I was abused and then I was rescued and treated for my injured knees and then I went into my new home. I am so thankful that the people who took me in gave me a comfortable bed, good food, nursed me back to health and showed me the human version of love. What I mean is, they tried to show me I was loved and welcome in their home by giving me a ton of affection, full rights to the house and yummy food. That’s how humans show humans they are loved and welcome, right? They gave me everything they thought I ever wanted. And let’s just say, at first, it didn’t suck!!
My trainer says because I am insecure I started to worry that the stuff could be taken away from me and so I started to protect it, including my little human that loved me like I’ve never been loved before! She said there’s a fancy name for it called resource guarding. My unstable mind saw these things as valuable resources.
Let me tell you, protecting a house, my little human, garbage cans, the kitchen and the backyard is a lot of stressful work! While I didn’t want to be in an abusive situation anymore I also didn’t want this full-time job that was given to me! You wouldn't ask a toddler to successfully run a corporation would you? I started being a dog that I didn’t want to be and my people actually started to become afraid of me. They said I couldn’t live there anymore and I was going to be returned!
I didn’t know if ‘returned’ meant that I had to go back to that horrible shelter where all those unwanted dogs bark all the time, but then the lady from Rotten Rottie Rescue walked into my house. She said something about training and then off we went.
We got to DDTAZ and I was kind of jumpy and of course I didn’t really trust this new trainer lady but we started to work right away! There was nothing here to protect so that weight was already lifted from my shoulders. But because I was nervous, I was barking at any noise that I heard and I barked at her Rottweiler, Dexter for really no reason. That dude is confident! He didn’t even flinch when I gave him my mean dog bark! Oh and every time my trainer went to change my leash or move her hands I was super flinchy but she was also so calm and seemed like she knew what she was doing so I didn’t really object too much.
I gotta say, this trainer lady really gets me. She could tell I was worried so we went really slow. We walked slow, she was nice and quiet and she didn’t try to put pressure on me by petting me or touching me. She kept a 25’ leash on me when I went outside to potty so that she didn’t scare me by approaching me to attach a leash. She gave calm, verbal praise when I did good and today she started giving me tiny pets because I showed her I was ready for it. She taught me Place. Ah. Place. I think I’m gonna love Place. At first I hated it and wouldn’t step on it or lay on it. One reason, because I am a Rottweiler after all and wanted to maintain my independence! Two, I thought it would put me in a vulnerable position but now I understand that I can safely lay there and the world can go on around me.
I put some pictures here to show you what else I’ve been up to. This trainer makes me wait at every door I go through AND I have to give her eye contact before I can go! Same for food. I can only eat a little and then she says this ‘out’ word and I have to stop, come, sit, and give eye contact! SMDH!
She said that she’s showing me that I actually don’t own ANYthing to protect. The crate is hers, the food is hers, the doors are hers, she even makes me wait to get on Place so I figured even Place belongs to her.
She is making me walk on this moving street and says it’s great for my confidence and will help teach me to trust her. Something about leadership? I guess that’s a thing.
Oh and the worst one? She said I’m pushy with my nose and demanding of petting. She won’t pet me when I tell her to! Hasn’t she seen how pretty I am? She said she will only pet me for good work. Like, I have to earn it now. That’s some BS!
Fast forward ONLY three days and guess what? I LIKE to do the work! I look at her eyes all the time looking for cues and guidance. On our first walk today, I sat when she stopped and looked at her almost every time! I’m so relaxed in the crate, when she comes out I don’t even stand up! I’m starting to let her change my leash without flinching and I’m slower and less intense with my food and I’m starting to walk away from my food on my own! I don’t bark at all with loud noises and lots of dogs walk by my crate and I don’t even care anymore! What a relief!!
Human love is not the best love for a dog like me. Not at first anyways. You may be able to give me human love later, after you’ve established yourself as my leader and I’ve learned my position in the house. I’ve had a pretty messed up life so I may not be able to receive human love for a long time without getting it all twisted in my head! My owners knew my history. Some of those crazy dogs at the shelter may not even be able to tell you their back stories; all the more reason to make them earn their way into your house. I was given these ‘gifts’ and it only took me 2-3 weeks to display issues. Display. My trainer says that means I was actually feeling it before then. My trainer has trained dogs that showed it in one week! Hey, I guess I’m not the worst! #winning
My trainer said she’s going to show me love by teaching me right from wrong, teaching me how to relax, help me trust strangers, teach me that SHE protects ME, not the other way around! Wow! What a concept! Doesn’t she know I’m a Rottweiler?? I thought that was my job! She said that what feels even better than human love is knowing I have a stable home that I won’t be removed from, I have someone to guide me which allows me to be a calm, relaxed, house dog that has productive ‘dog jobs’ that don’t include being the boss of anything or anyone. Sounds good to me, sign me up!!
Humans, I’m writing you this letter because I don’t want you to ever have to return your dog like I was returned. I want you to know the concept of providing me balance. Please, balance love and affection with rules, structure and boundaries. I really DON’T want the freedom like you think I do. I like it when my trainer tells me what to do so I don’t have to guess or wonder. It relieves my stress. I want you to contact a balanced trainer THE MOMENT you see ANY negative change in your dogs behavior. Without professional help, it will likely get worse. With professional help, you may be able to turn it around and keep another dog out of rescue or the shelter. I want you to know that as dogs, we will take what you give us, we are experts at negotiating for more and if you want your dog to behave differently, you will need to behave differently. Sometimes you may have to hold back what feels good to you (like cuddling, hugging and kissing me) because it’s not the best thing for me at the time.
If you do these things when I first come into your home, you set me up for success. I’m relying on you for my success. I already get a bad rap just because I’m a Rottweiler! I want to make my breed proud! By giving me rules, you will be teaching your kids how to be good dog owners and that gets passed through generations! Balance will also set our whole family up for success! We will be happier and you won’t have to explain to the little humans why all of a sudden I was ‘returned’.
My trainer said it will take at least two weeks with her to get my mind better, get my obedience where it should be and get my confidence up so that I can be a positive addition to my new family. She also said she will be VERY picky about which people get to be lucky enough to have a pretty, well trained Rottweiler like me. She said they will have strict rules, just like I do! Haha! Welcome to my world! It feels good to have someone fighting for me for a change!
My trainer wanted to fine print my letter and say she knows not all dogs start guarding when they come from a shelter. Not all shelter dogs are crazy. There are lots of easy dogs that you can mush on from day one with no repercussions. She said if you get a dog like that, congratulations you hit the doggie jackpot! But if you did get a awesome dog like that, one of your friends or family may not have been so lucky so feel free to share with them! She also said not all insecure dogs will guard, but all the tips I recommended will help insecure dogs feel more confident, sooner than they would with all the mush.
I’ll keep you posted on my training and I'm gonna try and find out this trainer lady's name!