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30 TIPS FOR RAISING ROTTWEILERS

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Quick reference links:
Feeding #1-6
Vaccines #7
Worms, Fleas & Illness #8-10
Crates #12
Exercise #15-17
Grooming #18-19
Training #20-25
Socializing #27
Chewtoys #28
Loose dogs #29



1) If you must switch from one brand or type of dog food to another. There are two ways to do it properly and you need to choose the way that works best for your situation and individual dog.

A)Mixing new and old gradually over one to two week's time, gradually adding more and more of the new food.

B)Fast your dog one meal. For the next meal, feed 1/4 of your dog's normal amount of just new food. The next meal feed 1/2 of the normal amount using just the new food. Stay at this level for 2-4 more meals, then gradually work up to the quantity he normally gets in a meal over another day or two's time. Watch your dog for sloppy stools or for weight gain. If either occur cut back 1/2 cup and observe again. Every food has a different calorie level and you may need to feed more or less of the new food to obtain the same weight management results. Always observe your dog's weight and stool output when changing feeds and adjust meal potions accordingly. Remember every food does not work for every dog and just because your friend's dog does well on X brand does not mean your dog will!

2) Keep your Rottweiler lean throughout his entire life. Condition, not fat, creates health and vitality. You should be able to easily feel but not see all of the ribs. If you can count the ribs by looking, he's too thin. If you have to poke he is too fat. Carrying too much weight contributes greatly to the development of joint and growth problems in young dogs and causes joint and ligament trouble in adults.

3) A GENERAL guide to feeding Rottweilers dry dog food (kibble) is as follows

Frontier's Feeding Guidelines

Age of the dog type of food meals/day cups/day
2-3 months growth 2-3 2-3
3-4 months growth 2-3 2 1/2-3 1/2
4-6 months growth 2 3-5
6-8 months growth 2 4-6 1/2
8-18 months growth 2 4-6
males-1 1/2-2 years growth 2 5-6
Adults adult 2 2-6
pregnant/nursing bitch growth 2-3 2-12 go by condition

"Growth" meaning a puppy/lactation formula of a high quality brand 28% protein and 18% fat. "Adult" meaning a normal maintenance formula of a high quality brand 24-27% protein and 14-16% fat If feeding a raw patty style (meat mix) homemade diet: 1 cup of meat mix (8 oz) is the approximate equivalent of 1 cup (4 oz) of high quality kibble so adjust your volume according to dog's appearance more than by number of cups. If feeding a raw meaty bones and pulped veggie diet then feed aprox 2-3% of dog's body weight per day (puppies need more), and again ALWAYS go by dog's appearance when deciding if you are feeding enough or too much; and be sure to read Carina MacDonald, Lew Olson's and/or Ian Billinghurst's books or consult with an experienced raw feeding breeder before beginning a raw diet. If feeding a prepackaged raw diet go by the manufacturer's guidelines AND the dog's appearance


4) DO NOT try to grow your pup quickly! Slow but steady growth is best. Rapid growth and/or fat puppies has been shown to aggravate genetically predisposed problems such as Hip dysplasia, Elbow dysplasia, OCD, panostitis, etc. Your dog will reach his genetic height and weight regardless of whether he is pushed to attain it quickly or fed to grow more slowly. The slower grown pup will be the healthier and sounder though.

5) If feeding a kibble diet, Feed a good quality, all natural feed that does not contain chemical preservatives (BHT,BHA, Ethoxyquin for example) or dyes. Some good choices are
Innova, California Natural and Healthwise ; Nature's Logic; Acana; to name just a few of the better brands. Alternatively, you can feed your dog a completely raw and natural diet. For the particulars of this diet see Carina MacDonald's book "Raw Dog Food, Make it easy for you and your dog", Lew Olson's "Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs" and/or Dr Ian Billinghurst's books "Give your dog a bone", "The BARF Diet" and "Grow your pup with bones" OR consult with a raw feeding breeder before starting. You can make this diet yourself or you can buy it premade and frozen from many companies. Just a few of these are Bravo; Victory; Darwins; The Ultimate Diet; Steve's Real Food for Pets and Halshan

6) If you live in an area where the water is treated, use bottled water at first. Gradually introducing your local water. If YOU do not drink your local water due to chemicals, metals, bacteria etc then DO NOT give it to your Rottweiler!

7) The Rottweiler often has a sensitive immune system that does not always respond as expected. Progard and Continuum vaccines, made by Intervet (see important note below vaccination chart below) were developed and tested on Rottweilers and provide the most reliable immune response to vaccinations. Additionally the prominent Veterinary colleges are now advocating fewer vaccinations than previously. See 2011 American Animal Hospital Association's Canine Vaccine Guidelines (pages 17-19 deal with titers if you are interested) and for a Holistic viewpoint see Shirleys Wellness Cafe. It is preferable to not give the rabies vaccines within 3-4 weeks of distemper or parvovirus vaccines. Breeding bitches should NEVER receive any boosters closer than 6 months prior to being bred. We Do NOT recommend having dogs vaccinated against Lyme disease. (The vaccine is not very effective and actually causes as many problems as the disease itself. See my Links page for interesting Lyme disease reading) or Leptospirosis (the strains currently in most vaccines are NOT the strains causing most Lepto related illness in dogs. Additionally Lepto vaccines have a very limited immune response/effective time and are responsible for many vaccine reactions)
Click here to see our Frontier Titer Project results

Frontier's Vaccine Schedule
    **SEE PROGARD NOTE BELOW CHART
age vaccine used
8 weeks Progard DPv
12 weeks Progard DPv
16 weeks Blood titers drawn for Distemper & Parvovirus (send to Cornell) + Progard KC (bordetella)(bordetella ONLY if required for classes or boarding. IF not doing titers then give a Progard 5 or Progard DPv)
6 months Rabies
1 year Progard 5 or Progard DPv or re run blood titers for Distemper & Parvovirus
4-8 weeks later Rabies and Progard KC(ONLY if required for classes, boarding)
Boosters (or blood titer levels tested) thereafter every three years; and we do not vaccinate dogs over 7 years old for anything other than Rabies


INTERVET PROGARD NOTE! : since Intervet was bought by another company, as of 2011 the product name is changing and some items are being dropped. The ONLY Progard/Continuum (same identical product just different label name - 1 year/3 year) products that will continue to be offered once warehouse stock is sold off, will be:

    Nobivac® Puppy-DPv For the vaccination of healthy dogs against canine distemper virus infection and canine parvovirus infection. Formerly known as Progard® Puppy-DPv.       Nobivac® Canine 3-DAPv For the vaccination of healthy dogs against canine distemper virus, adenovirus, and parvovirus. Formerly known as Continuum® DAP.

    Nobivac® Canine 3-DA For the vaccination of healthy dogs against canine distemper virus and canine adenovirus. Formerly known as Continuum® DA.

    Nobivac® Canine 3-Pv For the vaccination of healthy dogs against canine parvovirus. Formerly known as Continuum® P.

    Nobivac® Intra-Trac KC For the vaccination of healthy, susceptible puppies and dogs for prevention of canine infectious tracheobronchitis ("kennel cough") due to canine parainfluenza virus and Bordetella bronchiseptica. Formerly known as Progard®-KC.



8) Have your vet perform a fecal (worm) check once or twice a year. Have a heartworm check and a physical performed each April or May. Remember to give the Heartworm pills each month for the number of months your vet recommends. Our personal preference is the Interceptor brand

9) When battling fleas always use the minimum chemicals possible. It IS possible to be flea free with few or no chemicals. Our animals have been flea free since 1990! Our personal routine is:
Once warm weather arrives we clean out all dog houses and spray them with X-Otrol household spray or Eqyss Summer Defense, let them completely dry and then re-fill with pine shavings.
Our house is treated once a year with
Flea Busters powder (not a chemical) or Borax
Crates are cleaned monthly
Rooms are well vacuumed weekly (remember to seal and throw out vacuum bags as fleas can reproduce in there!)
Dogs are bathed monthly with a high sudsing oatmeal shampoo and combed while in the tub
During warm weather all dogs get 1/2 clove of garlic once a day or 1 garlic capsule once a day

IF HOWEVER, you live in a climate that is warmer then N.H. USA and this regime does not work well for you than a compromise would be to do ALL of the above PLUS apply Advantage topical once a month (In HIGH tick areas use Frontline topical instead as it kills ticks also). BE AWARE that you are applying a chemical to your dog's skin and that brings risks of it's own. These chemicals remain in your dog's hair follicles and oil glands for at least a month (based upon our boarding kennel customer's experiences I do not recommend any other brand of chemical topical flea treatment- but that is my own personal opinion, given that I won't use them on our pets at all) There are non chemical flea sprays (Buddy Splash flea formula is one) but they need to be applied every day to work and they do not work in high flea areas. The
products Flea Flicker, Tick Kicker; Eqyss Summer defense; and Tick Guard/Dog Guard  works moderately well for ticks. I personally am not at all comfortable with the flea sterilization pills (Program and Sentinal) as they are are placing flea sterilization chemicals into your dog's body (again just my own personal opinion) REMEMBER, the fewer chemicals in or on your dog's body the healthier he will be! Sources for non chemical flea products are:Flea Busters powder for houses, rxforfleas@aol.com, 800-666-3532. Celestial Pets (Pure Comfort shampoo and other great products), as well as the two companies whose products are listed above.

10) Common signs of illness are: lack of appetite; constipation; diarrhea; vomiting; constant discharge from the eyes, nose, penis or vulva; depression; any swellings or lumps; excessive hair loss; foul smelling ears or mouth; lameness; excessive thirst; or inability to urinate.
If your dog has diarrhea or vomits more than once in a day: do not feed him for 24 hours. After 24 hours you may give him some boiled rice or cooked oatmeal, boiled chicken and canned pumpkin. Do not allow him to drink excessively but do not restrict this too much. CALL your vet about the POSSIBILITY (and dosage) of giving Slippery Elm (health food store product) or Immodium in severe cases. IF your dog is not improving after 48 hours or if the diarrhea/vomiting is accompanied by depression, lethargy, blood or loss of appetite get him to the vet AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!
Some young bitches may get vaginitis or urinary tract infections. Symptoms may include a vaginal discharge, repeated licking, frequent urination or a sudden loss of house breaking. See your vet for a urinalysis or a vaginal smear for diagnosis. NOTE: many Rottweiler puppies have urinary tract infections that simply fail to culture. No idea why BUT if your puppy is urinating frequently, having accidents, has crystals in their urine and/or white blood cells or high PH ASSUME this is a UTI and have your vet treat accordingly even failing a positive culture. Rottweiler puppy UTI's can persist unless treated promptly and long enough (sometimes up to 6 weeks!)
Some Rottweilers occasionally burp up food or other things they have eaten. Sometimes just keeping them quiet 1/2 hour before and after eating helps. If this is a daily occurrence please see your vet for evaluation.

11) Some dogs eat feces. This is a disgusting (to humans!) but natural occupation. If your dog does this even when you pick his feces up once or twice a day you can TRY adding Prozyme; Papaya extract or pineapple juice to his food. Sometimes this works but sometimes it does not. Keep the feces picked up as many times a day as you can manage, scooping immediately after the dog goes is ideal.

12) Buy a crate (preferably plastic if you are housebreaking a puppy as they hold in liquid accidents better) and train your puppy to stay in it at night or whenever you cannot supervise him. The average adult female needs a crate 36"L X 24"W X 26"H. Average adult males need 40"L X 27"W X 30"H (but bigger is always better for adult dogs). Do not put a bed in with puppies as they will chew them up or soil them. For very small pups you can put shredded newspaper or a heavy towel in to absorb any accident. With small pups blocking off the rear portion of a large crate helps with those that are over 12 weeks of age and are still soiling the crate. To aid in the housebreaking be sure to set up a feeding and elimination schedule and stick with it. Puppies are physically unable to "hold it" for any great length of time until 3 1/2 to 4 months of age. I do not recommend wire crates for Rottweilers under 8 or so months of age as legs can get caught or pinched between the bars and the growth plates in the front legs can be damaged
Do not ever leave a collar on any dog in any crate. Many dogs have died when a part of their collar inexplicably got caught on the crate in ways no one could have foreseen.

13) Do not pick the puppy up under the shoulders like a child. Always support his rear. Very young children should not pick the puppy up as they might drop and injure him. Rottweilers are a large boned, fast growing breed whose joints and growth plates can be easily injured through accident, improper handling and improper exercise. Try to not carry the puppy ALL the time as they need the walking exercise and if carried a lot it increases the jumping up on people.

14) Puppies should be carried down stairs and helped out of cars and off the furniture until 4-5 months old to prevent joint and growth plate injures. Leaping off of large rocks and furniture can also damage growth plates.

15)Do not force exercise. Especially in Rottweilers less than 18 months of age. If they are tiring they must stop to rest. Tired muscles (in humans and dogs) become weak and injuries are more likely to occur at that time. Swimming imposes no impact and is not restricted except that tiredness and water intake need to be monitored to prevent cramps and accidental drowning. The puppy should not be asked to pull weights in excess of 5-10 lbs before 14 months of age (and not at all under 7 months) and not in excess of 15-20 lbs before 18 months of age to prevent skeletal stress. He should not carry (in backpacks etc.) more than 2-5% of his body weight or 5 lbs whichever is less, between the ages of 6 to 14 months and should never carry more than 10% of his body weight until beyond 18 months. As an adult he should never carry more than 20% of his weight and that only after training with gradually increasing weight over many week's time, and not on a steady basis.

16) Do not let the puppy play on slippery surfaces or with adult dogs as these can cause muscle, joint and growth plate injuries. Try to not allow him to jump up for a treat or a toy; or jump off or over objects that are more than 1' high until beyond 1 year and then only on good footing and with common sense.

17) DO allow the puppy to run and play on safe footing as much as he wants of his own free will. Be sure he is in a safely enclosed area when playing off a leash.

18) Keep your dog's toenails short. Long nails can ruin his feet and can also cause joint and lameness problems. Learn how to do them yourself if possible so that you may trim a little of each week. Walking the puppy on pavement or concrete can sometimes help also as can exercise in places where the pup is able to dig in his feet when running. Remember to trim the dewclaws as these can grow into the leg is forgotten and if sharp can injure the dog's eyes when they rub their faces.

19) Brush your Rottweiler daily or at least once a week with a rubber brush or a fine tooth comb. This will greatly reduce the amount of loose black hair around the house and on clothes. Wipe the ears out with a cotton ball dampened with alcohol, peroxide or a commercial ear cleaner once a week. Be sure that your dog has safe chew toys (Nylabones, Hercules, raw beef leg bones) and encourage him to chew daily to help prevent tarter buildup. Bathe no more than twice monthly, unless essential (showing, sprayed by skunk etc) Be sure the dog is dry before allowing him outside in cold weather. Use a good quality dog shampoo. Oatmeal dog shampoos are great for sensitive or flakey skin. Be sure to rinse very thoroughly!

20) Do not hit the puppy, especially about the head and face! This will make him hand shy and head shy and will cause you huge problems at the vet, training class and dog shows. An excellent book on raising and socializing your puppy properly is Ian Dunbar's "After you get your puppy".

21) Right from the begining teach your puppy to allow all parts of his body to be examined and handled. ESPECIALLY teeth, mouth, feet and testicles (obviously not an issue with neutered males) by both you and strangers. Rottweilers are notorious for not allowing these examinations to be performed if not trained to do so as a pup.

22) Teach your puppy to allow people to take food, toys etc away without aggression. Start with toys the puppy is the least possessive of and practice giving and taking using the command "leave it" or "drop it" (be sure to end with you giving the pup the toy or a yummy treat!) Gradually work up to items the puppy is more possessive of. Also work with new people and the pup with this game. ALWAYS start new people with the least possessive item and work up to the more possessive. Toys that bring out possessiveness should not be given or should be allowed only in the crate. Your puppy should not be encouraged to growl at innocent, non threatening people or dogs. Your puppy should be positively rewarded for greeting people nicely with a happy outlook and all 4 feet on the ground.
If you allow inappropriate aggression in a puppy, you will have huge problems when he's an adult! A GREAT book to read on dog problems is: "Dogs Are From Neptune" by Jean Donaldson.

23) Train your dog in obedience so that he will be a well mannered canine citizen when in public and so that you may easily handle him. A well trained Rottweiler is excellent P.R. for the breed. Discourage barking and lunging when in the car also. Try to practice obedience once or twice a day for 5-15 minutes each time. BE SURE to make training fun! Try to teach retrieving/fetch as this is a great exercise game. Tug of War should only be played IF 2 rules are followed. #1 if teeth touch ANY human skin the toy is put up and the game ends. #2 the game begins and ends when the HUMAN , NOT the dog says so. The Clicker method is the primary method we are using for our dogs.

24) Remember that it is easier to instill good habits than to break bad ones!

25) Establish rules right from day #1. Be consistent and many problems can be avoided. Two examples in particular are 1- no jumping on people ever. 2-no biting or nipping. Teach bite inhibition right away as a young puppy. To do this start out by hollering "Oww!" each time the puppy bites too hard. After a week holler "Oww!" anytime any pressure is applied with his teeth. After another week or two holler"Oww!" if the teeth even touch human skin. IF at anytime after the first week you have to say "Oww!" twice and are having no effect, walk away and totally ignore the puppy for a couple minutes. You will begin to see the puppy actually take their mouth off you when you say "Oww!" once they have learned this well. I start all of our babies bite inhibition training at 5 or 6 weeks of age and by the time they go to new homes they have a firm grasp of the concept.(For more details see the Ian Dunbar book listed above)

26) Learn how to massage and possibly tape/glue ears as some puppies 3 1/2 months and older need to have their ears massaged and possibly taped/glued to encourage them to hang properly. If the ears show signs of improper carriage and they are not at least massaged, they may never hang properly. Ask your breeder for assistance.

27) Be sure to give your puppy LOTS of attention and socializing! Take him everywhere and anywhere. Expose him to anything that you will want him to be good around as an adult. (use common sense while he is young with an immature immune system, and do not take him to places where ill dogs may have walked, peed or pooped like dog parks, or the grass outside of vets and pet stores) Be sure to include strange men, woman, people of a race other than yours, children, handicapped people, livestock, other healthy and mannerly dogs, cats, vehicles, strange places, strange objects etc... Puppies need an absolute minimum of 3 hours of socializing every single day. This includes time with the noisy family, training, trips to other places etc.

28) Do not give your Rottweiler rawhide, sterilized bones, smoked bones, or cooked bones. These can cause intestinal impaction which can require surgery and sometimes even death. Safe chew toys include any of the Nylabone brand and Kong brand toys that your dog does not have a tendency to destroy. Real raw beef and buffalo leg bones 8" or longer in length are safe also. Bones should have all exterior fat removed as well as most of the marrow.
IF HOWEVER real bones (or other "used to be alive" items) bring out aggressiveness or protectiveness in your puppy try making them crate only items. If this behavior persists at all then simply avoid these toys as, in my opinion, they are just not worth that hassle! Pigs ears, cow ears, etc.. should be avoided as they have been linked to serious illness and health issues as well as sometimes bringing out a nasty side in some dogs. Remember to keep all socks, nylons, hair ties, bottlecaps, golfballs, etc.. off of the floor. MANY dogs have died from eating non digestible items. IMPORTANT! Remember that NOTHING gets chewed up if YOU keep it picked up! It is NEVER the puppy's fault for chewing something up, it is yours!

29) NEVER allow your Rottweiler to run free. Current "vicious dog" hysteria can cause people to panic at the mere sight of what they think is a "vicious" breed. Many police officers will also shoot loose Rottweilers thinking that they are a public threat. Additionally your Rottweiler could get hit by a car. He could get stolen. He might chase wildlife (which is illegal and very unhealthy for the wild animals). He might harass livestock or pets. A citizen might kill him for imagined (or real) reasons. He could get into a dog fight. He could knock down, or God forbid bite someone. It is also a violation of most purchase contracts to allow your Rottweiler to be loose and not under direct control.

30) Lastly- Take good care of and enjoy your Rottweiler! He will be your faithful companion for the next 8-12 years


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Diane Richardson
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603-542-7344
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Last updated  3/6/12
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