Is Your Rottweiler Growling? Here are 7 Tips For Handling It

by Sonya | Last Updated:   March 14, 2021

We are reader supported and may earn a commission when you purchase after clicking our links. This website does not replace professional advice, always consult a licensed veterinarian to ensure your dog's well-being

Having a growling Rottweiler can be a very concerning thing and is something that needs your attention immediately. This article will help you to figure out why your Rottweiler is growling and how to stop it.

Dog growling is just a method of communication – it’s your dog trying to tell you something. Dogs growl to convey lots of different things, from anxiety and aggression to encouraging playtime.

So there are many possible reasons as to why your Rottweiler is growling. They might be protecting their food and/or possessions or might be feeling anxiety, uncertainty, pain, frustration, or simply having fun.

So to stop your rottweiler from growling, you need to figure out the exact reason.

Close up of Rottweiler growling while being held on a leash

Fixing The Rottweiler Growling Problem  

Your Rottweiler may be growling because they don’t like the behavior you’re showing. Once you identify the source, you can ensure that your dog doesn’t interact with it. If your Rottweiler happens to encounter a trigger, try to counterbalance it instantly in a peaceful manner. Observe how your dog reacts to different incentives– whether it’s snarling, biting, or growling. 

1. Fix the pain

If it seems like it might have been growling due to being in pain, like growth spurts, the best option would be to take him to a vet. By doing so you will be able to rule out the likelihood of it being due to injury and to get expert advice tailored towards your particular Rottweiler.

FREE Quote

Embrace Dog Insurance

  • Up to 90% Back on Bills at Any Vet
  • Diminishing Deductible
  • One Comprehensive Plan
  • Coverage for Exam Fees
  • No networks, so you can visit any vet

2. Socialising your Rottweiler to not growl

If your dog is poorly socialized (i.e. they don’t come into contact with many others apart from yourself), this can make them feel more threatened easily, which then leads to them snapping and growling at other people and animals, no matter how harmless they are.

This aggressive growling happens when your Rottweiler isn’t used to other animals or people. The lack of familiarity leads to them associating others as a threat to you or themselves, and consequently act aggressively.

3. Expose them to triggers

Although it might seem cruel to expose your Rottweiler to triggers that make them want to growl, it is ultimately to their benefit. It works well because, after several repeated exposures, your dog will learn to understand that nothing bad will happen to them.

This will then reduce their anxiety and by extension their desire to growl.

4. React calmly to their growling

If your Rottweiler begins to growl, it is important not to react with outward anger towards your dog. It is important to stay calm because if you react adversely to your Rottweiler growling, that will only increase their anxiety, which will then make them growl more.

It is a vicious cycle and dogs will often meet what they believe to be aggression with aggression back.

5. Use positive dominance

Positive dominance is a training method where you aim to show your dog that you are authoritative through a firm voice and hand gestures. However, it doesn’t involve any shouting or other negative reinforcement that can upset your Rottweiler.

It involves communicating with clear hand gestures and commands which, through time, they will be able to understand what you want and respond to in the way you want them to.

When trying to stop your Rottweiler from growling, it is important to incorporate positive dominance training to ensure success.

6. Praise and reinforce their good behavior

It is important to reinforce positive steps in your Rottweiler’s training, so if they stop growling when requested or don’t growl in a situation they’d usually growl in, it is important to pet them, praise them and give them lots of treats.

This helps them associate good things with not growling, which will then encourage them to continue with their progress to reap rewards.

7. Get help from a professional

If you are unsure of why your Rottweiler has been doing it or it seems like it might be aggressive when it growls at you, the best option would be to get help from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. By doing so you will be able to see how to train it safely.

Dog Training

  • The Emmy-winning host of “Lucky Dog”, Brandon McMillan is an expert trainer dedicated to building relationships between humans and animals. In his MasterClass, Brandon shares his simple, effective training system to help you develop trust and control with your dog.

Training tips for Rottweilers who growl 

There’s a good reason why your Rottweiler growls at you when you hug him, and it’s probably not what you think; it can be the complete opposite of an aggressive growl!

Naturally, a lot of Rottweiler owners feel worried when showing love or hugging their dogs, and all of a sudden they hear them growling.

Still, a lot of the time this is just a case of confusing your Rottweiler’s growling with another behavior known as ‘rumbling’.

A Rottweiler’s rumbling is the breed’s equivalent to a cat’s purring and is a deep sound the breed produces at the back of their throat when they feel content and happy. This is why so many owners say Rottweilers growl when happy.

If you are having difficulty understanding whether your dog is growling or rumbling, it is important to pay attention to your dog’s body language.

If the sound is supplemented by your Rottweiler clenching his teeth and tensing his body, that usually means he’s growling. If his body language remains relaxed, he is probably just ‘rumbling’.

However, if your Rottweiler’s growling becomes doubtful and is aggression-based, or gets in the way of your day-to-day life, there are two key steps to solve the issue: training and socialization.

How To Stop Your Rottie Puppy Being Aggressive

What To Avoid When Training Your Rottweiler

We can make mistakes when training our dogs, which may further aggravate the aggression in them. Here are some common mistakes to look out for:  

Disciplining During Training Sessions 

Rottweilers can be incredibly frustrating when it comes to training. They are easily distracted, excitable, and aloof. If you discipline them during training, it’ll feel like punishment to them, and they will not respond to your efforts. Instead, they may growl at you constantly.  

Never Hit or Scream  

No matter how challenging the training gets, never lash out. Never hit your dog or scream at them. Your aggressive temper may instill fear in the dog, who will react negatively. A feeling of distrust will then be established between you and your dog. This can lead to dogs being under constant anxiety and may cause them to growl at their owners. 

Don’t punish the aggression

It would also help to avoid punishing it since it might not know why it is being punished, it could lead to feelings of resentment and it might cause it to become aggressive. Instead, it would help to give it lots of positive reinforcement training so that it learns how to behave.

Unnecessary Rewarding  

By rewarding your Rottweiler constantly, when the situation doesn’t call for it, you can make them dependent on rewards. In these situations, your dog may growl or bark when it is left unrewarded.  

Jerking The Leash  

Rottweilers are easily distracted and docile. If you’re taking them out for a walk, they might want to chase after something or go in a different direction.

At times like these, you will feel inclined to jerk and pull that leash. However, doing this can lead to a competition between you and your dog. Avoid jerking the leash and use positive dominance to get them to listen to you.

8 Common Reasons Your Rottweiler Is Growling

1. Growling because they are having fun

If you’re about to take your Rottweiler for a walk or are playing a game of tug, don’t be surprised if they start growling at you! It doesn’t have to mean their mood has suddenly switched to aggression.

Sometimes growling is just a Rottweilers way of telling you that they are happy and excited.

2. Growling to say hello 

If you’ve been away at work all day or on a long vacation, don’t be astonished if your Rottweiler starts growling and barking upon your arrival.

This doesn’t mean that they’re unhappy to see you. Instead, your Rottweiler is growling at you due to his or her anxiousness to reunite with you.

3. Growling to be assertive

If your Rottweiler comes across another dog in the street or a new pet in the home, they will feel intimidated in case this unfamiliar animal upsets the current ecosystem: violating their territory or possibly disturbing the current pecking order.

So, to assert their dominance over this strange animal or guard what they see to be ‘their’ turf, they will growl at the other pet they’ve confronted to scare them off and make it clear that around here, they’re in charge!

4. Growling over Uncertainty of the Unknown

Growling in these cases is often because your rottweiler is unsure of what is happening. This would be more true if your dog is in a situation such as when you are training it to do something difficult or new or simply when you don’t feed it at the same time that you normally would.

5. Growling because they are in pain

If your dog is in pain for whatever reason – it could be an internal injury or linked to an underlying health condition – then don’t be surprised if he begins to growl as a response to the pain.

The reasons for growling in pain could be twofold; firstly, as a direct response to the pain (especially if you appear to be getting near to the site of the injury or pain), and secondly, to alert you to the fact that they’re in pain.

If you assume this to be the case, it is important to take your dog to the vet for treatment.

6. Growling because they are afraid

If your dog comes across something they consider to be a threat – such as a person, other animals, or a sudden terrifying noise like fireworks – they will growl not only to try and ‘defend’ themselves from what they believe to be a threat but also to alert you to the fact that a threat is present.

This reason for growling is very common in Rottweilers who have experienced some emotional trauma, whether that be from mistreatment from a previous home or from being attacked/mauled by other dogs in the past.

7. Growling due to food aggression

Inherently, all dogs tend to be protective of their food, especially when they are puppies. Food aggression is in their DNA and dates back to their days in the wild when wolves would have to protect their food from other wolves outside their pack.

Their food supply was dependent on their hunting capabilities. With games not always guaranteed, meaning sometimes food could be in short supply. The stakes were a lot higher back then.

In comparison Rottweilers are notably different from their ancestors, this protective nature of their food still prevails today, so if they confront what they believe to be a threat to their food, they will growl at you or some other animal.

8. Growling due to Lack of Socialization 

Many Rottweilers, due to lack of proper socialization, swerve from their normal calm behavior. Especially when they are placed in circumstances unfamiliar to them. Immediately, they feel unsafe and may begin growling.

Always consider the situation that your dog is in when he or she growls. You may observe that your dog makes different types of growling sounds in different situations. Determining or recognizing the circumstances of each dog growl will help you identify what your dog is trying to say.

Final Thoughts

When you think of Rottweilers, you might think of scary, intimidating police dogs. Whilst it is true that Rottweilers make brilliant police dogs, this isn’t due to their stereotypically fearsome appearance and growling.

Rottweiler’s are lovable and obedient dog breeds. If well-treated and trained with patience, their aggressive behavior towards their owner decreases. Though some Rottweilers may growl at their owners, they rarely intend harm. Their growling behavior is usually indicative of something else and is easy to get off.

Sonya is a software engineer by day and recently earned her MBA degree, but she also loves spending her free time writing about her favourite passion, dogs! Click here to read more.