CHEWS, TOYS & CRATES
Puppies will be teething for a while when you get them home, and it will be great to have some chews on hand to offer them (and to save your toes and fingers from the little needle teeth!)
They will prefer softer chews to start, so I like to offer them something like the Nylabone Flexi-Chews and/or puppy bones:
They may prefer a natural chew to the rubber chew as they get a bit older (they taste better), and in that case, compressed rawhide (CAUTION- USA MADE *ONLY*, and only compressed, not the bleached kind with knots on the end,) bully sticks, or beef tendons are acceptable. Fair warning: this is gross, but if you aren't aware, bully sticks are bull penis and they don't exactly smell like a rose... but dogs love them. There is a brand called "Barkworthies" that I prefer- they have an "odor-free" American made version.
To reiterate about chews: please only buy American-made products, and always supervise your puppy when they have these types of chews. You will need to take it away if they chew it down to where they can get the whole thing in their mouth.
Another good option is Kong products. Puppy kongs are wonderful for keeping your puppies occupied in their crates or when you just need a break. You can stuff them with a bit of their kibble and peanut butter, yogurt, cottage cheese, low sodium chicken broth, bananas, etc. You can even freeze them once stuffed to make it last longer, just put a small piece of duct tape over the top hole, and stand upside down in the freezer. You can even wash them in the dishwasher.
A special note about peanut butter: artificial sweeteners have made their way into peanut butter. Please be very sure that any peanut butter you use for your dogs does not contain xylitol, which is the same sweetener that comes in sugar-free gum. It is very toxic to dogs.
Ridgebacks love plush toys; however, their favorite part may be eviscerating them. We recommend "tough" toys with reinforced seams like these:
We always recommend crate training your puppy. The crate should never be used as punishment- rather, it should be a safe haven for your puppy. There are so many benefits to crate training- it helps with housebreaking, it's a safe place to put your puppy when they can't be supervised or if you just need a little break yourself. For those of you with show puppies, crate training is imperative to their success at dog shows! Please see this page for some wonderful tips on crate training. Crate Training - Association of Professional Dog Trainers
Crate sizing (wire kennels): most average-sized ridgeback females will fit comfortably in a 36" (length) crate. Most males, even very large ones, will fit comfortably in a 42" crate. Some of the longer/larger females may do better in a 42".
Keep in mind that you may need a divider for potty training your young puppy to keep him from soiling
one end of the crate and sleeping in the other.
Plastic airline style kennels (vari-kennels): We recommend
the "400" or Large size for females and the "500" or XL size for males.