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Hello - I am new to the forum and a relatively new puppy parent. So just a little history: Both my husband and I had dogs growing up but we have been married for 20 years (no kids but 11 nieces and nephews ranging from 10 to 36).

We have always talked about getting a dog but it just never seemed to work out til this year. Last spring we rescued a puppy we are guessing we are at least the 4th home she has been in and when she came to us she was 9 to 12 months old (best guess by the vet) she had not been spayed and probably didn't have her shots (both of which we did right away). We were told she was a lab / shepherd mix but the vet said no she is primarily a Rhodesian Ridgeback / Black Mouth Curr mix (with maybe some lab and shepherd but very little). She was also very thin and she went from 55lbs to 65lbs in the last 5 months.

She is the sweetest thing and we love her like crazy and we are trying to keep her active with daily walks but she needs more exercise as she can be a bit rambunctious and high energy - I was thinking of getting her a big ball she can chase around but not be able to chew up - so my question is which would be better: Soccer ball, basketball, or volleyball? She has several indoor toys kongs etc but this would be outside only.

Also we finally got her pen (she is a jumper) complete but now for the first time she is digging - not sure if this is just because it is new or if this is common - any ideas of how to keep her from digging out?

The other question I have do Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Black Mouth Currs' fur get darker as they age? She seems to be getting slightly darker on the muzzle and a little on her belly - just want to know if this is normal or should I be worried and take her to the vet?

Thank you all in advance - any tips or suggestions or encouragement would be greatly appreciated.
 

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First of all you'll probably never know what she's a mix of.....everyone you meet will give a different opinion! You could dna test for fun...
As far as the digging...... Thats what a pent up dog does when its bored! Nothing else to do, natural behaviour, and uses up energy more than anything else she can do in a pen. You can have a concrete slab poured under the pen, or just under the perimeter to keep from digging out. Also heard of people buying old used railroad ties to put under the perimeter to stop digging out.
Try to incorporate some brain work into the exercise routine. Working their brain will tire a dog out faster than just physical exercise. Maybe do obedience training, and use playtime/exercise time afterwards as the reward for training.
You can try to just exercise the dog, but you may end up with a super fit dog that just needs more and more exercise to tire her out!
My german shepherd gets tired far easier from incorporating brain work into his daily routine. Plus it'll help build the bond between you two alot more than just exercise alone!
 

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Sthelena, Thank you - we do work with her on obedience training when we get home and like I said we walk her daily but while we are at work we don't have that option. I do give her Kong toys with treats in them to keep her occupied but that only lasts about an hour. half of the pen is concrete the other is dirt but we may put concrete around the fence line if needed. That is one reason why we were thinking a large ball like a soccer ball she could play and chase it around the pen but not sure if that is something she will like.
 

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Try looking at the jollyball, my dog loves his. Has a handle on it he can grab in his mouth and sling it around. At first feel it doesnt seem very durable, but mines held up pretty well. A big 10 inch ones only about 20$
And you can hang it from a branch or some such by the handle.....my boy loves jumping at it and batting it around.
If you get one, just watch out once she figures out the handle....its soft but getting smacked with it still doesnt feel good!
 

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thank you I will look into that - she does have a kong football that has 2 handles but I keep that one for inside - she loves how it bounces weird directions but was thinking a round type ball would be more fun for outside.
 

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Hazardous materials & situations



unless she's seriously destructive in the house, i'd try to keep her indoors - unless U're at home to keep an eye on her, while she's outside in her pen.
Dogs outside when home solo can get into trouble thru no fault of their own, there are all sorts of environmental hazards: anything from a bee-sting to a spider bite, overheating, chilling, etc, plus of course, they will be k9-snacks for mosquitoes, biting flies [deerfly, horsefly, blackflies, etc], fleas - which carry tapeworm eggs in their guts - & so on.
This doesn't include the hazard of malicious humans - teasing, harassing, or outright abusing [throw stones, shoot with BBs or arrows or bullets, etc], or poisons.

[Lest U think i'm exaggerating:
A co-worker at the Va Beach Resort Hotel left for a 3-day weekend to attend a family wedding in Penna; she returned to be told that 3 of her 4 dogs had died of antifreeze poisoning. The sole survivor was her 12-YO matron, who'd been taught as a pup not to eat anything that wasn't in a bowl; her adult son, half her age, & 2 unrelated younger dogs, one a puppy, all died.
A neighbor of my sister in Norfolk had 2 Siberians with individual overhead trolleys in their large fenced yard, which kept the dogs well-away from the fence & the street - a drunk passerby was enraged that the dogs barked at him, stopped & yelled at them, which only triggered more barking, & then stoned them, injuring both dogs - he was arrested, still on scene.]

She's smooth-coated, so she doesn't have much coat to protect her / insulate her from extreme temps, either cold or heat. She'll need permanent shade - that won't move as the sun moves during the day, leaving her exposed.
Her shade-cover can double as protection from rain. :thumbsup:


... Also heard of people buying old used railroad ties to put under the perimeter to stop digging out.
...

I wouldn't suggest RR ties; they're toxic - not just to the dog, but to the environment.
They've been soaked in creosote, a highly-toxic, very persistent oily compound that will seep into the ground. IIRC, it's a carcinogen & can contaminate ground & surface water.

Pressure-treated lumber is also extremely toxic - it should never be burned, not even scraps, as the smoke produced is toxic; the chemicals used in it include arsenic & dioxins, particularly PCB [same chemical family as Agent Orange & DDT / DDE].

Pressure Treated Wood: Questions & Answers |MassDEP

I was heavily exposed to pressure-treated lumber while working at a plant nursery / garden center, & it badly affected my liver for several years; no one can tell me the long-term impact, but various cancers are all possible.

Burying a 2-ft deep apron of the cyclone fencing all the way around the perimeter is a safer & more certain way to prevent digging out - the extension should reach at least 18-inches under the surface, & extend a full 2-ft inward from the fence line, horizontally.
Hammering cut rebar into the ground is another option, the rebar would be 10 to 12-inches apart & a minimum of 18-inches long; both buried fencing & rebar would require making sure that no utilities will be hit [water, gas, electric cable, piping, etc].

As she's a jumper, an inward-angled "cat proof" fence or a roller extension [coyote excluder] is also a good idea - either will prevent her jumping out & over, or the cat-proof fence can be turned the other way to keep cats & raccoons out of her pen.

Concrete is not good for joints & causes enormous callouses on dog's elbows over time; a nontoxic landscape bark such as untreated pine chips will reduce the mud-pit effect, or U can install the sort of open-channel blocks that allow GRASS to grow up thru them, while preventing digging & erosion.
These are often used to line driveways & footpaths - they let rain enter the ground, reducing runoff, but limit the damage done by traffic, & allow plants to grow. :thumbsup:

https://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-product-design/porous-paving-open-cell-concrete-block.html

She needs a place to lounge comfortably - i'd suggest a raised wooden slat-pad of cedar, redwood, or teak, which allows rain to run thru & will dry quickly, or a UV-resistant plastic "bench"; either will save her elbows & hips from pavement-pressure.

- terry

 

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Discussion Starter #8
I know it has been awhile but I wanted to give an update - we tried a regular soccer ball that lasted less than an hour an she had started ripping the "skin" off of it - so I tried a jolly ball - and that was and is a hit and she hasn't done any damage to it - she chases and plays with it all of the time - LOVE LOVE LOVE it - thank you all for your help.
 

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e, here is some of the things i use to tire the brain, in a hierarchy
of tiredness duration effect. ie. knackered for a long time.

Another dog
foot step tracking. The number one mentally draining exercise i have ever found for dogs. Over a 35yr history of owning dogs.
Soda bottle, cut off tapered part of neck, shove a tennis ball in to bottom and bend the bottle in half, trapping ball at bottom.
Soda bottle, with meat stock n kibble filled, freeze overnight, stab with fork several times, then put in pen with dog.
Bubble machine, set on timer to go off hourly. Smokey bacon flavoured bubbles.
Meal is 'hidden' around garden, under bushes, up trees etc, so they can hunt the food.
ball hung from something high, or a rope toy hung up high so dog has to be on hind legs to reach it.
Marrow bones
Bone tied up to branch of tree, again, so dog has to be on hind legs.
Move dog pen, to include sun and shade. If not too hot. hot days, my dogs just lay down n snooze.
kids paddling pool with water in, and toys under water, food under water
Kids paddling pool with dirt in, and meal hidden in dirt to find
a grandson to chase :)
 

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e, here is some of the things i use to tire the brain, in a hierarchy
of tiredness duration effect. ie. knackered for a long time.

Another dog
foot step tracking. The number one mentally draining exercise i have ever found for dogs. Over a 35yr history of owning dogs.
Soda bottle, cut off tapered part of neck, shove a tennis ball in to bottom and bend the bottle in half, trapping ball at bottom.
Soda bottle, with meat stock n kibble filled, freeze overnight, stab with fork several times, then put in pen with dog.
Bubble machine, set on timer to go off hourly. Smokey bacon flavoured bubbles.
Meal is 'hidden' around garden, under bushes, up trees etc, so they can hunt the food.
ball hung from something high, or a rope toy hung up high so dog has to be on hind legs to reach it.
Marrow bones
Bone tied up to branch of tree, again, so dog has to be on hind legs.
Move dog pen, to include sun and shade. If not too hot. hot days, my dogs just lay down n snooze.
kids paddling pool with water in, and toys under water, food under water
Kids paddling pool with dirt in, and meal hidden in dirt to find
a grandson to chase :)
Could you explain a little more about foot step tracking? Sounds interesting!
 

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Ok. Footstep tracking 101: stage 1 on grass. Equip required is food reward pieces. Luncheon meat (spam) bits to be size of your little finger nail. Flat collar. Long leash/rope. Hungry dog. Without dog, lay track thus: put one foot in front of next so heel touches toe with no gap between. In the toe of foot print put 1 piece of food. Do 4 footsteps, then bring feet side by side and trample down grass under feet to shape of square, to make a scent pad. Take 1 step back into the 4th step (dont fall and ruin track by 'smudging' the footsteps). Now place a piece of food at each corner of trampled grass. Then dot food around edge of square, then dot food around inside of scent pad. Carefully leap out to the side, careful not to walk on the track (4 steps leading into scent pad). Go get your dog. Walk toward track keeping dog in calm state. Just before track, feed leash through both legs and out between back legs. As you approach scent pad, call dogs name, as he looks drop food onto floor just in front of dog. This puts dogs nose onto ground where you want it. Give command to track. And bend to direct dogs nose to 1st footstep with piece of food in it. Dog gets rewarded by eating food. Allow dog forward motion ONLY. Block dog stepping off track. You may need to point to each footstep at first, till you get to scent pad (loadsa food reward for 'finding' ). Again do not let dog step off of scent pad. When food is almost gone- lure dog off scent pad with food. Dont drag him off, lure. Praise dog and hold leash normally as you walk him to car/crate/home. You repeat this scent pad. Once dog gets the hang, put more footsteps leading into scent pad. Once you see the following behavior: at scent pad, dog sniffs/eats food inside pad and when his nose goes outside scent pad to surrounding area where there is no food or scent dog automatically brings his nose back inside scent pad. Then you are ready to lay a track leading out from scent pad. (Takes roughly 6 goes) 20 paces, then 30, build up. As dog has learnt basics. Nose work.
Lazy method. Lay track thus: in a 12 foot x 12 foot square. Walk around putting food in each footstep. Put a marker at each corner so you can know where track is. Go get dog, leash under body out through back legs. Put dog on track. Give command to track and slowly walk him around square track. As dog sniffs/eats reward/moves to next step, you "reload" track by putting piece of food in the footstep hes just done. Block dog moving off track. Help around the corner by pointing out where next footstep is if required. Keep going. And enjoy seeing a novice tracker, follow a track, do corners all using his instinctual skills he was born with. You can go opposite direction to teach right and left turns. Thats it in a nutshell. Do a google for more info. Videos etc. Witin a few goes, you start ageing track: 15 mins after laying dog does track, then 30 etc. You also lay a track in a serpentine weaving direction. Not straight lines. Unless your doing the square track of course. Tracking then gets articals to find and indicate. Goes over different terrains, distances. Random reward ratio. Till no food required using finding articals as rewards. This is how all my pups eat for their first week. They have to hunt with me to 'find it'. We are a team in this. Great bonding in tracking. ?
 
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