his leg to pee considering when he squats he hunches up like he’s trying to poop and ends up peeing on the back of his front legs. So you can imagine my excitement when he began to stop squatting. However, I have recently caught him several times trying to spray on items IN THE HOUSE. We’ve never had a male dog in the house before and my mom’s farm dog was neutered when he was a pup years ago. I expected the wizzing on things outside, but didn’t dream he’d do it inside. When I take him out to potty now he just does little tinkles here and there instead of the 2 minute long power pees he used to do, so I can’t take him out and be assured that he has an empty bladder when he comes back in. He has become obsessed with the sniffing and peeing, adolescent hormones I know, but is there something that i can do? I’m sure you’ve run into this, especially having more than one male on your property. I feel like he’s 3 months old again and i have to follow him around in the house so we don’t have an “accident”. Not good at 10 months. We’re pretty sure Hanna has started her cycle. We’ve found random drops of blood but haven’t seen it on her and Dagan has taken an extreme interest in her behind. It doesn’t help that she frequently puts it in his face for him to inspect. So I’m sure his hormones are out of control. I don’t want to make him stay out in the kennel or cooped up in the crate all the time, but he just can’t be trusted. He’s the first unneutered male I’ve had so any input would be helpful.
Thanks,
Teresa

Hi Teresa,
yes, you are exactly correct.  It is teenage hormones.  She is coming into season for the first time, so you need to really watch then next week because she is obviously WAY too young to breed.  The problem is, not only are the hormones a new feeling for him, but now with her advertising (that is what the blood is for) it is likely driving him nuts.  He is just trying to “advertise” back to her that he is ready, willing and able.  Meanwhile she is in season, the best thing to do is to confine him to the crate when you cannot watch him not only because of his desire to make it clear to her that he is ready, and to let any other possible males know that she is taken, but also because you do not want him to get her.  You would be amazed at how fast a couple can tie!  Another thing that will help is to take him for longer walks so that he will have plenty of new places to mark and hopefully empty the tank 🙂  Poor guy!  Give him a hug for me!

Alice


RAISED WATER BOWL
Andy and I bought a raised food & water bowl for Jewel but my Boss said that can increase her chance of getting bloat.  I thought it was better to use raised bowls for larger dogs.  Should I take it back or keep it?

Leah

That is an excellent question Leah.  Bloat is a very serious sudden onset medical condition that can effect any large breed dog because of the large amount of space in the abdominal cavity.

Raised bowl DECREASES the chance of getting bloat and is the best way to feed and give water.  What increases the chance of bloat is drinking or eating too much especially right before or after hard exercise.  When a large breed dog consumes a large amount of food and/or water and it fills their stomach up, that full stomach is then just bouncing around inside the abdominal cavity.  If the dog does hard exercise or running, it is very easy for the stomach to turn on itself and cause life threatening bloat.  When the stomach twists on itself, blood flow is cut off to the area that is pinched (like when the clown at the fair twists a balloon) so the tissue will begin to die.  If you EVER suspect bloat (hard abdomen, vomiting, lethargy) take your dog to the vet IMMEDIATELY!

I also ALWAYS recommend that if you are going to spay your female, ask the vet to tack her stomach to the abdominal wall while he is in there.  It is not much extra effort for the vet and not added stress for the female as she is already out, but it will prevent the stomach from ever turning on itself and causing bloat.

If you have any more questions, please fell free to ask.

Give our little pumpkin kisses for us!

Alice


ROTTIE LEAN
I have a silly question. why does my 5 month old rotti like to put her butt up against us? Sometimes she does while barking at nothing really.    Angie

Not at all a silly question Angie.  The “rottie lean” if done to strangers (i.e. those who come to visit and are accepted as ok, but not family) is done to displace the visitor and show dominance- i.e. I can claim any spot you are on. When done as the dog is backing up and barking, she is reassuring herself that she has back-up (you 😉 ) or can be a sigh of protection- i.e. Diesel will push me back out of the way when a stranger approaches so that he can make “first contact” and assert his authority with the stranger; and when done with family and pack members, it is a sign of affection- they love the constant contact. If you start to pay attention, I am sure you will see the subtle differences in the leans (just like tail wagging- sometimes it is done as a challenge, sometimes it means they are happy, and sometimes it means they are uncomfortable or on alert [usually when very stiff]) When my Diesel leans into myself or the kids, it is a very gently obviously affectionate gesture and he is wanting some lovin’.  When he leans into Mark, for example, (our contractor who is here almost daily for the last 3 months getting our kennels and whelping rooms built 😉 if Mark does not have his footing sure, Diesel will literally displace him and has made him stumble a few times. It is a very non threatening un-aggressive move that still conveys the dogs power and authority. He is saying “you’re my friend and I’m glad you came and you can give me some lovin’, but lets be clear whose house this really is and who is in charge. (If you are ever in doubt, let that person try the reverse lean- push back into the rott and she how firm he holds his ground! No growling, just refusal to give ground. Again he is saying, “mine.”) Most of dog communication is done with very subtle body movements and gestures- a simple head held high can be the grounds for a fight in a dog pack.

 


PUPPY VACCINATIONS AND DEWORMING

Do you use an 8-in-1 shot and deworming at birth? A breeder is telling me that all professional breeders do it, I’ve never heard of it before. I thought it was dangerous to vaccinate before 8 weeks. I have no intention of buying anything from them but was slightly worried about the puppies they claim are top-quality.

Kristin
OMGoodness!  I am so glad you realized that would not be correct and took the time to ask someone!  That is TERRIBLE!!!  NO!! MOST CERTAINLY NOT ON EITHER!!!!!  You cannot de-worm that early and you most CERTAINLY should not vaccinate before 6 weeks of age!!  They are really risking long term issues on their puppies besides of course the immediate ones!!  (liver damage, digestive disruption, neurological problems, renal, etc. ) and I would NEVER, EVER, EVER use an 8-in-1 shot on a puppy!  Even at 8 weeks!  That is tooo much and SIGNIFICANTLY increased the risk for life-threatening reactions.

That is the problem with back-yard breeders!  They are too lazy to research anything; too cheap to use a vet; and too greedy to care about the actual welfare of their puppies.  They would rather over-medicate the puppies than go to the effort of keeping a clean environment and taking proper care of the adults.  Please ask your vet about the hazards or deworming and vaccinating at such a young age, and if you think this other breeder would be receptive, please share the information with them- for the sake of their poor pups.

If there is anything else I can help you with, please do not hesitate to ask.
Alice

 


AGE TO NEUTER

Hi Alice,
Hope all is well!  I wanted to reach out for your opinion.  Yukon is approaching 6 months which I know is the “standard” age for a male puppy to be neutered.  However, I have read that sometimes Rottweilers won’t fully develop their secondary traits (large head, muscles, etc) if they are neutered too early.  We are trying to manage this fact with the fact that until he gets fixed he can no longer attend doggy daycare (which he loves!) and the typical risks of him developing undesired sexual behavior or aggression. Right now he is developing beautifully and is 61 pounds(lean and growing!).
Anyway, I wanted to see if you had an opinion on an appropriate time for a neuter.
Thanks so much!

Tara

That is a tough one Tara, and one that I am asked all too often.  The problem with the spay/neuter debate is the volume of conflicting information out there.  It seems just about every university has a study done and they all reach a different conclusion :/  That is why I tell everyone to go with what their vet recommends.  I have also heard the presumption that early neutering can effect growth/development, and I can see the science/logic to that as hormones definitely effect the growth and development of human adolescent males.  Unfortunately, all of my experience is with intact males, so I cannot give any personal experience regarding how/whether there really is a notable impact on the masculine development of the male.  However, it is something you will really want to give a lot of consideration too because, as you stated, delaying the neuter will impact his character and of course prevent him from continuing to receive that super important socialization with the rest of his friends at doggy daycare.
I wish there was a clear black/white answer for you Tara 🙁  But unfortunately, this is one of those controversial topics to which there are more conflicting answers than agreeing ones.  The only thing I do know for certain is that when left in tact (not spayed or neutered) males and females will almost certainly not get along with other adults of the same sex and they can also go through that “hormonal teenage” phase  and become obstinate with their human pack members as well, especially if boundaries and limitations were not already clearly defined.  
I hope this helps some Tara.  His growth and development sound text book thus far.  The say an average of 10lbs/mo is considered the ideal average, and he is obviously spot on!  It is also fantastic that you are keeping him lean while he is growing/developing as that is essential for healthy joint development.
Please let me know if you have any other questions and of course give Yukon hugs and snuggles from all of us.
God Bless,
Alice

 

 


WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Hey!  I’m curious about the “von gottshalk” designation for rotties and google is failing me.  Google brings up dogs with the designation but not the origin and history.

 Steve
 
🙂   It is a dedication to my grandfather.  Almost all European and German Rottweilers, shepherds, malinois, etc. and many families will have a von or vom in the name meaning “of” or “from”.  It is often proceeded by a place (city, town, etc. but can also sometimes have other meanings).  My grandparents raised my sister and I from the time we were very young until I was 17 years old and joined the military.  My grandfather could often be heard telling stories of his great grandfathers migrating here from Germany.  There were 4 brothers and their last name was “Von Gottschalk”.  After they immigrated to America, they dropped the “von” and each of the 4 brothers took a slightly different spelling of the “Gotschalk”- one of which passed the name to my grandfather and then to me (my maiden name is Cutshall).  My grandparents were the most incredible, selfless, honorable and giving people I have ever known.  When I initially started breeding, my grandfather was in the early stages of alzheimer’s.  I decided to name my kennel after my German ancestors to honor my grandfather and the sacrifices he and my grandmother made in raising my sister and I when they should have been just relaxing and enjoying a hard earned easy part of their lives.  I added the Guardian to the beginning of the name because every time I think Rottweiler, that is what I think of more than anything else- a loving, affectionate, loyal, protective Guardian, just as my grandparents were to me (they did not have enough money to adopt my sister and I, so they were just made our “legal guardians” instead).  So the only “Von Gottschalk” Rottweiler you were ever find on google will be mine! <3
Alice
 

WEIGHT AND SIZE
Hi, Alice.  Happy New Year!

Bernie and I are arguing about how big our Otto (Hamlet from your H litter) will be when he is full grown.  Bernie is like the fisherman whose fish gets bigger every time he tells the story – except it’s every time he tells someone how big Otto’s going to get, it’s 10 pounds more than what he said last time!  Bernie was saying he thinks Otto will get to be 140 pounds and I said no way, that’s way outside the breed standard.  I can’t find anything online about how much the sire weighed, but I saw that your Diesel is 128 lbs and that the breed standard is about 110 pounds for a male.  How much do you think Otto will weigh, based on the sizes of his parents Embassy and Hasko?

By the way, thanks for the dog food advice – we’re sticking with the Large Breed Puppy food.  Also, a friend of mine in New Jersey, reached out to me the other day because he’s thinking of getting a rottie and I gave him your number and web site.

Thanks and have a great day,

Rebecca Deming Rumpf

PS: Bernie says “Change that!  Don’t say 140!  She’s going to think we’re feeding him too much and he’s getting fat!”  😉  Now he says 130 is his prediction.

Blog: www.CheekyCognoscenti.blogspot.com

 
LOL!!  It is a guy thing!!  Always obsessed about size… 😀 ROFLOL!!Ok, yes, German standard is 50kg (110 lbs) and you want to try and stay as close to that as possible.  Diesel, when he was at his peak show weight (much younger and full muscle) was between 124-128 lbs, but now he is about probably closer to 115-120 if I had to guess, maybe a little less, but he is also VERY tall (ADRK standards allow for a male to be up to 68 cm (26.7 in) and Diesel is 27″!!  Thank goodness close enough that he was never once dq’d (disqualified) on a show, but knowing how large he is and how tall he produces, I always try to breed him to a compact bitch or one with compact lines to balance out.  I can ask Pasquale Hasko’s height/weight because honestly I am not sure.  He was a good size male, but not oversized.  I would probably guess his weight right at 115 as he was not too tall, but very wide for his height and a crazy head piece!!  Embassy is almost dead on the money for the breed standard (40 kg or 90 lbs for a bitch according to the FCI recognized ADRK standard) and a very substantial bitch.  She is coming from Mambo von der Crossner Ranch lines which tend to produce more compact dogs (and of course crazy strong head types) but she also has Jackomo who gives strength, size and substance.  This is one of the MANY reasons I love Embassy’s very balanced and interesting pedigree so much!!  As far as final number for Otto or Lulu… quite frankly anyone’s guess 😉  I am asked that question probably more times than anything else!  What I CAN hope to predict when I breed is head type, bone and muscle substance, character and genetic health.  No breeder, vet, owner, etc. can look at a puppy and state with any certainty the final “numbers.”  Not only are the environmental influences too numerous to contemplate, but even genetically, the options are infinite- maybe he takes after his great grandfather, MAMBO, maybe after Jackomo, Maybe after Hasko, maybe after Embassy, maybe he takes size cues from both sides of the family and is larger than both parents, maybe compact size cues from both sides of the family and is smaller- what I can be pretty sure of is that no matter what the final number is, as long as he has been feed good quality food, he will have excellent substance, a great frame, and of course an amazing personality!  All I can tell you is that a typical male rottie is between 90-130 lbs, with 110 being the average.  Dunjo is about 105 and Crom is right around 103  (Mambo son- typical for GORGEOUS head, heavy bone but more compact builds).So tell your husband the same thing I tell everyone else- do not worry about the numbers, worry about the health and look of your dog!  Go with the weight that is correct for HIS frame.  Loads of love to all of you and thank you for your kind comments on our sweet Serenity.  I enjoying reading your blog very much and I hope you do not mind when I post it on fb.Have a blessed day!
Alice 

GROWTH RATE

Hello.  This is in response to Vico’s owner.  I too am interested in how the rest of the “V” siblings are doing!.  We should have a litter reunion one day 🙂 I have Vance and he is wonderful.  Learning very quickly and is very well behaved.  We are in training classes and will be working towards our CGC and TDI in a few months.  I was curious how the rest of the V litter was growing.  To me Vance seems to not be gaining much weight. But again I am comparing this to my other rotti’s growth rate. I have nothing to compare to so am very curious to hear some weights on everyone to make sure Vance’s progress is on track.  Would love to hear from everyone in the V litter. 
Mere
Hello Mere, as the breeder of both your babies, I am happy to take that question for you!!  You are comparing him to your Marsio pup.  Marsio lines typically grow VERY fast- as a matter of fact, I often find my self struggling to slow down the growth on my Marsio youth.  Example: Beefcake (Maxximum) was 68 lbs at 5-6 months!!!  BUT his end weight was only 102 as an adult- he just did the bulk of his growing upfront.  The end size of your pup is genetically predetermined before he/she is born- of course barring malnutrition, injury to growth plates, etc.  What you want is for him/her to take 2-3 years to get there vs. 6 months.  Serenity (Jeneck lines) was only 72 lbs. at 11 months and was 97 at 2 years.  Bones ALWAYS grow faster than soft tissue and joints, so if a pup, ESPECIALLY a large breed pup grows too fast, you are almost certain to have joint issues.  You want to slow the bones down so that the cartilage, etc. can try and keep up.  Zarabi was coming from Marsio lines, BUT she was also coming out of Henry lines (Whisky’s sire).  Not only is he an INCREDIBLE working German male, but he also, similar to Dunjo lines and Jenecks lines, produces excellent substance, but with a much safer, slower growth rate.  Most Jeneck and Balou lines take 3 years to mature- but that is also why they have such incredible health stats on progeny.  Kleo is also coming from more steady growers- Crni Lotos, Flash Rouse, etc.  So the fact that Vance is growing slow is great news to a breeder like myself 😉  Biggest thing (and I am sure being a vet tech, you know already) is to:
1) make sure that he is a on a QUALITY food so that he gets all that he needs and not to much of what he does not (and please see my NUTRITION page if you have any questions) and
2) make sure that his weight is appropriate to his frame with a preference for a lean build while he is growing.  Please see my webpage on CHD http://guardianRottweilers.com/the-Rottweiler/health/chd/
  for more information on the environmental impact on many joint/bone issues.  A lot of people get so caught up in size with this breed wanting the biggest rottie, but I can assure you that size does not equal beauty.  Arguably one of my most beautiful males, Dunjo, is barely 100 lbs and my most incredibly athletic and drivey female is Akina- maybe 80 lbs soaking wet and my most titled female, Eva, a Marsio grandkid, is also no more than 80 lbs.  Bottom line, don’t get too caught up in the numbers and worry most about the health and frame.  Super glad that Vance is doing well and I have no doubt that he will pass both his CGC and TDI without breaking a sweat!  Loads of love to you all, especially the fur babies and thank you all so much for all the prayers for my brave little princess.  Tahlia goes in for her 4th surgery this Tuesday and they may remove her tube!!  Keep her in your prayers and have a wonderful weekend!Alice

TOO MUCH MOVEMENT?
Hope your holidays are going well, looks like you have some adorable pups to play with. Our girl did great with her first Xmas some shy moments with unfamiliar family members, I didnt have enough porkchops to tie around all their necks LOL.  The thing that has me baffled is once every one is in and settled if anyone moves around she feels she has to bark at them and make a fuss even my son,  is it over load stimulation or what, almost like she is showing off doing her protection thing.Would really appreciate your advice.  Thanks Barb Radcliff and the amazing Ella (Kendra)
 
I am so glad that she enjoyed her first CHRISTmas.  Hmmmm….. my best guess is that it is just a lot of movement that she is not accustomed to, and she is therefore out of her comfort zone.  Without being there and observing first hand, my best advise is to try and get her desensitized to the extra people and extra movement.  Put her in a down stay every time someone wants to move and reward her (treats that she really loves or praising) for remaining in the down stay and remaining calm.  If you have any friends or family that are willing to “play along” you can even make a game of everyone sitting down, maybe in the living room and then at your mark, or even like in the kids game, along with music 😉 have everyone get up and switch seats.  When this happens, who ever passes Ella can give her a treat and some love, or you can just have her remain in a down stay and then receive her treat and love afterwards.  The point is to teach her that just because everyone is getting up, does not me everyone needs to be on alert- that movement can also just be movement 😉  The WORST thing you can do is to just put her up- this DOES NOT fix the problem, and may even exacerbate it.  The biggest mistake anyone can make with a child or a dog is to ignore incorrect behavior- it should be addressed and resolved.Try the tips I gave, and let me know how it goes.  Give my little baby some lovin for me!I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and have a fabulous New Year!!
Alice
 

SOFT STOOL AND WEIGHT
Hi Alice!
It’s been a bit, but wanted to update you on my Francis.  Any suggestions about a grain free food?  Have you ever used the Fromm Grain-Free, our vet seems to think Francis might need it because of loose stool issues.  If you have any suggestions that would be great!  At this time he is about 90 lbs.  BIG, but not fat at all, he’s trim and fiesty, certainly seems to be doing great!  The pictures don’t seem to do justice to his size, when people hear he’s only 10 mths, they never believe it, but his puppy sweet look and playful demeanor always convince otherwise.  Dunjo is about 110lbs?  Just curious if his growth rate seems normal, so we were curious if you had heard size on any of the other pups of his litter.  He’s such a good boy, we just adore him and are so glad we made the decision to get him from you.
I see you are very busy with upcoming litters, but would love to hear back from you.
Thanks so much!
Jenifer
 
Thanks so much for the pics and the e-mail!! Ok, soft stool… from my experienced, there are a few common reasons for this- first, I would deworm him just to be on the safe side.  It is so easy for dogs/puppies to pick up intestinal parasites- licking bums, drinking from puddles, eating poo, chewing on rocks and sticks, etc.  If a bird poops on a stick he picks up, it is that easy to get intestinal parasites.  Even if you have done a fecal float and it came back negative, it does not rule out intestinal parasites- it just means that in that particular sample, your dog was not shedding parasites or ova.  I would suggest 5 days of Panacur (Panacur is a pretty broad spectrum dewormer and using it for 3 days will help eliminate roundworm, whipworm and hook worm- by giving it for 5 days, you also get rid of Giardia) and I would suggest 10 days with Albon- Albon is for coccidia.  By using both of these, you cover almost all the nasty stuff that he could have picked up.  We deworm all of our dogs quarterly regardless of symptoms because of all the travel, show, camping, etc. we do.
My next suggestion would be to start Francis on a probiotic.  Probiotics (like Proviable DC) help restore the normal flora in your gut.  They are super for people and any other animal.  In a dog’s gut, you will have good bacteria and bad bacteria.  The bad bacteria, are, of course what can make you sick, and the good bacteria (normal flora) are what digests food and make it possible for your body to absorb the nutrients.  Stress, antibiotics, travel, illness, intestinal parasites, or change in diet can all interrupt the balance in your gut or your dog’s gut.  So if there is chronic soft stool, adding probiotics can almost always take care of that.
And finally, as your vet suggested, you can try grain free food.  Dogs are NOT omnivores by nature; meaning, they do not naturally eat all the grains, fruit and veggies we as humans think they need.  They are CARNIVORES and by definition usually have a diet almost exclusively in meat, bones and organs.  Some dogs tolerate all the stuff we add to their dog food better than others, and some need to have all the extra stuff taken out so that they can go back to a more natural, grain free diet.  Because he is almost a year, he has done most of his bone growth, so regulating his protein/ fat levels is not as essential as it is an a growing puppy.Your next concern was his size.  He is just right as long as your vet says that he is a healthy weight for his size.  All puppies grow at different rates, so although I am asked all the time what weight the puppy should be at a certain age, it is truly and impossible question to answer.  You have to be able to see your puppy’s growth and know if it is smooth or too fast and/or if the weight is appropriate for the frame.  Dunjo is about 105 pounds- a medium size male; but mom is about 98 pounds, a relatively large bitch, so he may take after dad and be medium size or after mom and be a bit larger or he may fall anywhere in the middle.  Based on his photos, he looks great!  He is a perfect, lean weight and I would not change that!  He still has about a year and some change to finish growing and filling out, so my best guess would be that is final weight would fall around 110 pounds if he is about 90 now.Loads of love to you both, and please let me know if you need anything else.
Alice

LONG HAIRED ROTTWEILER
Hi Alice – I have an interesting question for you – I had a new client come in to the hospital today with a massive 136# male intact rottie – he’s 5 years old and we will be neutering on Friday, my question for you is, the owner claims he met the stud and bitch on premise, but the dog has a long coat!  I mean ear hair and feathers!!  – Is it a recessive gene in the rottie line that appears some times (that what the owner claims the breeder said) the dog comes from German and American lines – it looked really wEIrd!  and this is a prominant breeder to our area – Now you know why we like you so much.  just fill me in – confused – Susan
 
When breeders say German /American there is VERY rarely ANYTHING German in the pedigree for MANY generations!  Poor breeding can cause a longer coat- I have heard of it- but so can crossing (breeding to other dogs to get size, etc.- Mastifs, Great Danes, and mountain dogs are commonly used)  It is not something that just “pops up”.  One or both of the parents had incorrect coats OR had family full of incorrect coats.  It is just like any other genetic fault and must be passed on from one or both parents.  Many breeders just either out of ignorance (they simply do not know the breed standard, what confirmation, health and character should be and they are either too lazy or too dispassionate to learn) OR indifference (they know the dog or bitch they are breeding is incorrect, but they do not care because they already have time and money invested in the dog and intend on “earning” it back) I have seen people KNOWINGLY breed dogs with bad hearts, serious character issues, bad bites, bad hips, etc. and I have seen those same “breeder” then turn around and sell that dog to another stupid breeder after it produced too many pups with health or character issues!!!  And really, he met the stud and bitch?  How does he know?  Has he seen official documents with those dogs’ pics and microchip numbers and genetic testing to prove the dogs he looked at were indeed the parents?  Because I have had MANY breeders try to introduce dogs that were NOT AT ALL the correct dog!  I had a breeder in California introduce a dog as MUCK vd SCHERAU nearly A YEAR after MUCK died!!  (not to mention the fact that I had seen Muck in person and this dog was WAY off!  It is just another reason I blame AKC for the corruption of so many dog breeds!  There is no accountability!  I can register anything I want and breed anything I want!  When my kennel was AKC inspected, I made copies of all of my dogs health clearances, titles, stud records, etc. for him so that he could have his own copy if he needed- he DID NOT EVEN LOOK AT THE PAPERS!  He did not care who had health clearances or who was who!  I swear if I had a dobie and a German Shepherd in a kennel and told him it was one of my breeding pairs he would have cared less!  I even asked him if I could get a dog or 2 out for him and work them and he told me that he was not interested in that!  What a shame!!  That is simply not tolerated in Germany and a dog with a bad coat would simply NEVER be bred!  It takes MANY generations to screw up the coat that significantly (just like all the other issues “American” rotties have- you do not lose bone, substance, character and health in one generation!  Medium length coat is acceptable, but then if you breed 2 medium length coated dogs together and get one that is slightly longer and sell it as breedable instead of requiring it to be spayed or neutered- that slightly longer coated Rottweiler breeds another Rottweiler with an incorrect coat and now their pups are slightly longer than the parents… Pity 🙁  Super parents MAY produce a pup with some slight diviations, that is just the way the genetic dice roll- but you will never go from a short, tight coat to ear feathers in one breeding!!  and just to show the ignorance of both the consumer and the breeder, the term RECESSIVE in genetics implies that BOTH parents must be carries in order for the train to be passed.. so again, bad blood on both sides of the pedigree! what a shame!!  (and again- that is only if the parents were indeed both Rottweilers, which I rather have my doubts about as well!  I have seen WAY too many poorly bred Rottweilers and I have NEVER seen a Rottweiler with a coat that long and ear feathers!!  I would almost bet money that the dog was mixed…)  I can go down to the animal shelter right now get a chihuahua, poodle, dalmatian, and a lab and call AKC and tell them that Diesel and Serenity just had 4 pups and get the paperwork mailed to me and now all 4 of those dogs are “pure bred AKC registered Rottweilers!”
Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox now.  Hope that answered your question.
Have a great day hun and loads of love to the family!

Alice
 

EAR TAPING
Hola chica!
I have a question for you…I know I had seen you mention on Facebook before about taping the pups ears and was wondering if you could give me more information and a how-to? After his last growth spurt Rhys’s left ear is laying all wonky :/
Other than that he’s doing well…didn’t understand why he could go on the inflatable waterslide with the kids at Brett’s birthday party this weekend lol. He comes to work with me most nights that I work so he gets lots of socialization with different people and dogs and also the added benefit of tiring his butt out 😉 He’s does great on walks, the other morning he had mop on a leash trying to eat him from across the street. He reacted once with a rumble & a bark, I corrected him and we kept walking down the street while the woman dragged her barking, snarling, spinning mophead down the street 😛
Hope all is well in Rottie land….let me know about the ear stuff when you can….I know you’re kinda busy sometimes 😉
Kristin
 
hola senorita!
Good for him!  I still think my Diesel had the BEST reaction EVER at our ex-neighbors dog.  When we first moved into our old house (not rottieopolis 😉 LOL) we had a neighbor who had one of those mops on a string.  We were having our fence installed IMMEDIATELY after we moved int, but they had to put the fence posts in first and then they had to set 48 hours and then we got some rain, so we ended up waiting almost 2 weeks before we got the fence in… soo… in the mean time, EVERYTIME the neighbors dog came out, all it did was charge the fence and yap its bloody head off!  Diesel ignored it and ignored it and ignored it.  Our neighbor was unfortunately just as obnoxious as their dog (the whole dog resembling owner thing! LOL) and one day, as she was out with her dog, I tried to make some polite conversation and discuss schools as she also had 2 children.  She immediately let me know that the school her kids were going to was so much superior to the school my kids were going to and began to enumerate why.  Diesel wondered up and sat politely down beside me as we were chatting and of course her little crazy dog came up barking it head off.  Diesel stood up and the dog backed off a moment and then once again charged the fence and began barking again.  Diesel lifted his leg and wizzed directly on the little yapper with the owner and I standing right there!!!  It was WONDERFUL!!  I am not sure if he picked up on my own contempt with the owner and the dog or if he had just had enough!  He has NEVER marked anyone or anything other than the trees outside.  So it was COMPLETELY uncharacteristic but HILARIOUS!!!!!!!
Ok, back to the serious question!
Ears!  yes, unfortunately, for whatever reason, the ears can sometimes start to go off when the pups teeth change.  I had a German Judge tell me once that this happens because the pups hold their ears different trying to cope with the discomfort and pain of teething.  I really need to get some pics posted so that I can explain better, but here goes….
Look at the way the ear should lay when the dog is at attention.  You will see that there is an upside down triangle with the bottom point being the tip of the ear and the top corners of the triangle being where the ear folds.
Ok, take the top corners of the triangle and fold them together so that you make a taco with the outside (where the fur is) of the ear now folded as the inside of your taco
(lose you yet?)
now tape this.  Just wrap the tape around this taco several times.  You can use surgical tape (like the stuff for bandages) if your pup will leave it alone, or you can use duct tape if you really need it to stay put.  It will look funny, but it is really quite effective!  Leave this on for aobut 2-3 days and then take the tape off and see how the ear lays.  If it is still not correct, tape again the next day and leave on again for 2-3 days.  It typically only takes 2-3 sessions to correct the ears.
Do let me know if you have any more questions and as always, give everyone our love!
Best Regards!
Alice
 

AGE TO NEUTER
Alice
        Good Day, I was wondering if you can answer a question/give my your opinion on something.  My name is Jeff and we purchased Niko (Guardian Kango Von Gottschalk from Dunjo x Whiskey) in March of 2011.  He is a “pet” puppy and we will be having him fixed.  Would you give me your opinion on what a good age for us to have this done?  We was going to hold off until he is about 1 1/2-2 years of age from the advice of our vet. to let him “fill” out.  I have heard that when you do this that the dog won’t get as big, any truth to this?
        We are very pleased with him and how smart he is.  I am going to try and post a video on Facebook of me shooting him (with my finger) and him going down to play “dead”.  My wife just loves that, although sometimes he “dies” slowly. LOL.  My wife says he can’t be too dead with his tail wagging like that.
        Thanks for your time and your opinion is greatly appreciated.
                           Jeff
 
How are you?  SO great to hear from you and little Niko!!  Tooo cute about him taking his time to die– I never said they were not smart dogs 😉 LOL
hmmm…. a long time disputed questions… and I unfortunately most of my experience is with the “unfixed” dogs 😉  yes, according to the testosterone theory, by holding off on the neutering, he will get the male hormones and fill out more, but he will also change in the way he interacts with with other male dogs, and possible with you once his “big boy” hormones come it.  He will not be as trusting with other male dogs and may even challenge them.  And with his people pack, if someone has not already assumed the alpha role, he may vie for it.  This does not mean your puppy going form sweet Niko to Cujo over night, so now worries there 😉  It just means he may, quite like a teenager, try to see what he can get away with- you call him and instead of sprinting toward you, he takes his time just to show you that he is being defiant; or try to push past you coming through a doorway, etc.  I always tell everyone to weight the good and bad for themselves and decide what they choose to do.  I do not put a time frame on the nuetering, because I want it to be an individual decision that is right for you and your family and your dog.  Just remember if you choose to wait, of course be responsible- do not let him wonder off and be aware they he will be more likely to want to wonder off especially if there is a pretty girl in season (or really even an ugly girl in season LOL ) and as I said, be aware that his dog dynamics with other males may change, so be responsible there as well.
Once you do neuter, it will take a couple of months for the hormones to completely leave his blood stream as well, so just be aware of that also.
Please do not hesitate if you have any more questions, and have a wonderful weekend!
Kisses to Niko and love to the rest of your family!
Alice
 

PRONG COLLARS
Hi Alice,
I’ve tried sending you facebook messages but for some reason they haven’t gone through – at least I don’t think they have…. so if this is a repeat -forgive me.
I just wanted your opinion…..  Febea is 6 months old now & has been awesome & very well behaved, but lately she seems to be getting more rebellious & not listening as much – mostly when we’re out on walks.  Do you think they go through a “teenager” phase?
Also – what’s your opinion on choker collars?  I was hoping to get her to walk good while she was little so I wouldn’t need one (I’ve been told they can bend their wind pipe) and she used to do wonderful, but has been pulling a lot lately.
Just curious of your opinion – you do have a “little” more experience than I do!  LOL! I feel like I’m very firm with her but Daron says I spoil her.  Maybe I’m not being a strong enough pack leader?
Thanks!
Sarah
 

Sorry Sarah!!  I just checked my fb page and your messages are there.  I just do not check my personal fb page very often 🙁

 Ok, you are correct, she is getting older and “testing” her boundaries.  You might have to do some retraining with her.  Start with the “leave it” command at home.  Use this with favorite treats or toys.  Place them just in front of her and tell her to “leave it.”  When she complies, reward her with another treat or toy.  As she gets more proficient, make her wait longer or make it more tempting (some yummy cooked chicken, etc.)
Now that she has mastered the “leave it” start practicing this on your walk with her.  Everytime you see another dog, squirrel, ANY distraction, make her STOP, SIT and tell her to “leave it!”  DO not even allow her to look at the object.  She must learn to COMPLETELY ignore it when given the “leave it” command.
Choke collars and prong collars.  I do not have a problem with either, but ONLY when used correctly.  They are meant to provide a sharp, quick correction.  If the dog simply leans into it and pulls it tight the entire walk, he/she will simply learn to ignore the discomfort and it will be pointless- not to mention that, used incorrectly, both can be dangerous.  I personally have never used a prong collar for any of my dogs, not even rescues or difficult dogs.  We use fur savors- kind of a German choke collar.  When used correctly, they provide enough correction on their own.  Remember, the whole point of the prong collar or a choker is to provide quick, sharp corrections, and then relax upon compliance so that the dogs essentially trains itself that pulling results in correction and compliance results in comfort.
 

Before trying a prong collar, I would work with a fur saver.  You might be surprised at how effective a fur saver is when used correctly.  It is consistent training that teaches the dog much more than over-the-top out-of-the-blue corrections.  When re-training on correctly walking, you must be patient and be prepared to spend an hour going absolutely nowhere.  It is repetition until the lightbulb goes on that pulling is ineffective and we do not progress that way.

 
As far as being the pack leader- it does not mean that you cannot spoil her 😉  It just means that you must be firm and follow through on commands and corrections.
I hope this helps hun, but if not, let me know so that we can look for other solutions.  I am REALLY sorry that I did not see the other messages sooner!!
Have a great day and kisses to Febea!!
Alice

E-COLLAR
Hi Alice,

I am wondering what your opinion of using e-collars for training is. Gracie continue to be a delightful dog – very social and loving. She knows most of the basic commands very well, although the more precise elements of the heel need work. She is very smart and learns very fast. One of the struggles is obeying commands when distracted. Another challenge is self-control when she meets people. She loves people (for which we are most grateful), but she gets so excited and doesn’t listen. Ideally, I’d like her to sit and let people pet her. We rescued a lab mix named Walter, and the two dogs love each other. They get a bit too physical at times and we want them to tone it down when we tell them to. Gracie is usually the instigator of the rough play and the least responsive to command. I have rheumatoid arthritis and, though fairly well controlled, need to be careful about having to wrestle a big strong dog into compliance. In essence, Gracie is a very good dog with these select behaviors that really need work.

We contacted a company that trains in the use of e-collars and had one session with them. We have been using the e-collars for a short time with some success. They have been very effective at interrupting the rough play between the two dogs, which is very important for their safety and health. The lab mix is very responsive to the e-collar at very low levels of stimulation, so it is working well with him. When Gracie is not distracted, she works well at lower levels as well. However, when she gets distracted, in true Rotti form, she is far more strong willed than Walter and the level of stimulation required to achieve compliance is much higher – 50-55. I have some ambivalence about using the collar and I know that is not helpful. I would really appreciate your honest opinion on this matter, as I trust you so very much. Thank you in advance for your help.

Blessings, Jody

How wonderful to hear from you Jody <3  And glad that miss Gracie is doing ‘mostly’ well 😉  True to form, all Rotties can sometimes be ‘rotten’weilers 😉 lol  
When I was a police officer, we used e-collars, so I got the opportunity to get more comfortable with them and have even worn one!  I think that, much like a fur-saver, they can be a useful tool WHEN USED CORRECTLY  and WHEN NECESSARY which is sounds like you are.  Not every dog needs an e-collar and not every dog is even responsive to an e-collar.  However, if it is working on them, then, it is being an effective tool.  I would not worry so much about it harming her, if that is where some of your ambiguity is coming from.  Rotties are pretty tough and the e-collar is not supposed to be a correction as much as an attention getter so that you can correct the behavior.  However, once they are trained, it really is not a necessary tool.  The biggest thing that you need is consistency and a game plan.  You do not have to over power a dog to be effective at stopping a behavior- I have taught my kids to handle the dogs since they were toddlers.  Go back to the basics with her- sit, down, here and stay.  Even if she is already doing pretty well at those, she needs to be SUUUPER at them.  You need to be essentially practicing them every day, several times a day.  Then, when you think she has them pretty good, practice them everywhere you go with as much distractions as you can- a walk, for instance, should start out with running through a routine of basic obedience for a good 5 minutes; then, along the way, every time a distraction presents itself, go through the routine again.  If your praise and attention is not sufficient for gaining her attention, find something she simply cannot resist- chicken livers, bits of grilled beef, some baked salmon, etc. Then, find some friends that are willing to help you.  When they come up, they also put her through her basic obedience and offer her the great yummies in exchange for compliance- but above all, you must make it VERY clear to them that they cannot acknowledge her if she is not sitting patiently.  I can absolutely guarantee you that, with consistency, it will not take very long at all to break this bad habit.  I just bought my Vlinder back from my trainer in Germany.  She is a daughter of Pantera and Boda that I sold to my trainer in Germany as a puppy.  I watched her grow and became more and more regretful of selling her and long story short, made a deal to get her back (of course and unfortunately, no where near what I sold her for :/  Hans both knew her value and knew how badly I wanted her! lol)  Well, Hans trained her for sport (Schtuzhund) and more on point, he is a pretty good size German/Dutch guy and always has his dogs jump up and get caught in a bear hug when they get something right.  It is fun to watch, not so fun to be on the receiving end- especially since none of us are anywhere near the right size to pull it off :/  When I first brought her home, she jumped like a kangaroo on EVERYONE and completely flattened my kids on numerous occasions.  Just like with Gracie, not at all out of anything malicious, simply excited and wanting attention.  Thankfully, my family did not need any training on how to correct and ignore and then reward her sitting and asking politely.  Within a week, when she started to jump, a simply “AH!” was all it took to remind her, and within 2 weeks, she no longer even tried.  The same with everyone that came over- even if it was someone coming over for something unrelated to the dogs, I explained that we were trying to teach her that it was not appropriate so I needed them to COMPLETELY ignore her until she sat down and asked politely to be petted.  So now, when she gets super excited, she runs and SLIDES into a sitting position right at your feet 😉  Still my enthusiastic little girl, but now, a well behaved enthusiastic little girl.
Same thing with the rough play- set boundaries and make them consistent.  Give them interactive toys that they can play with- tugs, a hanging tire, etc. so that they can still have fun, blow off steam and even work off some energy, but understand that it is not to get out of hand.  Find a word that you want to use to mean that you are done; they are done- for ours, it is “fooey”, but it can be “enough”, “all done”, etc.  When you give that word, they need to know to stop immediately and sit in front of you to await further instructions.  If they do not already know the “look at me” or focus command, or even if they do already know it, work it in with all of their other training so that it is locked in.  So, you would tell them to stop (with whichever word you decided to use) and then call them to you and put them in a sit with a “look at me” or “focus”  and then reward according.  The tricks to making this work are 1) they have to both be rock stars on the obedience- I cannot stress that enough- just like a kid learning the ABC’s or how to count- you do it over and over and over- not until you can get it right, but until you cannot get it wrong.  2) you need to catch the rough play BEFORE it gets out of hand so they are still able to redirect to you.  This is where the e-collar might come in handy with initial training- when there is not immediate compliance, you can use the e-collar to get their attention- but again, you still have to do your follow through- call, sit, focus, reward.  YOU are the correct, not the collar- it is simply to get attention and redirect.
Training and correction will not happen overnight, so be patient- patience and consistency are the 2 most important elements in training and as long as you have both, it is nearly impossible to fail.  Please follow up with me in a month or 2 and let me know how it is going <3  And tell that little Rotten-weiler that her other mama said to behave 😉
Hugs and love,
Alice  
 

RESCUE QUESTIONS
Hi Alice,
Zach and I bought a beautiful puppy from you back in February last year from the Q litter, Lucy.  Lucy is a year and a half now, and doing great! She LOVES other dogs.  We just got word of another female Rottweiler that needs rescued.  We do have some concerns and wanted to ask someone with some Rottweiler knowledge! The other female is pure breed, 2 years old, and was rescued from a shelter.  Now the couple that rescued her have found they do not have room for her, and she is staying in the garage:(.  Our hearts went out, but this 2 year old is not spayed, pottie trained, or crate trained, and has always been an outside dog.  They said she gets along great with dogs and kids, and has high energy.  We do live in a condo in Chicago.
My questions would be, how hard would it be to crate train a 2 year old? How does a 2 year old adjust to living from outside to inside?
We would require they get her spayed.
We wanted to reach out to you to see if you had any concerns we haven’t thought of.
Thank you!
Mallory
 

Well, before I answer any questions, I am holding the e-mail hostage for some updated pics of Lucy 😉

Ok, ok, I guess I can go ahead and answer.  😀
That is great that you want to rescue a rottie.  There are so many that need and deserve a good home.  A few things to be careful of: First, after she is spayed, it will be a couple of months before the hormones are completely gone in her bloodstream, so her opinion of other females may be guarded (females take breeding and dominance just as seriously as the boys do, sometimes even moreso as a dominant female is permitted to slaughter the pups of a subordinate female).  Not all females are same sex dominant just like not all males are same sex dominant- I even had 2 females that remained best friends and had litters at the same time and climbed in and out of each others boxes with each others pups!  But I have also had females that wanted to really fight each other, so just be careful in introductions and make sure they are ON LEASH with 3 people- one to hold each of the leads of the females and a 3rd to offer any assistance if needed.  Do not be too alarmed by anything I am writing as I would recommend the SAME thing to ANYONE one getting a second dog rescue or not.  Second, you want to make sure both Lucy and the new female are not resource guarders as this can also provoke a dispute.  If they are, no worries, it can be corrected, it is just something to be aware of.  I would also make sure the new female was up to date on shots, negative for heartworm and have a stool sample tested.  If she has been mostly outside, then she may have picked up some intestinal parasites.  Again, not a big deal, just something you want to correct if it is an issue.  Most intestinal parasites are quickly and easily gotten rid of with a oral dewormer.
 
Potty training.  It is the same at any age- what you put into it will be what you get out of it.  Because she has never been to your house, she does not know your rules, so it is a perfect opportunity for her to have a fresh start.  Just like with a puppy, KEEP HER IN THE CRATE ANYTIME YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO GIVE HER YOUR UNDIVIDED ATTENTION.  Every accident she has that goes uncorrected is only continuing to “train” her to potty inside your house.  Every accident that is caught “midstream” is reinforcing to her that this is not acceptable and all dogs, especially rotties want to please.  I have potty trained several adults that were purchased or rescued as adults, and as I said, it is really no different than potty training a puppy.  There are no shortcuts and the first few weeks will be very demanding of your attention to time and activities, but if you put the effort in at the beginning then you are set.
 
Finally, I would try to push a little bit more on the family that has her now.  It is unlikely that they decided one day to rescue her and then later decided they did not have the time.  There must be a reason.  Just let them know that you will not be dissuaded by any issues, but that if you know ahead of time, you can make sure you set everything up for her to succeed (i.e. if pottying is her vice, you can make sure you stay on top of that; if resource guarding is her vice, I would be very happy to talk you through some very effective techniques; if she likes to chew, again, easy enough to correct, but it will just be a much easier transition for the rescue if you are prepared ahead of time, have your bitter apple on hand or any other tools you will need.)
 
I hope it goes really well for you and really look forward to seeing miss Lucy playing with her new friend.  If you decide to make a go of it and need anymore help/advice, it will be my pleasure.
Have a great day!
Alice
 

ADOPTING SIBLINGS
Have any of your other families who got two puppies at once had difficulty getting the puppies to pay attention to and bond with human family members?  Do you have any tips or suggestions?  When they are awake, our puppies are so focused on romping around and pouncing with one another that they could care less about humans (unless it’s food time).  My husband found a bunch of articles on the internet that say to never ever adopt two puppies at once because they will superbond with one another and never develop the close relationship with their human pack that they would if they were brought home one at a time, adding the other pup ideally around two years of age.  We interviewed a trainer that we really like last week, and she’s starting with us on Tuesday.  She said that we have extra challenges with two littermates, and suggested walking and training the puppies separately and spending separate one-on-one time with each of them every day.  My husband was freaked out by the articles he read, thinking how dangerous it would be to have two big, powerful dogs who were in their own little brat pack, looking to each other instead of to their humans, and one of the more extreme articles went so far as to say two littermates can only be raised successfully in two totally separate kennels, never allowed to play together, only taken out one at a time.  That sounds crazy to me!  Bernie agreed wait to see how training goes before making rash decisions, and yesterday for the first time we managed to each play with a puppy separately in the same room, with different toys – up until then, they only wanted to play with/fight over the toys between themselves.  They are so beautiful, so sweet, such affectionate little dogs, and I think that maybe there’s just more POTENTIAL for things to go wrong with two puppies at once.  If our trainer thinks we can make it work, I know we can do it.  The puppies were asleep the whole time she was here last week (initial consult) so she hasn’t even met them properly yet.  But if you have any other words of wisdom from your experience, please let me know.  We really value your expertise, and we are committed to providing a good home for our puppies!     Thanks so much,  Rebecca & Bernie

I have had literally dozens of families take home a pair of siblings, including a veterinarian that adopted 2 Marsio daughters end of last year, and I have always preferred to raise them in pairs.  They help train each other, they keep each other company, and they help wear each other out.  I have never, not once, had anyone complain about their dogs bonding more with each other than with them.  The websites that you found the information on, were they breed specific?  Were they talking about Rottweilers?  I know there are some breeds of dogs that are very independent and do not relay as much on people, but the Rottweiler is such a social, affectionate and devoted breed.  I honestly don’t think that even a Rottweiler that is completely ignored will lose his affinity for people, let alone one that is treated like a member of the family.  I do also recommend individual bonding with them- Serenity sleeps with Tahlia, Eva sleeps with Liliana, and of course my Diesel is always in my bed.  I get updates all the time from Megan on her 2 sisters.  Not only has she raised them together from the beginning, but she has a farm and has a good bulk of her time divided amongst her other animals, and I am sure she would tell you how deeply attached she is to each of them and vice-versa.  If you would like, I could see if she is open to communication so that maybe she can give you an unbias, educated, professional opinion about have 2 at the same time, and siblings none the less 😉

I would definitely suggest loads of individual bonding as I am sure that will happen naturally anyway, and of course good training, which would have to be done regardless of one dog or 2.  Good training will not only help establish your role as pack leader, but is also another great bonding experience for you and your babies.

I have learned over the years that there are a LOT of dog opinions.  (Just like with my 2 legged kids).  Some are well intentioned, some are somewhat accurate, and some are totally off the mark.  The same with training.  When I first embarked (hahah, emBARKed) on the dog experienced over a decade ago, I read dozens of books, watched so many training videos, and attended tons of seminars.  I found that unfortunately, no two agreed on everything, and the more that I have worked with my own dogs, I have decided that I also do not agree with all of them.  I take pieces that I like and beneficial techniques from each one and incorporate them into something that works for me.  Some advice maybe is great, but not breed appropriate, and some is just a bad experience of one individual turned into gospel.

I can tell you that definitely, when my dogs are outside playing together, they are a pack, and when my brothers dogs come over, it is an even larger pack, but I am the pack leader, so it does not matter.  Even if you got dogs years apart (Diesel is 9 and Serenity is 5), they will still bond with each other and act as a pack together and sometimes be more interested in playing with each other than you (just like kids!) but it does not mean that you do not also have a very, very special place in their heart.

I think you had two main concerns- them not bonding with you and their functioning as a pack and becoming dangerous.  I hope I have addressed both of those for you.  Any time a group of dogs are together, or really even it it is only one dog any his people family, the dog will always treat his family (2 and 4 legged) as his pack.  As long as YOU are the pack leader, it is a non issue.

Kisses and love to my babies, and please keep me informed on how things go.

Best Regards,

Alice

 


AGGRESSION

Hello!
Quick update for you. Atlas is doing well. He is right around 49#, and has lost almost all of his incisors, with his adult teeth coming in nicely. He is doing well in his class and the instructor, who has been training as a full-time profession for 15 years has said that she thinks he may be one of the smartest dogs she has had attend. I make sure we do 3-4 little sessions a day, and that has kept us a few weeks ahead of the class. He is a dream out in public, I never have any issues with him and he is SOOO well behaved.
Which is why I’m emailing you. Lately Atlas has been getting a little… pushy… with me. In the past day or three, there have been a few times that I have told him to leave something, or taken something he is chewing on away from him (always replacing with a toy) and he gets pretty worked up about it. He’ll start growling at me, barking, jumping left and right, and tonight he snipped at me a time or two. Usually, I ignore him and these antics, thinking that once he sees this won’t get a reaction out of me he’ll stop, but tonight was different. He’ll do things like this, but once he knows he is in the wrong, he folds like a stack of cards. It used to seem kind of playful, but tonight it was a little worry some.
What do I need to do in these situations? I hate the fact that he is so well behaved when we are out, but here he displays a little more “I’m going to do what I want” attitude. What are some steps I can take to curb this? He has to sit before going into a room, always after me into rooms or up/down stairs. Has to sit and stay for food and water. Waits to go outside… is he getting frustrated with all the rules?

Thank you in advance. I’ll be sure to get some pictures to you soon!
– Matthew

Although it is very age appropriate for your puppy to try to push the boundaries, just as any child, it can not be tolerated, just as you would not tolerate it in your children.  If he were with his pack and he challenged the alpha male, he would get bit and snapped at.  I am obviously not suggesting you bite your dog 😉  But you do need to correct him with a stern voice and even physically if the situation warrants it.  Although it may not seem like an issue at his age and size, if left unchecked, he will continue to “practice” the behavior believing it to be acceptable.  IGNORING BAD BEHAVIOR IS NEVER THE ANSWER!!  By ignoring bad behavior, you are training him that this is acceptable.
 
No, you are certainly not giving him too many rules.  That is great that you are doing all of those things to establish his position in the pack, now all you need to do is reinforce YOUR position in the pack.  Start by grabbing his collar firmly and in a “i-mean-business” voice tell him “no” or “leave it” or whatever your command will be.  The trick is CONSISTENCY.  Everyone who is in the family must be on the same page.  Every time he is allowed to get away with it, you are “training” him that this behavior is acceptable.  The first few times you correct him, you will likely be met with resistance- just as if you were to allow your kids to have ice cream every day for dinner and then one day decide that they must eat their vegetables instead.  But be calm and assertive and patient and you will be able to teach him.
 
The likely reason he is so well behaved when you are out and other times is because you have consistently trained him in these areas; whereas you have ignored and uncorrected his other issues so now he wants to see just how much he really can get away with (pardon all the kid analogies, but with 4 kids, they are what I relate to the most!).  Again, it would be like letting your kids stay up every Friday night, so now they want to try for Saturday too… problem is, without a clear definition of what is and is not permitted, soon it will be EVERY NIGHT that you are fighting with them over bedtime!
 
I will be leaving for Europe for 2 weeks on Monday, so I may not be prompt in responding to e-mails while I am gone, but please do keep me updated, and of course let me know if there is anything else I can help with.  When I get back, I will fo0llow up with you to see if the new techniques are helping.
Give him some lovin’ for me!
Alice
 

AKC SHOWS and DNA INQUIRY
Just a couple of questions– First, did you happen to catch the Westminster?  If so did you see the Rottie that was in the final in the working group.  Andrea and I were watching and didn’t like him.  I know we aren’t judges, so I was wondering what you thought.   Second, we have seen on a couple of the sires that DNA deposit reserved.  I was wondering what that ment and why that would be done?  Thanks.

I never watch any of the AKC events… I am not a fan of “the good ol boys club” nor do I like the style of showing nor the “type” of dog in character or confirmation.  In AKC style shows they “hand stack” the dogs (this is where they pull up on the collar and out on the tail to straighten the top line and then they move the legs with their hands into the proper position to create correct angles on the dog even if the dog does not naturally have good angles)  Unfortunately, you can take a medium quality dog and straighten out his top line and create better angles than the dog actually has, not to mention that it showcases the handler rather than the dog.  And what is that trotting around the ring in heels, a skirt or a business suit and dress shoes??  In sieger style shows, it is not about the handler, it is about the dog.  First, the dog must have enough drive and enough training to stack itself and get itself into position and hold it with out the reward of treats (no food baiting in Sieger style shows like you see in AKC events) and the dog must have the health, stamina, cardio vascular fitness and strong joints to actually RUN sometimes for 20+ minutes.  So the handler is much more practically dressed in jeans and sneakers…  Not to mention that because the dogs must be physically fit and must be correct in size, they are healthier, heartier, heavier bone and substance and of course correct in head type and have full temperament…  So, to answer your questions, no I stopped fighting with the TV several years ago and opted to not watch those events 😉 LOL

 
Anything imported into the US, before it can have offspring registered to it, is required to have DNA on file (this is was what caused the delay in Tosca’s litter- I had to have DNA on file with her before AKC would register her litter- and unfortunately I submitted it during the time of year when they are crazy busy!!)  So, all of my imported males and females will have DNA on file as soon as I import them.  I also have DNA on most of my dogs born here as well just because I think it sets a good president and puts everything I have out there.  The purpose of DNA preservation is to verify bloodlines.  Honestly, I do not know the purpose of AKC requiring it on imports other than to possible start getting more DNA collected because with the imports, AKC WILL NOT have DNA on the parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. unless they were also imported, so unfortunately there is really nothing to compare it to.  With the dogs already here in the US or from US bloodlines, there are more samples to compare it to, so it does help somewhat in preventing some of the false pedigrees.  (With AKC, one simply has to call or e-mail that male A and female B had a litter of pups and then you receive the puppies papers in the mail, so without DNA, anyone could claim to have a litter sired by Crom or Diesel or Marsio even if those males NEVER bred the female 🙁  I could literally go down to the animal shelter, pick up some labs, poodles, and chihuahua and get papers on them as Rottweilers!!)  This is why I, unfortunately, give little stock to someone who has a “purebred AKC registered dog” because I already know how lax those standards are 🙁  And it is of course the reason I choose to use import lines that HAVE been verified, not guessed at!
Ok, sorry, I’ll get off my soap box now 😉
Please let me know if you have any more questions hun and give my boy some lovin’!!
Alice
 

PUPPY NIPPING
Hi Alice,
Febea is still doing great!  I just have a couple of questions- could use your advice on…
Her constant biting at us and everything else, including the dog.  Daron pops her in the nose with success but Vanessa & I struggle to either get it in the right spot or to do it hard enough.  I’m afraid I’m going to hurt her.
Also- she is constantly biting Katie, the Golden Retriever, as hard as she can.  She especially like her tail & ears.  We try to keep her from doing it (which is a full time job – LOL) because we’re afraid of Katie biting her back & hurting her.  I’m wondering if I interfere too much?
About when do they start growing out of this age?  I’m also wondering what your opinion is on Cesar’s “biting with your hand” method rather than bopping on the nose?
I’m going to see if I can start getting her to walk on the treadmill to burn some energy today- but she may be too young yet?  She absolutely hates the cold so far- even to go out to use the bathroom, and I think it’s too cold for walks right now! 🙂
Thank you again,
Sarah
 

🙂  You are too cute!  Yes, it is the age, but it will be most of the first year before she out grows the teething stage, and since she is only a couple of month old now, waiting for her to grow out of it is not a practical option.  You will not hurt her, or if you do, then she will yelp, but get the message.  The Cesar way works too-same concept-get her attention and make it clear that no means no! The point is to do something that 1) is not comfortable so that she knows you are displeased and 2) gets her attention so that she knows exactly what behavior you want her to stop.  Right now, she is not taking you seriously and until she does, she will continue.  She did not bite here because we did not (and never have 😉 tolerated it- even baby Ethan will pop her if she nips.  Even if it is a little uncomfortable for you or her, she must learn- not only are puppy teeth sharp, but continuing this behavior into adolescence will certainly not be a good idea.  Be firm, be consistent, be fair, and give praise when she complies.  Discipline is always necessary with pups as it is with kids, but so is praise and reward.

 
With your other dog, let her take care of things.  If she does get enough and bites back, Febea will learn her lesson.  Your golden, if she has been tolerant until now, will likely only correct if it becomes absolutely necessary.  Because Febea came from a very large litter (10!) she has had loads of siblings to chew on and be chewed on by, so now you must teach her that the rules are different for the “2 legged” 😉
 
She is not too young for the treadmill, just remember to make it fun for her and have realistic expectations.
I hope this help hun, and of course, please continue to ask away on any questions you may have.
Best Regards,
Alice
 
 

DOMINANT/ STUBBORN PUPPY

HI Alice,

I hope your daughter is improving!  We were able to see watch your news story via the link you put on facebook.  Wow- that was a huge fall!!!

Whenever you have some time (which I bet is few and far between right now) we could use some advice for Xodus.  He is growling and biting our at my daughters when they pick him up or go up to him when he is sleeping.  We roll him right away, tell him “No” and hold him down until he becomes submissive.  We do this every time and he is still continuing this behavior; it almost seems to be getting worse.  He seems to be a very vocal dog and I am not sure if that is because he is a male or if that is just his personality.  PLEASE let us know if we are correcting him the right way or if we should be doing something else.  He is a very confident little guy and we don’t want him to think as he gets older and bigger that he can continue to treat us like this.

Thank you!

Kelli
 
I am very sorry that I did not get back to you sooner Kelli.  I have been trying to catch up on some of my e-mails here and there, but when you are PAGES behind, catching up is pretty difficult :(Xodus!  That cocky confidence comes from both grandpa on mom’s side and Crom.  As strong of a spirit as he has, a simply no think you will not work with him, and you do not have to worry about breaking his spirit either.  Rottweiler, REAL Rottweilers, from good working lines, require different training than softer dogs like labs.  That is why I ALWAYS tell anyone interviewing a trainer to be sure that the trainer SPECIFICALLY has experience with a working breed dog.  It is imparitive that you make it clear while he is young who is in charge.  It is the same thing his mom and siblings would do.  Mom would growl first, then if that was not respected, she would snap, and if that was not respected, she would nip.  That is her job as mom to teach them respect.  Siblings do the same thing!  If he was playing with a brother or sister and got too rough, they would turn around and bite him REALLY good!  Of course I am not suggesting that you bite him 😉 BUT you do have to make a comparable correction.  You can either grab his muzzle FIRMLY and strongly tell him no, or you can pop him on the nose and strongly tell him no.  Either way, here are the important things to remember:
1) that the VERBAL command ALWAYS acccompanies the physical correction.  The same way mom will growl when snapping- she wants him to learn to respect the growl so that later, all he needs is the growl.  You want to teach him the same thing- that the word “no” or “drop it” or “leave it” etc. is followed by a physical correction so that eventually he learns to respect the work without the physical correction.
2) The moment he complies, you must praise and pet him lavishly.  This accomplishes 2 things- it rewards him for the desired behavior and ultimately any child or puppy wants to please and it also shows him that the same hand that corrects also give praise and affection the same way a mom would nip with her mouth but also use that same mouth to lick and nuzzle her pup.
3) CONSISTENCY.  This is the biggest fail for most owners.  EVERYONE in his family MUST be on the same page.  If grandma lives with you and she let the kids have ice cream and cookies for dinner but you insist on eating veggies first- you will have defiant kids and struggles at EVERY dinner.  BUT if everyone is on the same page for dinner, then the kids know what to expect.  Same with puppy.  If someone plays rough with him or ignores his rough play without correcting him, then you are essentially training him to act that way.
4) NEVER EVER use the recall to punish your puppy.  Meaning do not ever call your puppy to you for a correction.  That is THE FASTEST way to teach your dog NOT to come with called.  If I said, “hey Kelli, come here” and then smacked you when you got to me, the next time I said come here you would look at me like I lost my mind!
5) Let your puppy dictate how firm you have to be.  Just like children, every puppy is different.  Some pups will respond with simple distraction and replacement, some with a firm no, and some you have to really make it clear who is in control.  The important thing is that since they will all grow up to be large, powerful, strong minded working dogs, you MUST make it clear while they are little what pack structure is and what no means.  You might have to be harder with your corrections than you anticipated initially if your puppy’s personality dictates that, but the key is to LET YOUR PUPPY TELL YOU WHAT YOU NEED.  If your puppy responds to no without needing any further correction, then there is no need for a physical punishment; and conversely if no thank you does not work, then you MUST respond in kind because permitting him to get away with incorrect behavior now is setting both you and him up for failure as he matures.Like I said on the contract, the BEST WAY to train a puppy is train them like they are already an adult- meaning, do not let them get away with things as a puppy that you would not want them doing as an adult.  If you think your friends might frown upon having a 100 pound Rottweiler grabbing a hold of their leg as they walk through a room, then do not let your puppy do that.  That is why you have toys.Since you have likely already started “training him” incorrectly (because every time he gets away with something he is being trained that this is acceptable behavior), you will have to be persistent and consistent.  Always remember when training a puppy to be firm but fair and ALWAYS be calm.  You care punishing/ correcting the behavior not the puppy.Give him some love for me and tell him mom said to behave himself ;)Have a blessed day!
Alice


STUBBORN PUPPY

Hi Alice. He’s doing well. Have two days of meds administered already. You were right, a two person job for sure!!  I did get that type of food from Fromm. I’ve spent the last couple of days enjoying him. He is perfect. I am contending with his temper while he’s fixated on something. I have placed my hand in his bowl as he eats. He got over the aggressive reaction after some persistence. He is very stubborn when fixed on something he doesn’t want to part with. He snapped at me a few times today. Going through the same thing with his bone. However, I have continued to be vigilant at breaking him of this. All normal. He is a true free spirited Rotti. No doubt about that. He is absolutely beautiful. Any suggestions? In a funny note, we were just outside last night and he was guarding me and my wife from the shadows cast on the fence.
 
You are correct, it is all normal puppy behavior especially for a confident male such as him!  HOWEVER, it CANNOT be tolerated!!  If you need to escalate your punishment, then do so!  He must know NOW while he is small and young who is in charge, PERIOD.  If he were to challenge another adult dog in his pack, he would get dealt with swiftly and sternly and you must do the same.  Having a Rottweiler is not the same as having a lab or a golden retriever- they are strong minded dogs, BUT they RESPECT pack structure and if you do your job correct now while he is young, it will be smooth sailing later down the road.  He is like a child and he will ONLY GET AWAY WITH AS MUCH AS YOU LET HIM.  Parents who tolerate their kids back talking, hitting, cursing, etc. HAVE KIDS who back talk, curse and hit!  He is a great puppy and will be a fantastic dog, but you must ensure discipline now.  If you have to pop him on the muzzle, pop him; if you have to snatch him and STERNLY tell him no, then do that also!  Some puppies, just like some kids will respond to just a “no thank you” but if you have a kid that does not, then you MUST do what is necessary to ensure discipline and respect.  Mom will growl, and some will listen and walk away and some will not; those that push her after she growls get snapped at as a threat; some still are stubborn after that and if they STILL push her, then they get bit!  It is her job to do this!  By giving them a nip now and teaching them respect, she is preventing them from getting a massive neck wound or worse later in life by being disrespectful to the wrong alpha.  Once he understands that a pop will follow the no, soon the no alone will be sufficient.  Whatever you do, DO NOT IGNORE this behavior- that will only teach him that it is ok and that it works.  Just like the child who throws a temper tantrum in the store to get candy or a toy and then gets “rewarded” for this tantrum by getting the toy or candy- they learn that the next time they want something, the only need to throw a tantrum.TOO FUNNY on the shadows!!  That is my little Guardian Rottweiler!  Now, put your big boy pants on and go in there and show him who is alpha! 😉 lol  If he snaps at you again, you MUST react with swift retribution- he must learn that this is NEVER acceptable under ANY circumstances!Let me know if you have any more questions and give him some lovin from all of us.Best Regards,
Alice
 

SMALL ANIMAL PREY DRIVE
Hi Alice,
We purchased an amazing male puppy from Diesel and Ena’s litter in 2010. His name is Qayin and is our first Rottweiler. He’s been a pleasure to own and is truly an awesome dog. We have been especially impressed by his ability to discern threats to his family. He is so good, at first I wondered if he was very protective. It turns out, he just knows not to waste time barking at people that are “approved.” I have watched him over the years as he wags his tail and welcomes family, but won’t let unknown guest get out of their cars. He isn’t mean to strangers, but he barks and intimidates them.  We live out in the country, and my husband is a police officer who works nights. I sleep easy, knowing Qayin is patrolling the house.

Probably his most impressive trait is his gentleness with our son. Qayin tolerates being hugged, sat on, and lots of toddler love. He’s truly a great dog, and I thank you for all the work you do to produce such fine family companions.

We do have one issue, which I do not blame Qayin for, but wondered if you have any advice. We live on a farm and have chickens, goats, cows, and horses. Qayin has been around these animals since we brought him home. I tried to socialize him and teach him not to chase the animals, but I know his instincts are to herd. He got in with the sheep one summer and ran them until three ewes collapsed. He then nipped at them and caused so much damage they died. He actively looks for ways to get in with the animals, and will kill whatever he can. When he’s chasing the animals, he ignores all commands to stop or to come. We have to chase him and catch him.

I am not mad or upset with Qayin, nor complaining. I know he has strong instincts, but I wondered if you had any advice on ways to help. I am mostly concerned by the way he actively seeks ways to get in with the animals. He spends a lot of time looking for ways to get through fences. It’s like he’s hunting the animals. He will even bark at and chase large animals, like horses and cows. We make sure the fences are strong and I try not to let him out on the property, unsupervised, but I wondered if you had any tips.

He’s a great dog and we are thankful to have him as part of our family. I really want to emphasize I’m not unhappy or complaining about him at all. I just wondered if you had any advice on working with a dog with this tendency. Thanks again for all you do!

Hello Martha!  I have been clearing out my email inbox and found this email.  Not sure how it got buried in here 🙁  My most sincerest apologies! 
First, thank you so much for the email! <3  I am so happy and proud that my baby boy is doing so well and following in his father’s footsteps!!  Character has ALWAYS been the most important attribute of the Rottweiler and the aspect I focus on the most in my breeding program.
 
Herding!  That is a tough one 🙁  Diesel has ALWAYS had an almost overwhelming herding instinct, so I imagine that is where your boy gets it from.  Luckily, I picked up on it within a week of getting Diesel and have taught him how to control and focus that instinct from the beginning as well as what should and should not be herded.  It is also unfortunately all too easy to go from herding to prey drive if not taught properly.  Diesel has been raised with chickens, pot bellied pigs, ferrets, bunnines, sugar gliders, etc.  HOWEVER, he still loved to herd the piggies, neighbor’s goats, etc. so we taught him how to herd them CONTROLLED and when to LEAVE IT.  I would offer the same suggestions to you- if you can find a place near you that offers herding and gives him an outlet, then that would be fantastic- if not find him SOME job to do even if it is bringing you the paper or playing ball and incorporate that job into his routine- it will teach him control, greater respect and give him an outlet to give into his “carnal instincts” 😉  I would also teach him the “Leave it” command as well as work on the recall.  If you go to my Q & A page on the website, there are TONS of tips on both of these: http://www.guardianrottweilers.com/spoiled-rotten/q-a/  Please keep me updated and let me know how it goes.  If you need any more help with anything else, do not hesitate to ask. 
 
Loads of love to your entire family! <3 Alice
 

EATING THE WALL
Brita and our other puppy have started eating the wall when we are gone.  Any suggestions?  They have tons of toys and things to play with, and have tried the bitter spray.  Any help would be appreciated.
The Perry’s
 
hmmmm…… that’s a new one! Ok, first thing, when you tried the bitter spray, did you do it the way I have on the website- saturate a cotton ball with it and have them put that in their mouth
– that way there is go escaping the taste or chewing past the taste.  If there is only a little on the wall and then they can “get past it” they soon discover that the bitter apple is only a bump in the road and not a road block.  If you skipped step one, or you did step one but it was ineffective, then we have to assume that the bitter apple will not be an effective deterrent.  So now we have to move towards discipline and removal from the area.  Is there any way to cover the area (board, box, ect.)?  Next, you want to set them up with their “temptation” and then scold them every time the smell or even lick the wall.  Next, I would add something even more interesting to the mix- try some Kongs filled with yogurt and treats and put in the freezer or Kongs filled with peanut butter and treats or interactive dog toys that dispense treats with the dogs assistance.  Finally, you want to make sure the pups are getting completely worn out before being left alone- long walks/ runs, lots of play, ball time if they will chase it, etc.  You want them to be like the kids that crash as soon as they get in the car ;)Try those techniques and let me know how it goes.  A last resort would be to leave them crated while you are gone, but lets try to fix the issue before we resort to that.Best Regards,
Alice
 

(IBS) IRRITABLE BOWEL
I have a 4 year old English rotty bitch (we are in the uk), whom we adore and is always making us laugh. At 12 months, after many tests, she was diagnosed with irritable bowel and has bouts of sickness etc. On a bad day, Her stomach sounds like an alien is trying to escape and when she feels bad she just wont eat at all. I feed her on the expensive ‘wheat free allergy free’ dry food (James is one type and Burns the other – in the uk) with bit of meat (butchers tin tripe) for taste but still it doesnt stop the sickness. We have a few good days then a bad one. I have tried cooking rice, or potato s with meat or fish but it not a cure. Is this a big problem and is there any suggestions as i hate seeing her look poorly as generally she is an active family and work member.I just want to get as much information and advice as i can as the vet just said its trial and error finding something that doesn’t upset her.
Samantha

I am so sorry to hear of your struggles with your girl.  I know how special these dogs are for us  No, IBS is not common in the breed, but it can certainly happen for any mammal with a digestive system.  I agree with your vet, that unfortunately you will have tor play around a bit with the diet until you find what is best for her.  Here are my suggestions (an understand I am not a vet, just a breeder) I would try a fish and potato diet (homemade or store bought) although the homemade is best as you know exactly what ingredients you will be using.  It is difficult for me to suggest a brand of food as your dog food brands will obviously differ in the UK from here in the US, but you really want a dog food with limited ingredients so that there is not so much that could upset her tummy.  Adding pumpkin or sweet potato (canned or baked) can also help firm up the stools.  I would also look into adding a probiotic to her daily feeding (best is Proviable DC- I am not sure if it is available in the UK- but you can ask your vet what is best there.)  I would also ask your vet about prednisone.  It is a corticosteroid and anti-inflammatory drug and can be very effective in controlling diarrhea.  It does have side effects, however, so as I said, I would chat with the vet and get his/her opinion for your dog’s case.

 
I hope that helps, and your girl will be in our prayers.
Best Regards,
Alice Velasquez
 

BREED AGGRESSION?
How aggressive does the Rottweiler tend to be? Are they good with children? Would they be good dogs for a highly active/social lifestyle?
 
There are 2 parts to a dog’s temperament, and this is true of any breed.  The first half of the equation is breeding and bloodlines.  Just like you can breed for markings, or size, or color, you can also breed for temperament.  Because most of the breeding done here in the US is done out of either ignorance (not bothering to take the time to learn the correct breed standard physically or mentally) or indifference (knowing that the dog or bitch you are breeding is incorrect in either physical type or character/temperament and still breeding it anyway just to make $$$) most of the Rottweilers produced here in the US lack significantly in health, temperament and physical conformation.  For this reason, everything we use in our breeding program is either imported directly from Europe or produced by us.  The breed standard is so much higher over there and has always been so you have entire bloodlines of healthy, conformationally and temperamentally correct dogs.  That is why we are able to stand behind all of our dogs with a lifetime contract and lifetime breeder support.  Most people do not realize how crucial good breeding is even if you never intend on showing.  Good breeding not only brings you a more beautiful dog, but more importantly, a healthy dog with a sound mind.  A dog that is not failing in courage, highly intelligent and a constant companion.  The second half of the equation, is environment and is also very important which is why we require an interview and contract with every puppy we sell.  The environmental impact on the health and character of your dog cannot be under-rated.  I cannot emphasize enough how important the first 2 years are in raising your dog.  This is the time where, just as with young children, they learn about pack structure, manors, respect, socialization and trust.  Socializing your puppy/dog as much as possible during this time is critical as is training.  A well bred Rottweiler is, in my professional opinion, one of the most versatile and easiest dog for training.  The Rottweiler Breed has conquered literally every single field and job we have ever asked of a dog- they are master herders, exceptional police and protection dogs, tireless in tracking and Search and Rescue, wonderful therapy and assistance dogs, outstanding in agility, flyball, etc.- there is not a job out there that you cannot find a Rottweiler excelling at and they are the only breed that is this versatile.  I have had the privilege of working with loads of really great dogs and breeds during my careers in the military and police department, but none of those dogs stack up to the Rottweiler in character, courage, and instinctual behavior that would be hard to teach.  I have said it before and it deserves repeating, a well bred, well raised Rottweiler is IMHO, the absolute best dog for family and children.  They are not nervous like most small breeds, so they will not be bothered by small, loud, rough kids; they are not too rambunctious like labs and other high energy dogs; they are inherently respectful of children; they can go from working to family pet seamlessly; and they have such an enormous intellectual and emotional capacity.  As one gentleman told me years ago- “Once you have owned a Rottweiler, everything else is just a dog.”
 

OTHER BREEDS
Do you only raise/breed Rottweilers or do you also raise another breed of dog?

No.  I have spent my entire life learning everything I can about the Rottweiler- character, training, health, bloodlines, confirmation, best diet and nutritional needs, etc.  And even after 30 years of research, handling, showing, training and working my Rottweilers, I still do not know everything.  I cannot imagine how much I would be lacking in breed knowledge if I tried to spread that over several breeds.  I am sure I would not do any justice to whatever I was breeding.  My goal is not to produce puppies- the world already has enough of those in need of good homes.  My breeding goal has and always will be to better the breed, especially the standard and expectations here in the US in conformation and temperament.  I find most people are significantly lacking in both the knowledge of the Rottweiler and their perception of what a correct Rottweiler looks like or should act like.  I sincerely believe that every home should have a Diesel- the correct Rottweiler in physical type and character-a best friend, loyal guardian, constant companion that is high in courage and intelligence.  The old expression “jack of all trades, master of none” should not apply to breeding.  The only reason I see for offering multiple breeds is to try and attract a wider range of customers- and that is certainly NOT my goal at Guardian Rottweilers.  As a matter of fact, I turn away more customer than I take in.  Besides, is there really any other breed other than The Rottweiler? 😉
 

NUMBER OF LITTERS
How many litters do you raise a year? If more than one, why do you choose to produce so many?

Not sure what you are looking for with that question.  I do not have a set number of litters.  I own and co-own 27 Rottweilers, and even if I only bred the females once a year, that would be over 20 litter a year!!  (clearly and hopefully not a breeding goal for ANY breeder of any breed :/ )  They are all active in working, showing and many are therapy and rescue dogs.  They do not all live with me, many are in private homes or reside and work in Europe.  I will never breed a bitch back to back per the FCI and ADRK German standards, and I will never produce a litter just to have puppies.  There is a great deal of thought and intention behind every litter, and each breeding is done to bring out the absolute best that each Rottweiler can offer.  I will not breed a female simply because she is in season, and when I do breed, I will go to great lengths to make sure that she is bred with the absolute best stud for her often involving international travel.  She is then given the best prenatal and post natal care to include ultrasounds, x-rays, vet care and diet.  My moms and pups are given round the clock attention and are never left unattended not even for a minute.  Either my husband or I will sleep with the mom and pups.  Each litter is bred with a purpose, usually something I am trying to improve either with the breed or my breeding program.  Although I firmly believe that if every home had a Rottweiler, not only would they all be better people for having the unconditional love and loyalty of a Rottweiler with them, but there would also be a significant decrease in domestic issues (breaking and entering, theft, violence, etc.).  However, because of how selective I am in both what I choose to breed and whom I choose to allow the privilege of a Guardian Rottweiler join their family, I will never be able to supply the world with enough Rottweilers 😉  So my breeding goals are to improve the breed with each and every generation and provide exceptional companions for families, veterans, police, military, those in need of Service Dogs, and of course, my favorite jobs for these beautiful babies, that of childhood best friends.

If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

 
 

HEALTH GUARANTEE
Do you have a health guarantee for your dogs and if so what does that entail?

Please see this excerpt from the GR Puppy Contract: 

_____ GR guarantees this puppy/dog to be of sound health and temperament at the time of sale. A health record of all shots and wormings will be provided by Guardian Rottweilers. The Buyer agrees to take the dog to a licensed veterinarian of his choice within 72 hours for a physical examination and notify GR within 24 hours of any medical concerns. Failure to do so will void your health guarantee. Should your puppy be determined to be in ill health, the cause of which is clearly attributable to GR, the dog may, upon signed written diagnosis from said veterinarian, be returned for another puppy of equal value from the next available litter. No other guarantees are given on PET quality pups.  Although we truly wish it were possible, PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT NO BREEDER CAN GUARANTEE THAT YOUR DOG WILL NEVER GET SICK OR DEVELOP A DISEASE.  ALSO UNDERSTAND THAT NO BREEDER CAN GUARANTEE WHAT YOUR PUPPY WILL LOOK OR ACT LIKE AS AN ADULT.  THE SINGLE GREATEST FACTOR IN DETERMINING THE BEHAVIOR OF YOUR DOG AS AN ADULT IS YOU.

_____ If this puppy is being sold as PET QUALITY the buyer agrees not to use this animal for breeding and agrees to have it spayed or neutered at the age recommended by your veterinarian.

_____ If this puppy is being sold as SHOW QUALITY and it develops a genetic fault which DISQUALIFIES it from the show ring, a free pup of equal value will be provided from the next available litter AND Buyer will be able to retain possession of original puppy provided written proof that the puppy was dismissed from the show ring for a genetic fault is given as well as proof from a licensed veterinarian that the dog was spayed/ neutered.  We will not take your best friend away from you simply because we failed to fulfill our end of the contract, we just ask that it be spayed or neutered to prevent the genetic flaw from being passed on and amplified in future generations.  This clause includes severe, debilitating Hip Dysplasia, but DOES NOT cover size of the dog as the dog’s environment will be the greatest determining factor on the size/weight of the dog.  Please note that failure to provide proof that the puppy/dog was fed premium quality food will void your health guarantee.  Any bite problems must be noted by your vet before bite work is started.  Hips and elbows must be pre-limed before any work is started and x-rayed for certification before the dog is 30 months of age.  Breeding your puppy/dog before x-rays are performed or without following GR’s breeding policy (see next clause) will void your guarantee.  GR always reserves the right to have any diagnosis reviewed by our vet. 

_____ The Buyer agrees that if this puppy is purchased with breeding rights, that it will not be bred before the age of 24 months and only be bred to Rottweilers with full registration, and that this dog and the dog it is bred with must have official certification of hips (OFA, Penn HIP, or equivalent), current Brucellosis blood test and up to date on all innoculations and wormings.  Should the dog be bred without the above qualifications met, GR will have the right to repossess the dog and all monies invested thus far by Buyer will be forfeited. If the animal in question is a bitch, GR may also repossess any offspring from the breeding in question.

 


PICKING A PUPPY
Does a person get pick of the litter or do you just “assign” a dog to someone?

I allow the new families to select which puppy they want in order of deposits received as long as it is in the best interest of the family AND the puppy.  I.E. if you are wanting a S&R dog or need one for the Police dpt. and you select a puppy that is very laid back and as no desire to work, then you will ultimately be frustrated with your dog resulting in an unhappy relationship.  On the same hand, if you are a first time owner/ handler of Rottweilers or working breed dogs and you select the puppy in the litter with the highest drive and dominance, then you will not be able to do right by that puppy.  We also do not permit puppy selection until the pups are at least 5 weeks of age so that we can give them a basic character and confirmation evaluation.
 
You can see profiles of all our breeding adults by either going to the “PUPPIES” page to see what our available puppies and upcoming breedings are and clicking on the name of each dog, or by going to “Our Rotties.”  You may also see individual pics of the puppies by clicking on their names or photos.  Pet quality pups start at $1000, and show/breed quality pups start at $1500.  We do not charge extra for breeding rights- either the pups is of sufficient quality to benefit the breed or it is not.  We believe it to be very stressful for a puppy when leaving his/her family for the first time, and this is only made worse when stuck in a crate in the dark belly of an airplane with no one to reassure him.  Because of this, we do not crate ship puppies as cargo, we do however hand deliver puppies to most major airports.  We charge $300 for this service and that includes the transportation of the puppy with us in the cabin of the airplane, travel crate and required health clearance for travel.  We do not charge for our travel and services.  All pups come with lifetime breeder support, and a puppy contract that guarantees the health, temperament, and on show quality pups, the confirmation.  A deposit is required to hold your position on our waiting list, however, it will not be accepted without an interview and puppy contract.  The interview can be conducted in person or over the phone, however, for phone interviews, you must have a copy of our GR Puppy Contract.  You may print this contract from our website, or one can be mailed to you.
 

PUPPY OR ADULT FOOD
Hi Alice!
Hope your doing well. We are feeding jaz solid gold wolf cub (large breed puppy food). Should we keep her on puppy food or move her to adult? The lady were we get her food at says she should be on adult food. What do you recommend.
Thanks in advance
Joe
 
I am happy to hear that Jaz is doing well.  She should stay on LARGE BREED PUPPY food until she is 2 YEARS OLD.  Smaller breed dogs are done growing much sooner than large breed dogs, but large breed dogs do not reach full physical or mental maturation until about 2 years of age, and will need not only the higher levels of glucosamine and chondritin to help support optimal bone and joint growth, but also the correct levels (25% or below) of protein and fat found in quality large breed puppy food to promote a controlled growth rather than huge spurts which can be stressful on the joints as well as large muscle groups including the heart.  Most “puppy food” is the exact opposite of what a large breed puppy needs with high fat and protein, and because of this, may professionals have been trained to recommend adult food for large breed puppies as the adult food will be lower in protein and fat.  However, good, quality “large breed puppy” foods are formulated MUCH different than “puppy” foods, and are specifically for large breed puppies with the adjusted fat and protein levels as well as the extra DHA, glucosamine, etc., as well as correct calcium and phosphorus levels as recent research has shown that too much of these 2 ingredients can also increase propensity towards certain joint issues.  Please refer to our “Nutrition” page or “CHD” for more information, and as always, please feel free to ask.

Give her kisses for me, she is almost a whole year old!!!
Best Regards,
Alice
 

EXCESS BARKING
Hello, Alice!  Well Ki is growing into quite the dog.  She wears me out though.  She is very gentle with all of the kids that come around the house and has been known to give spit bath facials.  A big adjustment for us is the use of her voice.  Our other dogs never talked.  She is staying lean but man is she powerful. 
I do have a question about the barking.  We don’t leave our dogs out so she is not barking constantly, but is very selective.  Do you have some training tips to help us for when she does sound off?  She sounds off when we sit on the porch and people walk down the road and sometimes she is hesitant with men and will bark at them.  Now mind you, she does not do that at all men.  I have noticed people that are nervous with her especially men is who she barks at.
Ki is beautiful and strong.  She is definitely hard-headed but very smart, but so isn’t my son.  My husband said that you should have advertised that your pups are champion wrestlers because Ki can get it on much to the dismay of my lab.
Hope all the pups and adults are doing well.Love,
The Tillmans
 
So nice to hear from you and the GORGEOUS Ki!!  She is coming along so well!!  I can definitely see mom and dad in her! 
Unfortunately, with my experience, females tend to lick more and bark more 😉  They just seem to be more vigilant on guarding than the males.  If she is barking in excess, there are a few techniques to try. First, teach her to bark on command.  This is accomplished by catching her when she is barking and putting a word with that and a reward.  (i.e. “speak” or “bark”).  Catching her at the correct moment and rewarding it may have to be repeated many times before she puts the 2 together and realizes that the word means she is supposed to bark.  Once she has mastered the bark on command, then you can teach her to stop barking on command.  Same way.  Once she stops barking, decide what word you want to put with that and say the word and reward her.  Once she has mastered that without distraction, then you can practice using it WITH distraction (like when she is barking at something and you wish her to stop).
Second technique is to teach her to “Leave it.”  Start with treats.  Place one on the floor in front of her and tell her to leave it.  Have a second treat in your hand and let her know that the second treat is there.  As soon as she leaves the first treat alone, reward her with the second treat.  Gradually start making her leave it for longer periods before earning the treat and hold the treat close to you to teach her “look at me” at the same time.  This way “Leave it” does not just me to not eat the treat, but to completely disregard it and focus on you.  This command is ESSENTIAL and always one of the first commands we teach.  It will not only be effective in refocusing her when she is barking, but could save her life if she is chasing something into the road, etc.  With a strong “Leave it” my dogs will drop wherever they are and await my next command. 
Training does not happen over night AND must be maintained, but if you are consistent, Rottweilers are one of the easiest breeds to train because of how eager they are to please and how intelligent they are.  As eager to please and clever as they are, the ability to free think can also make Rottweiler stubborn.  Just remember to be patient and calm.  Getting frustrated with your dog will almost certainly make her shut down and no longer want to “play the game.”
Let me know how it goes and as always give sweet baby Ki some extra hugs and kisses for us!
Alice
 
P.S.  I got so caught up in training tips that I forgot to address her selective barking.  In dog society, dogs do not have reason to be nervous unless they are up to no good.  So when a dog encounters someone acting suspiciously, they are not trusting of them and often feel the need to “warn” both you that there is someone there that is acting shifty and warn the “strange”r that if they have ill intentions, they will be met with resistance.  What you need to teach miss Ki is that YOU are a worthy pack leader and that she can trust your judgement as well regarding strangers.  ALSO, kudos for keeping her lean while she is growing!!  That is SO VERY IMPORTANT!  Loads of love to you all! 
 
 

ITCHY SKIN

Hi Alice hope you are enjoying your summer. I need to see if you have suggestions for for Ella she is so itchy, when we pet her you can tell and she chews herself alot. had totake her to vet once for meds, shot.  No fleas, feeding solid gold bison formula and adding oil to dry food. Her coat looks and feels better less flakes but still itchy. Please have you run into this before any suggestions?  Thanxs so much Barb Radcliff and Ella (Kendra) Dunjo x Whiskey.
 
Hello Barb!
How are you and miss Ella?  I was just talking with the owner of her brother, Kandor, last night!!  He used to be a Boxer man, but we have converted him to the ONLY breed with our Rottie 😉
Itchy skin is certainly no fun 🙁  There are loads of possibilities, but when you hear hoof beats, think horses not zebras, so here are the  most common suggestions:
Flea allergy- sometimes they do not even need to have flea, just get bitten by one 🙁
Food- make sure that none of her food, treats, or people food snacks contain the 3 most common dog food allergens- wheat, corn and soy.
Over grooming- if she is getting bathed too frequently, you will strip the oils from her skin and dry her out.  Dogs do not sweat like we do and they therefore do not produce excess oil, so bathing more than 1-2 times a month can dry out skin and coat.  There is also a shampoo you can get from your vet or online call, ironically, VET specifically for dry,itchy skin that works super!!  Diesel is allergic to wheat, so every time the kids feed him wheat, he will get itchy and often even hot spots.  The shampoo works wonderfully to clear it up pretty quickly.  Here is a website that sells it online as well: http://www.revivalanimal.com/all-pet-supplies/pet-shampoos/medicated-pet-shampoos.htm?a=google&gclid=COXV2c-X-7ACFUS4KgodKQLo2A Let me know if any of these suggestions help and of course give her some lovin from all of us.

God Bless,
Alice
 

GASTROPLEXY

Gastroplexy is a procedure where the stomach is tacked to the abdominal lining to aid in preventing the stomach from flipping.  In large breed dogs, especially breeds with a well sprung rib cage such as the Rottweiler, there is excess room for the stomach to move and it can occasionally flip on itself.  If you have ever tried to run after drinking a lot of water and feel that sloshing around in your belly, you have an idea of how this can happen.  With humans, because we walk erect, our abdomen is aligned vertically which effectively prevents this issue.  However, in canines and other quadrupeds, the stomach is suspended and moves much more freely.  When the dog eats or drinks in excess and then exercises afterwards, it makes it much easier for the stomach to flip over.  This is called bloat or torsion.  This is LIFE THREATENING and if you EVER SUSPECT your dog to have bloat, you need to get him/her to the vet or emergency clinic IMMEDIATELY!!  Symptoms included a bloated appearance and a very hollow sound when you thump the stomach (like a basket ball).  When the stomach flips on itself, it cuts off blood flow to the affected area causing necrosis.  By tacking the stomach down to the abdominal lining, you are able to help prevent it from being able to move freely in the abdominal cavity and consequently help prevent it from turning over on itself.
 

Alice,
We are getting ready to spay Vella and neuter Gus.  The vet suggested gastropexy, the tacking of the stomach.  I have called around for some second opinions and some other vets have told me that rotts don’t need gastropexy done.   What is your opinion on this matter?  Would you suggest to have gastropexy done while they get spayed and neutered?  I don’t want to have something done that maybe isn’t needed.  However, if you think it is a good idea, I would like to know.
Thank you!

-Kelli

I would DEFINITELY recommend getting it done!  Any step you can take to help prevent bloat is a good thing!!  I have ALWAYS recommended getting gastroplexy done if you will spay as the vet will already be right in there anyway.  I am not sure who would have told you that a Rottweiler does not need that!?!  But ALL large breed dogs and even some wider medium/small breed dogs are susceptible to bloat!!  Why would you NOT take a proactive step?  (knock on wood) I have not had one of my die from bloat yet, but I am cognizant of the risks!  So, off my soapbox and the answer is yes 😉

Loads of love!!!!!!! <3
Alice

 


HOT AND BOTHERED!

Hi Alice!

I hope everything is going well with you.  I have a dog “emergency” that I have questions about if you don’t mind..

We have Arnold who is 3 years old and intact, and we have Winnie who is 10 months old and has not been spayed.  We plan on spaying her but I read an article on waiting until after the first heat for health reasons, so we decided to wait.  Well I’m starting to think that was a mistake!  I now have a REAL appreciation for the work you do.

Winnie has been going through her first heat cycle for about 12 days I believe.  Arnold was only interested in sniffing/licking her, but was very calm and listened really well during this time.  We kept the separated except when we were watching them and besides the blood droplet cleanup it was going really well and was surprisingly easy.  Now that Winnie is at the end (PLEASE let this be the end) of her cycle she has stopped the bleeding.  There must be a major chemistry change though, because Arnold has gone primal and is very driven to get to her.  We’ve kept them away from each other but he constantly whines and wants to get to her.  She’s acting normally but we keep her alone as well.

This has gone on for 2 days and I feel like it is a LOT of stress on Arnold having her in the same house, so I took Winnie to my parents’ house last night to stay for a couple of days. 

When I got back to our house I let Arnold out of his cage and he ran around the house sniffing everything and looking for Winnie.  After about an hour we went to bed and he slept through the night.  Then this morning I let him out and he was shaking all over (small vibrations) panting, and sniffing everything.  Just a few questions…

1)      Is the vibrating normal?  It seemed to stop after about 5-10 minutes, and I think he was just very wound up and excited, but I thought I’d ask.

2)      I was rubbing his belly last night and his ‘red rocket’ came out (fairly typical for him, lol) but then like a very tiny spray bottle some clear liquid shot out several times.  This might be normal, but I want to just check with you.

3)      How long can I expect this to go on for?  I feel bad for putting them in this situation and want to fix it.  I have an appointment set up with our vet to get Winnie spayed, but that’s not for another 2-3 weeks.  I read that it’s best not to spay during the heat cycle.

4)      I’ve avoided neutering Arnold up to this point because I read that it’s healthy for them to be kept intact, but the last couple of days have made me want to neuter him to keep stress down.  If she’s spayed, will be start acting normally again or will he always look at her as a mate like this from now on?

 Up to this point they’ve been fairly laid back, normal, wonderful dogs but the last few days have been very difficult for all of us.
Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Ryan, Sarah, Arnold and Winnie

hehehehehe  LOL!!  I had to read parts of your e-mail out loud to my husband!!  Bless you heart!  Yes, most males will only react to a female when she is ovulating.  (Best days for breeding are days 9-11)  The females use the first week+ to advertise to the males.  They urinate more frequently leaving their trail for the males to find and follow.  The male will then check (taste and test in his internal laboratory 😛 ) and will only follow/watch her until she is ovulating.  At this point, yes, the desire to mate becomes obsessively overwhelming for him!  The only reason my husband and I were amused by your e-mail is because we have BEEN THERE DONE THAT!!  I have door that have handles that have been chewed almost completely off; walls that have been scratched and chewed into; and Diesel even went through a window once!!  The boys LITERALLY go bananas for the ladies!!  (see, dogs are not so different from people! 😛 )  Once she has finished her heat cycle, he will likely be all over her for a day or so checking to be sure that he did not miss it.  Then he will go back to being Arnold and he will give little thought to her being anything other than his buddy.  Dogs (at least most of them) do not have the desire to mate unless the female is in season.  Now, I put that disclaimer because not all dogs received that memo.  Take our Don Juan, Crom, for instance.  He has yet to meet a female that he did not approach with “How you doin’?” (in my best Joey Tribbiano voice 😀 )  I have seen him try to mate females that were not in season dozens of times including VERY pregnant females!  Females, however, will NOT have any desire to mate when they are not ovulating and will quickly and decisively let the male know that they are not in the mood.  But no matter how many times Crom gets corrected (and usually harshly!) he does not learn.  He is the self appointed ladies man! LOL  As this is likely Arnold’s first experience with “a hot female” only time will tell where he stands afterwards.  I can, however, tell you that the males that attempt mating when a female is not in season are the exception, not the rule.  If you are not planning on breeding, then, honestly, there is no reason to keep Arnold in tact.  There is a school of thought that leaving a male intact until the age of 2 will help him fill out more as the testosterone comes in, however, at age 3, he is in his prime and done growing.  The longer he remains intact, the higher his risk of reproductive cancers, like prostate.  Dogs also have an incredible sense of smell, so anytime there is a female in heat near him- neighborhood, dog park, pet store, etc., he will go back into that same mind set. 

The vibration and pre-ejaculate are also normal.  He just had himself so worked up.  He did not reach full ejaculation as he would have become engorged and swollen and that “red rocket” would have stayed erect for up to 30+ minutes and there would have been more semen produced.  (by the way, love the nick-name- totally going to use that!  my kids have always called it “the hot dog” lol).  

I do agree that spaying during the heat cycle is not recommended, so you will have to ride this one out.  If you do decide to go ahead and neuter Arnold, be forewarned that it is not an overnight process.  The surgery itself is very quick and simple and recovery is usually quick.  However, the hormones will take several months to leave his bloodstream, so to be aware that his character will not change overnight.

Final thought.  If you think this last week has been “fun” just imagine having 4 males all hot and bothered and several females all in heat at the same time and no intentions of breeding any of them at the moment!  Females often bring each other into heat with them- meaning they often sync up their heat cycles.  If we have one female we want to breed, we will often have 4-5 more that are in heat at the same time and not getting bred!  Combine that with the strength and agility some of our boys have, and I am sure you can get the picture!  And believe it or not, tensions mount between males and between females (i.e. males want to let each other know which male is the alpha and females are equally determined to let each other know which female is alpha).  You have to be cognizant of where every dog is and what is going on. 

Winnie will not be in heat for that much longer- the entire cycle is about 3-4 weeks, so you are almost through it!  Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to help and hang in there.
Give them both my love.
Alice

 


WORMS?
Hi Alice,
I just discovered some kind of worm in Griffin when he barfed today. I was wondering if you could identify it for me. I had his poop checked a month ago when I took him in for his shots. They said it was clean. He also has been snoring and breathing hard. Please send me what you know about this. If it is an emergency I will take him in today to emerge care.
worms 

Round worms.  Not at all uncommon, unfortunately.  He more than likely picked up the eggs from soil (chewed on a dirty stick, drank from a mud puddle, etc.).  They could also explain his breathing as they can migrate to the lungs :/  
You will need to pick up some pyrantal palamote from your vet to deworm him and you will likely have to repeat it again in 2 weeks to make sure there are no new eggs that hatch.  I do not know what monthly flea/tick and heart worm medicine you have him on, but heart guard and sentinel both treat the most common intestinal parasites as well (roundworm and hookworm) so if you have him on either of those, it will automatically help keep him parasite free by automatically worming him every month.
The first time I saw a puppy poop roundworms, I swore I would never eat pasta again! lol  Super gross, but not an emergency.  Just pick up the wormer from your vet as soon as you can.
Have a blessed day hun.
Alice

 


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