Despite the Rottweilers rather large size and their mistaken perception of being naturally vicious dogs, the breed as a whole makes very good city dogs provided they have the right training, socialization and an owner that understands how to be an effective leader. In some cities and urban areas breeds such as the Rottweiler may be banned, or their may be specific restrictions on owning these large dogs. Following any requirements or restrictions on owning these wonderful dogs is important both for yourself as well as for your dog. You can be a model for others to learn about the breed and how calm and well-behaved these dogs can be.
The first and most important aspect of having a huge dog that will mature at over 130 plus pounds in the city is to make sure that they are very well trained. Most breeders and Rottweiler owners recommend starting these dogs in a puppy obedience class at about 3 to 4 months of age and continuing on with the classes for several months. This not only forms a strong obedience foundation but it continuously works on socialization with other dogs and people. Since Rottweilers make excellent obedience event dogs, continuing on with advanced obedience work or even completing the American Kennel Club canine citizenship program is a great idea. They can also be used in any number of competitions and events from agility through to Schutzhund training and they excel at all of these types of competitions.
The Rottweiler needs to be trained to respond very well on a leash or lead. They should not be dogs that pull or fight the handler at any time as they are simply too large to be manhandled if they are not willing to cooperate or decide to go the other direction. Spending a lot of time initially on leash and lead training should be a major focus of early training. Many Rottweiler owners start out with a halti or a gentle lead type of collar, however typically a standard collar will be more than enough. Never use any type of harsh correction collar such as a choke collar or prong collar unless you have experience in correctly using these devices or unless you are working directly with a trainer. These types of collars can cause serious nerve and tissue damage to the throat and neck area, and are not an effective training method unless used with appropriate caution and understanding. The focus on training needs to be on rewarding the dog for doing the right thing, not using harsh corrective measures. Since the Rottweiler wants to please, the positive training methods are much more effective in developing a calm, well adjusted type of dog.
Working with the Rottweiler on a daily basis is also an essential element of having these dogs in the city. This is because the Rottweiler is a natural working dog and needs to feel that they have a job or a role to do in order to be happy and content. This can be a job such as working through a training routine, playing fetch, accompanying you on walks during the day or simply guarding the house or apartment while you are away. A dog that has routine interaction with the family and feels like they are an important part of the family is also going to be more relaxed, calmer and less likely to engage in any negative types of behaviors.
Daily exercise will be essential in keeping your Rottweiler calm and relaxed as well. This exercise needs to be fairly intensive in both duration and level, however they don't need hours of running or work each and every day. A good brisk 30 minute walk twice a day combined with some outdoor, off-leash time and regular obedience work and play time during the day will provide more than enough exercise for most Rottweiler. Puppies and younger adult dogs typically require a bit more exercise than senior dogs, however the Rottweiler will stay active well into his or her senior years. Some Rottweilers are very prone to weight gain and regular exercise combined with healthy foods and balanced nutrition can help prevent this from causing any health problems associated with obesity in dogs.
Problem barking is not typically an issue for the Rottweiler breed, however they are loud barkers when they do bark. Typically most Rottweiler will bark to alert you that strange people or animals are in the vicinity, but will quickly learn a "quiet" command to curb barking. Poorly trained and bored Rottweiler can become problem barkers when left alone, however this is not a natural tendency of a well exercised and trained Rottweiler.
From its heritage and breeding as a protective dog for flocks and farmer's properties, the Rottweiler is not as prone to wandering off as other dogs. Most will naturally stay very close to their homes and owners, even when not on a leash. In the city it is always highly recommended to keep the dog leashed at all times, both for the safety of the dog as well as to prevent any possible issues with other people or pets. While the Rottweiler is tolerant of other dogs, especially when socialized properly, they will defend themselves if attacked or bothered. Smaller dogs, especially males, may be more aggressive than what the Rottweiler is willing to tolerate, resulting in serious injury to the other dog if there is any type of aggression between the two.
While living in the city it is also important to find a place where your Rottweiler can spend some time exploring and just being a dog. Consider a weekly trip to a park or rural area where the dog can explore or run and play off-leash. Dog parks that are fenced and secure may be a good option, however again some parks may have restrictions on breeds such as Rottweilers in the off-leash area. Hiking in a state or national park on a dog approved trail is a great way to get out of town and spend some quality time with your dog.