IS THE THAI RIDGEBACK DOG THE RIGHT BREED FOR YOU?
When considering buying and owning a thai ridgeback dog, it is important to look at the temperament and personality traits of the breed, not only the physical beauty, grace and elegance that is so appealing about the thai ridgeback. You need to ask yourself if you have the right dog skills, home environment and experience to raise a well socialised thai ridgeback.
A TRD is not a Labrador and they do require a certain amount of understanding of dogs and canine body language in order to get the best experience and enjoyment from your thai ridgeback dog.
Thai ridgebacks require a lot of time and commitment to socialising and training. If that commitment is not there and the socialising work not done with your puppy, then you could end up with a problem dog!
All breeds were bred for an original purpose, and although today most TRD are mainly kept as pets. They still retain many of their primitive instincts, and high prey drive.
When researching the thai ridgeback dog, it must be remembered that these primitive dogs were used for centuries as hunting, watch dogs. In Thailand they were often expected to fend for themselves and hunt for their own food. This has deeply ingrained on them, giving them deep rooted survival instincts and a very high level of intelligence, and independence.
In general, the Thai ridgeback dog is a devoted and loving dog, with a "what's in it for me?" attitude towards training.
They are affectionate with their families and relish in the comforts of their home. The thai ridgeback is a primitive dog breed, and their primitive nature means they can be aloof with strangers and apprehensive and cautious in new places. Their sensitive and finely tuned senses mean they can struggle in loud busy inner city areas, or large families with very young boisterous children and other small pets. Some TRD can suffer from unsound nervous temperaments which makes coping with certain situations extremely difficult for them. The worst case scenario with a shy dog if handled incorrectly is that this often leads to problems with fear aggression in these TRD. This is why when buying a puppy it is important to look at the temperament of both parents!
In order to improve temperament in the breed it is important that shy nervous dogs are not bred from and we advise people not to buy puppies from parents of dogs who suffer extreme shyness/nervousness.
In other words.."Do your homework on the breed and the parents of the puppy, and also the breeder of any prospective puppy."
A Thai ridgeback best suits an experienced dog owner, somebody who is prepared to put in the work necessary, in socialising and training their puppy in order to gain a well rounded adult.
Thai ridgeback's don't need a lot of exercise, but they do require regular daily periods of exercise. Boredom can soon lead to destructiveness when they are young.
TRD also require regular socialising within different environments and with different dogs. Many TRD especially males can become dog aggressive as they mature into adulthood if they're not socialised regularly with other dogs.
Taking your dog for a walk around the block and having him meet the same dogs every day is not socialising! This becomes in your dog's mind the 'normal' daily routine. TRD have to be challenged regularly with new experiences and exposure to different surroundings and situations, in order to gain the necessary skills required to live in today's modern families and cities.
TRD are NOT suitable for living in outdoor kennel situations in the UK. The velvet coated TRD have no protection against the cold weather here.
TRD love the warmth and are like heat seeking missiles in the home. They will quickly seek out the warmest and sunniest spot in the house and claim it as their spot. If it is your couch or bed and this is not acceptable, it must be enforced from the start and adhered to.
Their use as a hunting dog seems to have contributed a great amount to their personalities. They are always fully alert and aware of their surroundings, they love the thrill of the chase, and have a very high prey drive. Thai ridgebacks are fast! and extremely agile, possessing great jumping, running and hunting abilities. (not so great if you happen to be the neighbours cat!).
For these reasons, TRD do require an enclosed secure fenced safe area, to prevent them from escaping or running off in pursuit of prey. Think!!! (cats, squirrels, hedgehogs, moles, rodents). If you live in an area where there is lots of small wildlife, then it is advisable to keep your dog leashed when out to prevent them chasing and running off to hunt these small animals.
The Thai ridgeback dog can be very affectionate and loving with their owners on their terms, (when 'they' want it!).
While they do love and adore their owners, and at times will behave like they are your shadow stalking you, TRD do also like and require their own space.. they like to have 'alone' quiet time and not to be disturbed during these periods. If you're foolish enough to disturb them while they're sleeping, quite often this will result in a quick reaction of displeasure from your dog, and they can be quiet vocal in their disapproval of been disturbed. Most TRD will growl/grumble at you if you disturb them! This is just the way most of them are.
If that warning is not listened to, then some TRD might react aggressively! which is why we wouldn't recommend this breed for chaotic, young family households.
With strangers their attitudes can range from shy and aloof to very sociable goofballs. It's very important that a young TRD puppy, gets lots of early socialization and exposure to different surroundings in their first year. The first 6 months is a key period for exposing and socialising your puppy to as many different situations as possible, in order for your puppy to grow into a happy and well-adjusted adult. But socialisation must be continued through to the dog's adult years with this breed. It's no good starting out well for the first 6 months then doing nothing with your dog. He may develop behaviours you may not desire. Such as dog aggression or aggression towards strangers.
Consistent, reward based training works best with this breed. 'NEVER' use harsh forms of correction with a TRD as this will result in problem behaviour, giving you the exact opposite result of whatever you were trying to achieve, before you lost it! You'll need lots of patience with this breed.
A bad experience in a TRD's mind is never forgotten! So always try to end any training sessions before you get frustrated with your dog and end them on a positive note.
When training a Thai ridgeback, the key to success is utilizing the proper methods. Motivation, food and flexibility are all important tools in their training.
During training sessions a TRD often likes to think about what is being asked of it first, and then decide if it is in their best interests to do what it is you're asking them to do. " Is the reward worth the work?" is what's going through your dog's mind. Food can be a key motivator and tool in training, as long as it's something your dog highly values, as a reward based method of training and encouragement.
TRD do not respond well to heavy-handed corrections, such as lead jerking, shouting at and hitting your dog. If harsh, improper training methods such as these are used, TRD can easily become stubborn, fearful and defiant. In other words.."you will have lost the dogs respect and he will become self dependent, no longer listening to, or relying on you!". If training however is done correctly TRD are extremely intelligent and very fast learners. They have a high level of intelligence and show excellent problem solving abilities. However... how willing your thai ridgeback is to perform those new learnt skills on command is another matter. Thai ridgebacks are stubborn and will only do things if 'they' feel like it or want to do it. Which makes a Thai ridgeback unreliable as a working dog breed.
Although intelligent, you cannot rely on a thai ridgeback to do what you want, when you want it on cue. If a thai ridgeback is not in the mood or if what he's doing is more rewarding to him than to listen to you! eg. (his hunting mode has kicked in and he's chasing after some rabbit), you're excellent recall skills during training will have gone out of the window. Along with your dog who is now probably a good mile away...
Which is why it's advised to keep them leashed at all times unless in a secure area or you're a 100% sure in your capability to recall your dog.
When considering a Thai ridgeback, ask yourself what you expect from the dog, and how much time can you dedicate to training and socialising your puppy? "Be honest!! with yourself" if you cannot dedicate hours of daily socialisation and training in that first important year of their lives, this breed is not for you.
To be a well-adjusted member of your family and society, a thai ridgeback will need extensive socialization and training. Some dog breeds will fit into a home successfully with little training, housebreaking being the only real training it gets, a Thai ridgeback will not!
In the first year a lot of Thai ridgebacks can also suffer from separation anxiety when you leave them alone, so if you're going to be spending long hours away from home working and leaving the dog for long periods of time, then this breed is not right for you.
If you can dedicate the time for training and learn to communicate with your Thai ridgeback puppy correctly in those important early months and form a good relationship with your dog. Then you will be rewarded with a dog that will be your best friend for life and a wonderful addition to your family.