Process for buying a Ridgeback puppy FAQ

Our last litter whelped on Nov 22, 2021, with puppies ready for collection on Jan 9, 2022.  See the Mackenzie and Uatu litter page for more info. We are no longer taking Expressions of Interest in purchasing a puppy.

We do not have another little planned yet, but we may have more in the future. Subscribe to our mailing list (bottom left of this page) for updates – we’ll send a message when the next pregnancy is confirmed, and regular updates from then on.

ABOVE: A puddle of puppies from Buckle and Kiwi’s litter on their birth day on August 28, 2020.

When the puppies from a litter are one week old, we take Expressions of Interest, for a one week period.

Our goal is to place each puppy we breed in the best possible home. To assess that, we ask people expressing interest in buying a puppy submit a written application describing their situation and how a they’d live with a dog.

You can prepare your submission following our guidelines at any time, but submission are only possible when the puppies are one to two weeks old. We’ll send notifications to our mailing list (subscribe at the bottom of this page), and make a post on our Facebook page.

First, you subscribe to our mailing list (bottom of this page). And we recommend you follow us on Facebook, where we’ll make regular updates on the current litter.

We send out a message to our mailing list advising the pregnancy is confirmed (typically three to four weeks before the puppies are due to be whelped), and another message when the litter is actually whelped. We’ll make a page on our site for this litter, and add images and videos regularly (select “Current Litter” from the “Puppies” menu above).

When the puppies are one to two weeks old, we invite Expressions of Interest in buying a puppy from this litter – we send a message out to our mailing list to notify we’re open for submissions. Expressions of Interest are open for a week, and there’s no advantage to expressing interest early and no disadvantage to expressing late – we assess each expression of interest on its own merits.

Expressions of Interest are submitted in writing, and involve an hour or two of writing, to prepare a submission that has a higher chance of success. More info.

We get many more people wanting to buy puppies than we have puppies, so we have to make some difficult decisions.

We may speak on the phone to promising applicants to discuss their submission, or they may receive an invitation to visit the us and puppies at 6 weeks of age (more info).

By Week 7, a $1000 deposit is required.

Puppies can be collected at 8 weeks of age (never earlier). Remaining payment can be made by bank transfer a few days before collection.

When you collect your new puppy, we’ll answer your questions and provide more info.

We remain available to support you for the life of your puppy.

We make the decision to offer a puppy for purchase on many factors, but how fast you can respond to an email is not one of them.

Everyone is in with an equal chance if they submit an Expression of Interest in the one week EoI period (we’ll post a notice with a link on our Facebook page, and send a message to our mailing list).

From there, we make decisions based on merit.

See also How does buying a puppy from you work?

We expect puppies for our current (whelped in Nov 2021) will be priced between $4,500 and $5,500 each. We’ll set the exact price when the puppies are six weeks old (around December 28, 2021).

An additional $1,000 sterilisation bond is required. This is refunded when you provide proof of sterilisation, more info.

A $1,000 non-refundable deposit is required by the time the puppy is seven weeks of age.

The biggest influence on allocating a puppy to a buyer is the content of their written Expression of Interest – this is incredibly important, so we encourage you to consider the guidelines we provide carefully.

We have several conversations with potential buyers to understand how they plan to integrate the puppy into their family. From this, we decide how comfortable we are placing a puppy with that family.

We have many more people who want puppies from us than there are puppies available, so some people miss out, unfortunately.

Typically, by appointment your family can visit when the puppies are six weeks old (more info). 

We do not allow visitors before six weeks of age, because puppies are at risk of catching diseases (like parvovirus), and they are too young to interact with humans to any extent.

People who submit an Expression of Interest may be selected to visit the puppies at six weeks of age. This is not a guarantee of  being assigned a puppy from this litter (but it is a good sign!). Note that if there is a Covid-19 lockdown, this may need to be by video chat instead 😥.

You should bring your immediate family – that is, everyone who will be living with the dog. However, it’s not appropriate to bring others who just want to have a go with some puppies (but if you live alone, it’s fine to bring a friend).

You’ll meet the full litter of puppies. Diving into a puppy puddle is a pretty awesome experience, and at this age, the puppies are very playful, smell lovely, are trusting, and are inquisitive – it’s pretty much the funnest thing you can experience, honestly. 🤯 It’s a great experience for kids and adults alike! If the day is warm, this will be outside on a lawn, in a large fenced area (if it’s raining, we have a good inside area for this).

Once that excitement dies down, you’ll be able to meet the mother of the puppies, some other adult dogs (to get an idea of their size and temperament).

You can ask questions, for example about their current living conditions, feeding, and other care, advice on how it might work if you were selected to take a puppy home (when they are 8 weeks of age). You can tour the area where the puppies were born and raised (which is where they will spend their next two weeks before going to their new homes).

We’ll ask you to select your first, second and third preference, from those available (the puppies wear collars with numbers, so we can tell them apart). Often this involves a lot of back and forth between the family members, but we can be patient – the appointment lasts for one hour, after which we have another family visiting, so please don’t overstay!

Throughout the visit, we’ll be assessing you: how you and your family handle the puppies (we know that kids naturally need guidance in this area, and we’re interested to see how kids take that guidance on board), the nature of the questions you ask, how well what you say and ask seems to match up with your Expression of Interest.

We don’t care how you’re dressed, what car you drive, what school you went to, what job you have, or where you live. Our only concern is, will you provide the best possible home for this puppy?

Within a few days of your visit, and once all 6-week visits are concluded for this litter, we’ll let each family know if they have been successful or not. If your application is successful, you’ll need to make the $1000 deposit by the time the puppies are seven weeks old to secure your puppy.

The puppies and mother’s health and happiness are our highest priority.

We have fitted out a 10-foot shipping container to be our whelping and puppy-rearing room, about 30 metres from our home. We both work from home.

In the container, we added thick insulation and lined the walls and ceiling. We added adjustable vents top and bottom to allow fresh air to circulate. There’s a heater to keep the room at 24°C, a window to open, a door for humans, soft lights for night time, and a worklight when cleaning. We have air-conditioning for warmer months. There’s a dog-door, so the mother can go outside to a small fenced yard to wee and poo herself – we clean up the poo every day.

The puppy area is cleaned daily (up to three weeks old, the mother licks the puppies tummies to stimulate them to wee and poo, then eats everything they produce). After three weeks, the mother loses interest in that, so we go through a lot of newspaper or towels each day in an effort to keep the area clean-ish (10 puppies pooing and playing… you can imagine!). We have a set of mats we change out every day as well, wash and dry in the sun. The puppies get a few baths a week, as necessary.

In the first three weeks, we visit the mother and puppies at least five times a day, to bring the mother food, and to interact with the puppies. Each puppy gets a few minutes of holding and cuddling, five times a day (at the same time, we check for any genetic defects). As they get older, we provide some stimulation – noises and touching to help puppies get comfortable with their surroundings. From 4 weeks of age, we construct a puppy interaction centre, a range of things for puppies to feel, see, hear, smell and taste.

We take the mother out for short walks and runs in our fenced paddocks once a day – the mother is with the pups 24×7 for the first three weeks, feeding the puppies dozens of times a day.

The mother is gradually removed (“weaned”) – she gets sick of them pretty fast from four weeks, and won’t miss them at all by six to seven weeks. In this transition period, we move the puppies over to solid food.


We may choose to keep a puppy from the litter.

Our goal when breeding is to improve the breed, and to do that, we need the best males and females. So, we have “first pick of the litter”. We’re looking for many technical details such as the size and shape of the ridge, ear pitch, tail hold, size and shape of colour patches, muzzle length, eye separation and shape, natural stance, the shape of their back in profile, and around 40 other points of assessment (see the full breed spec, PDF).

Pet buyers are typically unconcerned with these extremely minor variances, and typically only one puppy from a litter will be suitable for breeding with (and often none are!).

To the casual eye, all of the dogs we breed are “Show Quality”, and are within the breed specification (just not considered “ideal”).

Sometimes, we work with puppy buyers on Breeders Terms – more info.


We take the life of each puppy we breed very seriously. When we sell them, we’re looking to find each puppy the best possible home.

When the puppies from a litter are whelped, we open Expressions of Interest (EoI). We encourage potential buyers to openly share their plans and ideas in a written submission.

We typically get up to 100 Expressions of Interest for each litter we breed, so in a way we are “spoiled for choice” in this – but the process is by no means easy for us. Every EoI gets thoroughly reviewed.

We ask a range of questions, and we assess each answer on criteria graded to a 1-to-5 scale, then make an assessment of the family overall, considering “How good will the home be for this dog?”. We work had to be objective. All we go on are the Submissions received, so everyone is on an equal footing.

The process we use is not infallible (arguably, it benefits people who write well, and relies on people being truthful), but over time we’ve found it to be a reasonably good indicator. People who have thought deeply about what it will mean to have a dog share their life for the next 12 years tend to do better than people who express interest on a whim.

The assessments process can mean, people who seem like they’d provide a very good home do not get a puppy, because someone else can provide an excellent home (and our goal is to find the best possible home for each puppy).

The higher-assessed a family is, the higher the chance they’ll be invited to the second round process. We make a shortlist of the best-home-for-a-dog people, and let everyone else know they have been unsuccessful. We may also notify some standbys – in case someone drops out, we have one or two families on “standby”.

If you made an EoI, you missed out, and you express interest in the next litter we have, expressing interest previously will not place you at an advantage: we do not believe that applying twice has any bearing on the quality of home you’ll provide for a new puppy. It’s no problem to apply again, however – we’ll assess your new application against the others we received for that litter.

The second-round interview is face-to-face, at our home. You’ll get to meet us, the mother of the litter, and all the puppies from the litter. You can see where the puppies have been living, and learn how they have been brought up so far.

Your family will get to play with the puppies for a while, and select your “top three” preferences. We’ll answer any questions you have, and ask you more questions about the life you’d provide for the new dog. As we have many of these appointments in a short space of time, we limit them to 75 minutes maximum.

In Covid-19 times, when face-to-face visits described above are not possible, instead we schedule a video chat (ideally for the whole family). We’ll have some puppies to show you, and we’ll ask more questions, and some new questions exploring the home you’d provide for the puppy in more depth. Of course, you’ll be able to ask more questions too. During and after the call, we’ll make some notes for our records.

Once we have spoken to each family, we’ll review our assessments from the original Submission – maybe they will increase, decrease, or remain the same.

We’ll let the successful families know, and start discussing preparation and pickup details.

Ridgeback Puppies FAQ

Yes, all puppies we sell come with “papers”.

Both parents are registered with Dogs Victoria, and before being sold, all puppies will be microchipped and registered.

Most of this comes down to personal preference, but there are some considerations when selecting a gender – note that all of these are tendencies, not guarantees.

  • Male dogs “lift their leg” (pee) on most vertical surfaces outside.
    • That can be smelly and annoying, especially if it’s a veranda post by the back door, for example!
    • Female dogs squat to pee.
    • Both can be trained to pee in specific places, however.
  • Male dogs tend to be more devoted to their owners
    • Female dogs are certainly loyal, but un-spayed bitches can be affected by hormones causing them to be a little more “hormonal” sometimes (that’s a broad generalisation; all our dogs have excellent temperaments!)
  • Male dogs tend to be larger, heavier, and broader than female dogs, but this is not a certainty
  • Male dogs tend to be stronger than female dogs, meaning they can be hard to control when excited.
    • However, good training addresses this.
    • Note, male dogs are not more or less aggressive to humans than female dogs (bitches) are
  • Male dogs tend to die younger at 10 years, compared to 12-14 years for female dogs 🙁
  • Male dogs may drool more when older

Yes, we require that all puppies we sell be sterilised.

Female dogs: Spayed by hysterectomy.

Male dogs: Sterilisation by vasectomy.

Dog breeding is only for experts who are registered with several organisations, passed an exam, and have experience in managing breeding lines for the improvement of the breed.

Sterilising males

All our male puppies must be sterilised. The main reason to sterilise a male dog is to prevent accidental pregnancies and “backyard” breeding.

We require a vasectomy. The testicles remain, but he cannot impregnate female dogs once he has had the vasectomy operation. Note that he will still serve (mate with) bitches in heat when vasectomised, but cannot not impregnate them.

How it works

We charge a $1000 sterilisation bond when purchasing a male puppy, refunded when you provide the certificate of sterilisation to us (your vet will provide this)

  1. Around 12 weeks of age, you make an appointment at Monash Vet Clinic for a vasectomy
  2. You’re asked to drop the dog off before 9am, and collect him before 8pm

Castration is not recommended

While it’s commonly believed that castration improves behaviour, there’s no actual evidence of this. Castration is no longer recommended by the Australian Veterinary Association. Castrating after 18 months is acceptable (still not recommended). NEVER castrate a puppy – it can;

  • Ruin his growth;
  • Give him weak bones;
  • Result in a feminine appearance;
  • Make him more prone to prostate cancer and hip dysplasia
  • Cause ACL ruptures

Sterilising females

  • All our female puppies must be sterilised, between 9 and 15 months of age
    • It’s very unlikely a bitch would come into heat (that is, be fertile) before 9 months of age
    • Sterilising females before nine months of age can affect their growth, so is not recommended. Early sterilisation also commonly causes incontinence when the bitch is older.
  • This operation can be performed by most vet clinics
  • We charge a $1000 sterilisation bond when purchasing a female puppy, refunded when you provide proof of spaying (a sterilisation certificate, that your vet provides)

We’ll be available by email and call to discuss any problems you have with the puppy you purchase from us, for its lifetime.

If you’re unable to keep a dog you bought from us, we’ll always take it back (a partial refund may be offered, at our discretion) and work to re-home it. See re-housing.

Different breeders have litters at different times of the year, so it’s worth looking at several breeders.

We recommend the DogsVic Rhodesian Ridgeback page, and the DogzOnline Rhodesian Ridgeback page, for puppies from breeders in Victoria, Australia.

There are several approaches to feeding dogs. The three main considerations are cost, time, and suitability of the food.


Historically, dogs in the wild were carnivorous animals – that is, they mainly eat meat and bone. They would catch small to medium-sized animals (often omnivores and herbivores, rabbits, possums, and similar) and eat all parts of them.

This meant, eating the intestines of the animals they caught, full of half-digested grass and leaves as well as the meat and bones. Over time, dogs evolved to become dependant on this mix of meat, bones and vegetable matter to be healthy.

Emulating this diet in current times is well-proven to be ideal for the long term health of your dog. Our dogs are fed the “BARF Diet” originated by Dr Ian Billinghurst (https://www.drianbillinghurst.com/), a renowned vet from NSW. His book, ‘The Barf Diet’ describes the approach to this diet in detail, but is summarised below. BARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food.

BARF is not a “fad” diet, it’s well tested and proven to be healthy for dogs based on sound scientific principles.

We’re careful to not anthropomorphise our dogs (treat them like humans): they are different, and should be treated differently. Dogs do not need, expect, or particularly appreciate variety in their diet – they are quite happy eating the same meals for their entire life. They will not “appreciate” the work you go to to lovingly cook a meal for them (and in fact, the cooking that humans require to be able to digest some foods actually removes nutrients dogs need to survive!).

Never give cooked bones – they can splinter and lodge in the dog’s throat. 

Approach 1: Homemade raw food

Homemade biologically appropriate raw food best for your dog, and is cheapest for you. However, it takes time to buy ingredients, prepare and store than the alternatives, and can be a little messy to prepare.

Below, we nominate percentages – this is the percent of the dog’s total intake of food in a day. The total amount changes a little as the dog grows, and weight is best managed using the simple ribs-visible-when-trotting method.

If choosing to feed the home-made BARF diet, all of these components are required;

  • 60% raw meaty bones, with bones the dog can completely eat
    • No preparation is necessary, other than buying, dividing into packs and freezing
    • We use chicken wings (cheap, easily available), but lamb ribs are fine as well
    • Chicken necks are not ideal (too much gristle), but can be used
  • 15%-20% raw leafy green and yellow vegetables, pureed using a blender
    • Spinach, lettuce, kale, broccoli, cabbage, bok choi, carrots, pumpkin, garlic, etc
    • Some fruit, apples (no pips), bananas, etc
    • No onions, no grapes
    • Best to make in batches and freeze
  • 10%-15% offal, liver (“lambs fry” from a butcher)
    • One lambs fry per week, spread across two meals
  • 5%-10% Extras
    • Up to one egg a day (raw yolk and cooked white ideally, but you can just lightly cook an extra whole egg when you are cooking yours);
    • Wheat germ, yogurt (plain), oils (flaxseed and fish) 1-2 tsp a day, seaweed meal 1-2 tsp a day, Vitamin C (500mg tablets as for humans), Vitamin E (capsules, or oil)
    • A tin of sardines a week
  • Once or twice a week, bigger “recreational bones”
    • NEVER GIVE COOKED BONES! They can splinter, and get lodged in their throat, a terrible way to die.
    • Bones can be bought in bulk and frozen
    • Cow leg bones are ideal (cheap, plentiful, and delicious for a dog), ask the butcher to cut them four ways (so the dog can access the marrow in the bones)
    • Roughly 500g to 750g per bone (250g to 500g if under four months)
    • One bone will keep the dog amused for several hours (ideal if all humans are leaving the dog for a few hours) – they’ll eat 99% of it, and chew on the remaining slivers for several days.

Note that no grain in any form is fed – includes bread, pasta and rice – as they do not suit the canine digestive system.

Most efficient is to make this in bulk – get 10kg of chicken wings and assemble all the other ingredients, and make 30 “meal packs” to freeze in plastic containers. A chest freezer is likely necessary to store them. Feed one meal pack in the morning, and one in the evening, and on each feed, pull another one out of the freezer to start thawing (or if you forget, give a frozen pack a quick blitz in the microwave).

Approach 2: Pre-packaged raw food

Pre-packaged raw food – we recommend Dr B’s BARF by Dr Billinghurst (more info on other similar “BARF” style food – be careful) – is similar to homemade raw food described above, with none of the effort… but more cost.

The food comes in “patties” (kind of like hamburger patties), that come in boxes of twelve 227-gram sealed chunks, and contains a generous mix of meat, shredded bones, leafy green vegetables, and extra minerals.

ABOVE: A box of Dr B’s “BARF”, and one pattie. Once thawed, we keep the box in the fridge.

Available at the PetBarn chain of stores, and some independent pet food stores. It comes frozen, and must be kept frozen until serving – some Ridgeback owners invest in a chest freezer to store BARF, chicken wings, and bones, as the family freezer is not big enough. We typically buy 10 boxes when it’s cheapest.

A box of BARF costs between AU$25 and AU$30 (it’s often on-special), and comes in a range of flavours (beef, chicken, kangaroo, etc).

While BARF can be fed exclusively, it’s best to alternate it like so (assuming an adult dog; growing puppies need up to 50% more):

  • Morning
    • 1.5 BARF patties
    • One hard-boiled egg (uncooked egg white can interfere with the absorption of vitamin B, so always hard-boil it)
  • Evening
    • 3-4 raw chicken wings
  • Several times a week
    • A raw meaty bone, ~500g

Note again that no grain in any form is fed – includes bread, pasta and rice – as they do not suit the canine digestive system.

ABOVE: Just three raw chicken wings! We feed this to our dogs each evening. We buy 20Kg at a time, and freeze into packs of nine wings each.

It’s essential to get the genuine Dr B’s BARF or Big Dog BARF – there are several cheaper knock-offs, that bulk-out the patties with cheaper grain (rice, wheat) which is not recommended (more info). If you’re considering an an alternative to Dr B’s BARF, please send us a photo of the packaging (where the ingredients are described), so we can provide some feedback on its suitability.

Approach 3: Dried food (kibble)

Despite being sold by many vets, dried food is not ideal (vet surgeries get kickbacks for selling it, and ultimately, they’re a business).

However, the more expensive brands (eg, Hill’s Science, Advance) are acceptable. Home-brand and supermarket brands are not acceptable. They are often packed out with grain. 

Ideally mixed in with homemade or pre-packaged BARF, for example, dried food in the morning, and raw meat / BARF in the evenings.

The importance of raw meaty bones (~500g) three times a week increases if feeding dried food.

Canned wet food

Not recommended, even the expensive ones (Hills Science, and similar). 

“Off brand” BARF is ok when your dog is over 12 months, but during the key developmental stages, the right stuff matters more.
Our concern with off-brand BARF feeds (such as “Leading raw”) is that while their ingredients are suitable (primary concern is, no grain), they don’t specify what proportions the contents are mixed as. While a little more or less meat or vegetables is not a big deal, the proportion of vitamins and minerals are important. The fact they are not specified indicates they’re likely not so careful about the proportions, which can have serious health effects.
So, our recommendation would be to stick with Dr B’s BARF or Big Dog Raw for the first 12 months. The others are not terrible, but they are not as good (careful, some of the knockoffs have very similar packaging as Dr B’s BARF!).

We microchip all puppies at 6 weeks of age (along with their first vaccination and vet check).

When you collect your puppy, we’ll provide the microchip details, and scan the microchip so you can see it matches the registration certificate (“papers”).

We’ll provide a form for you to complete so that if the puppy is lost and scanned, the ownership details displayed will be yours.

Yes. There are three types of registration:

Dogs Vic

All pups are registered with Dogs Vic. We’ll provide documentation (often called “papers”) to indicate this, including a pedigree (details of parents and grandparents).

Microchip registration

After puppy collection, you’ll fill in an online form to change the microchip registration to your details.

Council registration

All councils in Australia require that dogs be registered by three months of age. The fee is usually minimal – $30 a year or so (cheaper when dog is desexed). This is your responsibility.

After feeding well, good socialisation is the single most important thing a puppy needs. “Socialisation” means introducing the dog to a range of people and scenarios, so they develop a well-rounded view of the world.

The more unique situations a puppy is exposed to when young, the better “adjusted” it will be when an adult dog. Some examples include:

  • Letting a group of primary school kids pat and play with the puppy
  • Introducing puppy to men with walking sticks and hats
  • Gradually introducing puppy to traffic – cars, buses, trucks, motorbikes, trams, trains…
  • Introducing the puppy to many other dogs, young and old, big and small
  • Introducing the puppy to sick people
  • An older lady on a mobility scooter
  • Introducing the puppy to cats, horses, pet rabbits, birds, etc.

You can think of many more similar situations – puppies should regularly experience as many as you can think of, and more variety more often is better!

At the start of each meeting, squat down to the puppy’s level and provide reassurance, slowly getting closer and more involved. Provide loud, excited, clear praise when the puppy does well (for example, lets the children pat it; licks the leg of the lady on the mobility scooter, etc) – “GOOD girl, Bess! Good GIRL!”.

Everything is new for puppies, and they grow fast. From when they are collected at 8 weeks, to six months of age is the “formative” time – things they learn in this period will stay with them for the rest of their life, and will hugely reduce behavioural issues later on.

A good idea is to take the puppy on-lead, after 12 weeks of age (some vets recommend after 16 weeks), to hang around the entrance of your local supermarket. Most people love engaging with a cute puppy, and you’ll encounter a range of people this way. Doing this once or twice a week for six weeks will hugely contribute to your puppy’s socialisation in a very positive way.

When you purchase a puppy from us, we’ll provide a “socialisation bingo” chart to help keep on track with socialisation tasks as the puppy grows.

This FAQ has a lot of details on what should be done with puppies, but we need to add a short list of what not to do, thing that others may encourage you to consider or you may not realise could be bad for your puppy.

  • If the puppy wees or poos inside, never rub its nose in it!
    • This is a common practise amongst older people. While it may work in training the puppy to wee and poo outside, it has strong links to increasing timidity as the dog matures.
    • We have a effective plan for “house training” a puppy, described elsewhere in this FAQ
  • Keep your puppy away from stairs and similar sharp moves, until 6 months old
    • While the puppy is growing fast, the jerks that come from stairs (and rough play) can cause damage to their delicate joints
    • This include jumping from anything higher than 50cms (for example a human’s bed)
    • Instead, carry puppies up and down stairs, and lift them down from higher places
    • After 6 months of age, there’s no problem with these things, puppies can do them on their own
    • Children should sit on the floor to play with the puppy, not pick it up
  • Never hit / slap / punch / whip your dog
    • Remember, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar!
    • While dogs can be trained with violence, it’s cruel and unnecessary
    • Dogs want to please you; liberal praise and small food treats awarded for good behaviour are more effective and kinder
    • The only exception is, if the dog is attacking someone (very unlikely, with good socialisation). However, sometimes an angry voice growling at the pup is appropriate, eg, eg to stop play-biting / nipping which all pups do at first. Children usually cannot stop this, adults must intervene, a time-out room may be necessary (3-4 minutes, must be promptly). Shake the puppy’s head (grab side of face).

Training your puppy not to wee and poo inside is sure to be important to you! The good news is, all dogs can reliably learn this. The bad news is, it always takes longer than you would prefer.

Over time, using the below techniques, your puppy will stand by the door and whine when it needs to wee or poo, wanting you to let it out. Perfect! Typically, this takes around two months, but could take as long as four months if not followed consistently.

In the meantime, expect many wees and poos inside – at 8 weeks of age, perhaps six inside wees a day, and two poos. Keeping puppies off the carpet is recommended…


All dogs want to please you, and will respond to praise. Any time your puppy wees or poos outside, give immediate, strong, and jubilant praise. Be loud, and use your happy voice – exaggerate the happiness, as if this is the most amazing thing the puppy has ever done! For example:

Goood girl, Buckle! Well done! Good girl!

The more the puppy associates weeing and pooing outside with praise, the more likely it is to want to wee and poo outside. Dogs want to please you.

It’s best not to leave the puppy outside on its own for toileting – immediate praise is vital.

Expect wees and poos

It’s likely your puppy needs to wee and poo:

  • As soon as it wakes up from a nap
  • Directly after eating
  • When you wake up in the morning
  • Dashing around urgently, away from people, briefly going to corners sniffing
  • Sitting by the door (when partly trained)

On each of these occasions, anticipate and take your puppy out, and deliver warm, loud and clear praise.

Always interrupt inside weeing and pooing

If you catch your puppy weeing and pooing inside, never rub their nose in it (this can lead to aggressive behaviour later).

Make a loud noise – a solid clap, stamp your foot, and loudly growl the word “No!”, pick up the puppy and take it outside. Don’t be rough, but it’s essential to do this promptly – during the act (doing it any time after, and the puppy will not associate it with making a mess inside, and the shock will just confuse it).

Possibly the puppy has finished weeing/pooing inside already, or maybe there’s a bit more left so you can praise it for finishing outside.

Crate Training overnight

Crate Training is a useful technique. Dogs generally don’t want to wee / poo where they sleep, so if their sleeping area is constrained overnight, they will resist the urge to wee and poo. Thus, using a crate, a wire-mesh box with a comfortable bed that the puppy can stand and lie down in (but no bigger), is effective.

Younger puppies (8 to 10 weeks) will need a middle-of-the-night outside trip to wee and poo, but after 10 weeks, they should be able to hold it for ~8 hours.

As soon as you wake up, take your puppy directly outside immediately. Best to carry it – if you let it walk, it will wee on the floor as soon as it’s gets out of the crate!

Of course, warm and loud praise while it wees and poos outside.

Use a trigger word

Each time the puppy wees and poos, you can use a “trigger” word as well, for example “puddle”, “toilet”, “business” (best make it a word you can use in polite company!).

Over time the puppy will associate the word with the act, and you can cause the puppy to wee and poo before it realises it needs to. This can be handy in some situations.

When you first bring your puppy home, your family will be excited, but the puppy will be scared – it’s a huge shock to be removed from the only life it has known with many of its littermates.

However, the puppy will quickly adapt to its new pack – your family – and in the course of a few days, the puppy will be playing happily.

Puppies tend to go through a cycle of sleep-toilet-play-eat several times a day – young puppies will need 4-to-5 1-to-2 hour naps a day, as well as a most-of-the-night sleep.

Puppies are delightful to play with at this age, but they have very sharp teeth, so having something to put in their mouth will save you a lot of pain! Biting people – even playfully – should never be encouraged, so when this happens, deliver a loud, firm, growly “No!”, and put something else in it’s mouth.

Puppies will chew and eat most things they find at this age – sticks, cardboard, grass, plastic, etc – so limit their intake of sharp things and string-like materials. The rest will pass through their system in a day or so.

Be careful with common poisons like snail and rat bait – dogs like these, and of course they can kill an adult dog, let alone a puppy!

Plenty of companies will be happy to sell you expensive dog toys, but most of them do not last long, and puppies don’t care about brands!

Simple household objects will be just as satisfying – toilet roll tubes and empty tissue boxes  (remove the plastic “lips” first) are always a hit with our puppies. They’ll spend 15 minutes ripping them to pieces, eating some and making a mess, then sleep for three hours.

Thick rope, fabric, old socks tied in knots are simple toys. Plastic jars, a 30cm length of poly pipe, or a simple stick are also cheap and easy.

Commercial toys of value

There are some commercial toys that we have found to be valuable.

KONG make a good line of chew toys, some of which are ideal for leaving with the dog when you depart helping to reduce separation anxiety. One of their toys, a “Kong Classic” can be smeared with peanut butter inside and dogs spend hours trying to lick out all the good bits.

These bumpy balls can have a handful of dried food placed inside, and can be pushed around by the dog. Occasionally dried food leaks out, encouraging the dog to try pushing it around more.

There are several diseases your puppy is vulnerable to before being fully vaccinated, and it can only be vaccinated at certain ages (see below). Diseases can be caught from other dogs’ poo and wee, so don’t risk it.

So, from when collecting the puppy at 8 weeks, to its final in the series of puppy vaccinations at 12 weeks, the puppy must not be taken to any public areas (public parks, footpaths, shopping areas – anywhere other dogs go). So, that period is ideal to focus on internal socialisation with people (or other dogs if you know they have been vaccinated).

Once-off treatments

Age Treatment
6 weeks (before you collect the puppy – we do this) Vaccination for Parvovirus, Hepatitis, Distemper. Known as “C3”, the first instance
10 weeks “C5” five diseases; boosters
16 weeks “C5” booster again


Ongoing treatments

Vet recommendations vary, but here are our guidelines.

Frequency Treatment
Each two weeks 2wks, 4wks, 6wk, 8wks, 10wks: Worms treatment. Drontal is reliable brand.
Each four weeks 14wks, 18wks, 22wks: Worms treatment. Drontal is reliable brand.
Monthly For rest of life:

Worming (Sentinal tablet or Advocate drop on back of neck) when over 20kgs / 5m of age. Intestinal worms, heartworm, mites, fleas, all parasites.


Three times a year, Drontal tablet to suit weight of dog (but, that’s only for intestinal worms). But may have to treat for fleas with other means.

Yearly For rest of life:

Kennel cough, heartworm

Each 3 years For rest of life:


We’re located 70km east of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

While it’s possible to send puppies as freight on plane, it’s very disorienting for the puppy and a poor start to its life (having done it once, we’re not comfortable doing it again, even for an adult dog).

That means we’re not able to sell to people located off mainland Australia (including Tasmania, where dogs are locked in a cage on deck of the Spirit of Tasmania ferry for the duration of the crossing). We encourage you to contact a Rhodesian Ridgeback club local to you, who can connect you with local breeders. However, the PawMobile service might be of interest (private air charter, direct flights) – this is acceptable to us.

For mainland interstate customers, driving the puppy to your home is possible, but consider that two visits to us are required:

  1. One to meet us and the puppies, when they are six weeks old.
  2. One visit to collect the puppy at eight weeks of age.

Of course, flying to Melbourne is possible for the first visit. Tullamarine airport is best, we’re about 1.5 hours drive from there.

Some female puppies show a lot of promise for our goal of improving the Rhodesian Ridgeback breed. We sell these puppies on Breeder’s Terms, meaning even though you own her, when she is 2 to 3 years old we breed with her. It works like this;

  • We visit with you to assess her at 6, 12 and 18 months of age
    • As a puppy, there are some indications of suitability for breeding, but we cannot make firm decisions at that age
    • We may also choose not to breed with her at this stage, and you’d get her sterilised
  • If we determine she’s ideal, we’ll organise a mating with an ideal male when she is fertile
    • Female dogs (called “bitches”) come into “heat” or “season” roughly each six months, evident by mild vaginal bleeding (spotting)
    • You’ll visit a vet a few times to get her “progesterone” hormone level tested, so we can determine the ideal day to mate (that is, the highest chance of conception)
    • You’d bring her to the mating (typically the home of the male dog), or we could collect and return her to you
    • Typically we organise two matings, two days apart, to further increase the chance of conception
  • You feed her per our guidance during pregnancy, and provide images
  • We take her a few days before she’s due to whelp, until the puppies are around 6.5 weeks old
    • Typically, she’d be away from you for about seven weeks
    • We’d treat her like one of our own dogs, deeply cared for and attended to
    • You can visit before she whelps to see the conditions she’ll be kept in, which exceed all standards set by DogsVictoria and the Australian National Kennel Council
    • You can visit her and her puppies as many times as you wish (by arrangement), and call for updates. We’ll provide images and videos.
  • A few months after the litter, you organise her to be sterilised
    • Unless we have agreed for a second litter (unlikely)
    • We’ll pay for this

We pay for all costs you incur, including extra feeding while pregnant and any vet expenses (eg, progesterone testing). We pay for all pregnancy and whelping expenses.

In exchange for this commitment, you get to choose either;

  • A puppy from the litter
    • “Second pick”, that is we have the right to choose the best puppy for our breeding programme, you get the second choice of puppy to keep; or
  • The fee we are selling puppies for from this litter, due when the puppies are 6 weeks of age
    • The same amount or more than what you paid for your puppy from us

Breeder’s Terms are not a requirement, but your decision may affect the puppy we select for you – we’ll ask you about this when you Express Interest.

Consider that coming on heat definitely changes a bitch’s temperament for three to four weeks, but not to become more aggressive. Botches have a range of responses, some become more affectionate, some more playful, most are more restless, some best described as “weird” – sitting in unusual positions, for example.  Some bitches have a strong “nesting” instinct (that is, preparing a den to whelp, often outside in the garden).

Overall, the behaviours when on heat are all pretty benign, but for that three week period it’s not appropriate for her to be off-lead (in case she encounters a male who to tries to mate her), and for the four “peak” days when she is most fertile, she should not be able to interact with other dogs at all so there’s no chance of a mating.

As Ridgeback puppies grow up FAQ

Like humans, dogs of an ideal weight will be healthier and live longer.

Ideally, when trotting, the dog’s ribs should be just visible.

If the dog is overweight, the ribs will not be visible when trotting. Simply feed less food at each meal, and be sure to follow the exercise guidelines, keeping the balance the same if feeding BARF.

If the dog is underweight, the ribs will show when standing. Increase the food at each meal a little (for example, if giving 1.5 patties each morning, give two patties instead). Over time, this may cause the dog to become overweight, so be sure to monitor closely and adjust to suit.

Your dog will be sad when a pack member moves out, and will be very excited when they return for a visit, but it won’t do any harm.

Fun fact: dogs don’t sweat like humans do – they pant instead (breathe heavily, tongue out), to cool down.

While technically dogs don’t need to be washed if they are free from fleas, living with an inside dog is much nicer if they are washed at least once every two weeks (we prefer to do around once a week).

We recommend using dog shampoo from a vet or PetBarn, but consider that cheaper brands may cause skin irritations.

Never use human shampoo for dogs.

When washing a dog, our tip is to always wash their head last – water on their head is what causes them to shake and get shampoo and water everywhere.

We find it best to wash the back, sides, tummy and hind-quarters first (lather up, rinse off), then the neck and chest area, and finally the head.

Try not to get water in their ears, as this will irritate them, and can contribute to infection.

That’s a decision for you to make.

Insurance will be a yearly or monthly fee that will cover you for most illnesses and injuries. For example, if your dog was hit by a car and needed $3000 of medical care, insurance would cover that.

We love dogs, but we’re not able to look after other people’s dogs unfortunately. Our dogs are “inside dogs”, and there’s a risk of your dog “not getting on” with our dogs, which could lead to fights and injury (to the dogs, or us). We don’t want to risk that!

We generally recommend against commercial kennels – while the dog will generally be safe with a good one, the quality of life is not great – there’s very little human interaction when the three staff have to feed 150 other dogs!

We use and recommend Mad Paws and PawShake, which are community based pet-sitting services, where people can come and stay in your house for the duration you’re away to care for your dog, or take the dog to their house.

Another option is to post a message on the private Facebook group for your litter, where your dog’s littermate’s owners can read your request and consider taking your dog for the period (likewise, you could consider taking theirs when they go on holiday!).

Contact us if you cannot access the Private Group for your litter, and let us know your name on Facebook so we can connect and invite you.

Ad reminder, if you’re no longer able to keep your Rhodesian Ridgeback, please let us know – we will come and collect it from you and work to permanently re-home it.