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Working the Working Dog
By Robin Haden
For as long as there have been Rottweilers, breeders have been saying, “The Rottweiler is a great companion animal, but it’s not a breed for everyone.” Experience has taught them that a Rottweiler needs both a job and a human pack leader to hold him accountable. Like many working breeds, the Rottweiler is a thinking dog with a strong work ethic. If the family pack leader isn’t diligent about handling out assignments on which the dog can focus his attention, the hapless Rottweiler will become self-employed, so to speak.
A breeder friend of mine once left an adult male alone in the house for several hours.
Apparently, he decided that his vocational interest was in the area of reupholstery. Unfortunately for her, his strength, dedication, and overall work ethic proved to be no match for her throw pillows and couch cushions. I have heard reports of Rottweilers of all ages participating in such creative forms of self-employment as siding removal, porch railing demolition, carpet shredding, and the eviction of all cabinet contents into the floor.
These dogs needed more reputable employment. There is a large, and growing, variety of organized activities that can serve as a Rottweiler’s job. Somewhere among obedience, herding, agility, flyball, and conformation, owners can usually find a fun job for their dog while potentially earning a title or two. Taking a class together is a great way for Rottweiler owners continually renew their connections to their dogs.
What if class isn’t a viable option? Are there other jobs that can help the working dog channel his energy in a positive way? Absolutely! Many dogs have been assigned tasks such as riding with their owners to run errands, walking with their owners to the mailbox, or accompanying them on a stroll around the neighborhood. Some dogs must put their toys away at the end of the day. Other fun jobs can include fetch, dragging sticks from the yard, cleaning up bits of food from the floor on command, and even finding treats hidden throughout the house.
I have a bitch who’s charged with alerting me to the presence of deer and rabbits in the yard. It became a job quite by accident. One spring day she was sitting at the front window, whining. I asked her what the matter was. She looked outside and barked. In the yard, a buck stood grazing on my baby hosta plants. I told her to “Watch the deer,” praised her and gave her a treat. As the deer and rabbits repeatedly returned to raze the early sprouts, I continued the command and the praise. Now, she has a full-time job watching the yard.
Regardless of the job selected, the key is consistency. Keep your Rottweiler busy so he knows he has a regular job. Otherwise you are likely to be faced with the terms of your dog’s self-employment.
Robin Haden has owned Rottweilers since 1984. Her interest has been mainly conformation, although now she has a bitch she is training for agility. Reprinted from the AKC Gazette Vol. 122 # 7 July 2005
Since 1998, I have been taking dogs from the Center for Animal Care & Control in New York City. In 2005, we moved 25 dogs into permanent homes from the city. This year, we have brought in 32 (through August 1).
The NYCACC takes in all stray and city impound dogs as well as owner turn ins and averages 3000 animals a month. Owners are allowed 72 hours to reclaim their dog, or the dog becomes available for adoption or may be euthanized. To get these dogs to safety, we need to move them to boarding space. DISCOUNTED boarding space in New York is $25/day. That gets expensive quickly and we need HELP with it.
Since the creation of Manhattan Mutts in August 2006, we have been able to bring in an additional ten deserving dogs, with more to come. Because of your generosity, Buddy, Delilah, Gigi, Ebony, Rocky, and two emaciated dobies May & Pete are safe.
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Author makes no representations as to the temperament and health of these animals and takes no responsibility for the accuracy of their information. Communications should be addressed to the designated rescue organization relative to each animal.
Rotts On Parade is an independent publication provided by Dale P Green.
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