Taking care of your dog

Grooming is an important part of keeping your newfie healthy

 Watch grooming videos with Penny Shubert.

Grooming Your Newfoundland Puppy by Cindy Wingfield


So you have a new puppy? You will see this baby Newf growing right before your eyes as each day passes. You are busy teaching the manners that are so important for a growing puppy that will end up over 100 pounds in less than a year. It is essential to teach this puppy not to jump on people, not to chew on your things, and to play nice with fellow fur friends as well. All these things are important, but have you considered the amount of time that will go into grooming this double-coated friend? Teaching your dog to behave while getting groomed is just as important as everything else you will teach him. Grooming your Newfoundland will be a commitment that you must consider early on as it is absolutely a necessity throughout this pups entire life. Grooming sessions should be a positive experience for you and your dog. Training your puppy on a grooming table is the best way to insure that as an adult, his experience is enjoyable for both of you. Begin with short sessions, lots of treats and praise. You must make this experience one that the puppy enjoys. I find it to be an excellent bonding time for my dog and me. It is quite enjoyable to have a clean, happy puppy! Get your puppy used to having his feet lifted, toenails trimmed, ears cleaned, and the feel of a powerful hair dryer. As your puppy gets used to the sound of the dryer, the use of clippers or a toenail grinder, he will begin to enjoy longer sessions. Brush your dog’s coat at least twice a week, and perhaps more often after a romp in the mud puddles or playing in the rain. Once your puppy figures out the positive things that go along with these sessions, he will gladly be ready to please you by getting on the table. If you wait until there are mats, then the experience becomes quite negative, and your dog will not like to be groomed. This is not an option for a Newfoundland. Before any trimming can be done, you must have a clean, mat-free coat. Your puppy will begin to shed (“blow”) his puppy coat as the adult coat begins to come in. This transition coat can be hard to deal with, but remember, it is temporary.  After your Newfoundland has his adult coat, you will be spending time getting out the dead coat that is always happy to shed all over the house. Newfoundlands blow coat several times a year. Since Newfoundlands are a double-coated breed, dead coat must be removed promptly in order to prevent skin irritations. Using a high velocity dryer is an excellent way to loosen up the coat as you brush. It is also an essential tool for examining the skin for any problems such as parasites or skin infections. You must make sure your dog is completely dry with no tangles. Failure to dry completely can mean you are subjecting your dog to hot spots along with other skin infections that can occur due to moisture being trapped under the hair. A beautifully groomed Newfoundland is truly a sight to behold! Training your puppy to stand on a table will be one of the most rewarding experiences you will have with your dog. It will become a way of life for you and your dog. Begin this right away when you get your puppy at 12 weeks or so. Hopefully your breeder has begun this process early on and you can continue this throughout his life. There are grooming seminars offered by skilled hands, or perhaps a trip to your breeder for some hands on training when you want to learn more about trimming your Newfoundland. Enjoy your grooming experience with your puppy, and make it a part of your training early! You both will be glad you did!


                                       Read more about grooming from the NCA.

NCA grooming

Grooming—The Basics for Companion Newfoundland Grooming by Dee Adrian

First thing to realize is that if you buy cheap equipment, in the long run it won’t pay off! That said, buy the best quality you can as your budget allows. You probably will not be able to buy the best quality right away but be wise what you do buy. Every Newf owner should invest in a good solid grooming table with a heavy duty double bolt grooming arm. This not only helps with grooming but also will aid with obedience training. And most Newfs will actually LOVE to get on the table as they learn that they have lots of one on one time with their beloved owner—especially if it is a positive experience during training. That is why training treats and praise while on the table is very important. Take small steps and reward when the puppy learns to allow you to pick up its paw for a nail trim etc. One toe at a time to start on each paw and work up to all four in no time. Other equipment I use:

Shears photo

Shears/scissors—have tried several over the years but have grown to really like Kenchii shears. Thinners, straight or curved. They feel great in your hands and definitely get what you pay for with these. Thinners are used to neaten ears, necks, paws. I use curves to trim hocks and pasterns. Straights I do go a bit less expensive—my current pair is a Fromm shear—and use those to help trim or cut through an matts that may have developed such as behind the ears—a common area.

Grroming tools photo with brushes

Brushes—Slicker brushes are always a must. I do use a pin brush while blow-drying to help separate the hairs and encourage loose hair to blow out of the coat.

Combs/Rakes—I use both. I like a wide tooth comb from Chris Christensen and rakes are good to help remove burs and tangles. I use what used to be called a “Mat Breaker” but is no longer on the market though similar items can be found on line.

Hair Dryer Photo

Blow-dryer—I have both a K-9 II and just added a K-9 III to the collection. Both are really adequate for any home groomer and just a few baths and groom at home and you’ll have your dryer paid for versus paying to have your Newf bathed and groomed at a shop! Plus if you swim your Newf, you’ll be able to rinse and dry him/her post swimming to avoid potential skin infections. And the plus about the K-9 dryers is they are very durable and you can have your local vacuum cleaner repair shop fix them if need be! Tip—I do prefer a slit nozzle to push the water out of the coat at first but will remove the nozzle towards the end to fluff and dry around the head , ears and groin area.

Clippers—I love my Oster A-5 turbo with a wide #10 blade to trim down my senior or spayed/neutered Newfs into a “puppy cut”. Keeps them feeling comfortable and helps manage “spayed bitch coat’, too! I will trim their coat to about 2-3” all over except their belly I will trim close to the skin with my Wahl Bravura cordless clipper with the adjustable blade. Also helps with any tight mats that may develop in the groin or behind the ears. Caution, there is a very slight chance of cutting their skin with that clipper.

Nails Photo

Nail Trimmers—I use a Dremel to grind the nails down which also helps prevent sharp edges. I used to use a cordless Dremel but grew tired of the battery life being so short lived. Recently switched to a corded Dremel and you do need to be careful but it is very fast. For dewclaws I will use a Miller orange handled plier-type nail trimmer to snip the ends off to avoid the quick.

Carry-all bag photo

Grooming bag—you’ll need a handy tote to store all your tools so you can grab and take to your favorite grooming spot!

Treats—always keep in your grooming bag so you can make grooming a very positive and happy experience for your Newf!

Grooming Products:

*Sprays-to aid brushing, I love Best Shot products and Chris Christensen’s Ice on Ice

*Shampoos-Chris Christensen’s Clean Start is excellent cleansing shampoo. Best Shot is a great shampoo to aid removing blown coat. For skin issues, I like Malacetic—especially good for ‘swimmers’ itch’.

*Rinses—Best Shot again! Great product and helps release blowing undercoat. Also, hot oil from Sally’s Beauty Supply is great, too.

A good link to help with grooming can be found at: http://www.mukotanewfs.com/grooming/

Also, a great book that is good for tips is written by Pat Hastings, Tricks of the Trade and can be found at www.dogfolk.com or Judi Alder’s “Newfoundland Puppy: Early Care, Early Training” is also a good book to reference. Contact Judi at www.sweetbay.com

And never fear asking the breeder of your puppy for grooming tips!

Good luck and most importantly—HAVE FUN!

More to see

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Learn how to find a breeder in your area or rescue a dog in need.
Grooming is an important part of your Newfoundlands life. Need some tips? Watch these videos.
Are you looking for things to do with your Newfoundlands? We know tons of great activities to keep you busy.
The South Central Newfoundland Club (SCNC) is a regional club of The Newfoundland Club of America, dedicated to preserving and protecting the Newfoundland Dog. The club promotes this goal by organizing and sponsoring working trials, including annual water and draft tests. Open to families and individuals who enjoy working and playing with their Newfs, we also provide plenty of fun and educational activities throughout the year including water and draft workshops and other social events.
All opinions expressed above are solely the work of the author or contributor and do not reflect the official views or policies of the South Central Newfoundland Club or the Newfoundland Club of America except where noted. 1999-Current South Central Newfoundland Club.  All rights reserved.