A descendant of the Khoikhoi (a wild African canine), Deerhound and Great Dane, the Rhodesian Ridgeback temperament reflects distinct traits and behavior of its ancestors. The Rhodesian Ridgeback has been also known as African Lion Dog, Shumba Imbwa, Van Rooyen's Lion Dog and Simba Inja.
The Ridgeback has a distint hair ridge that runs down its back, hence its name. But aside from looks what makes the Rhodesian Ridgeback stand out among the many breeds of dogs is the air of dignity that is a distinct remnant of their past as a companion of lion hunters in South Africa.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback temperament demands that dog owners should put in extra time and effort in their training and upbringing. When you choose to bring home a Ridgeback, be prepared for a challenging but fulfilling undertaking.
Start ‘em young
Rhodesian Ridgeback temperament can be a handful to deal with particularly when they’re still puppies. In order to have a well-mannered and disciplined dog, socialization and training must start as early as possible.
Rewards-based training and positive reinforcement are very important aspects in training your Ridgeback. When training your Ridgeback, prepare to have your patience stretched thin for they can easily get into mischief when they sense that you are getting lax or they feel bored.
A puppy is bursting at the seams with energy and they can be as rambunctious as they come. It is for this reason that they may not make good playmates for small children for they can get rough.
An Active Ridgeback is a Happy Ridgeback
A Ridgeback is most happy when you have time for regular exercise. Being highly athletic, they love tagging along when you go jogging or biking long distances.
One thing you should remember though is that they cannot withstand extreme environmental conditions such as extreme cold or heat, thus they need to stay inside when the weather is unfavorable.
During the dog’s growing-up years, make sure he gets plenty physical and mental stimulation. As your pet grows older, it will still need regular exercise but not as much as when they were younger.
Boredom and Inactivity Equals Negative Behavior
Boredom feeds the destructive tendency of a Rhodesian Ridgeback temperament. A bored Ridgeback is a fertile ground for bad behavior.
Lack of mental and physical stimulation ultimately leads to boredom. To avoid anxiety and a Rhodesian Ridgeback temperament that’s gone haywire, use the known benefits of exercise to combat negative behavior.
Enrolling them in agility classes and participating in contests can certainly make your pet happy and satisfied.
Independent Ridgebacks can be hard to train
Their pent-up energy and independent personality, coupled with their hunting dog instincts make Ridgebacks one of the harder to train dog breeds. You need to equip yourself with the knowledge and the right attitude when dealing with his breed.
Be firm but not harsh and include lots of patience and your Ridgeback’s favorite treats. With proper training, the Rhodesian Ridgeback temperament can be easily managed and they can become great pets for many families.
Wary of strangers
The Rhodesian Ridgeback temperament makes them wary around new faces and even new pets. Thus early socialization is very important so your dog will get used to being around other people and other dogs.
A Ridgeback’s aloof personality should never be confused with aggression. It is proper to say that the breed tends to ignore rather than bark at a stranger.
Who’s the Alpha Dog?
Rhodesian Ridgebacks need to look up to a dominant Alpha figure in the pack. Without a recognized pack leader, the Ridgeback will easily assume the role and that’s when the problem sets in.
They can become combative and can become difficult to manage. A firm hand and a consistent approach to training, will show your willful Ridgeback who’s the boss and who sets the rules in the pack.
Training a Ridgeback can be a big challenge so they are not desirable for first-time dog owners. They will continue to stretch your patience by testing your boundaries. And when you relent even for just a moment, they jump at the opportunity to try to “seize the throne”.
A Few Final Words on the Rhodesian Ridgeback Temperament
This athletic dog breed has been able to face the king of the jungle with agility and courage, so be prepared to deal with this breed’s imposing presence.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback temperament will certainly be a challenge that many owners must willingly undertake in order to have a well-discipline and happy pet.