Our group meets up on most Sundays throughout the year and train our dogs in various activities the Newfoundland was originally bred to perform – such as water rescue work, carting/draught work. We also do obedience and nosework training, and sometimes we all just meet up for a group dog walk which all the dogs enjoy!
All of our training is based on positive reinforcement and aim to keep the activities fun for both the dogs and their humans.
During the warmer months (April-September) we concentrate on water rescue work with draught work and obedience/nosework during the cooler months.
Many members train towards levels of achievement laid down by the three national Breed Clubs in both Water and Draught work – in the Useful Links page via the breed club sites you can find downloads of the Water and Draught Test Regulations (they are common to all three clubs). However, many members do not wish to train for tests and just have fun working their dogs.
Water Rescue Training
Most Newfoundlands love swimming – and have a natural instinct to rescue and retrieve, so our training covers such activities as swimming out to rescue a ‘drowning’ person or towing a boat back to shore. The more advanced exercises comprise of searching for a hidden rope or being directed to rescue one of two casualties for example. Some dogs just love to swim – and that’s fine too! Your dog can be any age to do water training and we adjust the exercises according to the age and fitness of the dog.
Carting/Draught Work Training
The other main training activity is draught work, and this involves both obedience and the ability to pull a cart safely over a distance (dependent upon the dog’s ability and fitness) encountering obstacles such as gates and ditches or fallen trees along the way. We start by encouraging dogs to pull a simple log to get them used to something behind them and build up to a cart. As a giant breed, Newfoundlands need time to develop their bone and muscle structure therefore we do not start younger dogs with a cart until they are at least 15 months old, although they can get used to wearing a harness and pulling a light log when they are younger.
During the winter months we also do obedience training which runs alongside draught work – a dog needs to have a good level of obedience if it is to be safe pulling a cart. Our dogs are all at various levels, again, we base our training on positive reinforcement and aim to make it fun for our dogs. It is also very good socialisation training, especially for youngsters.
Newfoundlands also make for great scent detection dogs – we mainly train for air scent training. There is a bait placed on of the poles (at random) which the dog needs to find in the shortest amount of time. Similarly another exercise involves finding a hidden object.