How To Train Bernese Mountain Dog?

How To Train Bernese Mountain Dog

Once your Bernese Mountain Dog has had a chance to settle into his new environment, it’s time to begin training with him on basic commands. There are seven things that we will concentrate on here, on how to train your Bernese Mountain Dog: Sit, Release, Down, Stay, Recall, Heel, and Drop/Leave it. Every trainer starts with Sit command.

It’s the easiest for your Bernese Mountain Dog to train, and it’s simple to reinforce throughout the day without too much effort. Preparing yourself should include delicious treats for your Bernese Mountain Dogs.

It’s important to note here that there are two very different types of treats that you can use when working with your Bernese Mountain Dog: bite-sized training treats that he’ll scoff down in an instant of “high value treats” which can be used for enticing him to achieve more difficult commands.

For now, a small treat that your Bernese Mountain Dog can chew quickly and easily will be the best choice. You don’t want him casually munching on something that takes a long time to eat as it will break his concentration on the training routine.

How To Train Bernese Mountain Dog?

1.Sit Command

1.Sit Command
  • Standing in front of your Bernese Mountain Dog with the leash in your hand, show him the delicious treat, holding it only an inch or two from his nose.
  • Slowly move the treat above his head, so that he’s watching the treat, and in quiet voice say “sit”.
  • If he doesn’t sit, gently move your hand down his back, guiding his butt to the floor.
  • When he sits, immediately give him the treat, and say “good sit” and as always, lots of praise.

Your Bernese Mountain Dog may not grasp the concept right away, so continue working with him three or four times a day, five minutes at the time. If he is not paying attention, make sure there are no distractions. Take him into a quieter room where he can focus on you.

Be sure the floor where you’re working is comfortable for the Bernese Mountain Dog. If the Bernese Mountain Dog is not enjoying the treats, try to find something that he will enjoy.

As your Bernese Mountain Dog begins to understand the sit command, you can use it throughout the day. Reinforce what he’s trained by asking him to sig at the door before going outside.

You can also ask your Bernese Mountain Dog before putting the food bowl down for him. Keep the trainings short, simple and praise and reward the Bernese Mountain Dog when he is trying the best. After your Bernese Mountain Dog understands the verbal sit command, at some point you can begin using a hand signal.

Do not overwhelm your BMD with too much information, use the voice commands and keep it simple.

2. Release Command

Your Bernese Mountain Dog needs a simple word that he’ll recognize to know that he’s “off duty” from his command. If you tell him to sit, for example, he’ll very much appreciate knowing when it’s the right time for him to get up, relax, chill out…hence, the release command.

Find a word that your for you, which you can use with consistency. I use “OKAY” to let my Bernese Mountain Dog know that his command has ended. You can also use “RELEASE”, “ALL GOOD” or “FREE” on whatever will be easier for you.

If you are just starting to work on those commands with your Bernese Mountain Dog, it’s best to wait until he is thoroughly familiar with the Sit command before starting on the release command.

Again, don’t confuse the Bernese Mountain Dog by adding too much at once. Slow, steady, consistent, and rewarded with praise and treats will do the trick. The Release command should have an enthusiastic tone to it, so your Bernese Mountain Dog knows he has made you happy with his good efforts.

3. Down Command

3. The Down Command

If you managed to successfully train your Bernese Mountain Dog with the sit command, you can begin working on “Down”. It won’t be as easy for him to train and learn, so please don’t become frustrated if it takes a while for him to understand what you are asking him to do.

Some dogs see “down” as a somewhat submissive stance, so be patient, keep your voice gentle, and give plenty of encouragement, praise, and rewards.

  • Let your Bernese Mountain Dog know that you have a treat for him and give him the sit command.
  • Place the treat a few inches from his nose, then slowly lower the treat to the floor, all the while saying “down.
  • See if the Bernese Mountain Dog will lower his belly to the floor. If not, place your hand on his back between his shoulder blades and apply gentle pressure as you guide him down. Keep praising and encouraging him.
  • It’s easier to keep his flat collar on him with his six-foot leash, as you gently lower the leash towards the floor. Consider always using a calm voice with your Bernese Mountain Dog.
  • When the Bernese Mountain Dog is in the down position, offer abundant praise and treat.
  • When the Bernese Mountain Dog is familiar with the verbal down command, you can try adding the hand command for down. Use a flat hand, palm facing downward, slightly lowering your hand towards the floor, while repeating the word down.
  • Work in conjunction with the OKAY command to release him.

The next goal should be teaching your Bernese Mountain Dog to go directly from a standing position to down. Again always use positive reinforcement, and keep your training sessions short and enjoyable. Training should be fun for your as an owner and your lovely Bernese Mountain Dog.

4. Stay Command

You should never consider the stay command optional. Picture this: You’re walking with your Bernese Mountain Dog in the park and he’s off leash. A squirrel crosses your path, and your beloved Bernese Mountain Dog takes off at breakneck speed after that squirrel, just as said rodent is bounding for the woods. Your Bernese Mountain Dog needs to hear “STAY” as soon as this scenario begins to play out.

Otherwise, will your Bernese Mountain Dog can get lost. The “Stay” command should be a part of essential training.

  • Give your Bernese Mountain Dog the sit command.
  • While you are waking backwards give your Bernese Mountain Dog a command to stay . If he gets up to follow you, bring the dog back to where he was sitting, and say, “sit” then “stay”.
  • For the stay command, I use my hand command that I use to signal stop-a flat palm out and facing your Bernese Mountain Dog.
  • Walk backwards and a few feed away from him again. After a few seconds say “OKAY” or whatever you would use to release the command, and praise and give him the treat.
  • You can put your Bernese Mountain Dog on a down instead of a sit if it seems less stressful. Because it is more comfortable for him, I prefer to teach a dog to stay from the down position. When he’s not proficient with the command, you can simply move to stay from wherever and however he is positioned.
  • Increase the length of time he spends in the room gradually.
  • Praise should most definitely follow your Bernese Mountain Dog successful efforts. Even when you’re confident that he understands the stay, practice often with him and reinforce the command.

5. Come Command

5. Come Command

The Come Command is another order that your Bernese Mountain Dog must train, and must learn to respond quickly, no matter what the circumstances. Again, it could be a life saver. Having a Bernese Mountain Dog who does not respond to your commands is potentially putting his and your life in danger.

Teach your Bernese Mountain Dog the command in the most rewarding, fund, way so he doesn’t hesitate for a second when called. Your Bernese Mountain Dog mindset when working on the come command should be that when he hears come there will be the most wonderful reward or praise waiting when he reaches you.

To reach this command, break out those high-value, special treats that you Bernese Mountain Dog loves for which he will do anything and train hard. He needs to know that coming means a spectacular reward is waiting.

About those high-value treats: they can be cheese bits, small bits of cooked meat, and chicken, the Bernese Mountain Dogs love this. The pieces are small, the Bernese Mountain Dogs love them and they won’t add too many extra calories to the daily diet.

  • When you are ready to work on the Recall with your Bernese Mountain Dog, pick a time of day when he’s relaxed, has no distractions, and has already has his bathroom break so he can train.
  • Bring your Bernese Mountain Dog into a fairly roomy space where you can put work with him uninterrupted.
  • Put his flat collar and leash on him. Have his high-value treats handy.
  • Give the commands to sit and stay, followed by a treat and praise when he complies.
  • Take a few steps backwards and give the command “come”.
  • If the Bernese Mountain Dog doesn’t respond, walk toward him, pick up his leash, and walk backwards to the spot where you originally stood, all the while saying, “come” in a calm, cheerful voice. Treat time!
  • Next, have your Bernese Mountain Dog sit and stay in that spot, drop the leash, walk away, and repeat.

Do not praise the Bernese Mountain Dog or offer a treat if he only gets half way to you, instead, encourage him to come all the way. He needs to be within arm’s reach.

Practice but only as long as your Bernese Mountain Dog is interested and responsive. Don’t give up. He’s smart but you’re smarter. Plus you have the treats.

Recall, it’s time to take things outside where there is a plethora of smells, sounds and everything that makes life interesting for your Bernese Mountain Dog. You job is to get him to focus on you. To assist, use the following:

  • Attach a long rope to your Bernese Mountain Dog collar.
  • Ask your Bernese Mountain Dog to sit and stay, giving a treat when he complies.
  • Now walk to the rope’s end and say “come.”. If he’s not responding or is too busy checking out the surrounding scenery, you can gently reel him in toward you, all while saying “come”.
  • When he’s within arm’s reach, praise and offer that special treat.

Do not allow your Bernese Mountain Dog off leash, until you’re 100% sure that you can trust his recall. It may take a lot of work, even if a Bernese Mountain Dog is 99% responding to a recall, you should keep him on the leash. That 1% is too many and don’t take the risk.

6. Heel Command

As a owner of a Bernese Mountain Dog I don’t often use the heel command. Because I find it unnecessary. Our walks are fairly casual and unhurried, so it’s not something we focus on. My Bernese Mountain Dog is much happier to be sniffing hydrants, meeting new friends, and looking to mark some sport.

If you live in a place with a lot of snow or ice, you don’t want your Bernese Mountain Dog to pull you and to possibly hurt you, this can cause a big trouble.

Aside of the above physical risk, when you ask your Bernese Mountain Dog to heel, you’re reinforcing your Alpha Dog status. You ask, he complies. Heeling will also contribute to your Bernese Mountain Dog mental stimulation. He’s exercising his brain and thinking about what he should be doing.

If you have practiced this command with your Bernese Mountain Dog enough, chances are good that you won’t be tempted to pull ahead of you on walks. Here’s how to practice the heel command:

  • As with other training sessions, begin working in a quiet environment with no distractions.
  • Have a collar and leash on your Bernese Mountain Dog and carry some training treats.
  • Walk with your Bernese Mountain Dog close by your side with no slack on the leash. You want him next to your leg.
  • Repeat the command “heel” as you walk, then stop quickly. Give the sit command and when he sits, give him a treat and praise.
  • Tell him “OKAY” and as he gets up, immediately say “heel” and repeat by walking with him at your side.

Make sure that this is the fun training for your Bernese Mountain Dog, give him a lot of treats and praise. If you’re using the heel command every time you are walking he will get used to walk by your side always.

From my experience I’m suggesting to always use a six foot leash. Do not use the longer leash for the trainings. The heel training is fun and you can teach out Bernese Mountain Dog to walk on whatever side you would like him to.

7. The Drop It Command

This command is not an option. Every Bernese Mountain Dog needs to respond to “drop it”. Whether your Bernese Mountain Dog is munching on a toy, a tasty but potentially poisonous morsel that he’s just dug up from your garden, or your expensive new leather clutch purse, “drop it” should be an essential training command in your pet’s vocabulary. In his mind, this command will once again reinforce your status as top dog, but also may save his life.

  • Give your Bernese Mountain Dog a toy or something that catches his interest but not anything as enjoyable as his favorite training treat.
  • When he’s fully focused on the toy say “drop it”, offer him a treat instead, and when he does drop the toy, give him some enthusiastic praise and the special treat.

This command will take some practice. But your Bernese Mountain Dog will soon understand. Never pull the toy out of his mouth, he should let go of it willingly.

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