Why is my Rottweiler So Stubborn? + What You Can Do to Help

Why is my Rottweiler So Stubborn? + What You Can Do to Help
Photo by Kevin Seibel / Unsplash

We've all been there before with a stubborn dog. You say the command and they just stare at you or refuse to listen. Rottweilers seem to have made a bit of a name for themselves with their stubborn ways, which is why it is important to understand why they behave this way. Understanding why will help you understand how you can change it.

There are four reasons Rottweilers exhibit stubborn behavior. Most commonly, they have had poor training or no training at all. Otherwise, lack of exercise may lead to stubborn behavior, as well as negative associations with good behavior or being unwell. Regardless, this behavior can be corrected.

I will expand more on these points below, but you are probably more interested in how you can help your Rottie behave themselves. You can also find these tips as you read on.

Why Your Rottweiler is So Stubborn

Rottweilers are strong willed dogs by nature. To some degree, this is because Rottweilers are intelligent dogs, and with that comes stubbornness.

However, please understand I'm not saying they aren't easy to train. With the correct training, your Rottie will be a very well-behaved boy or girl. In fact, they often don't make it onto those 'top 10 most stubborn dog' blogs because the right training will set them straight.

It's never too late to train your Rottweiler.

Rottweilers are smart and will respond very well to good training. They are loyal and will want to please you. That being said, let's take a look at the four key reasons your Rottie might be demonstrating stubborn behavior.

1. Poor Training

Whether it's a lack of training, incorrect training or a later lapse in training, any problems in this area can lead to stubbornness. Keeping in mind that stubbornness is the choice not to obey.

What drives a Rottweiler to obey? Love and understanding.

Training a Rottweiler gives them the understanding of what makes you happy. Like I mentioned earlier, they love you and just want to make you happy. Plus, having an understanding that doing the right thing leads to pats, treats or just a happy owner will be enough to drive your Rottie to obey.

If you don't set out rules, your Rottweiler will be guided by their instincts. And I guarantee that these instincts will not line up with your idea of a 'good dog'.

How Do I Fix This?
You need to set out rules and be very consistent with these rules. This ensures that your Rottie knows where they stand. They then need to know that you won't budge on the rules.

They also need to know what the effect of obeying those rules is. So have a think about what reward you will be giving them. Using treats is usually the easiest way to train a Rottweiler when you first begin the training.

Throughout the training, make sure you aim to master the following basics:
- "Come"
- "Sit"
- "Lay down"
- "Stand"
- "Wait"
- "Drop it"
- "Leave it"

Finally, when giving a command to your Rottweiler, just remember not to repeat the command too many times. If they know the command, they should obey after the first or second time you say it. If not, you might need to retrain them on that command.

2. Negative Associations

Just as a Rottweiler understands they will get a treat if they obey, they will pick up on whether they are punished when they obey. It sounds odd and you may not even realise you've made that association, but it happens.

It could be something as simple as not doing anything when they obey. When your Rottie does something good, they are hoping to be rewarded. If you forget to reinforce their good behavior, they will slowly learn that being good gets them nothing.

Another example of this is calling your Rottweiler to you after doing something naughty so you can punish them. The Rottie see that they have obeyed by coming when you called, but were punished when they did.

How Do I Fix This?
You don't have to go overboard and give your Rottie lots of cuddles every time they obey you. But you should acknowledge the behavior. At least with a smile and a 'good boy/girl'.

You can leave the food treats for an occasional reward. This keeps them guessing which reward they'll get when they obey. It is well known that random reinforcement leads to the most effective change in behavior (this is the whole premise behind the randomness of slot machines!).

The most important thing is that your Rottie shouldn't be receiving something they don't like when they obey your command.


Sometimes poor behavior can be mistaken for stubbornness, when it is actually a result of built-up energy. Rottweilers are large dogs and need to be exercised accordingly, otherwise they will go a little bit crazy.

A Rottweiler that hasn't been exercised will often become destructive and will be less inclined to obey your commands.

How Do I Fix This?
Make sure you exercise your Rottie every day. There are different activities you can do with them if you can't get outside everyday, but you do need to do something. A little bit of inconvenience to your day will ultimately make your life a whole lot easier. You'll have a happy, healthy Rottie that actually listens to you!

For information on how much exercise a Rottweiler needs, click here.


Unfortunately, some Rotties come across as stubborn, when they are actually unwell. These Rottweilers want to obey you, but simply can't. They may have an upset stomach, an injury (either external or internally), chronic condition (like arthritis) or something more sinister.

How Do I Fix This?
Just keep this in mind. Try to assume the best in your Rottie. If stubborn behavior is uncharacteristic and you have a good exercise regime, consider taking your Rottweiler to the vet. Monitor their behavior and symptoms over the next day or two so you have as much information for the vet as possible.

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