Berner Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog Training: Berners Best Behavior

bernese mountain dog

Welcome to the joy of Bernese Mountain Dog training. If you’re ready to embark on an exciting journey with one of the most lovable dog breeds out there, look no further; we’ve got you covered. Bernese Mountain Dogs aren’t just adorably cute, they’re also intelligent and eager to learn. Whether you’re a first-time dog owner or an experienced pup enthusiast, training a Berner can be an incredibly rewarding experience, filled with tail-wagging moments and heart-melting affection.

The Bernese Mountain Dog, affectionately known as a “Berner,” hails from the Swiss Alps, where they were originally bred as versatile farm dogs. These gentle giants possess a wonderful blend of strength and sweetness, making them ideal companions for families and individuals. As they mature, they display significant size and strength, underscoring the need to establish a robust training foundation early on.

When speaking to an experienced Berner owner, they’ll undoubtedly share that a Berner has a genuine desire to please. They thrive with positive reinforcement; hence, treats, belly rubs, and undivided attention consistently yield excellent results. With this positive training approach, you’ll swiftly earn their trust and enthusiasm during sessions.

Berners are a breeze to train, owing to their astute minds and delightful temperament. Training them personally paves the way for cherished memories, strong bonds, and fresh challenges for both pet and owner. Just remember: be consistent, patient, and, most importantly, enjoy the journey with your Berner.

Table of Contents

bernese mountain dog training

Are Bernese Mountain Dogs Easy to Train?

Bernese Mountain Dogs are generally considered moderately easy to train, owing to their intelligence and their eager-to-please nature. As a working breed, they thrive when working alongside their human companions, which facilitates the training process.

The temperament of the Bernese Mountain Dog contributes to their trainability. Their gentle and affectionate nature means that consistent positive reinforcement is key when teaching them new skills. However, they’re also sensitive, so a harsh response can hinder their progress.

It’s essential to understand that while they may typically be easy to train, this doesn’t guarantee a seamless experience. Be prepared for occasional challenges, as each Bernese Mountain Dog varies in its level of trainability. Some may exhibit an independent streak, making certain training phases more challenging as they might prefer to act on their terms. Nonetheless, with consistent, concise training sessions, you’ll eventually witness the positive results of your efforts.

Training a Bernese Mountain Dog

To embark on the journey of training a Bernese Mountain Dog, it’s essential to arm yourself with patience, consistency, and an approach centered around positive reinforcement. 

These majestic and affectionate dogs thrive on human companionship and possess an innate desire to please, attributes that make them highly trainable.

Initiate your training regime with fundamental obedience commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” Always resort to positive reinforcement techniques; Bernese Mountain Dogs are notably sensitive, so a harsh tone or punishment might backfire. 

Instead of focusing on mistakes, strive to redirect or overlook undesired behaviors, as dwelling on them isn’t productive. Celebrate every achievement, however small, with treats or affectionate gestures. This reinforces positive behavior and lets the dog know it’s on the right path.

Tip: start with the “sit” command, as mastering it provides a solid foundation for other instructions.

Training isn’t just about commands; it’s also about socialization. Ensuring your dog interacts with a variety of people, animals, and environments is vital to their development, helping them mature into well-adjusted adults. 

Such experiences allow your Bernese Mountain Dog to showcase its unique personality, ensuring it remains lively during everyday activities and training sessions alike.

Every training journey has its challengesBernese Mountain Dogs can occasionally display an independent streak, which might make them seem stubborn. However, with consistency, patience, affection, and understanding, you can achieve remarkable outcomes. One final piece of advice: keep your training sessions short and engaging.

bernese mountain dog puppy
Bernese Mountain Dog Puppy

Training a Bernese Mountain Dog Puppy

Training a Bernese Mountain dog follows a principle common to many breeds: it’s best to start when they are puppies. Beginning their training at a young age offers numerous advantages that can benefit you substantially in the long run.

One primary reason to train them as pups is their manageable size. They are easier to handle when they are smaller, compared to when they grow to 100 pounds or more. Being smaller also allows you to supervise them closely and keep them within your sight.

Secondly, puppies haven’t yet developed ingrained behaviors, making it simpler to instill good habits. In their early stages, you can introduce basic manners and familiarize them with routines such as grooming and walking.

However, training a Bernese Mountain puppy requires ample patience and understanding. Puppies are naturally energetic and playful, but this vigor can be harnessed positively as they’re also quick to adapt to new routines.

Begin your training by acquainting your puppy with their living quarters, which naturally includes housetraining. Introduce house rules like chewing habits, and initially section off parts of your home to prevent them from feeling overwhelmed. As they adjust, gradually grant them more access, using this freedom as positive reinforcement when they master new rules.

Next on your training agenda should be socialization. This phase is crucial as it allows puppies to adapt to interactions with both humans and other animals. Socialization not only lets a Bernese Mountain puppy indulge their curiosity but also helps mitigate potential anxiety or fear as they mature.

Lastly, introduce obedience training. You can enlist professional help, purchase training sessions, or undertake the training yourself. It’s vital to commence obedience training early in the puppy’s life to lay a solid foundation. Remember, patience, understanding, and positive reinforcement are the keys to successful puppy training.

berner mountain dog

Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Bark a lot?

Every dog owner has a primary concern when adopting a dog: the barking. When it comes to Bernese Mountain dogs, they are generally not excessive barkers compared to some larger breeds. Their calm and gentle nature often means they vocalize less frequently. However, under certain circumstances, they can become more vocal.

One factor that can trigger barking is their instinct, particularly their innate desire to protect their family. Being guardian dogs, Bernese Mountain dogs naturally bark when they perceive potential threats or unfamiliar situations.

Another reason they might bark is to communicate with their owner. If a Bernese Mountain Dog feels bored or lonely, it may bark to convey its feelings. Given their deep affectionate nature, a bark for attention might simply mean they desire your companionship.

While Bernese Mountain dogs aren’t known to bark excessively, it’s crucial to train them to control their vocalizations. If left untrained, they might develop undesirable barking habits, leading to bigger issues. 

Therefore, even if they aren’t naturally frequent barkers, it’s essential to train them through socialization, ensuring they remain relaxed and confident in various scenarios.

bernese mountain dog with its owner

Can Bernese Mountain Dogs Be Left Alone?

Bernese Mountain Dogs are deeply affectionate and sociable, often forming strong bonds with their owners and viewing them as part of their pack. As a result, a Bernese Mountain Dog may suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods.

It’s crucial to establish a routine for them when you know you’ll be away, whether for work or other commitments. First, ensure they have a comfortable environment in your absence. Set aside a designated area with fresh water, toys, and puzzles to keep them engaged. Leaving an item with your scent, like a worn shirt, can also provide them with reassurance.

Secondly, it’s essential to train them gradually to cope with your absence. Begin with short durations and increase the time incrementally. This approach helps them build confidence in being alone and adjust to it. Crate training can serve as a foundational technique in this process, so it’s beneficial to start early.

Though Bernese Mountain Dogs are an incredibly lovable breed, it’s important to understand that prolonged isolation is not recommended. Extended loneliness can heighten their separation anxiety. However, with consistent training and adherence to a routine, they can develop confidence and trust in your eventual return.

Bernese Mountain dog with a man

Crate Training a Bernese Mountain Dog

Letting your Bernese mountain dog be trained with crate training can bring a lot of benefits and it helps in providing them a safe and secure space. Crate training can be a good foundation for your Bernese mountain dog to have good behavior in your house. With good results and training, crate training is a valuable tool for you and your Bernese Mountain Dog.

To start training, it is important to have the right size of crate you will be using for your training. The crate must be large for your Bernese mountain dog to move around but not too large as well as this can lead to the accidental potty area. 

Tip: Start them young so they can develop good behavior towards a crate in their adult life.

Next up is to start training your Bernese Mountain dog by introducing them to the crate first. Let your dog familiarize yourself with the crate. Decorate the crate as well with toys and bedding to let them know it is safe. Play with your dog in the crate and do an activity together.

 Don’t forget to give them a treat as they slowly progress. Make your crate as safe as you can think of so they know it is not bad and it’s a safe place for them. 

Remember to be consistent on training, make it fun and short as well so your Bernese mountain dog will stay interested. Avoid any negative punishment as this can only worsen the result and make your dog fearful of the crate. Continue training until they become fully accustomed to it. 


Toilet Training a Bernese Mountain Dog Puppy

1. Set a Routine:

Establish regular feeding times, as this predicts potty times. Typically, puppies need to go after eating, waking up, and playing. Take them out first thing in the morning, last thing at night, and after these activities.

2. Designate a Potty Spot:

Choose a specific area in your yard or garden. Always lead your Bernese to this spot when it’s potty time. This consistency helps them understand the desired location.

3. Use a Command:

As your dog starts to do its business, use a phrase like “go potty.” This builds an association, and over time, your dog will begin to potty on command.

4. Reward Immediately:

After your dog has done its business, immediately praise them and offer a treat. This positive reinforcement makes it clear they’ve done the right thing.

5. Watch for Signs:

Between scheduled outings, watch for signs your dog needs to go: sniffing, circling, or whining. Immediately take them out if you notice these behaviors.

6. Confine When Unsupervised:

When you can’t watch them, consider using a crate or a penned area. Dogs typically avoid soiling their sleeping areas, which makes crate training effective for toilet training.

7. Address Accidents Calmly:

If an accident occurs, avoid scolding. Clean the area thoroughly to remove the scent, which could attract them back to the same spot. If you catch them in the act, a simple “no” and taking them to the designated spot is sufficient.

8. Stay Consistent:

Consistency is key. The more regularly you stick to the routine, the faster your Bernese will understand and adapt.

bernese mountain dogs together high fiving

Basic Commands to try with your Bernese Mountain Dog

1. “Sit” Command:

Teaching your Bernese to sit is a fundamental command and often one of the easiest to master.


Hold a treat close to your dog’s nose, ensuring it has their attention.

Move your hand upwards, allowing their head to follow the treat and causing their bottom to lower.

As soon as they sit, say “sit,” offer the treat, and give praise.

Repeat this multiple times a day, and soon, your dog will sit on command without needing a treat.

2. “Stay” Command:

Once your dog has mastered the “sit” command, you can move on to “stay,” which is vital for their safety.


Ask your dog to “sit.”

Open your palm in front of you, facing your dog, and say “stay.”

Take a few steps back. If they remain in place, give them a treat and praise.

Over time, increase the distance you step away, ensuring your dog remains in the “stay” position before rewarding them.

Initially, keep the “stay” durations short and gradually increase the time as your dog becomes more accustomed to the command.

3. “Come” Command:

The “come” command ensures your dog returns to you, which can be crucial in situations where they might be at risk.


Attach a leash to your dog’s collar.

Crouch down to their level and say “come” while gently pulling on the leash.

When they come to you, offer a treat and praise.

Practice this command in a controlled environment, like a fenced yard, before attempting it in open spaces. Over time, as your Bernese consistently responds, you can try the command without a leash.

Bernese mountain dog puppy

Advanced Commands to try with your Bernese Mountain Dog

1. “Heel” Command:

The “heel” command is essential for maintaining control during walks, ensuring your dog remains close and doesn’t pull on the leash.


Start with your dog sitting beside you, ideally on your left side.

Begin walking and say “heel.” If your dog stays beside you, reward them with praise and a treat.

If they start to pull or drift, stop walking, command them to sit, and start over.

Practice regularly in various environments to solidify the behavior.

2. “Leave It” Command:

This command prevents your dog from grabbing or eating things they shouldn’t.


Hold a treat in both hands. Show one to your dog, then close your fist and say “leave it.”

Let them sniff, lick, or paw at the closed hand, but don’t release the treat.

Once they pull away, give them the treat from the other hand and praise.

Gradually increase the challenge by placing the treat on the floor or introducing tempting items.

3. “Off” Command:

The “off” command ensures your Bernese doesn’t jump on furniture or people.


Wait for or lure your dog to jump up on something (e.g., a sofa).

Firmly say “off” and use a treat to lure them back to the ground.

As soon as all four paws are on the ground, reward and praise.

If they jump on people, ask the person to turn away and ignore them until they’re calm, then reward the calm behavior.

bernese mountain dog

Online Training Resources for your Bernese Mountain Dog

Training might be a little tough especially if you are new to owning a dog. Luckily, for a Bernese Mountain dog, it can generally be a fun and smooth training session wherein you can see the results fast. But it’s not bad to ask for additional help so here are some training lessons which could help you in training your Bernese Mountain Dog and/or other breeds. 

1. Spirit Dog Training

SpiritDog Training stands out among online dog training courses due to its comprehensive range of programs catering to dogs of all life stages, from puppies to mature canines.

Many dog owners have reported significant behavioral improvements in their pets within a month. The platform offers a variety of courses, including puppy training, obedience, loose leash walking, addressing behavioral issues, and more.

Its user-friendly and mobile-accessible interface enhances the training experience. The SpiritDog Masterclass Bundle is particularly popular for its extensive coverage. Another key feature is the active forum where participants can discuss and share experiences, adding value to the program.

Over 50,000 users, including myself, have had positive experiences, as evidenced by an average rating of 4.8 out of 5. The platform’s customer support is highly commendable. Additionally, the 60 Day Money-Back Guarantee reflects the company’s confidence in the program and commitment to customer satisfaction.

Overall, SpiritDog Training is an excellent choice for a comprehensive and versatile dog training solution.

2. K9 Training Institute

The K9 Training Institute (K9TI) has quickly gained recognition in the online dog training community for its innovative approach, focusing on body language rather than traditional verbal commands.

This method, inspired by the connection between service dogs and their handlers, aligns with animal behavior science, emphasizing that body language is more effective for training. K9TI offers courses addressing various behavioral issues, led by renowned experts Dr. Alexa Diaz and Eric Presnall. Their methods are gentle and non-confrontational, aiming to reshape a dog’s understanding of commands.

What sets K9TI apart is its accessibility to all dog owners, requiring only 10-15 minutes of daily training without needing specialized knowledge in animal behavior.

They provide a free introductory workshop, showcasing the effectiveness of their techniques, and their Masterclass Course is particularly noteworthy. K9TI also offers Q&A sessions with professional trainers and an impressive 90-day money-back guarantee, the longest in the online dog training sector.

After reviewing their Masterclass Course, K9TI is ranked second in our recommendations and is considered the best value for online dog training. Its growing popularity suggests it is a worthwhile investment for improving your dog’s training and overall well-being.

3. The Dunbar Academy

Dr. Ian Dunbar is a well-established figure in online dog training, highly regarded by dog owners, trainers, breeders, and veterinarians worldwide. His training programs, renowned for their effectiveness, focus on positive reinforcement, advocating for rewarding good behavior without using force or punishment. This approach fosters a harmonious relationship between dogs and their owners.

The Dunbar Top Dog Academy offers an extensive range of topics, from raising puppies to tackling common behavioral issues, all grounded in science-based training methods. A key feature of Dr. Dunbar’s Academy is his insight into the canine psyche, which helps owners understand their dogs better and strengthens their bond.

The Academy provides various courses, either individually or through a cost-effective monthly membership at $20. This membership includes access to the Top Dog Academy Training Course Collection and an interactive Facebook Group community, where members can engage with experienced trainers, participate in live webinars, and attend Q&A sessions with Dr. Dunbar.

Recognized for its excellence, the Dunbar Top Dog Academy has been rated as the Best New Puppy Training Program. They offer a 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee, demonstrating their commitment to customer satisfaction and confidence in their training programs.

Final Thoughts

Bernese Mountain dog is an excellent choice for anyone, whether a beginner or a seasoned owner, due to its gentle and affectionate nature. Training your dog and forging a strong bond will undoubtedly create countless cherished memories.

Remember to be patient and understanding through any minor challenges, and always reward with positive reinforcement for every success you achieve together. Revel in the joys of Bernese Mountain dog training and treasure the moments.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Where should a Bernese Mountain Dog sleep?

Bernese Mountain Dogs, with their family-oriented nature, thrive best when sleeping indoors close to their human companions. Although their thick double coat offers some protection against the cold, it’s not ideal for them to be outside for extended periods, especially in extreme temperatures. For puppies, crate training can offer a sense of security, while adult dogs might prefer a spacious dog bed in a quiet home corner. Regardless of age, it’s essential to ensure their sleeping environment is cool enough due to their dense coat and to maintain consistency in their sleeping routine for their comfort and well-being.

When should you start training a Bernese Mountain Dog?

Training for a Bernese Mountain Dog should begin as early as possible, ideally when they are puppies between 8 to 12 weeks of age. At this young stage, they are most receptive to learning, allowing for the establishment of basic obedience, socialization, and positive behavioral habits. Starting early not only leverages their eager-to-please nature but also sets the foundation for more advanced training and a well-adjusted adult life.

Do Bernese Mountain Dogs pull on the leash?

Originally bred as draft animals to pull carts, they have a natural inclination to pull. When not properly trained on the leash, this strong and sizable breed can exhibit this pulling behavior during walks. However, with consistent training and reinforcement from a young age, they can learn proper leash etiquette and walk beside their owners without tugging.

Welcome to our Bernese Mountain Dog haven! We’re passionate about sharing breed knowledge, training tips, and fostering a community of fellow enthusiasts. Join us on this journey of celebrating the love and uniqueness of these wonderful dogs and their furry friends.

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