This is a page of odds and ends.  I want to explore some topics that may be of valid concern in your quest for Ridgeback knowledge.  More specific information can be found on pertinent pages throughout our website.  Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Breeders

Let's talk about the ideal breeder.  There are many important aspects of the ideal breeder.  You will see qualities of a good breeder listed in many places.  Below are several topics that are important things to consider.
First and foremost is the importance of finding somebody who is breeding to preserve their breed, not reinvent it, change it to their own personal preference, or create "their own line".  All breeds have a written standard.  Additionally, Ridgeback breeders have an elaborated stantard and an illustrated standard that they may use as a guide in their choices for breeding.  These resources may be viewed on the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the United States website.


Health and genetic testing is a must.  One of the nicest things about buying a pure-bred dog from a breeder is the insight that health and genetic testing can provide.  A great breeder should be willing to talk to you honestly about health and genetic issues that could potentially affect your dog.  Be aware of which tests are required and if additional testing may also be advisable for your breed.  Proof of health screening for both sire and dam should be provided.


Does your breeder belong to any clubs?  Breed specific or all breed?  At a minimum I want a breeder who belongs to the parent club for their breed.  Not all breeders who are members would meet my criteria but it's an excellent place to start.  Clubs have written codes of ethics which set a minimum standared each breeder must agree to follow.  Most ideal breeders will go beyond those guidelines and strive for the very best for the offspring they produce.  Being part of a club also allows you the "inside tract" to the most recent developments in the dog world.  An ideal breeder is a member of several clubs and is always gaining new knowledge about their breed and dogs in general.

Ultimately, the ideal breeder's utmost concern is for the well being of the puppies they are brining into the world.  Don't be surpriesed or insulted at the questions a breeder may have for you.  They are trying to learn information that will assist them in determining if a ridgeback is well suited to you as well as which puppy may be the best fit for your situtation.

AKC vs. Other Registries

The American Kennel Club is the oldest registry of purebred dogs.  It is considered to to be the gold standard as registries go with strict requirements to maintain integrity in many areas of dog breeding, registration and competition.  To obtain an AKC conformation championship your dog must be evaluated by imparital judges who are qualified to judge your breed.  you can do your own research at www.akc.org.  In addition, just having a dog that has been registered with the AKC is not nearly enough.  You should be looking for a dog that has a pedigree full of AKC champions not just a smattering here or there. Be wary of titles that do not include AKC champions not just a smattering here or there.  Be way of titles that do not include an AKC championship.  It can be tricky but there is a big difference.  Do your research and ask questions.

The following topics are breed-specific.  This who become part of our extended puppy family will receive a detailed information packet covering these and many other topics.


Exercising your Ridgeback

The question of exercise has more than one answer and it will be based on your dog's age.  Young puppies should always have a choice whether they want to play or rest.  I like "free play" the best, followed by reasonable walks on a leash.  Your puppy should not be walking for miles and no running until they are much older.  Grown ridgebacks can be wonderful jogging partners or even be in training for a marathon with their humans.  A ridgeback grows quickly and it's best to let their bodies grow up before putting extra stress on their joints.  Use your leash time to socialize your puppy and save the heavier stuff for later.

Never run/jog with a ridgeback before the age of two!  I know it's hard to wait but allowing bones and joints to mature properly gives a greater certainty of a running companion for many years.


Socializing your Ridgeback

This is easily the most important thing you will do for your puppy.  though you should be selective where you take your puppy until his/her vaccinations are complete, you cannot wait to begin socializing your puppy.  Three new people and three new places a week is the minimum.  If a tire puppy is a good puppy then taking him/her with you as much as possible will certinaly aide in tiring a puppy out.  We take our puppies everywhere we possibly can; they pickup line at school, spoting events, parks with childre (not dog parks), the beach, the drive thru at the coffee shop...you ge the idea.  Make sure your puppy is exposed to children, older people, and even people of different backgrounds.  your puppy will be eager to explore anything and everything around them and they will take their memories into adulthood.  If they have a bad experience they will not soon forget it.  Bad things do happen somethimes and it is importnat to turn it around quickly and makeit ultimately a positive experience for your puppy.

Training your Ridgeback

Ridgebacks respond best to positive teaching methods where a reward (treats, praise, etc.) is given for responding to a command correctly.  For this reason I like touse the word teach instead of train.  I encourage all my families to attend uppy classes from an early age, really as soon as possible.  A well mannered ridgeback is a pleasure to live with.  The AKC has a program for puppies called the Five Star Puppy Program.  Many beginner puppy classes now conclude with the Five Star test.  After your puppy reahes their first birthday we recommend you work toward your Canine Good Citizens (CGC).  Both of these programs offer instruction on basice command that you will find important over the course of your dog's life.

Pet vs. Show

All ridgebacks should be loved pets but not all ridgebacks are destined for the show ring.  Most faults are cosmetic such as offset crowns in the ridge, too much while, a kinked tail or a bad bite.  A more complicated fault would be a dermoid sinus.  This condiditon should be resolved befoe you take your puppy home.  It must be surgically corrected before you pick up your puppy.  If the surgery has been successful then it should cause your puppy no more problems.

A word about ridges. A ridge is not going to "grow in" or "appear" somewhere down the line.  Ridgebacks are born without or without a ridge.


Ridgeback Safety

What can be more important than the safety of your puppy?  Many little things can be done to ensure that your ridgeback is kept safe and it's a good idea to make them habits early on.
-Never leave your dogs outside when you aren't home - you cannot control what goes on when you are not home.  Your dog could be let out of their safe enclosure or worse, stolen.
-Never open a car door without first being sure that your ridgeback is securely attached to a leash - your dog could spot that always elusive squirrel and bolt after it resulting in being hit by a car.
-Never leave loose dogs wearing collars unattended - during play one dog may get his jaw caught in the other dog's collar.  This seems unlikely but it has happened and did result in the death of at least one of the dogs.
Why take the risk when just a moment could make all the difference.

Grooming your Ridgeback

You may hae heard that a ridgeback is a wash and wear dog.  Nails are probably the hardes thing to maintain and require weekly dremmeling.  Ridgebacks do shed but a good brushing as needed can keep any excessive shedding under control.

Feeding your Ridgeback

I don't believe there is one perfect way to feed your ridgeback.  Discuss diet with your breeder and find what works best for your dog.  We feed a high quality kibble that is naturally holistic.  You may check it out at www.frommfamiliy.com.  We feed the Four Star formula.  Our dogs favorite is the Chicken a la Veg.  Additionally we supplement with Ester-C and Fish Oil.  In this day and age of recalls it's hard to find a broad variety of food that are, in my opinion, safe and quality food.  You almost need a degree in "label reading" to determine what's what.  Trust your breeder when it comes to food recommendations.  Often we have spend numerous hours researching and keeping up with new foods, recalls and changes to formulas.  Marketing in dog foods is a powerful tool and can be very misleading.

Vaccinating your Ridgeback

We prefer a more conservative vaccine protocol.  Vaccinations are given at three to four week intervals until 16 weeks and rabies is given after sixteen weeks by itself.  We are particular about what brand of vaccine we use as well.  We have our viet check the puppies instead of routinely treating for them.  I don't believe in assaulting a youg puppy's system without cause.  Our puppies are examined by a vet at least twic before going to their new homes.  At your puppy's initial visit with your vet you should begin them on heartworm prevention.  We do not like some of the new heartworm products on the market so be sure to consult your breeder about what may be the healthiest course of prevention.

Rules for your Ridgeback

All ridgeback puppies are cute but they will grow into big, strong adults.  Don't start a habit with your puppy that you aren't willing to continue into adulthood.  A great example of this is allwoing the puppy on the couch or bed.  Ridgebacks love to snugelle and will happily sleep with their humans.  However, they will not understand when you boot them off that couch just because they hae suddenly grown...a lot.  In our home, they are allowed on some items of furniture if they are invited up.  My older dogs, who wer not initially allowed on any furniture, alway "ask" to come up.  They younger ones, who wer invited up the first couple of times, now seem to feel entitled and often need to be reminded that they must "ask" first.



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