Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Do you know what Rottie Rules are?

I was reminded of something today that I hadn't given much thought about for many years. Not that I hadn't been aware of it because it has become an indelible way of life - a part of Living With Rottweilers. The thing I'm talking about are Rottie Rules. These rules are taught to us by our Rottweilers but mostly to humans who are fortunate to have more than one Rottweiler living with them. Some of these Rottie Rules involve families of Rottweilers such as owning a mother and daughter or a father and son relation who all live in the same house. Our first three Rottweilers were related. We first got our puppy Mocha and then six months later we adopted Mocha's mother (Felony) and her father (Nikko). Whenever baby Mocha learned a new task or did something good she would get a treat. The first rule we learned was that when we gave Mo a reward we had to give her mother and father a Royalty Payment. The concept of a Royalty Payment in their world is the same as it is in the human world. If you created something and someone uses it they must pay you a Royalty Payment. And you didn't have to seek them out to do this because they are always in the same room that you are. Rottweilers do not live in obscure corners of your home, they are in-your-face kinds of dogs that always follow you around and if you don't make them a part of your life they soon make you part of theirs. In our house our Rottweilers are a part of our family.

The second Rottie Rule we learned is that in a home with more than one human and more than one Rottweiler, each human has his own Rottie shadow and one Rottweiler will always be in the same part of the house as "their" human. 

The third Rottie Rule comes from the concept that Rottweilers belong to a very strong union. They seem to have adopted the rule from organized labor that says if a human does a job that was supposed to be done by a Rottweiler, then the Rottweilers must be paid for the work even if they didn't do it. Experienced Rottweiler owners know that Rotties love to work and they love to please their humans. We have many different jobs in our house that our Rottweilers enjoy doing. Every day for 11 years, in rain or snow or any weather, Mocha went out and found and picked up the daily newspaper and carried it in to the house. Mo was our hardest working Rottweiler and I enjoyed watching her work and taking pictures of her, like these.


Some of the other jobs they have all done is "pick up" and "delivery". There is a useful side effect to always having a Rottweiler near by. In our house if we should ever drop anything on the floor one of our Rotts will immediately pick it up and hand it to us. If one of us is in another room you can always ask one Rott to carry something and deliver it to the other person. One day years ago when we lived in a two story house, I was in the upstairs bathroom getting ready for work and I called down to my wife that I needed a new tube of toothpaste. Shorty afterward Mo came trotting up the stairs carrying a box in her mouth with the toothpaste.
They have acquired another job with a somewhat uncomplimentary title that we call "Garbage Girl" because mostly it was done by our girls. Whenever we have finished drinking a can of soda one of the girls would take it and carry it to the garbage can and wait for a human to dispose of it. One day our next door neighbor came for a visit and she happened to have a can of soda with her. As she was drinking it Mo was standing nearby watching her intently. The woman asked why Mo was staring at her and I told her Mo was waiting for her to finish her soda so she could take it to the garbage can. We have expanded this rule to include beer cans as well and added a new wrinkle to it. Our young male Rottweiler, Ruff, soon learned to carry soda cans but when ever I was drinking a can of beer I would remind him that he wasn't allowed to carry beer cans until he was 3 years old. In human terms that would make him 21.
Our first family of three Rottweilers have all passed on to the Bridge but we soon found ourselves with two new Rottweilers and recently our lives were blessed with the addition of a third member. The concept of the Royalty Payment was then replaced with a new rule about making a Witness Payment when one Rottweiler did some special job, the others who were not related were paid as witnesses to the one who did the work.

Another rule our Rottweilers taught us was that, contrary to popular belief, Rottweilers do like violence. Their concept of violence is not the same as ours. It seems that to our Rottweilers any human touching another human is breaking that rule. That also seems to be a literal translation that includes hugging and kissing and sometimes even holding hands. I think that Mo learned this rule from her mother Felony because whenever me and my wife gave each other hugs or kisses Mo would come running to us barking at us to stop. Of course, Mo was very possessive towards me and treated me as if she owned me and our other Rottweilers haven't been as dedicated to following that part of the rule so much. But our other Rotts definitely do not like violence even when they see others get physical with each other, even when they see it on television. I told this story long ago about sitting on our front porch one day with Nikko and we were just looking out across the street. A young woman came out of her house and walked over to the house next door and came out with an older woman. Nikko watched this closely and as soon as the younger woman took hold of the arm of the older woman to assist her Nikko began a low growl of disapproval under his breath. Our young male, Ruff, often growls at the television when he sees people fighting.

Living With Rottweilers for the last 15 years has been the most enjoyable time of my life. We have been surrounded with their love and they have provided us with so many moments of entertainment with their clownish behavior. They are very much tuned in to our thoughts and daily activities. We love to take them with us when ever we go someplace and it hurts us to have to leave them home when we can't. 


  1. These rules were so awesome. It made me miss some of my past rotties. I now just live with one (a rescue), and the rules are a little different with a union of one. Though he still follows me around, he has to be in the same room as guests, and if they sleep on the air mattress, he has to sleep with them instead of me. Additionally, he will only fetch something once. I think of this as the rule of I Already Got It For You Once, Stop Throwing It Away. He also must inspect clothing I put on. For the quiet dog he is, he sure takes up a lot of psychic space.

  2. The "not liking violence" is so true, my old rottie, Blitz, used to growl and bark if anyone hugged, but particularly if anyone hugged ME. I called him "the hug Nazi."

    1. Gee, things have changed so much in the years since I wrote this. I am so glad now that no one growls when my wife and I give each other hugs and kisses. Maybe that is because our only Rottie girl Sassy is so old and tired and doesn't get around too much. But one thing has remained the same, everyone still get the Witness Payments when one of them does some work.

  3. The shadowing behaviour was a huge but good surprise I learned from my rott!!!