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Our Puppy Crate Training Journey

Puppy crate training is important because it provides your new puppy with a safe spot to eat and rest. It can also keep them protected when you’re not around to watch them and it can help reduce separation anxiety. 

A lot of people have asked me to share all that I can about raising a Newfoundland puppy so I’m going to do my best. 

Since I shared so much about caring for Sherman and Leroy during their senior years, it’s only fair to come over to this side now!

Before I begin let me just say that this is somewhat new to me because while I remember some things about Sherman’s and Leroy’s puppyhood, I don’t remember everything. 

For instance, I know that we tried to crate train Sherman as a puppy but it didn’t work out well and he wound up busting out of it more than he stayed in it. 

Leroy was crate trained and he loved his crate well into his senior years, however, we took the crate down when he got really sick because it was impossible to lift him out of it. 

Lou needs to be crate trained for serval reasons that I’ll dive into here. 

Also, I don’t think that there is a one-size-fits-all best way to crate train your Newfie puppy because a lot of different factors have to be considered. 

If you’re not the type of person that believes in crate training, that’s fine. 

I do believe that some puppies and dogs benefit from being crate trained and since Newfies are a breed that tends to suffer from separation anxiety and can be a challenge during their teenage years, it’s the best option for our family, dogs included of course. 

Why I’m Crate Training

brown newfoundland puppy napping in crate

We are puppy crate training Lou for a few different reasons.

The first reason is that Lou is a puppy and he can’t be trusted yet to be left unattended when we’re not home or when we’re sleeping. 

The crate protects him and it protects our house. 

We could puppy-proof our house all we wanted but we can’t remove the floor molding, the carpet, the drapes, the couch and the flooring-all of which are chewable items for a puppy.

Yes, I am training him and yes he’s being corrected but I can’t correct him when I’m not home to see him.

Second, he’s potty training and using a crate is one of the best tools to help with potty training. (I just need to convince Lou of this)

Third, Lou’s the third male dog in our house (Lou and Finn are intact, Odin is neutered) and if you were here back in the early days you may remember that we had BIG issues for a while with Sherman and Leroy getting into fights.

I don’t know if that will happen again but I will be prepared for it this time. 

Fourth, we plan on doing conformation with Lou so he will need to be in a crate here and there at shows so he needs to be comfortable in one.

Location of the Crate

puppy sleeping in crate overnight

They say that location of the crate is important and that it should be in a high-traffic area and not tucked away in a room away from all the action. 

Lou’s crate is in our family room which is between our kitchen and bedroom.

I wouldn’t say that it’s a high traffic area but I can see it from every room and it’s easy to access. 

Lou’s favorite spot is to lay on the floor vent in the kitchen but due to the size and setup of our kitchen, it wouldn’t be a good area for the crate.

I did make sure that his crate is by a floor vent in the family and we got an air deflector so that Lou can benefit from the cool air coming from the vent.

I will have to close that vent and rotate his crate in the winter though.

FTR we’re using a wire 42″ crate with no divider. 

What’s In The Dog Crate?

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I’ve read that you should make their crate a comfy den and a place that they want to spend time. 

Well, many Newfies like cold, damp areas so there is no bed, blanket or towel in there. 

During the day there is only his water bowl and at night he has his water bowl, a teething toy and the stuffed toy he came home with. 

I had to adjust the water bowl situation quite a few times because Lou is a classic water bowl digger. 

Being without a water bowl is definitely not an option with him and I finally broke down and bought a water bowl mount at the pet store. 

We do have pails that I could have clipped to the cage but this Midwest S’napy Fit Bowl is perfect for him right now. 

Groov crate training tool for puppies and dogs

I also order the Diggs Groov Dog Training Aid which secures to a crate and is intended to be used for crate training and to help reduce anxiety.

It’s been a great tool to have so far. You spread peanut butter or whatever you want on it, freeze it and then hook it to their crate.

I did try the cooling pad in his crate but he started to chew the edges so he’s not ready for that yet. 

How Long Did It Take To Crate Train Our Puppy?

newfie puppy in crate

It’s still a work in progress but we’re headed in the right direction.

It’s been just over a week since Lou has been home and we’ve been using the crate since the first night. 

I’ve slept on the couch 4 nights and Lou has slept through the night in his crate 2 nights (6+ hours) so far. 

It has definitely been a learning process for both of us and I’m constantly trying to think of ways to help him adjust. 

He does get fed in his crate and the crate door is left open through the day so that he can come and go as he pleases. 

Since I work from home the longest he is in the crate is overnight but he does get time in there during the day. 

He goes in there when I take Odin out for a walk,  when I run errands and he gets his frozen Toppl in his dog crate.

He also gets a treat when he walks inside his crate and I’ve been using the command “crate” to get him used to it. 

A few times throughout the day I’ll toss a treat in the back of the cage, say ‘crate” and point and Lou goes in. 

What I Never Use The Crate For

brown newfie puppy sleeping on back in crate

I never use the crate for punishment.

I want Lou to see his crate as a fun and safe place, not as a sign of punishment.

If Lou needs a time out he gets a time out but not in his crate right away. 

I correct the unwanted behavior that he’s doing-like if he’s playing too rough with Finn, let him chill out for a few and then have him go in his crate but I will also give him a chew toy or something to keep him busy. 

I also don’t use the crate only when I leave because I don’t want him to associate the crate with me leaving. 

Does Lou bark and cry in his crate?


Some days more than others.

I’ve been really trying to tire him out at night before bedtime and that seems to be key.

Lots of outside time and short naps instead of long naps after 6 pm. 

How long do I let him bark? 

It all depends! 

If he’s barking when I first put him in for the night, longer than 10 minutes shorter than 30 minutes?

I don’t take him out but I will sit next to his cage for a few minutes and he’ll normally calm down and fall asleep and I go back to bed.

If he wakes up in the middle of the night, I will normally wait a few minutes but it usually means he needs to pee or has peed so I take him outside. 

I will add that another issue we face is that if I take Lou out in the middle of the night, Finn will bark. 

Finn sleeps in bed with us so I will go get Finn and then I have to politely let them both know that it’s not party time. 

This part is getting a little better because Finn is now completely exhausted by the end of the day. 

Final Thoughts

I’m not an expert and I’m by no means saying that this is the correct way to crate train your puppy, but these are the things that I worked for us. 

My advice to you if you’re puppy crate training for the first time or if it’s the first time you’re doing it in a while is, give it time. 

Don’t expect miracles overnight, but look for small wins. 

Study your puppy and try to pick up on their likes and dislikes.

It will take a while for you to play around and find a system that works for you both, just be patient and kind!

And be ready for setbacks! Lou slept in his crate one night for 6 hours and the next night he was up barking every 1.5 hours. 

It will work out…….eventually!And don’t compare your puppy to other puppies.

Things are different from home to home and puppy to puppy!

Also, when you pick your puppy up from the breeder, ask what their sleeping area was like.

This was an afterthought that I had but it could be helpful for an easier transition on the first few nights! 

p.s. We also used ice chips in the bowl the first few nights! Someone gave me this tip and it worked well!

Lou is already addicted to ice and he prefers the Chick-fil-a bag of ice chips. Lol

If we have ever get potty training down, I’ll share that with you. We have pooping outside pretty under control but peeing not so much. 


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Angela Gilbert

Tuesday 29th of June 2021

Congratulations on Lou!! How are you keeping Odin and Lou separated?


Wednesday 30th of June 2021

Thanks Angela!

I don't really do anything to keep them separated besides the crate for eating and sleeping. Odin has free roam of the house so he can go downstairs when he wants to be alone or not bothered by Lou and Lou can't do stairs yet so that's working out well for now. I do have a folding gate upstairs that separates the room where the cage is and I can move it around as needed.


Tuesday 29th of June 2021

With a large rumbunctious dog, The crate locks are the weak points, and ours have been ripped off from our Newfies and Pyrs.

I picked up 3 heavy duty clips like these, and use 3 on the side of each crate (along with the little locks).


Wednesday 30th of June 2021

Thanks for sharing Michael! You are right about the crate locks! We used to use heavy-duty clips with Sherman and I'm going to invest in some more soon!

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