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10 Tips For Training Your Newfoundland Dog

I think many people who are trying to train a Newfoundland dog for the first time get a little overwhelmed and rightfully so.

A Newfie is like no other dog that you’ve ever had and training them is an experience in itself. 

Not only are you raising a giant breed dog that is growing at lightning speed but you are also raising a dog that mentally matures slower than most other smaller breeds. 

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 when training your Newfoundland. 

Understand the Newfoundland Breed

Know your facts about the Newfoundland and remember that Newfies are smart.

They are 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, and 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 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 Newfie?

A Newfie that lives to please?

Each personality may need different approaches to training. 

Lou is an extremely sassy Newfie and his training is totally different than Odin’s training.

Lou’s focus words are different, Lou’s attention is different and Lou’s attention span is WAY shorter.

And if your Newf is sleepy in the mornings and more active in the evenings then 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. 

brown newfie puppy wearing harness

Be Consistent.

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 a part of your daily routine.

black newfoundland dog training

Will you be using clicker training, positive reinforcement?

Make sure you’re family members are on board with your training.

If you’re 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. 

Stay Positive.

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 of 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. 

brown newfoundland adult dog


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 seconds tick by.

Sherman is closer to the 10-15 minute mark.

He’s very focused and very willing to please. 

Odin is super focused for about 15 minutes. 

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. 

Newfies draw crowds everywhere they go.

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’s 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 a 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 being obedient every day not just on the days that he goes to class. 

brown newfie puppy

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. 

Did you find this article helpful? If so, you can thank the creator by returning to the top of this post and giving thanks with a simple click of the blue button with Jen’s picture!


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Thursday 27th of October 2022

Hi I love this and it made me realise that my Newfie lab cross is normal. She is doing really well at 2 years old will sit lie down stay go to bed, go out of the kitchenn and is pulling less and less, but has a bit of a scary trait which I think is her being over protective when people come to the house, in particular men. She is loud hackles up growls and stubborn and rarely get used to them. She is very mouthy as well and we do the toy in mouth when playing, Today I introduced her to a friend who was doing some work on the house he patted her and asked her to sit and gave her a treat. He hen went to get something from his van only a couple of minutes later when he came back she barked hackles up and when he said hi and then moved past her she grabbed his shorts. Any advice please she is gorgeous and has learned so much as she was a counter surfer constantly zoomie jumper puller etc and now she is so much better and I would hate for her to do something to someone. Many thanks Les

Michelle Gesse

Monday 15th of November 2021

We just adopted a five month old Newfie. Sophie is wonderful in many ways, very socialized and loving. She was not, however, house trained. She is having a hard time understanding that she is not supposed to pee whenever she wants or in the house. She poops only outside, but the peeing is an issue. She also will not pee when we are walking in town as opposed to on our mountain property. I have walked her for almost an hour and know she has to pee but she will get i n her crate in the car and pee there rather than on the sidewalk. This is our fourth newfie but two were 10 weeks old when we got them and the other thought, 4 months old, had been house trained. Any suggestions? We only have five days till we take off in our RV for a long trip so I don't have the luxury of too much time for routine.


Tuesday 24th of November 2020

My male Newf is 7 months old and WOW is he suddenly wearing me out. He quite literally will sit down in the street if he doesn't want to move. Obey? What's that? Oh and he REFUSES to get into the car. Socializing him has come to a complete halt.. He's still amazing though! Wouldn't trade it because I know on the other side of this will be awesome

Shannon Rhodes

Thursday 3rd of September 2020

We have a 4 month old, he was sleeping great in the house at night, now he is up all night barking and crying. We have been working with him to stop the barking, but it is making him bark more. Has anyone else had their Newfies become nightime barkers?

Victoria Carlson-Smith

Sunday 29th of March 2020

Hi! Love the post. My boyfriend has a 6 month old puppy. I’ve trained other dogs before but never a Newfie. Are there any books you recommend ?


Monday 30th of March 2020

Hi Victoria. The Newfoundland Puppy by Judi Adler is a great book!

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