Newfoundlands are gentle, loving dogs that are easy to train and very willing to please. A well-bred Newfoundland puppy should have no aggressive tendencies and few to no dominance issues. They are huge, even as puppies, and can easily knock over weaker people or young children; therefore, consistent training is important from the first day the puppy enters your home. Remember that the eight-week-old puppy that weighs 20 pounds will be tipping the scales at 100 to 150 pounds sooner than you think, and puppy antics will no longer seem cute.
Socialize your Newfoundland puppy well. The Newfoundland, as a breed, has a gentle, patient demeanor, but socialization is the key to making the most of that naturally sweet temperament. Expose the puppy early to all kinds of stimuli, whether loud vehicles, various types of people, other animals or unusual environments. Make all these exposures as pleasant as possible with training treats and upbeat, cheerful praise.
You should have your dog’s full attention because you are the beloved leader, not because the pup fears you. training-the-dog image by Ivonne Wierink from Fotolia.com
Be consistent about the rules and commands, but do not be harsh. Your Newfoundland puppy is very eager to please, and very sensitive to your tone of voice. Use a calm, measured tone when directing your puppy, and never punish the pup. The Nothing in Life is Free program is a good method for training any dog. The program requires that you teach your puppy to earn its attention and games by doing some work or obeying simple commands before giving it what it wants, such as a toy or walk. There is no punishment or yelling.
Follow the veterinarian’s recommendations regarding medical tests, checkups and vaccinations for your Newfoundland puppy. Your puppy’s breeder should have provided you with information about the medical tests that have already been done, but your veterinarian may have additional tests that you should consider. Newfoundlands have genetic heart and kidney problems, as well as eye and hip disorders. Some of these can be serious and some fatal at an early age, so have any recommended tests done as early as possible. Speak to your veterinarian about the proper feeding and exercise of your Newfoundland puppy as well. The veterinarian will want the puppy to maintain a slower, controlled growth instead of quick, sudden growth spurts that can cause joint problems. Some forms of exercise may not be safe for your Newfoundland until it is older, as the pup is still growing and has very tender and unstable joints. You may have to defer some forms of training and other activities until the puppy is fully mature.
Avoid training sessions during very hot weather. Newfoundlands are better suited to colder climates and are very sensitive to hot weather. Stop immediately and get your dog to a cooler location if you see any signs of heat exhaustion: heavy panting, deep breathing, extra salivation followed by dry, tacky gums or any change in personality or cognitive function such as confusion, aggression or silliness. Once you have your dog in an air-conditioned room or at least under a spray of tepid water, call your veterinarian for further instructions.