The Rhodesian Ridgeback needs a consistent, equable and positive approach to training. Highly intelligent but stubborn, Ridgebacks can be a dominant breed. Start training and socializing when young.

Ridgebacks get bored very quickly. Accordingly, it is suggested to make training sessions short and intersting.


Your two-year-old RR has completed three sessions of obedience training. One day he gets up on the couch and you tell him to get down immediately. Fido looks at you, wags his tail, his head goes down, his ears flap a bit like Dumbo, he gets this worried sheepish look on his face and his legs buckle as he lies down on the couch.

Right in front of you!! Of all the temerity! He is blatantly disobeying your command to get down and he is making himself comfortable on the couch by lying down on it in front of your very eyes!!

What do you do? Beat him on the head with a newspaper? Call him to you across the room? Yell, scream and stomp your feet at him? Turn blue in the face trying to pull him onto the carpet?

Well, if you do any of the above, in fact if you do anything other than give him a cookie to reward him, then you are doing something that Fido will not understand.

He was doing something he was not supposed to do, you yelled at him "get down!" The operative word here is "down." Your dog had probably been taught in class that down was to lie down right there wherever "there" was. That is exactly what he did when you caught him getting on the couch he downed!

Consistency is the dog's greatest molder. You can mold your dog into anything by being consistent, teaching him the correct vocabulary and by having the rest of the family use the same words and commands.

What should have been said instead of get down? The word "off" is a common command for the dog to get off the furniture, off the bed, off someone's lap, etc. Each word is associated with a specific behavior.

Below is a list of the most commonly used commands and phrases for training your dog. Remember to use short words and very short phrases so that you do not jumble up the dog's head with sentences that he does not understand.

Where there are two uses of the same word, choose one only - do not try to use one word to give two or three different commands - choose different words for each behaviour:
Sit : dog sits, usually in front facing you or next to you
Down : lies down right where he is
Stay : stays exactly where you tell him to stay
Off : gets off the bed, people, or stops jumping up on people
Leave It : will not take it in his mouth, stops being nosy
Come or Here : immediately returns to you
Stand : stays standing in one area and allows an exam
Heel : walks with his nose, or shoulder, level with your leg
Wait : has to wait for you to give another command
Go Out : to leave your side. used in the obedience ring and other areas
Out : spit something out, go outside, gets out of the vehicle
Front : comes from a heel position to sit in front of you
Load up : gets into crate, vehicle or dog run
All done : as a release word instead of okay
Fetch or get it : goes to retrieve toy or dumb bell, picks it up in mouth
No : means STOP what you are doing, now!