Rhodesian Ridgeback Training

Rhodesian Ridgeback Training – a Lion of a Job

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Rhodesian Ridgeback Training is not actually as hard as training lions, however this dog was bred originally to track lions and hold them at bay until hunters could put the lion down at close range.

This strong and independent dog was bred in Southern Africa it is thought by mixing an African dog with larger European breeds in the 19th century.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Temperament

Being a strong and independent breed, the Rhodesian Ridgeback needs a strong, firm owner. Rhodesian Ridgebacks may not be for the first time dog owner but with the right owner, socialization, and training, they will be loyal member of the family.

Despite their strong and independent nature, Training a Rhodesian Ridgeback is very similar to the training of other breeds. Be firm but being firm never means striking or yelling at your dog, as this is counterproductive.

The Basics

Train your dog in an area free from distractions using praise and edible treats.  Show your dog the treat before starting and then train on the command. Train only one command at a time. When the dog successfully completes what it is being taught, surrender the treat and give praise. Keep in mind that the first command taught should be a return command.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Training Specifics

Rhodesian Ridgebacks tend to be devoted and clever. They may be, nevertheless, a bit aloof when it comes to strangers. Their aloofness should not be seen as aggression.  A Ridgeback of will be more likely to disregard, as opposed to challenge, strangers. This particular breed needs positive, reward-based instruction, great socialization and consistency.  Ridgebacks are generally not the best option for a novice dog owner. They tend to be strong-willed, and very smart which often gives them an inclination for mischief. They are usually protective of their owners and can be trained as guard dogs.


In spite of the Ridgeback’s athletic build and aloofness, they also have a sensitive side. Excessively severe training techniques, that may be accepted by a working or sporting breed, will more than likely not work with a Ridgeback and can damage your relationship with your pooch. These dogs will take correction provided that it is reasonable and warranted and as long as it is from an individual they know and trust.


The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals ranks the Rhodesian Ridgeback sixth when it comes to breeds most commonly affected by thyroid issues such as hypothyroidism.  They may also suffer from hip dysplasia or dermoid sinus.  Ridgebacks also sometimes suffer from a breed-specific form of deafness.  They have an average life span of just over 10 years, and can be a loyal, loving addition to most any family as long as they are trained properly.


While you may not be planning to take your Ridgeback out lion hunting, they are actually very clever gun dogs and sometimes even classified as scent -or sight-hounds.  If you are planning to use your Rhodesian Ridgeback as a hunting dog, be certain to cover related training with them prior to taking them out in the field.

Whether your pooch is going to accompany you on hunting trips or stay at home as a companion dog, proper training can save you a lot of time and headaches in the future.  Rhodesian Ridgeback Training isn’t so much a lion of a job but an act of love and patience.

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