Care Tips
Find a reputable veterinarian who is experienced in large breeds. Your breeder or regional Newfoundland club may be able to help you find the right veterinarian in your area. Take your puppy to your vet as soon as possible after you get him. Even if he has a recent health certificate, a double check is valuable, and you will get good advice on puppy care, shots, local health problems, etc. Avoid unnecessary contact with other dogs until your puppy's immunities are established. Your Newf may need a booster shot for distemper, hepatitis and leptospirosis, parainfluenza, parvo virus and corona virus. Rabies vaccinations will have to comply with your state's law, or your veterinarian's recommendation. Also, you should have your dog examined for worms (roundworms, whipworms, tapeworms and hookworms) every three months as a puppy and twice a year thereafter. Heartworm is a problem in areas where there are mosquitoes, so you should consult your veterinarian regarding testing for and prevention of this disease. A definite aid to both worm and fly control is to meticulously pick up your dog's stools EVERY DAY - and more often for a puppy. Flea and tick control is essential, as they are a source of many problems. Extermination of these parasite in infested areas, such as bedding, is as important as on the dog itself. Dogs should be treated for fleas and ticks, the same day you treat your home, your dog's bedding, yard, etc.
In any climate, grooming your Newf not only makes him look nicer by controlling mats and shedding but also cleans his coat and skin, and reduces odor. Use a long toothed steel comb and a wire slicker brush with bristles bent at the end. Work against the grain back to front, then reverse. Be sure the hair is brushed down to the skin, being careful not to scratch the skin. Mats of dead hair accumulate behind the ears and inside the hind legs. After the permanent coat develops, shedding occurs but twice a year - spring and fall. Newfs need extra care and observation to combat parasites and skin problems. Grooming is essential. Brushing often means less bathing. When you do give your dog a bath, be sure to remove ALL the soap to avoid skin irritation. Rinse and rinse again. If toenails are not kept at a moderate length through exercise, they should be clipped, but learn how to do it properly before you try it. Consult a local groomer, or your veterinarian for assistance.
Take care to see that growing puppies don't do a lot of jumping, running, or playing on slippery surfaces, or have their limbs pulled. Their fast-growing joints and bones are still soft and may be permanently damaged. Love is one thing, but excessive handling is another and should be avoided. The only correct way to pick up a puppy is to insert one hand between the front legs, the other hand between the hind legs until they touch and then lift evenly, thus supporting the entire weight of the puppy. Your new puppy needs a lot of sleep. You will want to avoid heavy exercise (including cart pulling) with a Newf less than 18 months of age. This heavy exercise can damage the puppy's body. Avoid strenuous exercise right after meals and during warm periods. It is wise not to let dogs hang their heads out of car windows as various eye injuries can result. Most Newfoundlands enjoy swimming. It is excellent exercise for it strengthens muscles without putting weight on the joints. Most Newfs prefer calm waters, such as lakes and streams, to rough pounding ocean surf. Do not let your Newf run loose as he could be hit by a car or stolen and may incur the ill will of neighbors. Remember that the biggest dog in the neighborhood often gets the blame for the deeds of all the other dogs around. In most cities, dogs must be in a confined area and walked on a leash. All dogs enjoy a walk at least once a day. A six-foot leather or cotton web leash and a training collar are required in obedience classes. A slip collar, chain or nylon, of correct length is standard training equipment. Never chain or tie your dog! And never leave a collar on an unattended dog! A dog sleeping outside should have a well-insulated house or shelter available. A dog sleeping inside needs a draft-free place and a rug or pad to keep him off the hard floors, which can cause calluses. However, many Newfs will select a cool tile floor.
It is quite common to hear those who do not know the breed say, "My, but he must eat a lot." Probably because he is so placid, the full-grown Newf is a comparatively small eater. However, when he is growing most rapidly, between the ages of three and eighteen months, the Newf is a heavy eater. At this time he will consume several pounds of kibble plus such other materials as your breeder recommend you give him each day. Initially continue feeding your puppy what the breeder was feeding. Do not drastically change your puppy's diet. Dry food (kibble) is less expensive than meat or canned dog food and can provide a good quality diet for an adult dog, so one may slowly progress toward such a diet. Adult Newfoundlands will eat about four to eight cups of dry dog food per day (or about one fifty-pound bag of dry food per month). The amount of food an adult Newf requires is not proportional to his weight, but to his size and activity. An eight-week-old puppy will normally eat three times per day; after five or six months the puppy will eat twice a day. Ideally an adult Newf should be fed two small meals a day rather than one large meal. Never fatten a puppy to butterball condition, rather keep it a little on the lean side. Over feeding will not make your puppy larger than his genetic makeup intended him to be. Overweight at any age reduces the life span and may provide fertile ground for other problems. Always remove uneaten food promptly. The amount of food suggested on dog food labels is generally excessive for large breeds. In short, take care of your new puppy just like you would any new baby in your family!
An untrained dog, no matter what its size, is a liability in modern society. For their own safety and owner's sanity, all dogs require some form of obedience training. Being intelligent canines, most Newfs are readily trained. The ideal time to begin the training is when the puppy is two months of age - which means you start the day you get the puppy. Between the age of two and four months, the puppy should be taught to walk on a loose lead, come when called and stay when told. If you use praise as a reward and plenty of encouragement, the puppy will be a willing an adept student. By starting early, you can teach the puppy the commands you want him to know and avoid the development of bad habits. This type of training can be done at home with the aid of a good book on obedience training. Newfoundlands should definitely receive early obedience training, or they may outgrow their trainer's ability to handle them before they mature and realize they have gentle qualities. If you intend to water train your puppy, it is advisable to introduce the puppy to water by the age of four months, but do so with care and consideration. If you want your dog to learn to retrieve, you should introduce the puppy to the fundamentals before it is eight months of age. One person in the family, preferably an adult, should assume the major responsibility for training, but all family members should know the commands, use them consistently and know how to reward the puppy with praise and encouragement when it has responded to a command. In addition to early training at home, it is advisable to take your puppy to a training class. Almost every training organization will accept puppies at six months of age and some have special programs for puppies between two and four months of age. A Newf puppy at eight weeks of age can generally be housebroken, if you are willing to be consistent and watchful. However for a few more months accidents can happen, not because of disobedience but because young dogs still do not have muscles that always cooperate. Since puppies sleep most of the time, it is easy to anticipate their needs. As soon as the puppy wakes from a nap, finishes eating, or after vigorous play, take it out to relieve itself; and any time you observe the puppy circling and sniffing the floor, take it out to relieve itself. You must be vigilant, but once an accident has occurred, scolding the puppy is ineffective. Just clean up the accident and deodorize the spot. Continue to positively reinforce good behavior, ignore accidents and your puppy will be housebroken quickly. Similarly, rubbing its nose in the corpus delicti does no good at all, and swatting the puppy with a rolled-up newspaper only creates a dislike for rolled-up newspapers and perhaps paperboys. The destructive potential of puppy teeth is enormous and it is important that a puppy learn the meaning of "No" at once. Provide his own special toys for chewing and say a stern "No" when he picks up anything else. Remember, CONSISTENCY AND PATIENCE ARE THE KEY TO ALL TRAINING!
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