The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a one of a kind breed that requires a special type of owner. They are not an overly difficult breed to raise; however, their unique quirks that stem from their days as the African Lion Hound still make their appearance from time to time. What the first time or inexperienced dog owner may see as stubbornness is actually the breed's intelligence and good judgment weighing in on a situation. While obedient enough, they are not the type of dog that lives to perform tricks or repeat the same feat over and over again. The independent Rhodesian Ridgeback is a dog for those who want a canine companion but can respect their need to do their own thing.
One of the best ways to keep certain canine behaviors from becoming a problem is to socialize a pup at an extremely early age. The best behaved Rhodesian Ridgebacks are conditioned in the early months while they are still in the imprinting stage. At the same time, there are instincts for the Ridgeback that can never be bred out. As a hunting dog, this breed will have a strong prey drive that compels them to chase after small scurrying animals. They will also have no problem approaching animals larger than themselves. Satisfying the drive to chase can be as easy as playing games like tag or fetch with a rubber ball. The more an owner tries to suppress this instinct, the more the Ridgeback will respond with destructive behaviors.
A dislike for hair covered clothes and furnishings often steers individuals away from longer haired breeds to shorter haired breeds. However, for a dog that has a relatively short coat, the Ridgeback does its own fair share of shedding. Practicing a regular routine of grooming is a best bet for keeping this breed's shedding to a minimum. To keep it from becoming a power struggle, daily grooming sessions should be short and take no more than one or two minutes at the maximum. Owners of the breed often lament this trait and the breed's tendency to stake out sofas and beds. While sofa coverings and duvets are an option, an even better suggestion is to invest in a large comfortable pet bed with a washable cover.
Even though the Ridgeback tends to greatly adore its owner, earning and keeping the trust of this breed is not a given. A Ridgeback is highly intelligent and does not tolerate mistreatment in the least. Hunting dogs of Africa were considered tools of the hunt and they were regularly left to chase down their own prey for food. This has given the breed a great sense of self reliance and confidence. They do not, to the disappointment of some, wholly rely on their owner's opinion of them in order to exist. An owner who mistreats his or her Ridgeback will have much work to do in order to regain the trust they have lost.