The following guidelines will assist you in properly caring and training your Newfy. These training tips should be considered "generic" and not meant to be a substitute for the advice provided by a licensed professional or accredited organization for your particular dog or situation. (please read Disclaimer)
Remember, your Newfy wants to please you and make you happy!
Yes, you need one. And no, it is not cruel. Doesn't mom keep baby in a crib or playpen when he can't be supervised? Dogs are den animals. They will seek out a den to feel protected when in the wild. It will be small and cozy. A crate becomes your dogs portable den. Here is your first rule. When your puppy or untrained dog is not supervised, he or she is in the crate. Teach your dog to enter on command. Begin by saying "Kennel" or any word you prefer. Place the dog in the crate, give a food reinforcement (a treat) and lock it. Wait 15 seconds and then release the dog and praise him. In this way the dog will associate the crate with the food and feel it is a good thing. Work the dog up to an overnight stay. Keep the crate in your bedroom next to the bed. If the dog is noisy, rap on the top and say "Quiet". And never, ever let the dog out if he is noisy. You'd be reinforcing his behavior. Variable reinforcements worked better than fixed ones. When you go out, leave the radio or television on in another room. Hearing voices will help your dog not to feel so alone.
The "Bye-Bye Bone"
Pet stores and pet catalogs sell sterilized bones that are hollow in the middle. These bones make excellent devices for taking a dogs mind off of his aloneness when stuffed with his favorite foods such as cheese, liver treats, salami and alike. Many trainers say that a dog is most upset during the first hour after an owner leaves. The bone stuffed with goodies becomes the center of the dog's attention for an hour or so while he tries his hardest to extract the food from the bone's hollow middle. This allows the owner to slip out without a fuss. When you return home, remove the bone from the dog's crate, let him out, put him into a sit position and poke the remaining food out onto the floor for the dog's consumption with a chopstick or other device. Jackpot! Now the bone gets put away until next time. Believe me, after a few days of this the dog will not worry about "Where's my owner going?" but instead will worry about "Where's my bone?"
Introducing the Crate to Your Puppy
In order that your puppy associate his/her kennel crate with comfort, security and enjoyment, please follow these guidelines:
Occasionally throughout the day, drop small pieces of dog biscuits in the crate. While investigating his new crate, the pup will discover edible treasures, thereby reinforcing his positive associations with the crate. You may also feed him in the crate to create the same effect. If the dog hesitates, it often works to feed him in front of the crate, then right inside the doorway and then, finally, in the back of the crate.
In the beginning, praise and pet your pup when he enters. Do not try to push, pull or force the puppy into the crate. Overnight exception: You may need to place your pup in his crate and shut the door upon retiring. (In most cases, the crate should be placed next to your bed overnight. If this is not possible, the crate can be placed in the kitchen, bathroom or living room.)
You may also play this enjoyable and educational game with your pup or dog: without alerting your puppy, drop a small dog biscuit into the crate. Then call your puppy and say to him, "Where's the biscuit? It's in your room." Using only a friendly, encouraging voice, direct your pup toward his crate. When the puppy discovers the treat, give enthusiastic praise. The biscuit will automatically serve as a primary reward. Your pup should be free to leave its crate at all times during this game. Later on, your puppy's toy or ball can be substituted for the treat.
It is advisable first to crate your pup for short periods of time while you are home with him. In fact, crate training is best accomplished while you are in the room with your dog. Getting him used to your absence from the room in which he is crated is a good first step. This prevents an association being made with the crate and your leaving him/her alone.
Collars: Always remove your puppy or dog's collar before confining in the crate. Even flat buckle collars can occasionally get struck on the bars or wire mesh of a crate. If you must leave a collar on the pup when you crate him (e.g.: for his identification tag), use a safety "break away" collar.
Warm Weather: Do not crate a puppy or dog when temperatures reach an uncomfortable level. Cold water should always be available, especially during warm weather. [Never leave an unsupervised dog on a terrace, roof or inside a car during warm weather. Also, keep outdoor exercise periods brief until the hot weather subsides.]
Be certain that your puppy has fully eliminated shortly before being crated. Be sure that the crate you are using is not too large to discourage your pup from eliminating in it. Rarely does a pup or dog eliminate in the crate if it is properly sized and the dog is an appropriate age to be crated a given amount of time. If your pup/dog continues to eliminate in the crate, the following may be the causes:
- The pup is too young to have much control.
- The pup has a poor or rich diet, or very large meals.
- The pup did not eliminate prior to being confined.
- The pup has worms.
- The pup has gaseous or loose stools.
- The pup drank large amounts of water prior to being crated.
- The pup has been forced to eliminate in small confined areas prior to crate training.
- The pup/dog is suffering from a health condition or illness (i.e., bladder infection, prostate problem, etc.)
- The puppy or dog is experiencing severe separation anxiety when left alone.
Note: Puppies purchased in pet stores, or puppies which were kept solely in small cages or other similar enclosures at a young age (between approximately 7 and 16 weeks of age), may be considerably harder to housebreak using the crate training method due to their having been forced to eliminate in their sleeping area during this formative stage of development. This is the time when most puppies are learning to eliminate outside their sleeping area. Confining them with their waste products retards the housebreaking process, and this problem can continue throughout a dog's adult life.
Accidents In The Crate
If your puppy messes in his crate while you are out, do not punish him upon your return. Simply wash out the crate using a pet odor neutralizer (such as Nature's Miracle, Nilodor, or Outright). Do not use ammonia-based products, as their odor resembles urine and may draw your dog back to urinate in the same spot again.
*NOTE: Except for overnight, neither puppies nor dogs should be crated for more than 5 hours at a time. (6 hours maximum!)
The Crate As Punishment
NEVER use the crate as a form of punishment or reprimand for your puppy or dog. This simply causes the dog to fear and resent the crate. If correctly introduced to his crate, your puppy should be happy to go into his crate at any time. You may however use the crate as a brief time-out for your puppy as a way of discouraging nipping or excessive rowdiness.
[NOTE: Sufficient daily exercise is important for healthy puppies and dogs. Regular daily walks should be offered as soon as a puppy is fully immunized. Backyard exercise is not enough!]
Children And The Crate
Do not allow children to play in your dog's crate or to handle your dog while he/she is in the crate. The crate is your dog's private sanctuary. His/her rights to privacy should always be respected.
Barking In The Crate
In most cases a pup who cries incessantly in his crate has either been crated too soon (without taking the proper steps as outlined above) or is suffering from separation anxiety and is anxious about being left alone. Some pups may simply be under exercised. Others may not have enough attention paid them. Some breeds of dog may be particularly vocal (e.g., Miniature Pinchers, Mini Schnauzers, and other frisky terrier types). These dogs may need the "Alternate Method of Confining Your Dog", along with increasing the amount of exercise and play your dog receives daily.
When Not To Use A Crate
Do not crate your puppy or dog if:
- s/he is too young to have sufficient bladder or sphincter control.
- s/he has diarrhea. Diarrhea can be caused by: worms, illness, intestinal upsets such as colitis, too much and/or the wrong kinds of food, quick changes in the dogs diet, or stress, fear or anxiety.
- s/he is vomiting.
- you must leave him/her crated for more than the Crating Duration Guidelines suggest.
- s/he has not eliminated shortly before being placed inside the crate.
(See Housetraining Guidelines for exceptions.)
- the temperature is excessively high.
- s/he has not had sufficient exercise, companionship and socialization.
What to Feed
You may prefer dry dog food mixed with warm water to form a gravy and fresh water. Canned dog food is usually around 80% water and has one-third the nutrient as dry food. Since most dry foods provide well-balanced diets, table scraps are not recommended very often. Remember, chocolate and raw onions can be toxic to a dog.
Establish Meal Periods
If you feed and water your dog on a schedule, your dog will eliminate on a schedule. FREE FEEDING AND FREE WATERING YOUR DOG WILL MAKE THE JOB OF HOUSE TRAINING MUCH MORE DIFFICULT...First, establish meal periods. Two to three meal periods for very young puppies and two meal periods for adult dogs (once a day is not recommended for giant breeds). The meal period will last for 20 minutes. During that time give the required amount of food and as much water as the dog wants. At the end of the meal period, remove the food and water whether or not the dog has eaten unless instructed otherwise by your veterinarian. If the dog plays and does not eat, he will learn that the food will be taken away in time. This also helps to discourage picky eating habits.
Place Your Dog on Elimination Commands
Many dog owners inadvertently teach their dogs to eliminate indoors. Each time they take their dog outside they wait for him to eliminate. As soon as he does, they bring him in. Most dogs, especially young ones, like the sights and smells of the outdoors, so they quickly learn that as soon as they eliminate, they are taken inside. They learn to hold it until they come inside to prolong the experience.
It makes better sense to train your dog to eliminate on command, especially if you must leash walk him. Take your dog to "his spot" each time. As your dog begins to urinate, choose a word and say it over and over as the behavior is occurring (for instance say the work "potty" or "park") Do this each time your dog urinates. After several weeks of hearing "Park... Park... Park" as he urinates, it will eventually act as a trigger of the behavior. Use a different phrase ("Hurry Up") for defecating. Each time your dog finishes, praise him while offering a food reinforcement (a treat). A good treat is dried liver, available at most pet stores, because you can leave it in your pocket without going bad. When he has eliminated, take him for a walk as a reward! If your dog fails to eliminate in 5 minutes, take him inside and crate him for a half-hour or so and then try again.
The Instructive Reprimand
Each time you take your dog outside say, "Outside". Soon he will learn what outside means Then, if the dog inappropriately urinates inside in your presence, say "Outside" and take him to "his spot". "Outside" becomes an instructive reprimand because it is instructive (directs the dog to the appropriate elimination place) and it is a reprimand because of the tone of voice you use as the behavior is occurring thus acting as a negative reinforcement.
Frequent Access To Newspapers, Backyard, Or Taken For A Walk If Fully Immunized
Puppies need to urinate shortly after they eat, drink water, play, chew, or sleep. For most puppies over 10 weeks of age, that means somewhere between 5 and 10 times a day! Adolescent dogs (from 6 to 11 months old) will need 4 to 6 walks a day. Adult dogs need 3 to 4 walks a day, and elderly dogs need at least 3 to 4 walks daily (incontinent dogs will need more).
Do Not Return From A Walk Until Your Puppy Eliminates
If your puppy has been confined overnight to a crate, take him outside first thing in the morning (before he's had a chance to soil indoors.) Be prepared to stay outdoors with him until he eliminates. (This could take from a few minutes to as much as several hours!) As soon as your puppy eliminates outdoors, offer him lavish praise and a treat. If you take your puppy back inside the house before he's fully eliminated, he will surely have a house-soiling accident indoors!
[Note: If you absolutely have to return home before your puppy does his "business", crate him, then try taking him outside again every 15-30 minutes until he "goes".]
Early Interactive Socialization With People Is Important
Early and ongoing interactive socialization with lots of friendly new people (including calm friendly children) is very important. If your puppy is not immunized sufficiently to take for a walk, make sure to have lots of new people visit your puppy in your home. You can also carry your puppy outdoors to public places to properly acclimate him to the sights, sounds and activities of the outdoors (especially crowds of people and traffic noises) soon after he has received at least two series of shots, provided he is not placed on the sidewalk or streets, and he is not brought near other dogs (or anywhere other dogs might have been).
Praise & Reward Your Puppy For "Going" Outdoors
Lavish praise, a trigger word (ie: "potty", "park", "hurry up", "get busy", "business", "bombs away", etc.) and a treat reward immediately following his eliminating in the right place (newspapers, backyard, or outdoors) will help you to communicate to your puppy that you are pleased with his behavior. Delayed praise is not effective, so witnessing him going in the right spot is important.
No Access To Inappropriate Areas To Eliminate
Many puppies and dogs prefer certain areas or surfaces to eliminate on, such as rugs, carpeting, etc. Keep your puppy away from risky areas or surfaces whenever possible. If your puppy suddenly runs out of sight (ie; out of the room), he may be looking for a secret spot to eliminate, so close doors to rooms where he may sneak a quick pee or poop.
Neutralize Urine Odors With Enzyme-Based Deodorizer
Should your puppy have a few house-soiling accidents despite your best efforts to prevent them, neutralize any soiled areas (carpet or floor surface) with a pet odor neutralizer such as Nature's Miracle, Nilodor, Fresh 'n' Clean, or Outright Pet Odor Eliminator. Avoid using ammonia-based cleaners to clean up after your puppy's urine, as ammonia breaks down to urea, which is a component of urine.
No Water After 9PM
Generally speaking, it is advisable to take up your puppy's water bowl after 9 PM, unless he seems very thirsty or weather conditions are exceedingly hot. (But a couple of ice cubes are OK)
Eliminate Worms and Parasites
Contact your veterinarian if you suspect that your puppy has worms, coccidia, fleas, ticks, or other internal or external parasites.
Diarrhea Will Prevent Housetraining Success
Your puppy or dog cannot be expected to be reliable if he has diarrhea. Loose, liquidy or mucousy stools will hinder any housetraining success.
After-The-Fact Discipline Does NOT Work!
Never, ever discipline (verbally or otherwise) your puppy or dog after-the-fact for house-soiling accidents that you did not actually witness. (Even if you should see your puppy eliminate on the floor or carpet, harsh physical punishment is never recommended or acceptable.)
Never Discipline A Dog For Submissive Urination!
Submissive and excitement urination are completely involuntary, so never discipline your puppy for this. Eye contact, verbal scoldings, hovering over, reaching out to pet your puppy's head, animated movements, talking in an exciting or loud voice, as well as strangers or visitors approaching your puppy, may all potentially trigger your puppy to piddle. Disciplining your puppy for involuntary piddling must be avoided or the problem will simply get worse.
- Provide a variety of several toys for your puppy.
- Teach your puppy to play with these toys.
- Praise puppy every time you see him chewing or playing with his toys on his own.
- Any area that the pup has access to must be kept clear and clean. Put out of puppy's reach anything you don't want him to chew or destroy, such as trash, shoes, hazards, etc. Your dog does not know what is valuable or dangerous and what is not.
- If you find your puppy with your best shoe in mouth, distract him away from it and replace the shoe with one of his toys. Praise him for chewing his toy. Do not reprimand him for chewing your shoe. Reprimand yourself for leaving it out where he could find it.
- Booby traps items and articles to show your puppy that these things are no fun to chew, in fact, they are an annoyance even to touch.
- Do not allow unsupervised access to 'unchewables'.
- Do not chase the puppy in an attempt to take something away.
- Do not reprimand excessively. A verbal warning should be enough. A loud startling noise is even better. It gets the puppy's attention without the puppy associating it with you. As soon as the puppy is distracted, show him what to chew and praise him for chewing it.
- Do not let the puppy chew an old shoe. A puppy does not know the difference between an old shoe and your brand new ones.
If your dog loves to dig, provide him with his own digging pit just as parents would provide their child with a sand box. Take into consideration your dog's needs and prepare an area that is neither directly in the summer sun nor unprotected against the winter winds. A 3 x 6 foot area about 2 feet deep is sufficient. Dig it up to loosen the dirt and mix in a little sand to help it drain in the rainy season. Let your dog watch the preparations and if he joins in to help, lavish him with praise. Once the pit is ready, it is easy to get your dog to dig in it. Take some of his favorite toys and treats and let him watch you make a fuss over burying them. Call your dog over and help him dig things up. Once he gets the idea and is digging without your help, enthusiastically praise him and repeat, 'Dig in your pit, dig in your pit.' When he digs up a treat, he is immediately rewarded by getting to eat it. If it's a ball or toy you've buried then you can immediately play a short game of fetch, then bury it again. Repeat this over and over, always repeating the command, 'Dig in your pit.' Your dog will quickly learn what the command means. You can test this by putting your dog inside the house, burying a dozen or so treats and exciting chew toys, and then letting him out. Say 'Dig in your pit' and praise him if he goes to the pit. This training can usually be accomplished in one afternoon.
Once your dog has learned to dig in his pit, you must still verbally encourage and praise him whenever he shows any interest in the pit and especially if he digs there without any encouragement from you. Now, every morning before you leave for work, you can hide all kinds of things in the pit, which will keep your dog busy for hours. Even if he has found all the goodies, he will keep digging and looking to see if anything else is buried there.
Puppies whine for a reason. If the problem is not resolved immediately, whining can become an ingrained habit that is intensely irritating and annoying. Many dogs use whining, howling, and barking as a means of vocal blackmail in order to control their owners.
- When confined to a crate or small room or pen, always give your puppy the benefit of the doubt. When she begins whining, immediately take her to her toilet area.
- Teach your dog to accept isolation and privacy. Accustom your puppy to being left by herself, even if you are home.
- Make sure your puppy is comfortable. Is your puppy hungry, thirsty, too hot, too cold, uncomfortable, sick, or has lost her toy under the furniture?
- When you know that all your puppy's physical needs are met and you have taken the time to accustom her to isolation, then teach her that whining is unacceptable.
- Do not give in and reward your puppy for whining.
- Do not hesitate to appropriately reprimand unnecessary whining.
- Do not let your dog feel abandoned.
- Do not let your dog soil her crate.
Check for more information on whining, barking, separation anxiety.
Do's and Don'ts
Puppyhood is the most important and critical time for your dog. What you do and do not do right now will affect your dog's behavior forever.
A properly socialized dog is well adjusted and makes a good companion. It is neither frightened by nor aggressive towards anyone or anything it would normally meet in day to day living. An unsocialized dog is untrustworthy and an unwanted liability. They often become fear-biters. They are difficult to train and are generally unpleasant to be around. Unsocialized dogs cannot adapt to new situations and a simple routine visit to the vet is a nightmare not only for the dog itself, but for everyone involved. Don't let this happen to you and your dog. Start socializing your new puppy NOW!
Make sure that each of the following events are pleasant and non-threatening. If your puppy's first experience with something is painful and frightening, you will be defeating your purpose. In fact, you will be creating a phobia that will often last a lifetime. It's better to go too slow and assure your puppy is not frightened or injured than to rush and force your pup to meet new things and people.
- Invite friends over to meet your pup. Include men, women, youngsters, oldsters, different ethnic origins, etc.
- Invite friendly, healthy, vaccinated dogs, puppies and even cats to your home to meet and play with your new puppy. Take your puppy to the homes of these pets. This usually is preferable with dog-friendly cats.
- Carry your pup to shopping centers, parks, school playgrounds, etc; places where there are crowds of people and plenty of activity.
- Take your puppy for short, frequent rides in the car. Stop the car and let your puppy watch the world go by through the window.
- Introduce your puppy to umbrellas, bags, boxes, the vacuum cleaner, etc. Encourage your puppy to explore and investigate his environment.
- Get your puppy accustomed to seeing different and unfamiliar objects by creating your own. Set a chair upside down. Lay the trash can (empty) on its side, set up the ironing board right-side up one day and upside down the next day.
- Introduce your puppy to new and various sounds. Loud, obnoxious sounds should be introduced from a distance and gradually brought closer.
- Accustom your puppy to being brushed, bathed, inspected, having its nails clipped, teeth and ears cleaned and all the routines of grooming and physical examination.
- Introduce your puppy to stairs, his own collar and leash. Introduce anything and everything you want your puppy to be comfortable with and around.
- Do not put your puppy on the ground where unknown animals have access. This is where your puppy can pick up diseases. Wait until your puppy's shots are completed. Do not let your pup socialize with dogs that you don't know, that may not be vaccinated or who appear sick.
- Do not reward fearful behavior. In a well meaning attempt to sooth, encourage or calm the puppy when it appears frightened, we often unintentionally reward the behavior. It's normal for the puppy to show some signs of apprehension when confronting anything new and different.
- Do not allow the experience to be harmful, painful or excessively frightening. This can cause lifetime phobias in your dog.
- Do not force or rush your puppy. Let your puppy take things at his own pace. Your job is to provide the opportunity.
- Do not do too much at one time. Young puppies need allot of sleep and tire quickly. It is much more productive to have frequent and very brief exposures than occasional prolonged exposures.
- DO NOT WAIT!! Every day that goes by is an opportunity of a lifetime that is lost forever. You can never get these days back. If socialization does not happen now, it never will.
Pulling On Leash
This habit is difficult to break in adolescent and adult dogs. Train your puppy now while you still have a considerable strength advantage over him and before he learns to pull.
- Use a collar and teach your puppy to accept it.
- Use lures and praise to keep her at your side.
- Keep the leash loose at all times. If you see your puppy starting to forge ahead, give a sharp tug on the leash with lightening speed to bring the pup back to your side. Don't wait until the puppy is clear at the other end of the leash, pulling ahead before you take action. The leash should always remain loose except for that one split second it takes to bring the dog back into place. Do not drag your puppy back to your side. Use a quick tug, then immediately release so the leash is slack again. If it doesn't all happen in 3/10ths of a second, it's taking too long and your puppy will not learn to walk nicely on leash. Put another way: Instead of correcting your dog after he is already pulling, do not give him the opportunity to pull. If he never pulls, he will never learn to pull. You must correct him BEFORE he pulls!
- Practice now before your pup learns to pull. Since your pup is unable to walk the streets yet, begin teaching him to walk around your house and yard. He should be taught not to pull before hitting the streets.
- Do not let your puppy pull you around.
- If you cannot correct the puppy in time, do not reward his pulling by letting him continue on his way. Just turn around and go the other way, or stop in your tracks and say, "We are not going one inch further until you stop pulling." Then wait, it may take 30 seconds; it may take 20 minutes. Do not move until your puppy is under control. Now you can start over and give the correction before he starts pulling again. If again you are too late in your correction, start again.
- Do not yank and pull on your puppy's throat and neck. Use a soft, adjustable, non- restrictive harness. As soon as your pup learns leash manners, you can switch to a regular collar for walking. Do not leave the harness on your dog unattended. Use it only while you are practicing.
What is Training?
You can make this fun! Just show excitement in your actions and in your voice when going to "school".
Biting, Mouthing, Jumping, Barking, Chewing, Housetraining, Whining, Getting into the trash, Stealing food and clothing, running amok, etc. You know, all those things that young pups love to do.
Getting your puppy to enjoy being groomed, touched, handled by the vet, having their nails clipped, tail tugged, ears cleaned and so on. Child proofing.
Make sure your dog doesn't grow up to be fearful or aggressive.
The basics of coming when called, sit, down, stand and stay with both verbal commands and hand signals. Also teach leash manners, tricks and more.
There are multiple meanings to the term "training." It's important to understand that when deciding what you need to do with your dog. Ask your veterinarian or local Newfoundland Club for recommendations on obedience classes.
First, there is "behavior training." This is the kind of training in which a dog is taught to be a "good citizen." Typically this includes housetraining, good behavior around other people and dogs, reasonable leash manners and other small things that make a dog a much more pleasant companion. A well behaved dog attracts no special notice from the public (aside from amazing some with their good manners).
There is "obedience training," which is generally teaching the dog how to perform specific activities. This can include traditional "obedience" exercises such as heeling. The emphasis here is on prompt and precise performance. While there can be many overall benefits to such training, the training is usually for the training's sake and not necessarily to improve the dog's behavior. Dogs that have been obedience trained will perform specific tasks when their owners ask them to do so. (And as a matter of fact, some obedience trained dogs may well behave poorly; an excellent herding dog that nonetheless barks quite a bit for no apparent reason would be an example.)
"Activity training" refers to training for specific activities -- this includes hunting, herding, Search and Rescue, lure coursing -- any of a myriad number of activities designed to showcase the abilities of the dog and his handler, particularly in activities for which the dog has been bred to do. These days, such activity also includes "sports" such as frisbee, flyball, agility and so on.
*Some areas contain copyrighted material (1995 Bohnenkamp, Perfect Paws, Inc.) permission granted.
*Some areas contain copyrighted material (Mary Jo Sminkey) permission granted.