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When the puppy comes home...

Moving to a new home is a huge step for the puppy. The puppy is used to being in the safety of the mother and the littermates as constant company. He will still sleep for most of the day, so you must not wake him up or disturb him when he is sleeping. The puppy will require a calm environment for the first few days as it gets used to its new home. After the puppy is homed properly, the relatives and neighbors can come and meet him.

The most important thing about training is consistency. Inconsistency will confuse the dog and enforce him to try the limits and question the hierarchy in the family. Best is if you can decide as a family before the puppy comes what he can and cannot do. Should you restrict his area, can he come on sofas? If he cannot come on your bed as an adult, you should not let him come there as a puppy. What is allowed once is always allowed.

You should teach the dog and enforce his place in the hierarchy when he still is a puppy. This way his handling and training will become easier in the future. A dog should never be the leader of the pack.

You should play with the puppy, but only when you want to, not when the puppy brings a toy to you. You can enforce the pack leadership by walking from the doors first, people eat first, do not greet the dog first, dog moves if the paths cross, the dog has his own bed and stays there when the owner wants to.

A Newfoundland dog is not the dominant type of dog, but they will eventually try their position in the pack. This can be seen as barking at other dogs, putting head on laps, trying to be on top of people and not obeying. In the dog world leadership means responsibility and stress. Therefore a pet is much happier as a part of the pack where he can trust his family to take the responsibility of decision making and leadership. The dominant behavior can and should be therefore removed from a puppy. This way he can start realizing his place in the pack and relax.

General information about training:  READ: Teaching your puppy the basics

Before giving any commands always attract his attention first. This is the only way your puppy will ever learn to respond to you. A young pup will generally look at you and prick his ears up when you speak to him. Puppies cannot concentrate for long periods of time, so keep the play/training sessions short, fun, frequent and varied. As you progress, the sound of your voice will be the reward, the occasional treat merely a bonus. 

Puppies respond to almost anything said in a friendly tone. Always be consistent in both training and commanding. Make a list of words you wish to use and make sure everyone dealing with the pup knows them.

Get into the habit of giving only one command.  If you want your dog to obey you, it is better to give distinct commands for example “come” instead of longer phrases “come here boy, come on now, come here”. If you have to keep repeating yourself, you are either not keeping the puppy's attention or he does not understand what you want. If you keep repeating the same command always before the dog obeys, the dog might learn that ‘SitsitsitSIT’ is the right command instead of ‘sit’ and will only obey when on the fourth command. Go back to the beginning, show him again, and reward him every time he gets it right. If you use a command word repeatedly when he is doing something else, for example use ‘sit’ while he is jumping around, he will learn to associate the word with what he was doing when you said it. 'Sit' could come to mean leap around and play, not putting the bottom on the ground! Dogs understand body language far more readily than they understand our verbal form of communication, so do not hesitate to use hand signals with the command words!

As soon as your puppy has caught on to the idea of a new command, it is a good idea to get into the habit of asking him to obey you briefly before he gets anything he wants. In dog language, this is simply good manners.  For example ask the pup to sit and attend to you briefly before you feed him, play a game, groom him, put his lead on, give him a cuddle or proceed with other training. Before a meal or after a nap is the best time for training, because he’ll be hungry and concentrated on the rewards. You do not have to use treats as rewards, you can also only use your voice. If you always use treats when training, one day she might not obey at all if you do not have the treats with you.

Once the puppy knows a command at home, you can start making it more difficult for him by adding distractions. Obeying at a new park where there are other dogs is much more difficult than obeying at home or in a local forest where he has been many times before. Increase the difficulty gradually and the dog will learn quite quickly to associate the words again. If he is not obeying, it just means that he doesn’t know it well enough and you should go a step back in the training.



(c) Salmelin