Since January is National Train Your Dog Month I thought it would be a great time to talk a little bit about training your Newfoundland.
I think many people who are trying to train a Newfoundland dog for the first time get a little overwhelmed and rightfully so.
Here you are with this adorable fluffy nugget that is growing at the speed of light. He’s sliding all over your floors, he’s ripping off the baseboards with his razor-sharp teeth and the next minute he’s curled up next to you on the couch sleeping like a baby.
What is this beast?
Well……this furry nugget is not your basic dog.
It’s a Newfoundland and it’s like no other dog that you’ve ever had or trained.
Here are 10 tips that might help you with training your Newfoundland.
Understand the Newfoundland breed
Know your facts about the Newfoundland and remember that Newfies are smart.
Crazy smart and they need to use their brains daily or they are going to get into trouble and by trouble, I mean chew your table, eat the butter off the counter, open the fridge, knock you over.
Puppies and young Newfoundlands will find a way to keep themselves occupied if you don’t so training should happen daily and not just when it’s convenient for you.
Newfies learn fast and then get bored so if they get it, move on and don’t bore them.
Again, Newfies learn fast and they can learn the wrong thing just as fast as fast as they can learn the correct thing. Set them up for success and not failure.
Newfies just want to make their family happy and be loved. Most do not like harsh treatment and can easily shut down if they get punished or yelled at so keep that in mind when training them.
That doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be disciplined just that they should be disciplined at the right time and not when they’re being trained and you’re frustrated.
Understand your Newf
Newfs do speak but only to those who know how to listen. Just like every dog and every person is different, so are Newfies.
Do you have a goofy Newfie? A sassy Newfie? A stubborn stuffie? A Newfie that lives to please?
Each personality may need different approaches to training.
Sherman and Leroy are 2 totally different Newfies each with different personalities and limits. I can’t train them the same way.
And if your Newf is sleepy in the mornings and more active in the evenings than don’t wake them up but also don’t pick a time to train when they have a case of the zoomies. Let them burn the energy or take the nap. Save training when they are at their best and don’t set them or you up for failure.
Training Your Newfoundland is your responsibility.
The moment that Newfie walked into your life you gained the responsibility of training that Newfie.
It doesn’t matter if that Newfoundland is a puppy, a rescue, a rehome or a senior-they are YOUR responsibility. It’s not the responsibility of the dog trainer, the breeder, the veterinarian, the shelter worker, the dog groomer, your neighbor or the admin of the Newfie forum to train your Newfoundland.
If you need help training, don’t be afraid to ask these people for guidance but implementing what they advise you is up to you and for the love of all things Newfie, if you need help training please contact an experienced dog trainer in your area and get help.
Ask if they have experience training Newfies and if they don’t ask if they are familiar with the breed and have them give you a rundown of the breed.
You can’t only train on the weekends and forget about all the other days of the week, you have to be consistent. Pick your training method and stick with it. Make it apart of your daily routine.
Will you be using clicker training, positive reinforcement? Make sure you’re family members are on board with your training. If your training your puppy to sit and using a hand command make sure that everyone in the family is using the same command.
Use the same high-value treats for training only. Does your dog drool over a certain treat, keep their favorite treat for training time and don’t sway from it.
If you feel that you or your Newf are losing patience, step away or take a break. Training should be fun for both of you and no one wants to do something that isn’t fun. Keep things light and pressure free. If it’s not working stop, take a breath, refocus and try again.
Remember that Newfies don’t respond to harshness so if you’re nearing your boiling point it’s time to step away from the Newf.
Break down your training sessions.
Newfies are a wicked smart breed but they will zone out quickly if they’re asked to do the same thing over and over again in a short amount time.
Keep your training sessions to about 5-10 minutes. You can only work on the sit command for so long until you both get bored or frustrated. Once you get to know your Newfie a little you’ll get to know what their training threshold is.
Most puppies will have a shorter attention span than an adult Newf, a teenage Newfie will have a shorter attention span than a puppy. Keep in mind what life stage your Newfoundland is in when training.
Leroy’s training threshold is very short, a little less than 5 minutes. He’ll try to keep it longer but you can see the focus slowly exiting the building as the second’s tick by. Sherman is closer to the 10-15 minute mark. He’s very focused and very willing to please.
Keep your humor
A very important thing that you need when you have a Newfoundland is a sense of humor.
There will be stressful times throughout their life, you will cry, you’ll get angry but most of all you need to have the ability to laugh or you will go insane.
If you’ve been blessed with a goofy Newfie, you’ll need this humor even more because they are always striving to make you laugh.
Train everywhere you can
It’s easy to train in the comfort of your own home but you need to be able to train your Newfoundland with distractions around and your Newfie needs to be able to focus with distractions around.
Train on your walks, on hikes, in the car, at the dog park, during trips to the pet store, at the veterinarian office, and anywhere else you will be visiting often.
You will never be able to go out in public without being stopped by at least a dozen people who want to ask you 15 questions and pet your Newf, so training is imperative for both of you.
Do your homework
If you take your dog to training class once or twice a week, the training doesn’t stop there. You should be doing that training a little bit each day. If you’re working on obedience your dog should be practicing on being obedient every day not just on the days that he goes to class.
Don’t stop training your Newfoundland dog
No dog is perfect therefore training your Newfoundland should never stop. You can keep training them well into their senior years. Not only does training give you a well-behaved dog but it also protects your dog and helps you create a bond.
Keep in mind that purchasing a Newfoundland from a responsible breeder will also help in the training area. Training starts at the home of a responsible Newf breeder.
They have already been introduced to socialization and they are handled regularly which is a huge starting point and can definitely be of benefit to you and the puppy.