A few tips

Land training away from the water, in your garden or in a park can have great benefits. For example, if you are having trouble getting your dog to perform an 'underwater retrieve' (exercise B4 in the official tests), use a large bowl of water in the garden with a favourite toy as the retrieve object and praise the dog and or give it a reward whenever it lifts the object out of the water. The dog will soon realise what is required and this often overcomes a reluctance to put it's nose and mouth underwater.

If your dog is struggling with a basic retrieve of a provided object (exercise B3 in the tests), take the problem object(s) to a park - the bewildered looks on people's faces are amusing when you are carrying a life-jacket or a life-ring over your shoulder miles away from the nearest water! When your dog begins to successfully retrieve these 'strange' articles away from the water and transfers this confidence to the lake, it will be time and effort well spent.

Be patient

Praise and encouragement Water training can be rewarding and great fun for you and your dog. It is one of the best forms of exercise for a Newfoundland. It can equally be frustrating when your dog does not do what you know it can, or what you think it should do. Even well trained and experienced Newfoundlands have the habit of performing an exercise perfectly one week, but a week later they appear to have never done it before! Remember, they are not machines and can get distracted, bored, or on that day be just not bothered. A sense of perspective should be maintained and harsh handling or bullying of a dog is always unacceptable. All that achieves is to make your dog fearful, hesitant and reluctant to perform at all. With most newfies, firm clear and consistent verbal commands are necessary to successfully control the dog. Some dogs become confused when an unusually firm tone is used, or a number of instructions it has never heard before are shouted at it. Always be aware of your tone, commands and bearing.

Care for your dogs

After a training session you will be left with a wet or damp dog. If there is a facility to rinse your dog down with clean water, please use it! We have such a facility at Grangewaters. Many training waters are not particularly clean and a good soak with clean water may help your dog avoid skin complaints caused by pollutants in the water remaining in the dog's coat. NEVER let your dog swim in water that has, or you suspect might have blue/green algae in it, it's a killer of dogs.

The thorough drying of dogs as soon as possible after training is recommended. We have a generator and blaster to dry our dogs after swimming. Limbs or joints that are left damp can become stiff and ears with moisture left in them can become infected. Also, coats are more likely to mat if left damp and un-groomed. Do not feed your dog immediately before or after exercise as this can increase the risk of a Gastric Torsion (Bloat) which is not uncommon in Newfoundlands. Ideally, do not feed your dog for about two hours before or after a training session.

Draught work

A Newfoundland in harness doing draught work

Newfoundlands were bred and used for draught work where their large size and exceptional strength allow them to pull heavy loads.

Although we focus only on water work, some of our members also train for draught work and there are organised tests for Draught too.


A Newfoundland carrying out an obedience exercise

Naturally intelligent and usually wanting to please their owners, Newfoundlands are good candidates for obedience work. Some have a mind of their own so it can take a bit of work but the results are very rewarding.

Grangewaters Working Newfoundlands don't practice for formal obedience but we have several memmbers who specialise and train in that area so we have lots of knowledge and experience on tap.

Open Obedience shows are frequently organised by canine societies and give yet another opportunity for Newfoundlands to show their abilities.


A Champion in the making

Many of our members also exhibit their Newfoundlands at both Open and Championship Show level. We have several dogs in our group that have enjoyed great success in the show ring, including UK Champions, CC and Reserve CC winners, Junior Warrant holders and Crufts qualified dogs.

We all enjoy each others successes and love to see Newfoundlands who look great in the ring also perform their function as working dogs. It has been proved many times over that a newfie that works can also compete at the highest levels as a show dog. The conditioning gained from water work is a positive asset when it comes to performance in the show ring.