One of the most common questions I get is how to introduce a puppy to your Newfoundland.
I’m going to be honest, this question isn’t an easy one and it’s a question that I didn’t feel comfortable answering before we got Finn.
The reason being is because it was SO long when we introduced Leroy to Sherman and back then I know I didn’t do this introduction properly.
But now that we’ve had Finn for a few months I’m a little bit more familiar with the process and aware of it more so than I was 11 years ago.
Before I begin with how we introduced Finn to Odin I want to make sure that I say that I am not a dog trainer and that every Newfie is different.
These tips are based on my dogs and my experience.
Due to their sweet temperament and calm disposition, most Newfies will get along well with other dogs and welcome new additions to the family.
However, there are some Newfies that prefer to be the only dog in the family.
Sherman was one of those Newfies that would have been perfectly content being the only dog.
Leroy was the opposite.
Odin seems like he could go either way.
Newfies that may Not do well with other dogs
Newfies that have been adopted and we’re not socialized properly when growing up may not due well with a new puppy in the home.
They may need additional training by a professional.
Dominant Newfies or young adult male Newfies might be pushy or shows signs of aggression to another male dog and the same can be said for dominant females.
It’s a good idea to really observe your Newfoundland’s behavior with other dogs when deciding on getting a new puppy.
I’ve seen Newfies paired with almost every breed and mixed breed.
Introducing a new puppy to a Newfoundland should be slow and steady.
A lot of people recommend keeping the dogs on a leash and introducing them to each other outside of the home on neutral territory.
Introductions are all going to depend on YOUR dogs.
Odin’s personality is sweet, gentle, laid back, and curious with a side of the craziness at times.
He likes equal time of being alone and being the center of attention.
Finn is full of energy, curious, playful, bold, and full of mischief.
He looks to Odin for guidance and is eager to learn.
We introduced Finn to Odin slow and steady inside the house.
We let Odin sniff the carrier that Finn was in and when Odin seemed to calm down a little bit, we took Finn out and held him and let Odin do the sniff check.
We again let Odin settle down and then set Finn on the couch.
We repeated this process several times eventually leading to Finn being on the floor with Odin.
It was really important for me to make sure that Odin had a place to go if he needed a break and vice versa for Finn.
We have Finn crate trained and that’s where he eats and goes when we are not home.
I would never leave Finn and Odin unsupervised if no one was home.
If you don’t have a crate you can also a dog pen or a gate to give your dog and puppy their separate space but your current dog should always have an easy escape route.
Size does matter
While Newfies are known to be gentle giants they are still HUGE and they can unintentionally hurt a puppy while getting to know each other or playing.
Always supervise play and stop BEFORE things get too rough
Odin was very good playing with Finn and he seemed to know his strength, however, there were a few times that I would have to break the play up, mostly tugging, but also games of bitey face.
It took me a bit to pick up on their ques, probably because it took Odin a bit to figure out his ques, but once I did I was able to stop the play before things got too intense.
This has led to more peaceful playtimes now because they know all the fun is going to stop if they get too intense.
Odin has this thing where I swear he’s trying to fling Finn down the steps when they play tug.
Almost every time Odin leads Finn over to the top of the stairs.
We’ve finally gotten to a place where I say, “Too close to the stairs Odin.” and Odin will look at me and reluctantly take the game of tug to another area.
Constant supervision should be done when you’re introducing a puppy to your Newfie.
Even though they are gentle giants, accidents do happen.
And don’t forget, different breeds have different needs!
This has been one of the hardest things for me to accustomed too.
Cardigan Welsh Corgis are a hardy small breed but they are still a lot smaller than a Newfie and they have a lot of every that needs to be burned appropriately.
I’m still trying to figure out what that is with Finn but I think that it has something to do with tennis balls and of course, herding.
Playtime is the best time but safe playtime is even better!
Getting to safe playtime again took some time.
Learning what toys were best for a puppy and Newfie to play with can be a daunting task.
Toys too small are a choking hazard for a Newfie and toys too big are pointless for a puppy.
In our house, community toys are medium to large size.
Finn has adjusted to playing with big toys and does quite well and they work better for tug play.
He also has toys that are more his size that he plays with alone but he tends to go to the bigger toys anyways.
We also have designated separate playtime.
Finn has his playtime and Odin has his.
This is because when Odin gets the zoomies and flops around like a fish he loses all sense of his surroundings.
If I see the sparkle in Odin’s eyes that he’s going to zoom, Finn gets picked up.
Don’t expect your Newfie to be your puppies only playmate!
Puppies have a lot of energy and it shouldn’t be your Newfs job to take all of that burden.
You need to play too!
Puppies are learning the rules as they go so it’s important to keep this in mind.
They’ve been playing with a litter of puppies their same size since they’ve existed so coming to a home with only one other adult dog is going to take some adjustment.
They are used to jumping on their littermate’s head and being rude.
It’s a big adjustment going from that type of lifestyle to only interacting with one other adult dog that knows the rules.
You have to give them time, patience, and consistency to learn the rules of their new lifestyle.
Your Newfie will help establish these rules to the puppy but should only be allowed to do so under your supervision.
At the same time, most Newfies are VERY patient with puppies and some will lack the initiative to reinforce the rules of the house.
This is where you need to come in and intervene.
Don’t expect your adult Newfie to take all of that puppy energy.
You’re just setting them both up for failure down the road.
One tool that has been really successful for us with Finn is the Pet Corrector.
I use this when he is getting too aggressive with Odin. He likes to jump by Odin’s face and bite at his jowls.
He’s trying to play but he takes it to another level so we do a get burst of the Pet Corrector and say “no” and he stops.
It’s gotten to the point that all we have to do is show him the can and he stops.
Training should start the day your puppy comes home and should never end.
I’ve found that training Finn and Odin together on some basic commands works well.
For instance, We’re teaching Finn “place” and it’s been a lot easier for him to watch Odin do it, and then he does it.
I’ll do the training separately to make sure that he’s getting it also but to start off it’s been really easy to do together.
The same with sit, stay, and down.
Other commands like “drop it”, I’m working on separate.
It’s fun to train them both together!
How Long Does It Take?
It was about 3-4 weeks before I noticed that Odin really accepted Finn.
At first, it was more curiosity, then it was denial and then it was acceptance.
They have each found their own routine and Odin has found that when he needs a break from Finn he just goes downstairs.
Give them each separate time
This sounds a lot easier than it is but it’s important to still give each dog their own time.
Odin still goes on his walks every day.
If Finn doesn’t come he gets a separate walk.
Walks have always been something special that Odin and I do together and I don’t want to change that.
If Finn doesn’t come he gets a separate walk.
The same goes for outings and rides.
Having a small breed has definitely been a learning experience for me.
It’s fun and challenging at the same.
I mean Finn is 6 months old and I can still carry him in one arm!