Finally got that adult dog but is he to much for me to handle?

I have been looking for a special dog for months now as some of you know from my posts. A beautiful pure breed male needed to be rehomed and though resuce contacted me he wasn’t a resuce.He went from him original home to us.
I was told he was obdeiance trained as he is a very big dog 90 lbs of muscle. He does know lots of commands but he had been raised on a farm, running free. He has knocked me down 3 times already while on a leash as his prey drive is off the charts. I didn’t think he’d been leash trained but when I put a prong on him hknew all about it. However when he sees a rabbit he is going to go for it,fast and strong.
I’ve had tough breeds bedore but always raised them from puppies and they were all good dogs… I’ve never taken a adult dog before and he was so wild to start , anxious that he was jumping over the couch, very upset and unfrotuately I had no inforation on what to expect. . However all that has stopped now that he feels at home yet like that horse that’s bolts once year I think he will always be a challenge .
Now he can be very sweet/loving and is now very well behaved inside the house . However yesterday Amazon guy knocked on the front door and the dog charged the door, unstoppable (closed door). So I keep getting a negative surprised.
He is also incredibly powerful , took a 4 foot jump like it wwasn’t there, a beautiful mover .He can be sweetand loving , behavior is perfectaround food,other dogs but when he sees a rabbit or a truck coming in he is off ,fast and out of my control.
Yes I can give him back to the breeder but its a tough to make up my mind. It been impossible to find a healthy young dog so I think I’ll be without a dog if I return him plus he is now attached to us.
He came with all his paperwork which included 2K for training. I called trainers but they want a lot of money for help with just the leash problem well $800. Really!
So what would you do.?

As a friend who trains dogs told me: I can train your dog, no problem, but for it to work you have to train them.

So this trainer might not be your solution, but there are others around, so have a look-see.

A guy I used to work for bought himself a grown giant Schnauzer, trained. The dog was massive (but so was my boss! :slight_smile: )
He had a period of time when he had to establish himself as boss over the new dog.
I have a feeling that that is where your problem lies.
and depending on the breed, 4 feet is nothing.
Perhaps there is an obedience club near by, or some other people who train dogs.


As I recall you telling us that you don’t have a fenced in yard, only underground electric invisible fence. Is that correct?

So are you able to let him run free around your yard or is he only allowed outside on a leash?

Since he lived on a farm and is accustomed to running free and probably a lot if he’s young,
he may never calm down outside unless he gets his zoomies out by running some each day.
Walking a large athletic dog on a leash isn’t even considered much exercise as it’s just too easy going unlike flat out running.
My rescue German Shepherd ran around free in my 2 acre fenced yard every day like a greyhound, when she first came home. for weeks she ran like crazy then slowed down and found the horse pastures and trotted around them every day.
do you have a safe place to take him where he could run a lot every day inside a fenced area?
At least for a few weeks till he calms down a bit?
My dog is only 70 lbs. and was a handful at first and still can be a PIA in public w/ strange dogs. So you need to be careful about getting pulled down, bones break easily in falls like that.
Maybe you have a friend w/ a fenced property or a large empty fenced park but I think that what he needs right now, then start your more advanced leash training.
Or consider fencing in your own yard with a non-climbable sturdy fence.


Look up NILIF.
Here’s one article on it.

You may also want to connect with a reputable BALANCED trainer to help as well.

Depending on the breed, some reactions/behaviors may be harder to curb than in another breed.


I would suggest taking classes. How snug and high is the prong collar? I do think for some dogs prey drive is always a challenge, but if you have a snug prong with small links and it’s fitted correctly, you should be able to discourage booting away from you. Find a good trainer that can work with you on that and perhaps “place” for when someone comes to the door. As long as the trainer thinks you can work with him safely, I’d keep plugging along.

Flame suit on

Are you able to determine if his previous training included use of the e collar? If so, get you one ASAP.

I have a weapon of a dog. Restraining her via a prong collar once she is in drive only increases her drive at best. Worse, it can redirect the drive, to the handler. She’s been trained to the e collar. With the e collar on she remembers how to control herself.


Return and keep looking.
This is too much stress and uncertainty !
This is an accident waiting to happen.

  • Do what is best for you as well as the dog.

You want to enjoy your life with a dog… NOT worry 24/7 !!!


I totally agree with this. An e collar was a lifesaver for my dog. I also adopted him as an adult and he was a terror. He had a really high herding drive and thought it was great fun to chase horses and other dogs and it was like he could not “snap out of it” once he went into that mode. The e collar on the lowest setting was enough to get him out of herding dog zone and back to me.

I’ve had him for 6 years now and he’s seriously the best dog and I get compliments on how well trained he is all the time. When he comes to the barn or goes hiking with me, he’s off leash and I never have to worry.

I’d also say don’t set both of you up to fail. I’d just stop walking him on a leash until you get help. Take him to a dog park, or throw the ball in your yard to get him exercise for now. Walking a high energy breed isn’t enough exercise to be useful anyway.


Rhodesian Ridgebacks have very strong, independent temperaments and can be stubborn.
If you remember what they were originally bred for, hunting lions on their own, you may be setting
up yourself and the dog for lots of problems.
According to this article and many others, ALL RRs have a high prey drive so owning one requires the owner to be able to control them on leash. This article warns against allowing them off leash, anywhere.
Some articles say a 5-6 mile run for these dogs is just a warm-up. YIKES.
Please read this article and I think you’ll agree, without immediate help in learning to control this dog, you may find yourself in serious trouble. You won’t be safe out in public if you can’t control the dog.


This RR breeder says NO DOG PARKS for this breed as they become the dog park police and expect other dogs to be well behaved and fights can ensue.
Again, how will you control your dog in a dog fight? Can you lift and extricate your 90 off another fighting dog? Doubtful.

-Energy release

Playing with other dogs, hiking off leash in a safe area, running with you once mature are great activities. A happy Ridgeback is one who is able to run free somewhere safe at least once a week. Dog parks, however, are not generally a good option. Rhodesian Ridgebacks have difficulty tolerating bad behavior in other dogs and sometimes appoint themselves the dog park police to the chagrin of other dog “parents”. This is a breed that was developed to interact and work well with other dogs. They expect that all dogs know the appropriate behavior rules.



Fetch or bicycling are much better!

Bicycling may sound scary with a large driven dog, but truthfully the additional speed makes it easier to control the dog IME


A dog trained to run off the bicycle is very different than training a full grown dog to run off the bicycle.

I am in the camp that this may be a bad match. My dogs are much smaller but they have a fenced yard AND get off lead runs 2x a day. If they didn’t have those, they would be difficult.

I can’t imagine having a dog that couldn’t be outside without being on a leash. I use e-collars every day but they are not a quick fix and need time to practice/train within a safe space (preferably enclosed) before taking the dog out. If you keep him I would definitely opt for the e-collar with GPS tracking.

Sort of curious why the dog was returned in the first place; and while $2K in training sounds like a lot, it doesn’t mean that the dog received the training. It means that the owners paid the trainer, but may not have put in the work.


This does not sound like the dog for you.


RRs are not, from any breeder I’ve talked to, dogs that can ever run off leash. Ever. Never ever. I would completely agree with that. I wouldn’t take any dog to a dog park AND honestly I’m not a run free out of a fenced area person. I’m just too high strung for that. If I couldn’t live with this, then I’d edit my response and say I’d return the dog. I forget that other people want their dog to be able to run off leash.
All of that being said, I know an RR that isn’t all that high energy. Most people I know that have them walk them and let them play in a fenced area sometimes. I don’t know that many people that go to dog parks and personally I wouldn’t do it, with any dog.

Just wanting to clarify my response - I wouldn’t want a dog that needed a leash even for the 6am bathroom trip. That’s why I have a fenced yard. I definitely wouldn’t want a 90lb dog that might yank my arm out if he saw a rabbit at 6am after I just got out of bed.

I’m ok with dogs not being off lead off the property if that isn’t a safe option. But to have an active dog that doesn’t even have a fenced yard? No way. What a hassle and not fair to the dog.


Yes, agree. Remember we all discussed this way back when OP was looking for a RR and rescues were turning her down due to no permanently fenced yard. Yet someone apparently
overlooked that (how ???) and gave her a large, adult, high energy, high prey drive dog and OP is surprised she’s getting knocked over/pulled down.
I also feel bad for the dog. Unless owner is a young, physically fit, active, committed dog owner,
this is a bad match. Large active dogs need a FENCED YARD, period.


Well, that’s kind of silly. I’ve had ridgebacks for 20 years and they’ve all been fine off leash.

But you do have to TRAIN them for that, and this one sure doesn’t sound like that’s happened. If you don’t install that when they’re puppies, it’s incredibly challenging to train as adults, even for owners that DON’T balk at dropping 800 on training… :neutral_face:


So sad to read this because I’ve followed your posts about wanting a dog. Especially sad because my gut reaction is to send him back. His prior people created (probably) a problem dog and then pawned him off on you without fully informing you of the extent of the problem. He sounds like an accident waiting to happen, and neither of you deserves that. Hold out for a dog that works for you - that’s the one that will be happier with you.

Full disclosure - the only time my prior dog - a shepherd/akita mutt, so not small - was attacked it was by a Golden who’d just been rehomed with a lady the day before it saw my dog 30’ away and charged her. The lady was flattened - she didn’t stand a chance. The people she got the dog from never told her it had that tendency.


High Prey Drive is a trait mentioned in everything I’ve read online about RR. It’s been bred into them as hunting dogs. … High prey drive and Independence and stubborness. Not easy things to train out of a dog if they’re bred for it. And given this dog’s size, 90 lbs., and strength, it’s a
definite liability unless OP lives in a remote area away from neighboring properties.


That’s true. I was speaking to the fact that a dog moving at brisk trot has less time to go into drive bc a cat is sunning in a yard compared to a dog that is walking.