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New Dog - 2 1/2 month later

March 6th, 2011, 09:18 PM
Just thought I would post an update on Chloe. I'm pretty certain she is a ridgeback (ridgeless though) as she has all the characteristics of one. She is very devoted and wants to be with me all the time, doesn't even want to go outside without me. She has learned not to go upstairs in the house but I still have to put things on the couchs to keep her off when I'm at work. She is excellent in the house and good with basic commands now. I walk her everyday on 120 acres across the road and so far she has been good off leash. We've had a few run ins with coyotes and deer and although she takes off after them she only goes so far then returns to find me. It is useless to call her but she has always come back within a minute or two. She seems to have a strong enough bond with me to not go too far but I'm worried that as she matures (she is 20 months) she may get braver and wander farther. Everything I read about ridgebacks says to never let them off leash which bothers me but I'm slowly learning to trust her. I took her for a run by snowmobile this w/e and we had a young deer curled up in the snow on the trail 10' away. Chloe ran about 20' after the deer but was not going to leave the snowmobile & me and returned as soon as I drove off. It has been a hard winter to walk her and I just can't give her enough exercise on a leash as the roads have been very icy and unsafe for walking. Being new she has acted needy and demanding of attention and seems to always have the need to lie on top of my feet or carry around my glove or slipper when I'm not home but I have been able to ignore her demands for attention and only reward her with it when she is laying down quietly. It really does work! She hates to be ignored but it has stopped the begging or jumping up for the most part and I am careful to be calm and reward only calm, quiet behaviour. The next problem we have to work on is that she is showing leash aggression towards other dogs (much better with people now). I had to buy a halti to use when I think I will encounter other dogs on a walk and it is like having a 100lb tuna on the end of the line when other dogs are near. I'm thinking of going to some obedience training to work on this problem in a controlled environment. I live in the country so do not meet many dogs on our road walks but come summer the tourists will be everywhere so I need to get this under control. As for my 2 cats, well one is lazy and seldom runs whereas the other cat gets chased and sometimes I think he runs by the dog just to get her in trouble. I don't think she would hurt them though and they are no longer afraid of her. She loves to hunt mice in the field and I've seen her eat one already dead but when she actually caught a live one it squeaked so much she just let it go and did not kill it - she seemed surprised it made noise. She loves to play with sticks and balls, throwing them for herself but she sees no point in retreiving them for me. So much for getting a retreiver as I was told she was. :) At first when I realized she was a ridgeback I was very worried after reading about them that I could handle her, especially after she bit my sister on the arm right after I got her (leash aggression again) but I think she is turning into an awesome dog for us and calming down quite nicely.

March 6th, 2011, 09:51 PM

First off, may I say to please, PLEASE take Chloe for obedience training ASAP!!! I believe that all dogs need it, but Ridgebacks ESPECIALLY need it! Especially since your girl has leash aggression.

Now, with that out of the way, I will say that I am a Ridgeback girl...I have a purebred and a cross, and volunteer for Ridgeback Rescue (go here ( for some links to info about Ridgebacks. Although they are challenging and difficult, they are a wonderful breed and will return the love you give them twofold! You are right that they love their people and would rather be with you than anywhere else. However, you do need to teach her that she CAN do things on her own, otherwise she'll develop separation anxiety. So teach her that she can lay on the floor, or in another room, all on her own and not be attached to you. It will be good for her confidence :)

As for the off-leash thing, I would be VERY careful with it, especially since she has bit someone and because she is obviously still a little nervous. Only do it in places where she is absolutely safe, and not going to startle/be startled by someone. Also, since they are sight and scent hounds, and can run VERY fast, I'd be very sure about her recall before you let her off leash. A SAFER option until she is trustworthy is a long line. This will enable her to run and jump about, and not run off chasing a bird or something (possibility of running into traffic etc, is eliminated with the long line).

I have had my male (RR/lab cross) for just over 7 years and he is absolutely trustworthy BUT being a Ridgeback is definitely willfully disobedient sometimes and will completely ignore me. He doesn't chase things though. My girl is a new rescue, so she is only allowed off leash in isolated areas. She actually has pretty great recall, but is nervous and does like to chase, so she has not earned the privelege, and she may never get it-some dogs just can't.

Great work on not giving her attention until she is calm-this is something key with the breed! They will TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOU AND OTHERS WHENEVER THEY CAN!!!! You must be calm, consistent, fair, and gentle. And consistent LOL. Also, they tend to try and take advantage of new people, even if with you they are well-trained!

Please keep a good sense of humour as you will need it!!! :)

Post some pictures of Chloe! :) I would love to see her. If you have any specific questions about Ridgies feel free to ask me. Or if you want to laugh/cry/vent haha. They are challenging but very worth it, I promise! :) But get her into training and you will be very thankful! She needs it, and it will help her become more manageable. They are VERY intelligent and like to have something to do. They really need boundaries. But she will give you so much love and so many laughs! :)

March 6th, 2011, 09:58 PM
I forgot to say that to combat leash aggression, a loose lead is best. If you can use a gentle leader that helps, and teach her to sit and make eye contact with you when someone approaches. Put yourself between her and the other person if you are concerned.

Also, they are definitely not retrievers haha, my boy is half Lab and he is still a terrible retriever haha!

March 7th, 2011, 06:31 PM
Thank you for the reponse, it is nice to have some who knows Ridgebacks. I tried the long line leash and she was awful. She was going to chew it to pieces in about 5 minutes or if I was trying to walk her she would grab it and yank me around, jumping and biting at it and me - awful. Dragging a short leash didn't work either, it would be destroyed just like every toy I bought for her other then a kong. I walk her on a 120 acre farm where nobody lives and nobody else walks and it is surrounded by farm land beyond that (we do on leash road walks to). At our cabin up north there are 1000's of acres of woods and crown land around us and she never goes out of my sight... yet. I know it is a calculated risk to let her off leash just as I know it is a risk to let my cats outside when there are roads and coyotes around. I grew up on a farm and never remember anyone even owning a dog leash in the community - times have sure changed. I'm going to try the obedience training but there is only one place to go in my area and I'm hoping I agree with his training methods - I've heard some good, some bad. Even so the controlled exposure to other people and dogs will be good for her. I truly expect and get good manners from my kids, my horses and my dog but it sure takes consistant work to get it. lol

March 7th, 2011, 07:34 PM
Ahh, she is a cutie. Definitely has a ridgie look--something else in there too, maybe a BIT of lab, eh?

I love RR--have had three and raised a litter--great breed. They certainly do need boundaries, and reminders of those boundaries daily if they happen to be one of the sharper temperaments. I had one girl 'born trained' who never put a paw wrong, but she was the exception. Obedience training and serious socialization with other dogs is required. My dogs all were leash walked a lot even before we moved to town--taken in the car to towns to practice. Retrieve? Maybe once--throw it away again and you obviously don't want it!
As for recall--tasty treats every third or fourth recall keep them coming back quicker every time. Big praise on the other times. My boy is 7.5 yrs old, and will still start after a deer, as we go on long off leash walks in the country, but come back pretty quickly to check on the dried cat kibble or cheese nibbles in my pocket, lol.

He loves the dog park, and every single breed is fine with him, altho he preferred other RR or boxers when younger, and now like smaller dogs who don't take too much effort to play with, lol. His current best buddy at home is my long haired mini-dachshund, who thinks he is just a vertically challenged RR.

March 7th, 2011, 09:51 PM
That's exactly her on the fetch game. She would rather throw her stick herself and after the 2nd or 3rd time with any game or trick she loses interest. I always carry treats in my pocket to dispense whenever she comes when called and sometimes if I can catch her not looking I hide and reward her for finding me. It is getting harder and harder to hide as she keeps an eye on me. I don't live where there are dog parks but I do take her into town to visit my sister who walks her around town to help socialize her. The first time I took her to walk along a beach this winter I had some guy come up and basically jump on top of her catching us both totally off guard. He kept demanding I let her off leash because he couldn't stand to see a dog tied up ... I couldn't get in the car fast enough. She ignored him and looked uncomfortable( much like me) but the one person we met there had to be an idiot. lol I'm quite happy back to walking on private property. I've taken her to work for a short periods of time to get her used to other people. It is other dogs we need work on and me learning to trust her. I've always had GSD and my last dog was gsd/border collie which I could never train to not chase my horses when they ran around. It was in his genes. He was awesome off leash by about 4 and I could control him by voice from my horse even along the road. I don't know if I will get that with this dog, it came easier with the shepards. All my dogs have been rescue dogs with some issue or another to work through. Chloe is my empty nest dog so probably is getting much more of my time and energy than all my past dogs. I hope to start classes with her in the next week or 2 and will post our progress. I have started to walk with my neighbour and her dog occasionally. When we approach them I basically walk on the opposite side of the road (with a halti) ignoring her bad behaviour and just keep walking and before long we are walking side by side. Getting angry or demanding just makes her worse so I've decided to walk on with expectations she behave and that she will eventually not make a big deal of having another dog along. Trial and error I guess to see what works for this particular dog. Sometimes less is more, I've learned that from years of working with my horses. Off leash meeting a dog she is pretty bossy, plays too rough and sometimes it escalates if the other dog gets offended by her vocal growling. If the other dog just ignores her and doesn't engage she settles down. She seems to get along with male dogs better then other females though. I just never know what I'm going to get and I worry about her playing with smaller dogs, she is too rough. She lived with a Great Pyrenes that simply knocked her down when he'd had enough and she is a big dog herself. I have faith doggie school will help us but suspect she will humiliate me a time or two. :)

March 8th, 2011, 01:56 AM
She is beautiful! Chloe's looks are pretty much on the Retriever side, but that white patch on her chest could be from RR since I don't think the retrievers have that, and I can maybe see a bit of it in the upper part of her face. She is much thicker, with thicker coat and tail than an RR. Her legs look a bit on the longer side so that could be from RR too. Personality wise I hear a lot of Ridgeback in her though haha! In the rescue, dogs are not considered RR unless they have a ridge or are very obvious in their cross. It won't hurt to treat her as an RR though since you are making that judgement on her behaviour and not her looks.

You are right in that you will never have the type of dog that your GSDs were. They are a working dog and have a tendency to be more obedient. Ridgebacks were bred to think for themselves and make decisions, and this is what they do! Also, you are right that getting angry and being harsh doesn't work. This does not every work with RRs. Since you are a horse person (me too), look at her more that way-they particularly remind me of Arabian horses. They need understandting, gentleness, CONSISTENCY, boundaries, LOTS of exercise and human attention, and firmness.

Where in ON are you? If you check out the CKC list of Ridgeback Breeders, you might find one sort of in your area. If you have any particular problems they might be able to refer you to someone who could help. Hopefully the dog trainer in your area uses positive reinforcement training, as that is what works best with these guys (as you've noticed and are working with by carrying treats!) You're right though, the exposure to other dogs and people in a controlled environment will help. Good luck with the classes! :)