Newfoundlands, or "Newfies," is one of the largest working dog breeds with a general reputation for mild manners and devotion. Newfoundlands love water and their families, and usually get along well with people and other animals. As with any breed, however, every Newfie is an individual with his own individual temperament. However, there are some general Newfoundland characteristics that many dogs of the breed demonstrate including an independent and peaceful nature, a desire to swim, and an impressive intelligence level making them easily trainable.
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Training a Newfoundland dog
Training should start when the dog is still a puppy. Newfies are independent by nature, yet easily trained. However, they tend to be a bit lazy. Be prepared for the occasional nap during puppy training. It's best to make sure the Newfoundland puppy is well-rested before class. Socializing your dog at a young age is also important.
Remain consistent and positive when teaching these very smart dogs. Tone of voice is a key to training. Your tone communicates more to your dog than the words you say. Trainers of the breed claim a calm tone will usually get the message across. Because of their size and strength, it's particularly important that Newfies be trained to heel, to not pull on the leash, and to not jump up on people.
Fortunately, hyperactivity is usually not a Newfoundland characteristic. Newfies are large dogs, weighing 100 to 150 pounds as adults, and they tend to be slow-moving. When they are not resting peacefully, they can be encouraged to engage in games of fetch and working games. Newfies tend to follow the law of motion that says "a body at rest stays at rest," and prefer play that feels productive, such as swimming, carrying objects, or retrieving.
Water and swimming are two of a Newfie's favorite things. Many will seek out water to play in, so you should watch your dog closely if you're trying to avoid the mud puddles. Newfies respond well to any form of working game or activity, so they can easily learn to retrieve objects. Historically, Newfoundlands were fishermen's helpers, and their tasks included retrieving anything that fell overboard and hauling loads. Agility class, nose work, and dock diving can be a good choices as a recreational activities that will keep your Newfie happy and focused.
Gentleness and a peaceful nature are written into the AKC breed standards for the Newfoundland breed. Newfies socialize easily with people, both adults and children, as well as with other dogs and pets. In general, they love attention and affection. Your Newfie pup is likely to get along well with anyone you consider a friend. Even though adult Newfoundlands outweigh many people, they do not tend toward aggression. They are a brave breed, and most will protect their owners, but they tend to defend rather than attack.
Newfoundland characteristic intelligence
Many Newfoundland dog enthusiasts considers these dogs to be one of the most intelligent dog breeds. They learn quickly and understand their place among fellow pack members. Because they were bred as working dogs, Newfoundlands want to follow commands and carry out tasks to make themselves useful to their owners. They are able to carry out complicated tasks, following both vocal and visual commands.
Despite their size, Newfoundland dogs can adapt to life in a small home or apartment, because they are laid-back dogs who don't demand a lot of exercise. For good health, however, you should engage your dog in regular daily exercise and activities that stimulate his active mind. Newfoundland dogs also make good search and rescue (SAR) animals.