7 Things To Know Before Getting A Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy
Before you start looking for puppies near you, you need to take a number of factors into consideration. So, what are the 7 things you need to know before you get a puppy?
Everybody loves puppies. What’s not to love? They’re adorable! If you’ve ever seen a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy, then you’ll have felt your heart melt. But before you start looking for puppies near you, you need to take a number of factors into consideration.
So, what are the 7 things you need to know before you get a puppy? You need to know if you’re ready for a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy. You need to know how to find a puppy, how to puppy proof your home, what supplies you need, how to find the vet and how to find the right trainer and obedience classes.
1. Are You Ready For A Rhodesian Ridgeback Puppy?
Getting a puppy should never be done on a whim. It needs careful thought. You need to really think about whether or not you can provide the puppy with everything he’ll need. This especially true if you’re thinking about getting a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy. You’ll need to research, research and then research some more. You need to be sure that this is the breed for you. Here are a few things to think about.
- High Energy – Rhodesian Ridgebacks are high energy dogs. They were bred for endurance, so they need a lot of exercise. At the very least, they need a long walk three to four times a week, and they need playtime in the yard every day.
- Social – They’re very social dogs, and don’t do well if they spend long periods of time alone. You need to be able to spend time with the puppy, or at the very least, have another dog for him to play with.
- Socialization – Socialization is incredibly important for Rhodesian Ridgebacks. If they haven’t been properly socialized as a puppy, then they tend to be badly adjusted adults. This can result in them being aloof, and unable to cope with other people, animals or places. You need to have a lot of time to socialize your puppy.
- Training – Training is one of the most important things to think about. Your Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy needs consistent training. You should also consider taking your puppy to obedience classes, especially if you’ve never owned a Rhodesian Ridgeback.
- Food – You need to think about how you would feed the puppy, and how that would change when he reaches adulthood. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are notorious for trying to get extra food, so make sure you’re prepared not to give in.
- Money – Owning a dog can be costly, so you need to be prepared for the financial aspect. This includes buying the things he needs, as well as food, and vet bills. You should also be prepared for any emergency vet bills as well.
- Existing Animals – If you have pets already, then you’re definitely going to need a puppy, rather than an adult dog. A puppy can grow up and be well adjusted to the other animals in the home.
- High Prey Drive – Always remember that Rhodesian Ridgebacks have a high prey drive. This can be helpful in terms of training, but it can also mean that your puppy will get himself into trouble. Always have your Rhodesian Ridgeback on leas when you’re out in public. He can easily become so focused on his ‘prey’ that he won’t watch for cars or other dangers.
Many dog owners recommend that first time owners speak to their local vet. It’s a good idea to feel out your potential vet before you get a puppy. You’ll also be able to ask any questions you have before you find a puppy, and you can check if they offer obedience classes. You can also ask if they run any pet first aid courses.
If you think a Rhodesian Ridgeback is right for you, and you’re prepared to put the time and work into raising a happy, well adjusted dog, then you can start to think about where to get one.
2. Finding A Puppy
When you start looking for a puppy, you have two options – rescue a puppy, or look for a breeder.
If you want a rescue puppy, you may need to wait a long time for a suitable one to become available. However, a massive plus in taking on a rescue puppy is that the shelter will match your personality and lifestyle to the puppy’s. It means that the dog should fit in well into your household.
The downside to rescuing a puppy is that you generally won’t know the full history. You won’t know how well socialized the puppy has been, or how it was treated with its previous owners. This can mean that a rescue puppy, especially one that has had a bad start in life, may not be the most suitable option for first time Rhodesian Ridgeback owners.
When you’re looking for a breeder, look for one with a good reputation. Check the breeder registry, and talk to other Rhodesian Ridgeback owners. Be prepared for the breeder to have as many questions for you as you have for them. In fact, be wary of a breeder who doesn’t ask you questions. Responsible breeders are looking to place their puppies in the right home.
Look for a breeder within driving distance of your home, as you’ll want to meet the litter and the breeder. You’ll also want to meet the parents, or at least the mother. Many breeders won’t feel comfortable with their puppies traveling long distances to reach their new homes. Make list of potential breeders, and give them a call. Arrange to visit them.
A good breeder will have an idea of where the individual puppy should be placed, and will want to talk with you. They’ll want to get to know you and your family. There are a few things you can decide before you meet with the breeder.
- Gender – You might not care if your puppy is male or female, but if you have an existing dog, you might want to think about getting a dog of the opposite sex.
- Showing – A breeder will have assessed every puppy in the litter and made a decision as to whether they’re a pet, or a show dog. ‘Pet’ simply means that the puppy isn’t show quality appearance, and has no bearing on its temperament or overall health.
- Temperament – A good breeder will have a pretty good idea of the personality of their puppies. Be honest about what you want. The breeder will help you find the right puppy for you and your household.
3. Show Puppies
Show puppies are the ones that meet the breed standard exactly. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t suitable as a family pet. Though it can mean that they are more expensive that ‘pet’ puppies. If you don’t intend to show your puppy, then choose a ‘pet’ puppy instead. If you do intend to show your puppy, make sure that you find confirmation classes as well as obedience classes.
Confirmation classes will teach you and your puppy what you need to know about entering the show ring. You can talk to other people with show dogs and find out what would be expected of you both. Your breeder should also be able to give you advice, and help on showing.
4. Puppy Proofing Your Home
You’ll need to prepare your home for the new arrival. It’s a good idea to crawl around your house at puppy level so you can see where the dangers are. You might look and feel a little stupid, but it will help you see things from a puppy point of view.
All puppies can be destructive. They’re just testing out their new world, and boundaries, but Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies are large, with sharp teeth, and quite powerful jaws. If you’ve puppy proofed, you may still lose some shoes, but your puppy won’t get into anything that could be dangerous for him.
- Hide all electrical cords.
- Move houseplants from puppy level.
- Lock cabinets.
- Make sure all medicines or chemicals are either locked away, or are placed up high.
- Keep anything you want to protect above puppy level.
- Get a garbage can with a locking lid.
- Supervise your puppy.
5. Buying Supplies For Your Puppy
Shopping for supplies for your puppy is really exciting. It brings you one step closer to having your puppy in your home. You can ask your breeder for advice on what brands they use, but there are some things you will absolutely need.
- Puppy food – You should stick to the food the breeder is already feeding the puppy. Changing foods can cause stomach upsets. If you do need to change, you’ll need to do this gradually. Slowly introduce the food. Mix one part new food to five parts of the old food, and slowly increase until your puppy is getting full bowls of the new food.
- Bowls – You’ll need a food bowl, and a water bowl. Look for metal or ceramic bowls as they’ll be longer lasting. A plastic bowl isn’t a good idea, and is likely to get chewed on.
- Collar and leash – Ask the breeder what style they’ve been using, and ask what they use for their adult dogs.
- Crate – A crate gives your puppy his own space, which many dogs find calming.
- Blankets – You’ll get more use from bedding if you buy it as if for an adult or juvenile dog. Buy beds and blankets a little bigger than puppy sized.
- Toys – Try a few different toys so you can find out what kind your puppy likes. Some like squeaky toys, some like soft toys, and others like chew toys.
- Grooming supplies – You’ll need a brush, or grooming mitt. As your puppy gets older, you’ll need a good quality puppy shampoo as well. Ask your breeder for recommendations.
- Puppy pads – Your breeder may have started some toilet training, but you will need puppy pads in case of accidents.
- Treats – Treats can be really important for training. You use them as positive reinforcement. When your puppy has done something really good, such as sit on command, give him a treat. You might find that your Rhodesian Ridgeback reacts better to play or toys as a positive reinforcement tool, especially as they have high prey drives, but you should still have a supply of treats in your back pocket.
It’s been mentioned up the post, but your vet can be your lifeline. So when you’re choosing a veterinarian, you need to be sure that you feel comfortable with them. Make sure your vet is properly accredited. You can ask for a tour of the facility so you can take a look around. While you’re talking with the practice you should ask the following questions.
- How far in advance will you be able to make routine appointments? Some practices will make appointments weeks in advance, whereas others will give a few days.
- What is the emergency policy? Do they have facilities to handle emergencies, or will you need to go to an alternative hospital?
- Can you make appointments with a specific veterinarian? You should be able to request a regular vet.
- Do they have a network of specialists if you need to be referred? Most practices should have good relationships with various specialists.
- What is the telephone policy? You should be able to speak with someone who can answer any questions you have, or at least, the vet should call you back.
- Do you have any online services? Can you email for advice, or appointment booking?
- What payment options are accepted? How are bills issued?
You should also ask if you can schedule a ‘getting to know you appointment’. This should be just a fun opportunity for your puppy to meet your vet. Bring treats and toys. It can help your puppy to feel comfortable at the veterinary office, and you feel assured that the vet knows your puppy. This can be massively reassuring if there should be an emergency.
If this is your first dog, or even your first Rhodesian Ridgeback, it’s not just the puppy who will need training, but you as well. Rhodesian Ridgebacks need consistent, firm but fair training. They’re very intelligent, and can pick up things easily. The key is in reinforcing the education. If you want your puppy to stay off the beds, for example, then it’s not going to be okay to just let him on the bed ‘just this once’. Instead it will be confusing for him.
Again, research here is important. You’ll need to take your puppy to obedience classes, so look for ones in your area. Ask your vet for recommendations. Ask other owners which classes they used. Talk to the trainers, and find out which ones you feel comfortable with. Obedience classes aren’t just for training, but they’re invaluable in socializing your puppy as well.
You should ask if you can have a tour of the training space, or even sit in on a class. You should also think about these factors that can impact your decision.
- Is the training space fenced and secure?
- Are indoor facilities available?
- Is it clean?
- Can you move on to more advanced obedience classes?
- How does the trainer interact with the dogs?
- How large are the classes?
- What qualifications does the trainer have?
- Do their methods align with yours?
- Can they explain things in a way you’ll understand?
- Do they offer any one to one training sessions?
- Do the dogs need a health certificate or proof of vaccination before enrolling? If the answer to this is no, you should probably give that class a hard pass.
Training At Home
When you get your new puppy home, toilet training and crate training will need to begin straight away. Your breeder will probably have made a start on this before you get your puppy, but you will need to continue it consistently. Establish a toileting routine as soon as you can, and make sure you take him outside regularly. You’ll need to be patient, especially as the first days will be marked with many accidents. This is to be expected. Your puppy needs to get used to his new environment.
Again with crate training, your breeder may have already done some of this before your puppy left them. If so, reinforce their training. If they haven’t, then your focus needs to be on making the crate a fun, and safe place to be. Let him have some food, treats or toys in his crate. Work slowly and always make sure that your puppy is comfortable with what you’re doing before you take any further steps.
As mentioned, if you want to show your puppy, you’ll need to find showing classes as well as obedience classes. You’ll be asking pretty much the same questions as you would when you’re looking for an obedience classes. However, you will be looking for someone with experience. You’ll want someone who has shown dogs, and can guide you through what would be required from your puppy. They’ll teach you how to make your puppy stand correctly for judging, in a way that shows off his confirmation.
Someone with experience will also be able to talk you through what goes into preparing your puppy for shows. This includes grooming, feeding and supplementation, as well as how you should look in the ring yourself.
Having a puppy is fun, and having a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy is even better. Make sure that you take the time to enjoy your new family member. Spend some time playing with him in the yard. Playing will help build and strengthen the bond you have, but on top of that, it’s just fun!
I'm still not sure that I could educate my Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy :(
My new article will help you with that. It reveals - 5 Secrets to raising the perfect Rhodesian Ridgeback. Read on.