Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks vocal? Do they bark often? These are common questions among people who have Rhodesian Ridgebacks.
The most important thing of all is that these dogs are hounds, a type of dog not known for being quiet.
When used for hunting, it was helpful for a dog to alert its owner or other dogs in its hunting pack to their location.
Do Rhodesian ridgebacks bark a lot? The short answer is no, Rhodesian ridgebacks do not bark much unnecessarily.
Well-trained Rhodesians are not usually nuisance barkers, but you will still want to be familiar with their vocalizations.
All breeds have a range of sounds they make for various reasons, and these dogs are no exception.
What Are the Reasons Rhodesian Ridgebacks Bark?
Rhodesian Ridgebacks have many reasons for barking and other vocalizations.
Many of the sounds that these dogs make relate to their background as hunting dogs.
The dog’s age and external factors, such as a lack of stimulation or distractions, or perceived threats, may encourage a dog to bark a lot.
As hounds, Ridgebacks are hunting dogs with well-developed instincts.
These large dogs were developed from a mixture of African and European hunting breeds.
South African hunters used these dogs to track and corner lions, as well as bears and boars. Having a loud voice benefits these dogs when they are hunting.
However, that loud hunting voice is something you might not appreciate indoors, especially in an apartment.
If you live in a neighborhood where homes are fairly close together, your neighbors might not appreciate your dog’s enthusiasm.
Learning to keep the barking to a minimum will benefit everyone, including the dog.
Lack of Stimulation
Rhodesian Ridgebacks require a lot of mental stimulation to help avoid boredom.
A dog that doesn’t hunt or take part in regular activities can bark out of boredom.
When a dog barks excessively, this can be a signal to the owner that the dog is bored and needs something to do.
An important part of providing stimulation is giving your dog sufficient playtime.
As important as regular walks are for this breed, off-leash play in a fenced area makes a significant difference.
Mental stimulation that includes play decreases your dog’s chances of getting bored.
When a dog is bored, distractions can cause barking, and Rhodesians are no exception.
Sometimes the barking is caused by something the dog perceives as a threat. At other times, the cause of the barking could be a bored dog making up its own game.
Regardless of the cause of the distractions, taking steps to reduce your dog’s exposure to them will reduce nuisance barking.
For example, reduce or eliminate access to uncovered windows that face busy streets or yards.
When you’re away from home, leave your dog in a quieter area of the house with a TV or music player on low.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks, because of their genetic makeup, are an instinctively protective breed.
These dogs are loyal and protective to their household members but proceed with caution when it comes to unfamiliar people from outside the household.
From possible intruders to delivery drivers, random strangers are fair game when these dogs decide to bark.
These dogs should not be left out unsupervised in areas where they can get too close to approaching strangers or visitors.
The amount of barking will be unbearable if there is a lot of foot or bike traffic by your home.
Another problem that can arise is that people might feel as though your dog is threatening.
Rhodesian Ridgeback Owners Need to Be Experienced
Most people who have shared their lives with a Rhodesian recommend these dogs to experienced owners.
Like all hunting dogs, particularly hounds, this breed is intelligent, as well as strong-willed. Many would consider this dog strong-willed to the point of stubbornness.
Anyone who lives with a Rhodesian Ridgeback needs to feel confident about how to stop disruptive behavior.
Losing patience with your dog and yelling will only encourage more barking.
To a dog, yelling sounds like barking, and when you raise your voice, they will be glad to join you.
Screaming or using a harsh voice when your dog barks is exceptionally counterproductive.
The tone of your voice plays a role in your dog’s perception of you and your leadership.
Speaking harshly to your dog is likely to make your dog fearful, which could lead to fear-based aggression.
Rhodesian Ridgeback Training Needs to Be as Early as Possible to Avoid Excessive Barking
A Ridgeback will be a better-adjusted and much better-behaved dog if trained at an early age.
When a dog learns basic obedience training at a young age, they will be more in tune with what their human family members expect of them.
Barking is one of the behaviors that owners can bring under control when a dog has been trained.
Dogs trained to respond to commands such as “Sit” and “Stay” can learn “Quiet” quickly enough. If this training takes place in puppyhood, so much the better.
If not, consistent training and reinforcement can help the dog understand what you expect of them.
Consider investing in a clicker, which is a valuable training tool.
Using a clicker when the dog starts barking and telling your Rhodesian Ridgeback to be quiet can make a difference.
When your dog stops barking after being distracted by the sound of the clicker, reward them with a treat and a word of praise.
When you take these steps, you will be helping your dog understand what “Quiet” means and associating following that command with a tasty reward.
This training method is known as positive reinforcement, which is useful for all dog breeds.
Your dog associates reward with listening to you and your household will listen to less barking, making a winning situation.
Some Final Thoughts on Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Barking
Rhodesians are usually not a very vocal breed.
If you’re considering another noisy breed of dog, then this is something that prospective owners need to think about before adding one to their home.
Good training and proper socialization steps will help your dog to adjust and make nuisance barking less of a potential problem.