Picking a good service dog is important and very specific to each person. Depending on individual needs and circumstances different breeds of dogs are better than others. Rottweilers are a breed that is often overlooked and misjudged for their purpose in the “service dog” world.
Are Rottweilers Good Service Dogs?
Rottweilers make great service dogs because of their physical characteristics and loving personality. Rottweilers are intelligent, loyal, friendly, and have a large and sturdy build and size.
Due to their label as a “bully breed,” rottweilers are often pushed to the side when being considered for a service dog. However this label doesn’t show the most important sides of this dog, in which should be a factor for this major decision.
Rottweilers as Service Dogs
A service dog is a dog that will go with their owner places daily or as needed. They are a dog that will assist people with their physical or emotional needs. They help with day to day tasks and really act as a friend to their owner.
Rottweilers have both physical and emotional traits that qualify them as good service dogs.
Firstly, they are big dogs. Their size helps people who have trouble with stability or balance. As they walk beside those they are serving, their sturdy structure proves to be more beneficial than smaller dogs.
They are also able to accomplish tasks such as turning off lights, pressing buttons, or opening and closings doors due to their height.
Rottweilers are also very intelligent dogs. When they are commanded to do something, if they have been trained properly, they are very obedient. They will bring objects to people or notify others if their owner is in need or in any type of danger.
Originally, rottweilers were bred to be guard dogs. For this reason, they prove to be extremely loyal. They stay true to those that they know and will protect their owner if they seem to be in danger.
This can be especially beneficial to older people who live alone and are in need of a dog to watch after them.
Despite the fact that much of society labels them as apart of the “bully breeds,” rottweilers are very friendly dogs. They show the simple amount of love and affection many people are in search of. They love people and do really great around children. For this reason, they do make great service dogs for young kids.
“My three [rottweiler’s] would make great emotional support dogs as they’re more than happy to sit and cuddle with you. In fact mine seem to know if I’m having a bad/emotional day and they won’t leave my side.”Luke Murphy, experienced rottweiler owner
These simple yet profound reasons highlight just a few of the reason that rottweilers have the potential to make great service dogs.
They are good for a large variety of ages and needs. Which makes them a very well rounded dog for the job, whereas other breeds of dogs may only fit one or a few of the needs many people are in search of.
Rottweilers as Service Dogs in History
Like mentioned earlier in this post, rottweilers were originally bred to be guard dogs. They helped protect people, money, property, and other things which needed to be looked over. Frequently, they worked within the military.
As time went on, they started working as therapy dogs in addition to their guard dog training and breeding. According to the American Rottweiler Club in 2015 Rottweilers were the winners of the AKC ACE therapy awards.
Therapy dogs and service dogs are different. However they do some of the same things, and the purpose they are trying to execute of helping to calm, relax, and bring happiness to people is universal.
The biggest difference between the two is, service dogs are more often assigned to a specific person, and they perform tasks and provide assistance to that individual.
They are trained for a specific need in which their owner has. Therapy dogs are more “on call” for events or situations in which their service would be needed. This can be large events, schools, counseling centers, or in places of a recent tragedy.
Since rottweilers have already been a huge part of the therapy world, integrating them into the community of dogs labeled as service dogs makes sense, and would be beneficial for many people.
Training Rottweilers as Service Dogs
As with anything in life, if something is taught incorrectly, it is then likewise learned incorrectly. It is so important to train rottweilers to perform the tasks they need to.
Again referencing the term “bully breed,” many people only know rottweilers for the stories they hear about them attacking people or acting out of hand.
This is a direct result from poor training from the owner. The dog cannot be blamed for this, because if they had been trained properly, these incidences are likely to have been avoided.
Since these dogs are very loyal to their owners, it is also important to help them become familiar with other people and other dogs. The process of socialization, which is introducing the dogs to different environments is vital to helping rottweilers become excellent service dogs.
Rottweilers are great dogs for a variety of needs, but it is still important for them to be trained for the specific task in which they will be performing.
Training for a service dog usually takes 1-2 years because of the significance of the task. But effective training can produce great results. It’s definitely worth it.
What to Watch out For…
The strengths that I have listed about rottweilers should all be considered when choosing a service dog. However, many of those strengths can also be used as a weakness if proper training is dismissed.
The size of this dog can be dangerous for frail or weak people. It can be overwhelming if the rotty gets too excited and jumps up on its owner.
This can be avoided by teaching the pup that this is not okay and they have to be calm around people. This is easier said than done with a highly energetic dog.
While loyalty is a wonderful strength, if the rottweiler becomes too protective, it could lead them to act violently if something seems suspicious. This is not an innate trait, so the dog won’t just act out randomly. This would again be a result of poor training on the owners/trainers part.
Rottweilers can make great service animals and they can exceed any expectation that could be had for a service dog.
However, if they are not trained fully, this can present a problem that might prove stereotypes. Good, consistent training is the absolute most critical thing when it comes to training a service animal.