Book: Training a Newfoundland for Water Rescue


New member
Training a Newfoundland for water rescue - book will be published in December 2012. It is in FULL colour, with +/- 400 pages of information.

"Training a Newfoundland for Water Rescue” covers subject areas directly related to training dogs on land and in water. It includes many helpful hints, trainings tips and exercise variation ideas to help you reach your goal in training: whether it is for fun, tests or real water rescue work. The training methods rely on forming a relationship with your dog of mutual trust, which is created using positive reinforcement and pack drive.

The book covers subject areas such as what to look for in a good water dog, what breeders can do to improve the working temperaments of the dogs they breed, how to start water training and possible health issues associated with water rescue dogs. Included are also examples of how clicker training can be used to reward dogs, how to use pack and prey drives to create highly motivated dogs, and further information on dog language and learning theory.

The training section includes explanations and examples on training contact, control and how to train all the useful commands for water dogs, planning a successful training session, breaking exercises into smaller components, creating new exercises for variation and examples of exercises that can be trained alone.

A glimpse is also provided into the world of real water rescue dogs; what you and your dog are capable of achieving if you decide to take that extra step in training and continue towards that ultimate goal of every true water rescue enthusiast.

More information about the authors, table of contents and order information:


New member
Table of contents for “Training a Newfoundland for water rescue”

Chapter 1: Water rescue dogs – Introduction
What breeds are suitable for water rescue work?
Breeding for water working ability
Qualities of a good water dog
How long does it take to train a dog for water rescue?
Appropriate age to start training in the water – and what age to end training?
When is my dog ready to enter the water?
Can I do water work and show my dog in conformation?

Chapter 2: The development of a sound working dog
I) Prenatal phase – gestation until birth
II) Neonatal phase - birth to 2 weeks of age
III) Transitional phase - 2 to 3 weeks of age
Providing early stimulation
Handling the puppies – providing early stimulation
How to do it?
Relaxation and over-stimulation
IV) Socialization phase - 3 to 12 weeks of age
The breeder's task
Puppy owners who live close to the breeder
In the puppy pen, household and the garden
Collar and leash
Taking puppies outside the home
V) Juvenile phase – 12 weeks - 6 months
The owner's task
VI) Adolescence – from 8 months

Chapter 3: Training dogs – learning theory
Learning theory
Marker signals
Conditioning a dog to a clicker or a marker word

Chapter 4: Drive
Drive level in dogs
Using drive in trainings – the basic divisions
Prey Drive
Pack drive
Drive development

Chapter 5: Energy in dog training
What is control?
Using energy in trainings
Positive attitude
How to play with your dog
Teaching your dog to relax

Chapter 6: Training on land
Fun and natural agility
Putting front feet up on a log or a high surface
Learning to balance
Learning to dismount safely
Take breaks and investigate the environment
Teach your dog to follow your hand
Other examples
Showing and naming
Tools you will need to use
Starting showing and naming

Chapter 7: Teaching contact
Teaching the dog his name
Teaching eye contact
Holding a treat at an arm's length
Placing the treat in a bowl
Training contact on a walk

Chapter 8: Basic tasks for all dogs
Teaching your dog to be alone
House Training
Teaching your dog to walk on a leash
Teaching your dog to sit
Teaching your dog to lie down
Fun games to teach down
Teaching your dog to stay: variations

Chapter 9: Training a dog – the key points: commands, rewards and breaking exercises into smaller components
Commands – tones of voice
Attract attention before you command
Repeating commands
Command for the correct action
Commanding in different positions
Using hand signals
Reward and exhausting drive
Breaking exercises into small components
Primary commands
Secondary commands
Use commands when training
Exercise patterns in water rescue
How to make up exercises
Using an example model dog
How do I tell if my dog knows an exercise and just doesn't want to work or if he does not know it?

Chapter 10: Entering the water, swimming with your dog and guiding your dog in the water
Introducing a dog to water
Entering the water with a less confident dog
General information
Walking past the threshold
U turns on the beach
Having something to swim towards
Having a teaser dog
Going to drown & call
Swimming position - Teaching to swim correctly
Entry into the water
Entry into waves
Swimming with your dog
Swimming next to your dog
Swimming behind your dog
Guiding the dog in the water
How to guide the dog in the water
Saving your own dog

Chapter 11: Commands and training
Call off recall
1. Bring-command
2. Find-command
3. Take-command
4. Let go-command
Teaching the retrieve with a clicker or a marker word
Teaching the retrieve without a clicker or a marker word
Find a toy that your dog likes
Making the toy interesting to the dog
Play with your dog
Let go-command
How to get a toy from a dog in the water
Making the dog go after the toy and bringing it back to you
Variations to retrieve
Underwater retrieve
Teaching your dog to take the hand
Retrieve boat - Pull
How to teach forward using treats
Directed retrieve
Taking an object away from the owner
Training take away
On land
In the water
Walking in shallow water with the object in mouth
Variations to take away
Going around an object or a person
Where to take the dog for towing victims
Jumping from a boat
Using a model example
Using a clicker to train jump
Jumping with the dog
Refusing to jump
Leaving the boat when you are in the boat
Using a platform or a mattress on the side of the boat
Disorientation after a jump
Jumping off a pier

Chapter 12: Structure of the trainings
Basics of all training – the well being of the dog
Structuring the trainings
Planning ahead
Who is training?
Why are you training?
What materials do you have to use?
Are you specifically training to use a specific tool during the training session?
Technical trainings
Physical trainings
Training endurance
Combination trainings
Repeating exercises - variation
Adjusting the preplanned session to change
Training session structure
Training turns
Break time!
Know your dog’s limit
The role of helpers
Example: Helpers – so how do you drown?
What if the dog tries to climb on top of you?
Exercises to train alone
How to train alone – what can you replace helpers with?
Training for a test
Example of training session
Example of training session with a boat
Example of training session focusing on training take out
Any issues
After the trainings – Drying?
Ending the season for a winter break
Continuing training after the winter break
Training locations
Location – what questions to ask
Weather questions

Chapter 13: All about equipment
Making your own bumper
Making your own underwater article
Wetsuit or a drysuit?
How to take care of the wetsuit and drysuit
Water rescue harnesses and their use
Dog life vests and their use
What to look for in a boat?
How to make your own doll
Life tube
When to use what equipment?

Chapter 14: Rescue situations and saving people
Training rescue scenarios – SERCs
Boat handling
Turning the boat around
Pulling people and dogs into the boat and getting into the boat yourself

Chapter 15: Real Water Rescue Work
Belgian Lifesaving Federation recognized Water Rescue Dog Team diplomas
Example 1
Example 2
Car in the water
International Lifesaving Federation
Water rescue dogs in the UK

Chapter 16: Health and the basic dog first aid
Coat – Hotspot
Ear issues
Importance of keeping a dog hydrated
Swallowing salt water
Heat Stroke
Entering the water safely
In the case of an emergency situation follow the following steps
Lifting a dog on the table
Artificial breathing
Finding a pulse on a dog
Resuscitation – CPR
How to take temperature
Bandaging wounds
Vomiting or diarrhoea
Feeding a water rescue dog
Can I swim a dog with hip or elbow dysplasia?
Can I swim a dog with heart problems?
Can I swim a dog in season?
Phantom pregnancy
Limber tail syndrome

Appendix: Water rescue competition regulations
New Zealand
United Kingdom
United States of America

(Order of chapters and content may change)


New member
This weekend I'm getting together with my sister, we'll print everything out on Saturday, and all the pdfs will leave our computers to print on Sunday or Monday :). Delivery time is about 2 weeks from print. So looks like I'll be able to post them in less than three weeks!

R Taft

Active member
This weekend I'm getting together with my sister, we'll print everything out on Saturday, and all the pdfs will leave our computers to print on Sunday or Monday :). Delivery time is about 2 weeks from print. So looks like I'll be able to post them in less than three weeks!
Whooooo hooooo.........:)


New member
I am sssooooo excited about this book! Wanted a Newf water rescue buddy for decades, finally have one, want to train Orka to the nth waterwork degree. A book full of real life tested training instructions is like the best manna from heaven!

Thank you Bettina & Annina for putting this together and so generously sharing your hard-won knowledge.

It's been difficult for a long time to not shout from rooftops and swing from trees about this. Ssssooooo excited! Whoooohoooooo!

Latest dip in the cold river, photo credit Joanna of Black Newf Photography:



New member
It must be something to hold it in your hands for the first time. It is like holding yourself, your diary, your line, years of one to one training with special Newfs and the whole constellation of the waterworking world.

It is a great achievement to materialize something of this magnitude. Congratulations!

You have immortalized your mark on the world for the better. And it's only the beginning!


New member
Okay, there are a few of us here in Ottawa who will prder together to save on shipping. So far there are 3-4 of us. You only have shipping for two on your site. How much more for 4 books?

For 3+ it's always 10$/book, so 4 would be $40.