Preparing For Your Puppy
Your puppy has been started right - it has a sound and loving foundation - when you receive your puppy it is a blank slate - it needs to be taught everything - cold/hot - riding in the car - how to behave around cats and other dogs - even slick floors can be a challenge - treat it like the baby that it is - it will respond to your love , attention and care - it wants to please you - if a problem arises - try to think of a positive way to teach it another more preferred behavior - really think about it from the puppies point of view - if you have ever been to another country - where the language was completely different than your own - you may have some idea how your puppy feels - they are eager to please you - the better communicator you are - the better your relationship will be - There are no limits to the love you may share!
Be careful where you take your puppy - until they are 4 or 5 months old - they need time to build up their immune system - try not to go in areas where puppies congregate - like parks or puppy sitters, etc.
Potty training will go faster if you arrange circumstances for success - try not to overreact when a mistake occurs - be careful to observe your puppies potty habits and learn how frequently they may have to go outside - your careful observations in this matter will help both of you to get through this time smoothly - do not give your puppy any other foods or treats during this time as this may cause inconsistency in potty habits and frustration may occur on both of your parts - your puppy wants to please you. Also, your puppy has been trained to be stimulated to go potty on clean pine shavings - you may purchase at your local feed store a bag of clean pine shavings (not cedar shavings) - place some of the shavings in an out of the way area where you would like to train your puppy to go potty - when you take them outside take them to the shavings and say "go potty" - they will not understand at first but soon enough they will start picking up your words with their behavior - when they do go - make a really big deal out of it - say things like "good boy" " that was really good" pet them dramatically and let them know you are pleased with their behavior - they really like this and it is lodged in their memory system and they will start to connect things faster then you might think.
Training begins the day your puppy arrives home - try not to do any "Just For Today's" For example; Just for today the puppy can sleep on our bed - or - just for today the puppy can sit in my lap at the table. - This sends conflicting messages to your pup right from the start and you do not want this - remember your puppy is computing everything you do right from the start - he is calculating in his mind what is pleasing to you and what is not - send clear messages to him and he will learn quicker.
Never leave your puppy alone with small children.
Do not leave your puppy alone for long periods of time - this will encourage misbehavior - when left to their own devices they may often come up with things that are "fun" to do that are not desirable to you - this is usually where "bad" behavior begins - loneliness. They need your companionship.
Never let the puppy out of its crate when it is complaining - it may bark or whine in complaint - Do Not let it out until it is quiet - when it is quiet even for a moment - let it out quickly - take it outside quickly as it usually will have to go potty - its holding system is not well developed until it is several months old - Never leave the puppy in the crate for longer than 3 hours. Accept for at night when it is sleeping - then it may remain in the crate for 6 hours or so.
Do Not give the puppy run of the house at the first - only let it go into new areas of the house as it can be trusted with its training.
Your puppy will need to be spayed or neutered at approximately 6 months of age - sooner is even better - we have found that very often when you have a male done at 3 or 4 months of age (some vets refuse to do this, and insist on waiting until 6 months of age) it will never learn to lift its leg - it will forever squat - for some this is a desirable behavior - for others it is not - we submit this for your information and discretion.
Your puppy will get its first Rabies shot at 6 months of age.
The more you socialize your puppy with other people and animals the better balanced individual it will become - take it with you whenever and wherever you can.
A full grown Bernese Mountain Dog requires 4 cups of dried dog food a day - This can be given as 2 meals or one single meal - Watch your dogs condition to add or lessen food quantity.
Never exercise your dog hard after a meal - leave at least 3 hours after eating before heavy exercise - the reason for this is a condition that can develop called bloat - none of our dogs have ever suffered from bloat - but it is a condition that can develope in large dogs that exercise to heavily after a heavy meal.
As an adult your Bernese Mountain Dog will require daily exercise - At least an hour a day - More is preferable.
Bernese Mountain Dogs require a minimum amount of grooming - they enjoy being brushed and will do fine on a weekly brushing - toenails need to be done at least twice a year - this is according to the protein content in your dog food and the floor conditions in which your dog travels - some dogs may require up to 4 toenail trims a year - the hair behind the ears and the hind legs will need the most attention- a bath will be needed at least twice a year - the longer hairs that grow on the toes- and the hair that grows on the tops of the ears and sometimes tail hair will need to be trimmed - your local groomer can help with this or you can become your own groomer and learn the hair specifics of this breed.
Bernese Mountain Dogs love to drink lots of water - they like it cool and fresh - during the warm weather months we change their water twice a day.
Be careful not to overfeed your adult Bernese Mountain Dog - as they can gain weight really quickly - they can tend towards obesity if not carefully watched - We do not recommend open feeding for these reasons - but, recommend a twice a day ration.- Do not give your dog your own food - Bernese are expert beggars - resist the temptation to give them pieces of your food - like cookies, chips, bread- etc. - this is a recipe for disaster and if it is simply not begun as a habit - things will work out better for you and your dog. If you feel the desire to give your dog a treat every now and then - we recommend these foods - cooked eggs - cottage cheese - cooked hamburger - chicken broth or chicken pieces (no bones) - you may occasionally add these to their dried food in their food dish - not from your hand, unless you are using some of these foods for desirable behavior while training - then it can come from your hand. A good training food is cooked beef liver in small pieces - they usually love this.
Bernese Mountain Dogs DO NOT like heat - or hot weather - during the day they will seek out cool places - they like cool weather! So do not be alarmed if your dog wants to sleep or crawl into cool places or belly flop on a cool floor until it gets cooler outside - this is normal behavior - they also love water - sometimes a little kids pool filled with water is great fun for your dog on a hot summer afternoon - I have seen them play in these for hours together!
Obedience training is highly recommended - Bernese Mountain Dogs love to learn and they love to please you!
Also, don't forget to keep 'em healthy! Since 2011, all of our dogs get their daily nutritional "treats". We have seen quite a difference since we started and feel confident in recommending them to round out their diet for long term health.