So, you’re interested in a Ridgeback!
You are about to make a forever commitment for the lifetime of your dog. Ridgebacks can live anywhere from 10 to 15 years, or sometimes more. If you are single, married, no kids or with kids, please ask yourself “does this really fit in with my future plans?” Of course, no one can see into the future, but there are so many people that see an adorable puppy, and there is nothing cuter than a Ridgeback puppy, and jump right in without proper preparation. While we recognize that marriages, kids, jobs, homes, living situations are all subject to change and you may find that you no longer “have time” for the dog anymore, but please consider how fair is that to this dog that you have raised and loved? Making a commitment is making a commitment! Wherever you may get a pet, please take this seriously. Remember, that this cute puppy will grow up to be a large dog. All dogs require time and attention. Ridgebacks require more than most. While not an absolute rule, they may not be the best “starter dog” for those without prior experience. They are not Labs or Golden Retrievers. Their ultimate goal is NOT to please you. I have heard them called “thinking labs” and think this really hits the nail on the head! They want to please you, don’t get me wrong, but they also have a mind of their own and they use it. Trick is to make them think THEY want to do whatever it is you want them to do. Luckily most are very food motivated, and this really helps.
Ridgebacks are pack animals. They cannot live in a kennel outside in your yard. If you plan to have a dog that is tied up or in an outdoor kennel away from the people most of the day, this is not the dog for you. Find another breed. These dogs truly are family dogs, and will not be happy unless they are in the middle of everything you are doing!
Simple, fair, consistent training cannot be stressed enough. These dogs are not naturally accepting of people or other pets and by spending as much time in public allowing them to meet and be handled by strangers and socialization will be the key for a happy healthy family. If not done from a very early age, you could easily wind up with 90 pounds of unruly trouble. These dogs do not respond well to negative training or punishment. While they may require gently correction, to much of it or too harsh may have long-lasting negative effects on the dog, and you as their owner. Ridgebacks can enjoy training, just in small doses. If you do not have experience yourself, we strongly recommend finding professional help. Local Humane Society, Rhodesian Ridgeback or all-breed kennel clubs may be a great resource. If you are interested in showing, you will probably need some help, at least to get you started. We can help with this!