I don’t know who needs to hear this but judging by some of the questions that I see floating around by first time Newfie owners there are quite a few of you.
And to be honest, 25 years ago I wish someone would have told me this.
There are few certainties when it comes to raising a Newfoundland and most of the truths that exist are pretty well known.
We know that Newfies shed, drool, make a mess, get big and have a lot of love to give.
We know we will clean dog slobber off of walls, dog hair out of the fridge, pee, poop, mud and vomit off of the floor.
We know that if we ask a newbie question we’ll be overwhelmed with “know it all” answers and be judged as we’ve never been judged before.
We’re told over and over again that the time we have with our Newfs will be short but beautiful and that our lives will forever be changed.
We’ll be Newfed.
We know this.
We’re prepared for this. (Well, I don’t think anyone can really be prepared for what some us call living the Newfie Lifestyle until we actually live it but we do our best)
However, there is one universal truth of raising a Newfie that no one seems to talk about, and it’s this
… A part of that lifestyle is the fuck-ups. Just when you think your Newf “knows better” or “would never do that,” they will, in fact, do that very thing you thought they would never do.
That’s right, your Newfie will fuck up and some will fuck up BIG time.
And because no one talks about it you won’t be prepared and you’ll be questioning everything that you’ve done up to this point.
Because you aren’t prepared you’ll feel shocked, disappointment, confusion, a little anger and maybe even sadness.
You’ll go back and read the books. Search the websites.
And you’ll check for the part you missed about Newfies shredding pillows, stealing food off the counter, eating the baseboards, chasing chickens, barking and figuring out how to open the door.
You will look at your Newf with such confusion that you feel like your brain and heart will explode.
And at the exact same time, you will look into their deep brown eyes and turn to mush.
These kinds of things usually happen just when you’re starting to let your guard down when you feel like raising a Newfoundland isn’t that much different than raising any other dog and that you’ve nailed it.
This is right about the time when they start losing that puppy Newfie look and their legs are as long as a yardstick.
Your Newf decides to act like a dog.
A dog with an underdeveloped brain, raging hormones, poor impulse control and you will question everything you’ve ever known.
Because you had thought that things were going so well and that you had the perfect gentle giant.
You had thought your Newf knew not to do bad things and you were in the clear.
You thought that they were just programmed to go from a puppy to a gentle giant because no one ever talks about the times when their Newfie fucked up and if they do it’s not actually that the Newfie fucked up it’s that THEY fucked up.
Well, let me be the first to tell you that Newfies fuck up and sometimes it might have something to do with you and sometimes it might not.
Sometimes they just make bad decisions.
Very, very bad decisions and there is absolutely nothing that you could have done to change that.
Newfs are dogs, and dogs are not perfect.
We can accept that as human beings but it’s very hard to accept that of our dogs.
We put too much emphasis on dogs making our lives better and when they make a mistake that makes our life a little difficult, we are shocked.
Raising a Newfoundland is one giant lesson and sometimes it’s ok to blame the Newf.
We can go round and round and blame ourselves, the breeder, the trainer, the books, the website, the vet, the person on the forum who told you what you didn’t want to hear because something in us tells us that it’s not “humane” to blame the dog.
But it is and it’s natural and it’s fine and you’ll probably feel a lot better when you let yourself do that.
It doesn’t mean that you love your dog any less or that they are defective, it means they made a bad choice and they’re normal.
The problem is not that dogs fuck up sometimes it’s that we don’t believe that dogs can fuck up.
They are these creatures that give us unconditional love and something that pure can not be tainted with fuck-ups.
But they can and it’s o.k.
Just because a dog makes a mistake doesn’t mean we’re going to break them if we blame them.
And the truth is that if anyone tells you that Newfs don’t make mistakes or that theirs never have, they are lying.
So you if your wrestling with questions and confusion and doubts because your 12-month-old Newfie is not on target to be that gentle giant that you read so much about and you feel that their destructive behavior or lack of gentleness is not ever going to happen, take a breath.
Newfies will change you.
I know this and you will too eventually.
They will rock your world to the core and you’ll never want to stop living in a world that doesn’t have them in it.
All that hard work, all those hours of training, researching and learning.
They will pay off.
Your Newfie’s next step is to learn and grow and learn some more.
There’s going to be plenty of mistakes between both of you along the way.
One thing that I’ve always tried to do with this space is to share the good and the bad.
If you’ve been with us since the beginning, you’ve seen Sherman and Leroy fuck up (mostly Leroy) and some were BIG fuck-ups.
Some things I can definitely take the blame for but others, well, I’ve finally released myself of the blame and guilt and say “Leroy fucked up and even if I could go back in time there is no way I could change that. ”
And I wouldn’t want to because Leroy’s fuck-ups got us here.
So we can stop all the judging and shaming because it’s not helping.
What we’re doing is creating a wall.
Instead of shaming and blaming, share when your dog fucked up because if you don’t, you’re creating a fantasy world of perfect Newfies that does not exist.
p.s. I’m not saying that we’re NOT living in a world that doesn’t have bad breeders that are putting Newfs out there that are bred poorly leading to uncharacteristic behaviors of the Newfoundland. What I’m saying is that not every bad behavior can be blamed on bad breeders.
Even good breeders have dogs that fuck up and they are first ones that should be telling us this.