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Common (Mis)behaviors


Counter Surfing

Ridgebacks are highly food motivated and are known to seek out food sitting on countertops that isn’t meant to be theirs.


One way to counteract (get it?) this behavior is to clear your counters of food items, especially when leaving a Ridgeback unattended. They seem to know counter surfing is not acceptable behavior, but when left alone, they are unable to control themselves.


Positive reinforcement for the behavior you want is a great way to curb them of the habit. 


Ridgebacks have teeth and thus, Ridgebacks chew. It is incumbent upon the Ridgeback owner to teach the dog what is and is not acceptable for chewing. Kong toys: YES, the leg of the dining chair, NO.


Typically once out of their puppy phase, with adult teeth in, their destructive chewing will cease, though a bored Ridgeback will resort to chewing if there’s nothing more interesting to do. Be sure to provide lots of mental stimulation and appropriate chewing toys for your Ridgeback. 



Ridgebacks know what they want and often whine to communicate that desire to their owners. Whether it’s a wish to be covered up with a blanket, a desire for a pumpkin pop snack, the need to go outside for a walk, or their conviction that it really IS time for dinner, a whine can be a Ridgeback’s best means to convince you.


One way to deter this behavior is to teach your Ridgeback how to communicate his or her needs without whining, ringing a bell to go outside, for example, or bringing a toy to you if he or she wants to play. It may be that if your RR is ignored when whining, they will learn that it is ineffective, but Ridgebacks can be stubborn and persist despite a lack of success initially. 

Pulling on Leash

That prey drive and that nose can have a Ridgeback walking their owner instead of the other way around. A gentle leader and/or an Easy Walk harness can help minimize pulling. Positive reinforcement in the form of high value treats for heeling or stopping and sitting can encourage better leash behavior.


Ridgebacks can be stubborn, so Ridgeback owners must be more so. Teach a Ridgeback to ask permission (by sitting) to go and sniff or to veer off the planned route. If the Ridgeback sits and wants to go a direction you don’t want to go, don’t pull him your way, just wait him out.


Be aware of using treats as rewards for good behavior rather than as bribes. 



Barking is a dog’s natural way of alerting to danger, or a change in situation. It is a method for communicating pleasure and excitement, and while it can be annoying, the use of shock collars in an attempt to control it is NOT advisable with emotionally sensitive Ridgebacks who can take affront at being punished for being a dog.


Positive reinforcement of cessation of barking is the best method to curb this habit. Teach your Ridgeback to alert and then seek your guidance; to alert and then sit to wait to greet people at the door, for example. 

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