Given their fierce appearance, undying loyalty and supposedly aggressive nature, it’s no surprise that Rottweilers have acquired a bad rep over the years, so much so that filmmakers have made horror movies centered around evil, revenge-driven Rottweilers.
One of the breeds belonging to the notoriously-painted “bully breed”, Rottweilers are some of the most fierce dogs that you can find. However, their fierceness has met with more criticism and negative reactions than are due!
This breed, quite unfairly, has been the victim of one of the most common misconceptions in the world of pets — that they are all aggressive bullies.
However, Rottweilers are no exception to what doggos the world over keep proving time and again; they will protect and love you like nothing else in the world can. And that, dear surprised reader, is why Rottweilers make some of the world’s best service dogs.
Thus, get ready for some stereotype shattering, because that’s exactly what this article is going to do! We’ll answer the million-dollar question everyone’s asking with a ton of reasons that justify why the famous (or infamous) “bully breed” Rottweilers are great service dogs.
What Are Service Dogs?
A service dog is a working dog who is a companion to those with special needs, such as those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), epilepsy or seizures, diabetes or any other sensory impairment, especially auditory and visual.
These dogs accompany their owners to places to help out with the tasks or duties; in short, they act as a friend who helps you with your daily tasks while also guarding you.
What Makes Rottweilers Good Service Dogs?
Rottweilers make great service dogs due to the physical characteristics they have (they have a large and sturdy build), along with the fact that they are intelligent, loyal and friendly.
As mentioned earlier, due to the misconceptions that surround them and the “bully dog” label that they carry, Rottweilers are usually not the first drafts into the “service dogs” team, despite their intelligence and compatibility with the profession.
So what makes them compatible with the profession, then?
Related: Are Rottweilers Good With Kids?
The first thing that anyone will notice about a Rottweiler is the size of the dog. Highly intimidating to many people, the breed’s huge build is actually an advantage; it can help people who have difficulty with balance or walking and provides firm support.
They can also be trained to perform normal tasks like switching off lights and opening the door using the knob more easily, thanks to their height.
Another important characteristic that makes them great service dogs is their keen sense of smell, meaning they can literally sniff out any danger!
Nature of the Breed
Originally, Rottweilers used to be guard dogs due to the fact that they were intelligent and extremely loyal to their human aids. They stay true to their human companion, often guarding them to the point of literally giving their lives. Their intelligence also ensures that they notify other people when help is required.
Though such undying loyalty and protectiveness is a boon for anyone, traits like these are especially helpful to the elderly and specially abled who require constant caring as well as protection at the same time. Rottweilers are, therefore, the perfect package!
Additionally, despite the controversy that surrounds them, Rottweilers are actually very friendly dogs. Like any doggo, they are the bundle of love and affection that many people need to brighten their day and lives, and more!
It can be hard picturing the huge, black, fierce dog loving you above anything else, but come on! It shouldn’t be a hard task if you realize that we live in a world where we accepted Schwarzenegger as the Kindergarten Cop or Jared Leto as the Joker. Just saying.
Either way, the reasons listed above are simply why Rottweilers would make great service dogs. Unlike most other breeds, a Rottweiler is the whole package; it’s never “either, or” with these guys. It’s always “and”.
Simply put, other breeds might only be able to give you one among the many things that a Rottweiler has to offer you.
Related: Are Rottweilers Easy to Train?
The Age-Old History
As we said, Rottweilers have a history of being guard dogs. They were used to protect their owners from harm as well as stand guard and protect their property. They also have a history of being used in the military.
Luckily, as time flew, it brought with the realization that beneath all the anger and growling, Rottweilers, like all other dogs, were inherently good and loving.
2015 saw them being introduced to the “service dogs” and therapy profession and so amazingly did the breed excel that some of them were recognized as the “best therapy dogs in business” by the AKC ACE Therapy Awards jury.
It is the training that makes a service dog what it is! Training is the most important part of a service dog’s life. Incorrect teaching can lead to bad habits and behavior that stick around for life and simply cannot be broken, despite heavy efforts.
Dogs are no exception to this phenomenon. Therefore, it is very important to train Rottweilers to perform the tasks that they need to do, carefully and in the right manner.
The many stories that you might have heard of Rottweilers attacking their owners are merely results of the poor training that they might have received. This is a failing of the owner; unfortunately, the tendency lies in blaming the dog.
One of the most important characteristics of Rottweilers is that they are highly loyal. Therefore, it is important that they become very familiar with the other humans and animals around them to develop a bond of trust and comfort.
Socialization, or the process of introducing Rottweilers to the environment that they are going to live in, is of utmost importance in making Rottweilers good service dogs. It is also important that training is continuous and the dogs don’t get bored.
Additionally, Rottweilers are the Hugh Jackmans of the doggo world; handsomeness apart, they are good at a variety of things. Therefore, it is important that they are trained in the specific tasks that they are required to perform.
Due to this, the training period usually lasts 1-2 years. Effective training requires a heavy investment of time and effort, but the great results that it produces is well worth it!
Things to Keep an Eye out For
While training a rottweiler, it is important to understand that it is not just any breed of dog, but a very sophisticated breed with a lot of strengths to its name.
This means that you should take the time to understand the individual dog undergoing training just as you would try to understand a person, as well as the breed as a whole, to better understand their inherent tendencies.
Therefore, training the breed should be done very thoroughly and by those who are certified and qualified to do so. Sub-standard training can result in the breed’s strengths becoming their weaknesses, thereby making it hard for the trainer and future human companion to have control over the breed.
Additionally, the size of the dog is one thing that trainers have to be aware of; Rottweilers are famous for being bulky and extra strong. This means that they should be taught to keep calm in various situations. An excited Rottweiler could unconsciously and easily end up hurting a full-grown adult, let alone those who are frail or weak.
This may seem a Herculean task since dogs as a species tend to be easily excitable, but it can be achieved to a great extent if the training starts from an early age.
Also, it is important to recognize the loyalty trait that the dog displays. Since the breed is known to be very loyal, even the smallest of things that might seem suspicious can trigger them up.
It is important to, therefore, realize that it is not aggression that the dog is displaying, but a need to protect against anything it deems suspicious. As we mentioned earlier, any aggression it displays in such cases is not necessarily an inborn trait but a result of poor training.
If trained properly, Rottweilers are intelligent enough to be able to differentiate between threatening and non-threatening things where their humans are concerned.
Bully to Best Friend
Due to their controversial reputation taking the center stage, people tend to know or care very less about other aspects of the breed, such as its loving nature and fierce loyalty.
Rottweilers have a reputation of being fierce dogs and there are countries that have outlawed them as well as companies that do not insure the owners of this breed.
Due to their history of being guard dogs, they have a tendency to be territorial. This does not mean that they have no capacity to love and care for you; they are one of the most loyal and loving breeds that one will ever come across!
Luckily, more people are realizing the above fact. In fact, Rottweilers have been portrayed in a positive light in various media, one of the most popular being the illustrated children’s book, Good Dog, Carl, that follows the story of a Rottweiler named Carl who cares for his human, Madeleine. Convinced yet?
So long answer short, yes! Rottweilers can make great service dogs and can exceed any number of expectations. But remember, as mentioned, it is essential to understand the strength and the weakness of the breed and train them accordingly.
Good, consistent training can bring out wonders in this breed making them the very embodiment and epitome of “Man’s best friend”.