Written by Dr. Marcelle Landestoy, DVM
While there are obvious differences between rottweilers and other dog breeds, especially in terms of size and appearance, some may wonder about barking behavior.
So does a rottweiler bark a lot?
Rottweilers are quiet dogs and aren’t known to bark frequently not unless there is a genuine need. At times, barking has more to do with the dog’s training than the breed. Your rottweiler may be communicating a need if barking excessively.
If you want a quiet dog to fit your lifestyle, it’s just as much about training as the breed.
Below, I’ll discuss why dogs bark and how to prevent your dog from barking excessively using positive methods.
Additionally, using my experience as a veterinary doctor, I’ll give you some tips and tricks for dog training.
Why Do Dogs Bark?
It can be hard to remember that your dog is trying to communicate when barking.
And sometimes, when the barking becomes too much, it can be tempting to punish or give your four-legged companion some time out.
As such, it’s important to remember why dogs bark in the first place.
Dogs bark because they are attempting to communicate something with you. They may be warning you about an impending danger, trying to protect themselves, or even seeking your attention.
Rest assured that your dog would be signing to you or talking in human words if they could.
However, since they can’t, they will do what they can to get your attention.
Typically, dogs will bark to indicate that someone is outside, feel unsafe near a human or dog, or need more food or water.
While training can do a number on dog barking, some dogs are more prone to barking than others.
Huskies and Shiba Inu are most famously known for their temper tantrum-like conversations with owners.
However, these are usually indicators of a need.
As long as you can remember that your dog is barking for a reason, you won’t have to worry or feel angered that your dog is being loud.
Barking Behavior by Age
Dogs tend to bark differently at different stages of their lives, as explained below:
You should expect a rottweiler puppy to whine and whimper like a newborn before learning how to bark.
Puppies usually bark if they have:
- Separation anxiety
- Feelings of being unsafe
- Discomfort around strangers
You can help your dog get through these uncomfortable feelings with proper training.
Remember, it’s normal for your puppy to bark as It’s the only way they know how to communicate.
Though you may have seen them barking a lot in movies, Rottweilers are not known to be a noisy breed.
They are a relatively quiet breed, even when triggered by external stimuli.
You should expect your dog to do a little bit of barking if they see another dog approaching or have separation anxiety.
Barking Behavior by Gender
You may wonder if gender makes a difference in how your rottweiler is barking.
It can make a difference, but only within a certain context. Below, I’ll talk about the expectations.
Male rottweilers typically bark the same amount as female rottweilers.
However, if the male is not neutered, this can create other barking behaviors.
Non-neutered dogs tend to be more excitable and easily triggered by outside stimuli, which can lead to more than average barking.
Female rottweilers will typically bark the same amount as their male counterparts.
However, if your dog has not been spayed, you may notice more moaning or groaning around her menstrual cycle or if she becomes pregnant.
Additionally, if your girl begins to have puppies, you’ll likely notice a protective behavior change around her kiddos.
What Can Cause Excessive Barking in Rottweilers?
Observation is going to be the key to solving this mystery.
Whether in rottweilers or bulldogs, excessive barking can usually be attributed to several things.
It’s important to assess the full picture rather than one or two situations in isolation.
Excessive barking in rottweilers can be caused by environmental triggers like other dogs, strangers, or the inability to access something they want. Additionally, environmental changes can lead to increased barking. If nothing has changed, it’s best to visit a vet to assess your dog’s health.
Always be mindful of the antecedent (what happens before your dog beings barking), behavior (how your dog barks and accompanying body language), and consequence (what you do after your dog begins barking).
Looking at the whole picture and examining the patterns will help you determine the cause of the abnormal barking behavior.
Some common barking triggers are:
- Separation anxiety
- Other dogs
- Loud noises
These are universal bark triggers for all dog breeds. Let’s take a look at how to address abnormal barking behavior.
When Did the Barking Begin?
The first step to getting to the bottom of abnormal barking behavior is examining when the habit started. If your dog has always been vocal, then it’s normal for the behavior to continue until they have been trained or the problem has been addressed.
However, if your dog has never been very loud, look for environmental changes.
Is your dog eating a new type of food? Have they grown, and their new collar or harness is too tight? Did you recently move neighborhoods and now have a dog in the opposing backyard?
Remember, all communication has meaning! Your dog isn’t likely barking for no reason at all.
Even if there are no changes in the environment, something may have changed internally in your dog.
Can Barking Indicate Health Problems?
As mentioned above, barking is normal. If your dog has always been a barker, it’s normal for them to continue being one.
However, if you notice a significant change in their vocal behavior, something else may be going on.
Barking can indicate health problems if the barking is atypical of your dog’s normal behavior. Your dog may be trying to communicate that they are ill or injured. Barking itself isn’t a health problem but a side-effect or symptom of another underlying issue.
If you have no changes in your environment and can’t pinpoint the trigger of your dog’s recent barking, there’s no harm in making an appointment with the vet to make sure all is well.
Sometimes a dog may be barking more to tell you they are uncomfortable or in pain.
How To Tell if the Barking Is Aggressive?
A dog’s barking may be aggressive if accompanied by aggressive body language. When they feel aggressive, you’ll notice their haunches raised, barred teeth, lunging, snapping, or pulling. Over time, you may even be able to hear a difference in their bark.
Dog body language is usually pretty indicative of how your dog is feeling.
This youtube video gives a little more information on common dog body language signs:
Dog barking on its own isn’t necessarily aggressive. Still, your dog will give you other signs that they feel unsafe or uncomfortable in any given situation.
Remember that no dog is “evil” or “cruel.”
Some dogs just don’t like to be around other dogs or other people (this could be especially true if your dog was abused before being adopted).
Aggression means that it’s up to you as their trusted human to get them in a better, safer situation.
How To Reduce Excessive Barking
It’s possible to reduce excessive barking, but first, it’s important to note that “excessive” to you may not be “excessive” to others.
There have been many news stories and social media posts about dogs barking to warn their parents of gas leaks, intruders, or dangers.
And who could forget the movie scene where the dog warned townspeople of a little girl trapped in a well based on a true story?
Your dog is barking to communicate. You should pay attention and get to the bottom of the uncharacteristic barking behavior.
If they are barking because your neighbor’s dog is outside, close your dog door when your dog goes out or teach them that the neighbor’s dog isn’t a threat.
Ceaser Milan, also known as the “dog whisperer,” gives a ton of great tips on helping dogs bark less when guests arrive:
Maintaining a calm demeanor is essential when teaching your dogs that they should remain calm.
Additionally, many pet parents have taught their dogs “alternative” ways to communicate instead of barking.
For example, if your dog always barks at you when they’re hungry, you can try the button system.
This TikTok famous dog uses the buttons to communicate with its pet parent:
Some parents install bells or doorbells to communicate better.
Avoid These Pitfalls in Your Quest for Some Peace and Quiet
How you respond to your dog’s barking is crucial, as it can either worsen or help improve the behavior.
Often, we think it might be productive to do the following when our dog barks:
- Punishing the dog
- Hitting them or pretending to
- Bark training
- Bark collar
These are, admittedly, more effortless tactics than training your dog.
Though easier, they never work out in the long run.
If they do end up helping your dog bark less or stop barking altogether, it’s usually based on your dog’s fear response, which is not ideal!
You want your dog to love and respect you and not be scared or intimidated by your presence.
While preventing your dog from barking excessively may feel important to you, it’s also crucial to avoid using negative techniques that can scare or harm your four-legged family member.
Let’s take a closer look at some pitfalls to avoid when looking to reduce your dog’s barking.
Punishing Your Dog
Punishing your dog by locking them in another room or taking away their food or toys may be a good way to teach them, “if you bark, I will do XYZ until you make a better choice.”
Unfortunately, dogs might not understand why we are doing XYZ and instead think we are just being cruel.
Kids, adults, and dogs learn best from natural consequences.
Toddlers, who are pretty similar to dogs in brain ability, learn best from consequences.
However, consequences and punishment are not the same at all.
Punishment is usually a scare-based tactic meant to convince someone that they’ll be unhappy if they partake in “bad” behavior because you’ll be sure to make them unhappy.
Consequences highlight the natural effect of doing something undesirable.
For dogs, punishing them by taking their food away or locking them in their kennel might not make sense.
They won’t likely think of barking as the “cause” and the kennel as the “effect” and will instead feel their needs are being unmet and even end up depressed.
Making Your Dog Think You’re Going To Hit Them
To train your dog thoroughly, you need them to trust and respect you.
You don’t necessarily need to instill fear. Hitting or pretending to hit them is a sure-fire way of showing your dog they should be scared of you and can’t trust you.
This method rarely works and should be avoided at all costs if you care about your pup’s well-being and overall confidence.
Shouting and Verbal Aggression
Shouting at your dog to make them stop barking does more harm than good.
When we yell at our dogs or speak to them aggressively, especially due to excessive barking, we are showing them that it is okay to raise our voices and snap rather than remain calm.
As a rule, we should always remain calm when communicating with our dogs.
Otherwise, we give them every indication that they should bark aggressively to get attention.
Getting a professional trainer who uses positive reinforcement and behavior analysis rather than punishment is always recommended.
However, bark trainers that promise to help your dog stop barking altogether should be avoided like the plague!
It’s natural for dogs to bark as they use it as a form of communication.
While you can train them to limit their barking or stop barking excessively, teaching dogs to stop barking altogether is cruel and ill-advised.
While bark collars might get your dog to stop barking, they will not teach your dog to differentiate between an “appropriate” and “inappropriate” bark.
So many people get dogs to reinforce security; however, if you collar your dog, they’ll stop barking altogether.
Dogs are our companions, but they are also our responsibilities, meaning we must make them feel safe and loved.
Even if you think you have an “aggressive” or “loud” dog on your hands, nine times out of ten, their aggression or barking was caused by something you could have prevented in the first place.
If there’s nothing you can do to reduce your dog’s barking, consider talking to your vet or a professional trainer.
Either way, you should always treat your beloved rottweiler with the kindness they deserve.
- Daily Dog Stuff: Rottweilers Barking a Lot? Here’s What They Might Be Trying to Say
- Love To Know: Does a Dog’s Behavior Change After Having Puppies?
- YouTube: Meet Bunny the talking dog! Video shows how she communicates with buttons
- YouTube: How to Stop Dog Barking! (Cesar911 Shorts)
- Wikipedia: Rescue of Jessica McClure
- Flower-mound: Less Than Exciting Behaviors Associated With Unneutered Male Dogs!
- Mail Online: ‘Hero’ Dog Saves Her Family’s Lives by Chewing Through Door and Barking at Neighbors To Alert Them to Dangerous Gas Leak in the Basement
Click here to read my post on whether or not Rottweilers are aggressive
Veterinary Hospital Director at UCE
Dr. Marcelle is a general veterinarian with a Small Animal Medicine Specialty | Director of the UCE School of Veterinary Medicine | Certified by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society