STARTING
OUT RIGHT !

Congratulations on your new Rottweiler! Whether you're bringing home a new puppy or a wonderful adult dog, we hope the information here will help make starting out in your new relationship a delightful experience for all concerned. We want you to be a happy family for many years to come. Always remember, this breed responds to gentleness, consistency, patience and love. A heavy hand is never necessary.

COMING HOME

Slow and easy is the key here. The dog you've just adopted wants to please you more than anything else in the world but its only natural that he may be a bit unsure when he first arrives. The first couple of weeks you and your pet are "getting to know one another". He doesn't know why he has come to your home nor what is expected of him. Please be patient with him and anticipate problems before they occur. Gently and consistently, you'll want to show him the ropes. Don't expose him to too many new experiences at once. If you have children and/or other pets please encourage them to let the new dog get adjusted to his surroundings at his own pace. And hard as it is, resist the temptation to have friends and relatives over to meet him right away. He needs to know he is really home and that you and he belong to each other. The first night is critical too. Whether puppy or adult he will derive comfort from sleeping near a family member. Allowing him to sleep next to you in your bedroom will greatly ease his transition. Please be patient in giving your new rottweiler time to adjust. It may take several days or even weeks before he fully adapts to his new home but that's a small price to pay for a lifetime of loyalty and devotion.

Calming Signals, an article by noted behaviorist Turid Rugaas, is one of the best articles we know of on how to recognize and understand - and use - the 30 calming signals that dogs use to communicate with each other and with us.

FEEDING

Puppies should be fed a high quality natural pet food. Please see our health pages for recommended pet foods. It is essential that your puppy NOT be fed excess amounts of food [to hasten his growth] or provided with calcium supplementation. Recent studies have proven that excess calcium [calcium levels greater than 2%] actually lead to skeletal diseases such as canine hip dysplasia and osteochondrosis.

Adult dogs should be fed foods that avoid soy products, corn, or preservatives such as ethoxyquine. Avoid pet foods that contain meat meal or meat and poultry by-products. One of the 'by-products' will astonish you. The use of rendered companion animals from vet's offices, animal control facilities and research institutes is routine practice. Rendering is a cheap method of disposal for these animals which, when mixed with slaughterhouse remains, are simply another source of protein. And since many animals are euthanized with sodium pentobarbitol this becomes of significant import. In a study conducted at the University of Minnesota, it was noted that the barbiturate sodium pentobarbitol "survived rendering without undergoing degradation." Ever wonder why more and more of our pets are dying younger and younger from cancer? Can you imagine what a daily dose of this drug in their evening meal is doing to them. Please see our health pages for comprehensive information on feeding.

IMMUNIZATIONS and HEARTWORM PREVENTION

Overvaccination is dangerous. There is increasing documentation that annual vaccinations are not only unnecessary but have been associated with harmful side effects which may result in autoimmune diseases, degenerative diseases, allergic diseases, seizures or paralysis and cancer. Of particular note in this regard has been the association of autoimmune hemolytic anemia which can be fatal. Additional articles on the dangers of over vaccination can be found on our health pages. Ideally the initial vaccinations should begin at 9 weeks of age with a modified live vaccine. A three- to four- week interval between vaccinations until age 16 weeks is considered optimal. Vaccinating at more frequent intervals hinders a good immunological result. Once immunity has been conferred the literature suggests immunity lasts from 7 years to a lifetime. In any case vaccines should never be given any more often than once every three years. We recommend the following vaccine protocol from:

W. Jean Dodds, DVM
HEMOPET
938 Stanford Street
Santa Monica, CA 90403
310-828-4804; Fax 310-828-8251
e-mail: hemopet@hotmail.com

Age of Pups
Vaccine Type
9 - 10 weeks Distemper + Parvovirus, MLV (e.g. Intervet Progard Puppy DPV)
14 weeks Same as above
16 -18 weeks (optional) Same as above
20 weeks or older, if allowed by law Rabies
1 year Distemper + Parvovirus, MLV
1 year Rabies, killed 3-year product (give 3-4 weeks apart from distemper/parvovirus booster)

For the safety of your rottweiler we recommend that heartworm preventative be given year-round.

TRAINING

Rottweilers, like us, thrive on a combination of reward, guidance and reassurance. That's why we're so excited about the new training philosophies which encourage the use of positive reinforcement and discourage the use of aversive {punishment} techniques. The use of rewards to produce desired behavior rather than relying on corrections for inappropriate behavior will ensure a well behaved dog while building a bond of trust that will last a lifetime. Please remember that your rottweiler, whether puppy or newly adopted adult, is learning things all the time. It is up to you to focus those learning experiences on the behaviors you want. We encourage early training with a responsible trainer. Under no circumstances should electronic training, choke or pinch collars be permitted. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers has a directory which will help you locate a trainer in your area.

Don't take good behavior for granted - always set the pet up to succeed:

Remember, dogs are not born knowing our expectations. It is up to us to show them what we want them to do and then reward that behavior and praise lavishly. You cannot be upset with an animal for doing something it has no idea is wrong. Take every opportunity you can to catch your dog doing something right and then reward that behavior.

Negative punishment:

We're asking you to give up punishment completely! Just forget all about punishment, aversive punishment, that is. There's another kind of "punishment" that is much more effective - 'negative punishment' or the withholding of the reward. NEVER, never strike your rottweiler, the consequences can only be disasterous. Handshyness, fearfulness, avoidance of humans, aggression and submissive urination may all result from physical punishment. One of the most important things that your rottweiler must learn is trust for you and also that the human hand is a friend. You're building the foundations of a new relationship with an animal with whom you've chosen to spend many years of your life. You want that relationship to be based upon love and mutual respect. To that end physical punishment or 'corrections' have no place in a successful relationship between you and your dog. Don't rely on discipline to shape your pet's behavior but instead seek to reinforce desirable behavior. It is essential to reward with food treats and praise. All too often people reprimand their dog for inappropriate behavior {which gives them no information about what you want them to do} and totally ignore reinforcing good behavior. You should actively look for desired behaviors so that you can reward and praise your pet.

Training How-To's:

Our training section has all the answers to your training and behavior modification questions. Here you will find the benefits of training with positive reinforcement and learn more about why punishment has no place in a successful training program. You'll discover that housebreaking can be as easy as teaching youngsters not to playbite. There are tips for training your dog to come when called, sit, down, stay, walk nicely on a leash, get along with the cats as well as several great selections on clicker training basic skills.

Great reading:

Our recommended reading page page will tell you about some of the best books we've found on training, behavior modification, and understanding your dog and what makes him the magnificent creation he is.

PLEASE BE CAUTIOUS

Rottweilers, unfortunately, attract a certain element of people for the wrong reasons. We hear many instances of chain link fences being cut, cars broken into, etc. in order for these dogs to be stolen. The pet theft trade is big business in this country as Class B dealers, also known as 'bunchers' make their living from selling your pets to medical research and product testing.

PLEASE PADLOCK YOUR GATES SECURELY AT ALL TIMES. NEVER LEAVE YOUR ROTTWEILER UNATTENDED EITHER IN YOUR YARD OR IN A PUBLIC PLACE NO MATTER HOW SAFE YOU THINK IT MIGHT BE.

ENJOY!

We know you will treasure every moment with your rottweiler, who will surely be your best friend for life...

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