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Challenges I Faced With My First Rescue Newfie

Many people have asked if I would share some of the challenges that we’ve faced with adopting our first Newfoundland so that others looking to adopt may know what to expect. 

Since I’m pretty new to all of this please don’t take this as any kind of “expert” advice and if anyone more experienced has any tips to offer please feel free to do so! 

Also, keep in mind that every rescue different is going to be different. Some may come with no issues while others may have to overcome many obstacles. 

Odin has been with us for just over 2 months now and we definitely are not finished with getting to know each other but his transition has definitely gone better than I ever could have imagined. 

landseer newfoundland dog

We’re just about over the so-called “honeymoon” phase and his true personality is starting to show and it’s still very new and exciting. 

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to challenges that we’ve encountered and I honestly have to say that the biggest challenge that I’ve had to overcome is myself. 

Before I go into that though let me go over again why I chose Odin to adopt. 

Why Odin?

Adopting another dog wasn’t something that I did on a whim. I had been giving a lot of thought about adoption months before this had taken place.

I didn’t know what I was looking for so I was pretty open.

black and white rescue Newfoundland

After several months of being on the lookout and following the journey of many other rescue Newfies, I started to be able to narrow down what I thought might be a good fit for us and a Newf.

I knew my limits at that time and while I knew that I had a lot of love and experience to offer a Newfie, I was mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted after Sherman’s passing and Leroy’s sickness.

A Newf that had a lot of issues to overcome was not in the best interest of me or that dog.

And then along came Odin.

adopted landseer newfoundland

Besides being totally drawn to his picture online what also drew me to Odin was his description.

I listened closely to how the rescue described Odin and he seemed like a perfect fit for our life at the moment. 

I didn’t want to bite off more than I could and I definitely didn’t want to fail a dog that needed another chance.

My Challenges

I’ve always had a Newfie since a puppy and to be honest it was a little weird having an adult 2 1/2-year-old dog all of a sudden in the house but it was also very exciting. 

At 2 1/2 a Newfie’s growth plates are closed and they are ready to do all the Newfie things and I had all the plans for Odin before he even stepped foot in the house. 

However, after just a few short weeks of getting to know Odin, I caught myself and I stepped back a bit. 

black and white adopted newfoundland dog

I needed to take my time and let Odin show me who he was. I needed to really zone in on him and observe everything that he did and build from there. 

It was clear that the most important thing for Odin was to establish a routine and get him comfortable in his new home and not throw too much at him. 

All the Newfie stuff will still be there later.

At a little over 2 years old, he is still very impressionable. 

According to many articles that I read about adopting a dog, I did most things wrong. 

I had planned to crate train Odin but the first night he was here he barked all night so I let him out and he slept on the couch with my son. 

landseer newfoundland dog on couch

He hasn’t been back in the crate since and that might come back to bite me in the butt later on but for now, he does well without one. 

I’m all for crate training and both Sherman and Leroy were crate trained and Odin was used to one at the rescue. I just buckled on that. 

Which brings me the next mistake was that we gave Odin total run of the house. 

At this time it doesn’t seem like a mistake because he does fine when left alone for short periods of time. 

Actually, he sits at the front window and watches us leave and when we return he greets us at the door. 

Family Challenges

I took for granted that my family would just know what to do with Odin.

We have house rules and they apply to all but family members were giving a little too much leeway with Odin.

Begging is one example.

The dogs can beg but they need to beg in respectable ways. 

I set that rule up right away with Odin but other members of the family were allowing him to basically sit on top of them when begging because they didn’t want to tell him no. 

white and black newfoundland dog

We never let Sherman and Leroy do that so I’m not sure why they thought that was appropriate. 

This was creating an issue anytime anyone ate so it was nipped in the bud. 

Another issue was jumping. 

I knew Odin was a jumper before he came here and when he arrived I worked on taking care of it right away. 

He was doing great but after a few weeks, he started jumping on people again. 

Then I noticed that whenever my son came home from school he let Odin jump on him. 

Back to the drawing board we went. 

Leroy was a jumper and it’s one of my biggest pet peeves.

So after these mishaps, we had a family meeting and went over the house rules. 

I get it in a way because having a young Newf in the house is basically new to everyone here. 

Sherman and Leroy had been senior dogs for almost as long as they were young dogs and my kids forgot what a young Newfie is like. 

So I definitely dropped the ball there but it wasn’t major and we were able to recover nicely. Lol.

Odin throwing a tantrum because he wants to walk in a different direction

These are the challenges that I’ve faced so far. 

There aren’t many and none of them are major. 

Odin is a good dog that seems to have just wanted a family.

He doesn’t want to be outside alone or roaming the countryside, he wants to be inside with his family. 

He wants to please.

Now that our honeymoon phase is coming to an end and Odin’s real personality is starting to show, we’ll venture out a bit more. 

I would like to get him involved in some obedience classes and next year we’ll tackle some Newfie related activities. 

I’m super excited to see him enjoy this winter and I’m a little worried about the Christmas tree. 

He’s a little bit stubborn in certain situations and he likes to bark when he’s excited. 

He also woke us up in the middle of the night the other evening barking at something. 

I have no idea what it was but I knew Odin had it handled and it warmed my heart that he was protecting his family. 

The only solid advice I would have for anyone looking to adopt a Newfie is to really think about your life and make sure that you have the time to commit to adopting a Newf. 

Don’t rush things. Really take the time to sit back and observe everything about that dog and build from there. 

Adopting a Newfoundland isn’t going to be for everyone and that’s o.k.

Know your limits. I knew that I was not able to take on a Newfie with a lot of issues at this time. 

I trusted someone that was familiar with the breed and familiar with myself, which I get that not everyone will have that luxury but you should at least be able to trust someone who is familiar with the breed. 

I invite anyone who has experience adopting rescue Newfies to please chime in!

p.s. Odin is not perfect and I am far from it. We both have our small issues as I mentioned in this post that we are working through. It’s a journey and it will be a beautiful and rewarding one. 

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Tails Around the Ranch

Wednesday 6th of November 2019

Such a handsome boy. Glad the integration is going well and look forward to seeing him as he continues to develop.


Sunday 17th of November 2019

Thanks Monika! Of course after I posted this Odin decided to really start letting his true personality show which is presenting some minor issues. Nothing we can't laugh about though!

Ducky's & Radar's Mom

Monday 4th of November 2019

Hi Jen! Sounds like your challenges with Odin are similar to mine with Radar. And, truthfully? My main challenges are with hubby, not Radar, for the most part.

Radar came to us with physical challenges moreso than emotional ones. He tested positive for heartworms, so he will be getting his first treatment next week. And he has some muscle atrophy in his left hind leg. But aside from needing the ramp to get into the car, you'd never know it. He bounces around the living room like a puppy when playing with Ducky. (I cringe sometimes from fear he might unwittingly hurt her.) Emotionally/mentally, Radar is an equal opportunity loverboy. He loves people (big and little), other dogs, and cats (according to his first foster mom). He even likes the neighbors' dogs who growl and snarl at him through the fence that separates our yards. He's just a big ole' teddy bear and they're pint-size big dogs. ? He's been a happy dog from day one; and with each passing day he seems to relax even more. He definitely seems to know that we're his "fur-ever" family. Ducky even gave him a few "kisses" this morning! Radar's not giving kisses yet - and I'm not sure he ever will - but that's okay. I love him just the way he is. Shadow wasn't a kisser, either, with anyone but me; and her kisses for me were extra special because they were so rare. So, if that's the way he's going to be, that's ok.

But the begging are more a challenge with hubby because reasoning with him is like reasoning with a 2-year-old human. I just have to remind myself of that fact (constantly at times) and protect the dogs as best I can from stuff they don't need to be eating. And make sure I compensate for it with healthy dog food.


Monday 4th of November 2019

Hi Jen! Your observations jive with mine, particularly as they relate to knowing yourself and discussing expectations and rules with other members of the household. Understanding the different styles of interaction that family members have with each other and with other species included in the family is very helpful as well.

We've learned to carefully, carefully consider the needs and expectations of our established family. We've also learned that we need to be realistic about the changes that might occur for us during the lifetime of our non-human family members and how those changes will affect them. The older we get the more there is to consider, it seems. An awareness of the age, developmental stages and gender differences between the dogs you have and the one you are contemplating rescuing is also crucial.

Over the years we've rescued Newf's twice. Each experience was vastly different but had strong commonalities. There were painful challenges, concerns for the emotional well being of our established family, lots of adjustments--the ones we should have been aware of (some Newfoundland's love to chase chickens, tree cats, aggressively guard food, etc) and the ones that come out of the nowhere and into the here--and finally a bonded, loving family. The kind you can't imagine ever not having.

Having rescued other breeds, we've noticed that it took longer and forced much more thought to assimilate our rescued Newfoundlands. Perhaps it is because both girls truly suffered prior to being rescued. I don't know. The experiences were very different than the ones we shared with our Newfoundlands who came to us as puppies.

Flexibility, adapt-abilty, patience, tears and fears, perseverance and some inkling that whatever we had to offer was better than what the girls had when they came to us created a family universe we cherish. We will be ever grateful for the heart expanding experiences Maudie One Sock continues to provide and that Sophie Grace showered us with.

Thanks for the opportunity to "chime in" Jen. Time to go coop the hens so the pups can run the back yard!


Monday 4th of November 2019

Odin looks amazing! I can relate to this post SO much! It's been 5 months since I adopted our Lottie, and she has really grown into herself and blossomed. Initially she had some pretty severe behavioural issues such as jumping, erratic zoomies at our bedtime, counter-surfing, and most worrisome, not pooping outside ever. She was terrified to take the time to do it outside. We are finally turning the corner on the potty issue, and all of the other behaviours have been sorted.

When I met Lottie she would not make eye contact or even look up. Now she looks me straight in the eye and holds a gaze with me, to my utter delight. She did not know how to play with toys either, which to me is heartbreaking. What kind of people don't give their dog toys? Whoever had her before me (including the rescue) did nothing with her, and I think she suffered under the foster mom, who kept her confined all day long in a crate several sizes too small for an adult Newfie. Now she is comfortable entering the giant crate we have and sometimes chooses it for a nap. Lottie is also attentive, loving, and mostly stays in whatever room the rest of the family is in (including the bathroom lol). I wholeheartedly agree with the need for patience and loving care when adopting a rescue, but it is SO worth the effort. I also feel that Newfies are a good deal more sensitive to being neglected by humans, and it takes loads of time for them to trust people again, but boy, once they do they are amazing companions.

Tammy Rockhold

Monday 4th of November 2019

Thank you for sharing. We live in Washington PNW, would you mind sharing with me places I can look to adopt a Newfie please? We have six acres and one German Shepherd. Thank you


Tuesday 23rd of February 2021

@Tammy Rockhold, I’m not sure if you ended up adopting a Newfie or if you’re still interested but I know of someone who is moving and cannot bring his 2 Newfies with him. They are bonded littermates one boy and one girl and he’s in Oregon. I saw it posted in a Newfoundland Facebook group I’m in.


Monday 4th of November 2019

Hi! might be a place to start. Big Dogs Huge Paws, in Colorado, is a great organization. They may be able to offer help with transportation as well if you find someone you'd like to rescue.

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