SPORTS FOR RIDGEBACKS
LURE COURSING - The Hound group is divided into two categories - Scent and Sight. The Rhodesian Ridgeback belongs in the sight category of the Hound group. They use their eyes for hunting and chasing. You may even see them sproinking - jumping up on their hind legs to get a better aerial view. It is instinct for them to chase things that move. This desire to chase can get our dogs into trouble. When a Ridgeback is into a squirrel, cat, deer, etc. they have tuned everything else out. They don't hear your call or verbal correction for running away - they don't hear the car barreling down on them. Many Ridgebacks are lost each year to accidents because they were not kept under control with leash or fencing. The chase is an instinctive response and not one that can be overcome with just a little training. It is best to understand your dog's instincts and learn to live safely with them. You can still enjoy their "hunt" in the confines of a fenced backyard or in some other organized outlet for this desire to run.
Natural instinct has been taken to a sport for sight hounds called Lure Coursing. The dogs are grouped in 3's and initially compete against their own breed. The "lure" is nothing more than a plastic trash bag tied to a closed loop string that is powered by a small motor and generator. This pulls the bag around a defined route that loops around and back over itself to create a course that is upwards of 800 yards. The dogs are awarded points by two judges who are watching for follow, enthusiasm, agility, speed, endurance - and they must have manners. The dogs are encouraged to "hunt" but are not allowed to interfere or challenge another dog.
For health reasons, Ridgebacks cannot be run competitively until after one year of age although the drive can be nurtured earlier with training techniques. For more information follow this link to the American Sighthound Field Association's info page - Coursing!
AGILITY- Dog agility is a fun way to deepen the bond between you
and your Ridgeback through training the dog to complete an obstacle
course. This is a sport that Ridgebacks seem to enjoy with just some
training and a little food motivation. Our dog’s athletic ability is a plus
in this activity while their independent nature offers a challenge for
Agility is a sport with organized competitions where the winners are rewarded with titles added to the dog's official name. In competitions, a handler is given a set amount of time in which to direct a dog off-leash through an obstacle course (including jumps, tunnels, weave poles, ramps, etc.) Dogs compete only against dogs of similar height. The dog with the lowest number of mistakes and the fastest time wins the class or height division.
Originally loosely modeled on equestrian stadium jumpers competition, agility has evolved its own additional obstacles, scoring systems and performance ideals. It is the most rapidly growing dog sport in England, Western Europe and North America.
Agility is an exciting sport for you and your Rhodesian Ridgeback but joining a training class is definitely advised. For more information about agility training, follow this link to Training Classes. For more general information please visit US Dog Agility Association.