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So, you are thinking about adding a Newfoundland puppy to your home, but are you truly ready for all this amazing breed has to offer? Newfies are a very large, powerful breed that can take over your home if you are not careful. These dogs have an outstanding temperament and are fiercely loyal to their families. However, their main tactic lies in using their sheer size to scare predators away rather than actually attacking.
Crate training is almost a necessity with Newfoundlands, as they can become quite destructive in their own way if you leave them alone with a full run of your home. Like most other dog breeds, Newfies have a natural instinct to find a den. All you are doing is taking advantage of this instinct and using it to train your dog to see the crate as his home.
Bear in mind that Newfies have a very strong independent streak. This can make them more challenging to train than many other breeds. The main purpose of crate training is to teach your pup to see his crate as his "den." In the wild, your Newfie would seek out a cave or overhanging trees, or even an old building to create his den, a safe place to sleep, get out of the weather, raise a litter, and hide from his enemies.
In your home, you will be training your pup to see his crate in much the same way. In time, he will come to see the crate as his den. A place he goes when you have to go out, a place to sleep at night, and in some cases, a place he can go to when he feels like he just needs to get away for a bit of peace and quiet. Just remember, you should never use the crate as a form of punishment. Doing this will make your pup resistant to going inside, which will negate your training efforts.
Your Newfie may start out as an oversized puppy, but by the time he reaches his full adult size, he might be as big as 29 inches tall and weigh in at around 130 to 150 pounds. This means you will need to buy two different crates, one for use while he is a pup and one you can use once he starts to grow into his final size.
In either case, you need to turn the crate into a nice cozy den for your pup. Add wall to wall carpeting, a bed, several soft and chew toys for him to play with, and a water bottle or other source of water. You may even want to create a more den-like feel by covering the crate with a blanket. Since Newfies are more attuned to living in the cold, be careful not to place the crate near a source of heat. You can crate train any age Newfoundland, but the older you let your pup get, the harder it will be.
The In Your Own Time Method
Set up your pup's new "den" up in a convenient spot in your house, one where your pup can walk around it, sniff at it, and generally get used to its presence.
Make it a home
Not only does carpeting, etc. make your pup's crate seem a bit more den-like, it gives him somewhere comfortable to hang out. You can make it even more appealing by moving his food and water dishes to a place just outside the door.
Give your pup plenty of time to go in and out of the crate on his own time. Each time you see him go in the crate on his own, be sure to praise him and give him a treat.
Time to close the door
The next time you catch him going into the crate, give him a cue, "Crate" and then close the door behind him. Let him fuss and whine until he settles down. Then praise him and give him a treat.
Take your pup outside for a potty and exercise break.
Work it, baby, work it
The rest is all about you being willing to spend a lot of time working with your pup, gradually extending the time he spends in his crate. Most of all, be patient, he will eventually master this new skill.
The Sniff Method
A new home
Find your pup's den a new home. The spot you choose needs to be in a place where you and your family spend the most time, one out of the flow of traffic, and one that is not near a source of heat. Once it is in place, toss a few of your pup's favorite treats inside, along with the toys.
Leave the crate door closed and back off. Allow your Newfie to wander around the outside of the crate. He will soon smell the treats and start fussing to get in the crate. This is natural, go ahead and open the door and let him in. Leave the door open and let him enjoy the treats. Let him come out on his own terms, then praise him, but no treats. You want him to associate getting treats with going into the crate, not coming out of it.
Into the depths
Next, start tossing the treats farther back in the crate, all the way to the back is best. Use a cue like "Kennel" or "Crate" as your dog goes into the crate. When he goes in, be sure to praise him and let him enjoy his treats.
And when we get behind closed doors
Once your pup has become comfortable with going into his "den", it's time to try closing the door. It's a foregone conclusion that he is going to make it known he is not happy about the closed door. Let him bellow. When he finally settles down, you can praise him, give him a treat, and then let him out. Be sure you let him go outside to pee and stretch his legs.
Keep up the good work
Keep working with your pup to master this vital skill, extending the duration he spends in the crate before you let him out. In time he will be able to remain in his "den" for long periods of time such as when you are at work or asleep.
The Meal Time Method
Locate your pup's new den in a nice central spot in your home. One where the family spends a lot of time yet is out of the main flow of traffic. Leave the door open and let your dog's natural curiosity lead him inside. It will happen, just be patient.
Place his food and water dishes by the door to his crate, but on the outside. This is a good start to getting him used to the crate. Once he is used to this, move the dish just inside the crate and each time he gets used to where it is, move it a little farther into his crate, until it is all the way at the back.
Close the door
Start closing the door and only open it once he is done, then take him out side to do his business.
Add to the time
The rest is all about making him stay in the crate longer before you open the door. Do this in small increments. This will help him to build up endurance until he can stay in his den for several hours at a time.
The big thing
The big thing is to spend as much time as you can working with him. In time you will find your pup treats his crate just like a den and spends a lot of time in it, even when he doesn’t need to.
By PB Getz
Published: 02/02/2018, edited: 01/08/2021