Some general thoughts and advice

purchase

Kluwen etende puppiesAs Ridgeback breeders we prefer not to sell to people who don’t have any expercience with dogs whatsoever. However with patience and love a lot can be reached, it is a breed that needs a strict hand.
Usually the first question “will it be a dog or a bitch” forms a subject for debate. A dog is irrefutable stronger and larger then a bitch, but also most often the more impressive representative of the breed. Opinions vary on the affection. In our experience a dog is more affectionate, although a bitch loves to be caressed, she’s more independent. When a dog is allowed to roam freely outside it is inclined to go and visit the the neighbouring bitches when they are in season. It needs a stronger approach then a bitch, otherwise it will take of the dominant position in your household.

Children

When you have small children we usually prefer a bitch because they are somewhat sweeter then a dog. This leads automatically to the much asked question: “are they good with children?”. There are several breeds one wouldn’t advice with children. The Ridgeback isn’t one of them, but it all depends, as with all suitable breeds, not on the upbringing of the dog, but on the education of the children! Don’t wake a sleeping dog, not too wild a game, no lifting on the front legs, no poking in the eyes and think of al the other ways a young dogs life can be made unpleasant. The Ridgeback is a good watchdog. The farmers in Rhodesia had them, besides for hunting big game, in twosomes or threesomes as farmdogs.

Exercise

Until the age of 9-12 months you can’t take them for long walks. It is better to take them 5 times a day for 15 minutes then one hour only. Don’t let them walk the stairs regularly before the age of 1- 1 ½ years: that causes too much stress on the bones and ligaments. In your garden they can walk and play freely, when they get tired they will find their place to sleep.

obedience

Nduna Hekaya vir die Simba Safari en Ntwela's MasukoBe consistent! What is not allowed today, will not be allowed tomorrow. A Ridgeback (or any dog for that matter) doesn’t sulk nor will be offended when told not to. Be moderate with your punishments. An emotional outburst when your favorite piece of furniture … won’t help. Only punish when you catch him.

Ridgebacks are very clever dogs, they learn quickly. Also they will try and find out if you really mean it.
Read on the internet or in a book about the training of dogs and the different training methods. It is also recommendable to go to a dogtraining school, even if you’re experienced with training dogs. Your dog will learn to socialize with other dogs and people.

Never use electrical collars; it is a certificate of incompetence on your behalf.

A Ridgeback can be trained to be on its own for a couple of hours on end, but not for a complete working week! They like to spend time with you and go out and do things. Inside they usually are very peaceful and quiet but when outside they need to run and be able to cover some ground.