The time has come; you must commence training a Bernese mountain dog.
While training a Bernese is an invigorating endeavor, it can also feel daunting and challenging, especially if it is your first time training this beautiful (and large!) dog breed.
Thankfully, Bernese Mountain Dogs love to please people and are ready to absorb and learn. Tips and techniques definitely help to make the process go as smoothly as possible.
This article shares the top tips for Bernese mountain dog training, so you can approach this gentle giant milestone with more confidence.
What to Know Before Training a Bernese Mountain Dog
It is important to know a few aspects before starting:
They Want to Please
This loving breed desires to please his owner, so he will be very apt for training. Because Bernese do grow to be so big, it is very important to train early on because, although they have a gentle demeanor, without training they can still inflict harm accidentally.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are Intelligent
Yes, your gentle giant is a smart cookie!
Allow Time to Think
At the same time, he sometimes needs time to process his thoughts and think things through. It is important for you, as the owner, to be patient. Give him the time to absorb information, and he will learn fast.
Show Authority in the Most Loving and Safe Way
He wants to feel safe and secure with you. At the same time, it is key to demonstrate dominance early on, so he knows you are in charge of the home.
Know How Your Dog was Bred
It is very important to remember why and how this dog was bred. Historically, the Bernese Mountain Dog was brought up to guard farms, herd livestock and help with cart labor, such as pulling carts of milk. That means your dog will innately want to learn and be of use; they are more joyful when there is a goal and have things to accomplish.
Okay, let’s start from the beginning. Literally, in terms of lifespan.
Tips for Bernese Mountain Dog Puppy Training
It is best to start training this breed as a puppy since they can grow very quickly. By beginning young, it starts developing important habits why they are a puppy. Training a smaller dog is easier, plus, safer for you and others as they grow bigger.
When training a Bernese puppy, focus on:
No Jumping on People
Training your dog to not jump up onto people is key; when they get older and bigger, they could truly hurt someone – even if unintentional.
Using a Leash
Start leash training your dog young. Teach him how to be led on a leash while you are able to be more in control – before he grows to full size.
It’s a good idea to get them used to teeth brushing from an early stage. Make it a habit you train them on now. Then, when they get older, you’re not wrestling to brush your dog’s teeth who is massive in size!
When Training a Bernese Mountain Dog, Be Positive
It is very important to be gentle with your canine.
Bernese Mountain Dogs crave companionship and want to please you, their owner. They do not need harsh words; in fact, too much punishment or negativity is harmful to them. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement and words of excitement and congratulations when they have done something good.
Enforce good behavior through:
Give loud, joyful sounding praise. Tell your dog how amazing he did! What a good dog! They truly do want to please you and love hearing praise.
The way to the heart (and brain) is through the stomach, right? Give him treats when he has done something good. Make sure to keep treats with you at all times. After all, great training opportunities can approach when you least expect. Check with your vet to see if it’s a great fit to give them organic dog treats.
When it comes to negative behavior, the best route is to simply ignore it. They will focus on the positive enforcement and learn accordingly.
How to Stop Your Bernese Puppy from Chewing Up Things
Your puppy is just that, a puppy. He or she has the urge to chew and, especially if pent up or bored, destroy.
To stop your dog from chewing your favorite sweater, here’s what to do:
When you catch them in the act of chewing or ripping, immediately bring out something you do want them to wrestle with, like a chew toy. When they start chewing that, hoot and holler with plenty of praise. Continue this positive reinforcement for what they should chew, until they forget or ditch the sweater (or couch or pillow!)
Behaviors Bernese Mountain Dogs Are Prone To While Training
People are often surprised to find that, although Bernese Mountain dogs have bursts of activity, they do like and need rest.
Part of it is that, due to their size and bone structure, they can be prone to canine joint pain.
If, as you train and see your Bernese Mountain Dog grow up, it seems that your dog is experiencing such joint pain, consult with your vet to find out other alternatives to help your pet.
Training a Bernese Mountain Dog does not have to be a difficult task. However, for best results, make sure to start the training and socialization of your dog from a young age so they become well-rounded and behaved pups later on in life.