Training Tips for a Rhodesian Ridgeback

On strike for treats.
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Bred in Africa to hunt lions, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a big pooch with an independent, willful personality. He'll protect his family from danger, but he'll test his boundaries if given the opportunity. The Rhodesian Ridgeback thinks for himself; he requires an assertive and confident trainer.

Be Assertive

It's easy to be intimidated by this lion-hunting hound, but the Rhodesian Ridgeback just wants to make you happy. His stubborn streak requires an alpha to keep him in line. To be his alpha, you must be confident and firm as you deal with him. This doesn't mean aggressive or overly harsh; you just want to assert yourself as boss. You can be a kind and loving boss.

Set Firm Boundaries

Before your Ridgie can learn what's right and wrong, you must determine boundaries before you start training. There are no "sometimes" or "only on certain occasions" -- your Ridgie either can or cannot do something, period. He's a pusher who will test his boundaries whenever he can. You can't let him get away with something you have deemed a no-no. If he's not allowed on the bed but you let him up once, you've just undermined your training. Stick to your guns.

Be Patient and Consistent

The Ridgeback is a smart dog, which facilitates his independence and fosters stubbornness. He may not want to sit when you command, or even pay attention at all. That's okay; simply try again later in your early training. Yelling at him will not make him obey any faster. Stay calm. Switch to something else or quit for the day or the session. Consistency and patience are the two main factors necessary to successfully train your Ridgie -- so keep at it regardless of his lack of interest.

Reward the Good, Ignore the Bad

Your Ridgie needs encouragement to want to follow your instructions. Enter the treats and praise. Ridgebacks love to eat, so offering special treats for correct follow-through works well to keep his attention. As a people-pleaser, he also responds well to praise from his alpha and from extra playtime with you. If he's in a stubborn mood and refuses to listen, do not yell at him or smack him to correct. This will just make him wary of you and make him less likely to trust you. Ignore bad behavior or respond with a stern no to get his attention. Redirect him to something you want him to do instead, and reward that.

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