Training a Bernese Mountain Dog
Have you brought a new Bernese Mountain Dog into your home? The first thing you’ll need to do is to set boundaries for him. That means putting him through obedience training and housebreaking sessions.
1. Foster Respect
The first step in training your puppy is to get him to respect you. Respect training involves a balance of desirable and adverse consequences. The former encourages and the latter, of course, discourages behaviors. It means rewarding wanted conduct with treats and deflecting unwanted ones by asserting yourself with your voice. Dogs need to respect their owners’ wishes. If yours doesn’t tolerate toe-nail clipping, he certainly won’t accept it when you try to get him to stop barking.
2. Have Patience
Another point to note about training this dog is to have patience. These dogs are intelligent and eager to please but will take some time to teach. If you feel frustrated, stay away from the dog until you’re ready to try again.
3. Reward Good Behavior
Moreover, encouraging good behavior is essential. You could do so with a tasty treat or with praise. If you ignore the dog’s unwanted conduct and give attention to his positive behavior instead, he will start reproducing it.
Your dog may chew on your favorite slippers instead of his chew toy. Catch his attention with an alternative toy. Praise him for chewing on the right object. Keep dog treats with you in a Ziploc bag, so that you’ll always have them handy to reward him for doing what’s right.
4. Shorten training sessions
Also, remember that a puppy’s attention span isn’t long. Your puppy may stay focused for only five minutes. If you keep your training sessions with your puppy short and pleasant, you’ll find increasing it easy. His focus has probably improved if he is willing to spend more time interacting with you.
5. Teaching Basic Obedience
Arming your Bernese Mountain Dog with basic obedience skills not only sets boundaries but also allows you to bond with him. Start with these simple commands.
Simple Commands to Teach Your Bernese Mountain Dog
The ‘sit’ command is an easy one to teach and disciplines your dog. It’s easy to manage a dog which has self-control.
To get your dog to sit, get down to his level on the floor. Then, wave a treat in front of him and prompt him to follow it with his eyes. His buttock will touch the ground. As it does, give him the treat and heap praise on him. You shouldn’t hold the treat so high that it becomes unreachable, or your dog will become discouraged.
Note that you should repeat the procedure until the dog has no difficulty with the command. However, don’t drill until he becomes weary. Instead, reinforce it when it’s opportune or timely. These moments usually happen at mealtimes or before you open the door to take your dog out. If you can get your puppy to sit when he should, it can save you a lot of trouble.
It’s necessary that your dog comes to you when he’s called. The come command keeps him away from danger and reminds him of his boundaries. If he suddenly runs out of the door and into oncoming traffic, this instruction can save him.
To teach it, attach a light leash to your dog’s collar and let him walk around. When he’s used to it, grab it and follow him. He’ll start to understand his connection to you. With the word ‘come’ in mind, walk backward and prompt him to follow you. When he does, reward him with a treat.
Remember not to shout ‘come’ too many times. Dogs respond best to single commands. Guide your dog to you if he doesn’t come at once. Also, never call your dog to discipline him, or he’ll start developing negative associations with the instruction.
Exercises for Your Bernese Mountain Dog
Your Bernese Mountain Dog doesn’t need much training but still needs moderate activity to stay healthy. Here are some ways for him to have fun while burning off excess calories.
a. Run With Your Dog
Running with your dog is probably the best form of multitasking. Your dog burns away unwanted calories while you do the same yourself. Besides, it’s a fun way for both of you to enjoy the great outdoors.
You should remember that this is your dog’s activity. As such, do let him stop to sniff the ground and socialize if he wants to, even if it makes you slow.
Flyball is another high-energy sport. Owners team their dogs up. The rules of Flyball are the same as those of a relay. Dogs have to overcome four hurdles along a course. The first of these is a box of tennis balls. The dog has to step on it to release a ball before returning to the starting line. And there’s more. The dog has to hold the ball in its mouth while jumping over the hurdles. The fastest team to complete the race wins. Of course, there are penalties such as not being able to drop the ball.
c. Agility training
Your dog may have lots of energy to burn off. Agility training may suit him. It usually requires the dog to overcome many obstacles. The sport will build confidence and allow him to keep to a healthy weight too.
Nature didn’t create all dogs to track, but that doesn’t mean that it restricts the activity. All dogs can track. Lay out a scent trail for your dog. Once it has lost some of its freshness, encourage your dog to find the object at the end of it.
At times, a game of fetch is all your dog needs. You can easily fit this into your schedule, and you don’t have to take him anywhere far. If there’s a park nearby, all the better. You can play the game in a room without too many obstacles as well.
f. Playing with other dogs
You don’t have to search too hard for an activity for your dog to do. Let him do what comes to him naturally.
Playing with other dogs is a way for your Bernese to let off steam and enjoy being a dog. The dogs can expend their energy the way they wish and create activities of their own.
g. Brain exercises
Training extends to the brain. Your dog may become lax after he has learned all the basic obedience commands.
So it’s up to you to keep his cognitive juices flowing. Find a fun skill to teach him, such as getting him to shake paws or high diving.
Dogs are natural swimmers. If you live in a hot climate, bringing him for an occasional romp at the beach is probably a good idea.
There’s no end to the beach games that he can play. A game of Frisbee or Dodgeball will keep him entertained for hours on end.
i. Stair Climbing
Stair climbing works to keep people slim, so it should do the same for your Bernese Mountain Dog. Bring him up and down stairs daily. He’ll enjoy the activity and lose a few pounds as well.
j. Play Find The Treat
You can let your dog search for his favorite treat among a pile of objects. When he does, reward him with the treat. To make this game complicated, get the dog to start looking for it in from a different room.
If you’re an avid dancer, this is the activity for you. Try to dance with your dog. You can choreograph movements and go through a ‘dance’ routine. If there are competitions, why not let him participate?
l. Daily Walks
Finally, a daily walk is the simplest form of exercise. Trite as it seems, it is an efficient way to shed pounds. A walk lets your dog learn about the things around him and increases his confidence.