Rottweiler Temperament Testing

Rottweiler temperament is important to observe when selecting a new dog for your home. Rottweilers can be calm, loyal and affectionate, making excellent pets, but they can also show signs of aggression that you may not want to bring into your home.

Acceptance of Strangers

You want to determine if your Rottweiler will even warm up to you, which is a good indicator of how he will respond to strangers. Approach the dog and stand nearby. The dog should solicit attention and not try to hide. Even if he just sniffs, that's a good sign.

Next, pet the dog, stroking once or twice slowly down his back. Once you have stopped, the dog should move toward you for more petting. If he shies away at that point, he may not enjoy handling.

Handling Tests

Rottweilers can be difficult to handle if they don't want to be, which makes bath time or nail trimming extremely difficult. To test the acceptability of your dog, handle each foot and lift the lip to examine the teeth. Don't do this if the dog didn't warm up to you during the first test.

If the dog shakes you away or becomes agitated, this could be a sign of difficulty later on. Give the dog a hug where you don't let go right away. He should calm down after an initial struggle. If not, this can be a warning sign.

Startle Response

With a guard dog, you want them to respond calmly to a loud noise or startling stimulus. A dog trained to react who has a nervous response can become dangerous. Thus, test your dog's response to loud noises or a jogger with a hat coming suddenly round the corner. You should see no response.

Child Suitability

Though you don't want to put a child at risk, if you have children, you need to see how he responds to them. Bring your children or walk to a nearby park and walk the dog around children. Look to see if he shows interest or seems to shy away.

A dog that is good with kids will try to pull you toward them or will look like he desperately wants to play. If your dog seems completely disinterested, this is not a dog that should be in a house with lots of children. Disinterested can quickly turned to annoyed if provoked.

Animal Suitability

Rottweilers can have a high prey drive or dog aggression, so it's important to test him around other animals. Walk your dog past a friendly, older dog and introduce him to a cat in a kennel.

Is he relaxed, tail low and wagging loosely, ears relaxed and slightly forward, body low and wiggly rather than stiff and straight? If your dog goes crazy or has a hard fixed stare, you might not want to bring this dog into a home with other animals.

Resource Guarding

Rottweilers tend to be resource guarders, so evaluate this immediately. Put a food bowl on the ground and use a stick or fake hand to pull it away. If the dog fixes you with a hard stare or starts to growl, be warned. If the dog moves his face closer to the stick and starts gobbling quickly, this is a precursor to resource guarding. Try the same thing with a bone and a toy. Different dogs guard different resources, so cover your bases.

Even if your dog fails one of these tests, he may still be a good dog. However, he will require more training and may not make a great family pet. It will depend on how much work you're willing to put into training your new dog.