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Puppy Class and Activities
Now that you have your new Newf puppy, how do you go about training your dog? Training isn’t optional, after all; that cute 20-pound bundle of fluff will soon be a 150-pound bundle of muscle and energy that, when standing on his hind legs, will be as tall as you are, if not taller, and will be able to reach your countertops with only a slight stretch of the neck, so how do you make sure this bear of a dog doesn’t wreak havoc in your household?
The answer is simple: training. And soon. Don’t wait until you’re dog is hard to handle and developing the belief that he’s in charge; start training with your puppy as soon as possible. Most training classes will accept puppies as young as 16 weeks, so there’s no reason to delay. Finding training classes couldn’t be easier. If your breeder is local, they are always a great starting point for referrals and recommendations.
If you’ve gotten connected to your regional Newfoundland club, all you have to do is ask some of its members for recommendations, and since many of them will be seasoned “dog sport” competitors, they’ll be able to give you the scoop on training options in your area. Your Regional Club may also offer group and one on one train help for working events like water and draft or beginning conformation training to get your pup started in those activities. If you don’t have a Regional Club near you, you can also connect with a Newfoundland Ambassador - an NCA member who is happy to help with grooming, training and growing puppy issues.
Alternately, ask your neighbors, vet, local humane society, or your puppy’s breeder (if he or she is local); they can often provide recommendations. The AKC’s S.T.A.R Puppy Program and Canine Good Citizen Program also provide wonderful entry points into basic dog training; you can readily find S.T.A.R and CGC evaluators on the AKC’s website, and they can guide you the rest of the way.
An internet search for “dog training” in your area will produce multiple results; some will be for the services of professional family-pet obedience trainers (often associated with grooming/boarding kennels), others will be for local competitive obedience training clubs (some of which may be run by professional competitive obedience trainers). Don’t dismiss the obedience club option simply because you’re not planning to compete in obedience, rally, or agility. In the first place, many of these clubs offer, or will be able to direct you to, “family pet” training classes; in the second place, most entry-level classes for competitive obedience will happily accept and work with people interested only in a well trained pet, as many of the skills are the same. And who knows? You may even catch the training bug – and discover a great new way to have fun with your dog!
There are many, many performance activities that you can explore when working with a training group or regional club - some are purely recreational while others offer competitive or working title opportunities.
Great Activities For Newfoundlands
Agility - in, out, over and through this sport is all about working as a team
Animal Assisted Activities and Animal Assisted Therapy - the warm head of a friendly pet can soothe a lonely heart
Carting - channel the desire to pull into harness work that lets your Newf feel useful and skilled
Dock Jumping or Dock Diving - Big Newfs really make a splash in this wet and wild activity
Barn Hunt - sniffing out a mouse through a maze of hay bales will be fun for any Newf
Flyball - excitement, speed, and focus, a sport for dogs driven to do it faster
Herding - it's all about the dog's instinct and desire to control and direct movement for the pack leader, Newfs are surprisingly adept
Hiking, Backpacking and Dog Walks - sharing our quiet moments, our contemplations is the essence of being a pack
Musical Freestyle - the ultimate in teamwork is working with rhythm and coordination
Obedience - precision, focus and a great activity for perfectionist dogs, those who love to get it exactly right
Pet Facilitated Therapy - for the dog who loves attention what better way to get it than visiting people in need
Rally Obedience - more focus on teamwork, less focus on precision, fun and relaxed for human and dog
Search and Rescue - for some making a difference is important, that includes dogs, they know it matters
Tracking - Newfs excel at tracking work putting their great noses to the task
Treibball - herding balls instead of sheep in a fun team setting
Water Work - water rescue is the historical work of the Newfoundland - the lifeguard of the high seas
Nose Work - learning to identify and find a specific scent, based on the work of detection dogs, a great brain workout and confidence builder
© 2016 Newfoundland Club of America