Are you interested in a lovingly-raised, highly protective dog that puts YOU in the center of his or her Universe?
My name is Susanne, and my background includes animal training in Hollywood. As part of my job, I had to learn how to get animals that barely knew me to do all sorts of odd and unnatural behaviors, in a very short period of time.
To achieve this, I was taught some very powerful techniques. First, I had to establish myself as ALPHA, or “boss”, in a friendly, non-threatening manner. Fortunately, this can be done almost instantly by controlling the dog’s food, so I was taught to always work with a hungry dog, as that makes it really easy to keep a dog’s full attention.
Another powerful technique I learned was to ALWAYS know my outcome (the result I wanted to achieve), and to keep a really strong and clear picture of that outcome in my mind during every training session. In other words, if my job was to teach a dog to run up a ladder and then over a rope instead of using stairs, if I ran a little mini-movie of the dog successfully doing that set of behaviors, the dog learned much faster! Given sometimes the Director wanted to shoot that scene in four or five days, I needed as much help as I could get!
Now I raise Rottweilers. The result I want to achieve with this large, potentially aggressive breed is a very calm, watchful dog that cues off their Person (Alpha) before leaping into action.
My goal is a dog that WATCHES the environment, and if something unusual happens, to look at their Alpha. If Alpha is calm, the dog remains calm. If Alpha is agitated, then the dog moves into High Alert. This all happens in a natural flow within a dog pack, and it’s easy to recreate with their Human pack when they’re trained from a very young age. Unfortunately, most Humans expect their dogs to speak our language, rather than taking the time to learn the language of the pack.
To produce a strong, watchful, calm guardian, I begin training at about three weeks of age, as soon as teeth break through the gums, at which point the puppies are ready for solid food. I use what I call “Positive Selective Reinforcement Training”, even though PSRT is a terrible acronym!
All that really means is that I do my very best to praise and reward any behavior that I want, and IGNORE the behaviors that I don’t want. At the worst, punishment is a sharp “AAAACCCCKKKK!!” sound – never under any circumstances is a dog hit. Dogs are either “hand tame” or “hand shy” – in other words, when a hand comes near the dog, especially if unexpectedly, does the dog think it is safe, or is it in danger? Hitting a dog – even once – can ruin that trust forever. Hands are meant to give a dog treats and pats, and should only be associated with good things, never pain.
To get the dog to do what I want, I reward with lots of pats, enthusiastic verbal rewards (“GOOD dog! What a GOOD dog!”), and food (either a full meal or with treats).
How this looks: I walk up to the whelping kennel, with tiny puppies inside. They are just now old enough to walk, and any activity captures their attention, so they toddle over. A few try jumping on the ledge, and one or two others just sit down and watch me. THOSE ARE THE PUPPIES I PET.
Alternatively, if I walk up with food, and it’s meal time, I will stand and pretend to eat (an incredible secret to being ALPHA, because Alphas always eat first!) from their food dish, while I look to see who’s doing what. Most puppies are mobbing and jumping, and I ignore their craziness. I will instead feed a little bit of food to each puppy that’s sitting and watching, at which point everyone goes crazy, so I leave. I come back and do it again when the puppies have calmed down, in four or five minutes.
Here is a short video of the puppies when they’re older, and everyone is expected to “Sit” and “Wait” before they get to eat.
This is the kind of training our puppies receive, at every meal:
That’s how the dogs are trained, as members of our family. They live in our house, and they are taught to behave from a very young age by older pack siblings, Mom, and their Alphas (me and my kids). Much of the training is almost invisible, but the end result will be a confident, stable dog that can be taken anywhere, and who is a trusted member of their Ohana.
Some FAQs, below.
1. Are puppies AKC registered?
Mom and Dad are AKC registered, but puppies ARE NOT. I have no interest in showing, and I have no interest in bloodlines other than to make sure my dogs aren’t too closely related. I am interested in personality, loyalty, intelligence, and longevity. If you want an AKC registered dog, there are other breeders on-Island that charge $4000.
Below is a photo of Dad, the Goofy Clown:
2. How large are your Rottweilers?
If you want a HUGE Rottie, please look elsewhere, because these days a lot of large Rottweilers don’t live longer than 7 or 8 years due to skeletal problems, and that’s heartbreaking to me. I looked a long time for a smaller male, to decrease the chances of problems with their bones. Dad is about 90 pounds, Mom is about 80 pounds. You are welcome to meet them both when you come see the puppies. Here is a photo of Mom (purple collar), Dad (lime green collar), Big Sister (bright pink collar), and a male Shih Tzu playing on our hillside:
3. Tell me about their personalities.
Dad is a goofy, happy-go-lucky clown, and not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. He loves our Siamese cats, and will play with them for hours (see video). Mom is more serious, and very intelligent. Puppy personalities fall on the range between them, and it’s usually pretty easy to determine their personalities by the time they’re six or seven weeks of age. We spend a LOT of time with each litter – they’re born in my bedroom, grow up in the living room, and go into the back yard when they start running around at about six weeks.
4. What commands do the puppies know?
“Sit”, “Wait”, “Stop”, “Come”, “Go Home”, “Stay” (imperfect), “Mine!” (as in, that chicken the puppy is looking at is “MINE!”), and “Don’t Touch Me!” (because puppies are never allowed to bite skin, clothes, hair, or jewelry). They will have had minimal housebreaking, since my living room doors are always open, and they can just go outside whenever they need to go to the bathroom. You will need to crate train them when you take your puppy home, and this will housebreak your puppy very quickly.
5. How much do puppies cost?
Puppies are $2,000, to make sure the dog is highly valued. I sometimes have puppies WITH tails (the $2,000 Rottweiler puppies have traditionally docked stub tails) for $1,500. I sometimes have older puppies who have received more extensive training; prices are negotiable for them.
Puppy’s tails are docked, dewclaws are removed by a licensed vet. Puppies are wormed every two weeks, starting at three weeks of age, alternating Strongid and Panacur. First shots are given, subsequent shots are available from me for $20 (a lot cheaper than from a vet – I can administer the shots or can teach you how to), or you can purchase vaccinations at the feed store.
I will take back any dog at any time if your circumstances change.
I also often have rescued or older Rottweilers that might be available at a reduced fee.
6. Do you ship to other Islands?
Absolutely. Photo below shows a puppy going off to Molokai. From my end, I will purchase an airline-approved kennel (~$150) to send the puppy on Hawaiian Airlines. Shipping one way is around $75, so the total cost with shipping will be $2,225, and you keep the kennel.
7. Are puppies used to other animals? What about children?
Yes. They have been raised with scores of Siamese cats, a Border Collie, two Shih Tzus (small dogs), chickens, ducks, cows, a goat, and a bunch of kids. Of course, it will be up to you to socialize your puppy to teach him/her proper behavior. Please watch this short video of Dad cuddling and grooming an adult male Siamese cat:
Please understand that you will be taking over training and accepting full responsibility for the dog’s future actions. I am only able to lay a very strong foundation; the rest is up to you.
Thanks for reading, and if you’d like to fill out a puppy application, please text me at (808)640-1980, and I will send the five questions, which will tell me all about you, your family, and your experience with Rottweilers.
At birth. A large male!
First bath, in the kitchen sink.
Mom and a cow, helping me paint.
Watching to see what’s wanted and needed. “What’s my job?”
In trouble, after getting caught with a roll of toilet paper. What a wonderful dog toy!