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The Hardest Newfie Lesson Of Them All? Your Newf Will Make Mistakes And So Will You.

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.

Then BOOM!

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. 

They will.

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. 

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Carol B. Hallman

Saturday 27th of March 2021

We are new to Newfie life. We (my husband, granddaughter and I) try hard everyday with Buster and Maggie to give them all the love and guidance possible. But the screw ups happen. For instance Buster and Maggie will show us those adorable brown eyes and get and extra treat or a piece of cake or take a donut cause dad left it there and it was going to go to waste. they can get on the chairs now at the table and if we are not watching they use them as a booster to get to the table and check for crumbs and the drips of gravy. They dig in the yard and we fill it in and they dig it out and we fill it in and they dig it out...get my drift? They chase the birds they whine and wag their tails at the family cat. She hisses her disdain. Then they sit and be quiet and all is well until she moves. We've been through the midnight poop clean up and rivers of pee and have learned to be sure that slippers are always worn unless one of us gets stupid and leaves the slippers on the floor. Bless their hearts though they seem to be over that now. I research every single day about one thing or another. What to feed, how much, when and on and on. Thank God we have found good people like you and your readers and good hearted sharing folks with these big lovable goofs. We've always had bigger dogs but this is our first time in Newfoundland heaven. We've gotten used to having the slider open and wearing layers of clothes so that our babes will be at a comfortable temperature and get to go in and out at will. Seems little enough to do. They chase each other and wind up flying through the slider hit the rug and slide across the dining room and into the living room. ( We have an open floor plan) They had their five month birthday yesterday and we have a long way to go. Whatever comes our way with these two love bugs, bad days or good, we intend to enjoy them above all else and wait for those days when we sit on the deck with a glass of tea and a dish of ice cookies for the kids. Thank you everyone for sharing information and stories. There is nothing, not one thing, in the world like a Newfie and I never want to go back to life without one. They pair of them just came in with dirty noses....digging again!


Monday 7th of October 2019

Yes. This. Thank you. My seven month old Newfie boy is pretty much a total psycho. When he’s being “good”, he’s fucking great... but when he’s just fucking up, it is hard and crazy and scary. Thanks for keeping it real and naming these things. I DEFINITELY needed to read this.

Linda LaRoche

Wednesday 2nd of October 2019

I dont know that my newf fucks up cuz my love for him is blind. Although rolling in poop once almost arose to a f___ up.

Angel & Pepper

Sunday 29th of September 2019

Love this post! And as others have commented, this advice applies to all breeds :) No matter how much training, sometimes a dog will insist on being a dog. BOL!! Big or small, at some point they will all make a mistake - like barking at the wrong moment, stealing unwatched food, or plotting the great escape/chase. Despite, or maybe because of it all, we adore our furbabies all the more.

Tails Around the Ranch

Saturday 28th of September 2019

Dogs have an amazing ability to be a great life equalizer. Just as they should. ?

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