“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right”

- Mark Twain

Adding One More Bernese Mountain Dog

Fenway-Lola-The Berners-Who-Me

Consider carefully before Adding One More Bernese Mountain Dog to your household. If you’re thinking about adopting a new dog or adding another puppy from your breeder, there are a few key things to consider first, to ensure that you’re going to be able to cope with a lifestyle that involves more than one dog. Every extra dog will take extra time and effort to feed, groom, exercise, and play with, as well as costing more money. And, if one dog misbehaves, it can incite the other dog to join in, leaving you with two badly behaved dogs. Be considerate of the existing dog’s needs too; if your dog is senior and unlikely to welcome the rough and tumble of a puppy due to infirmity or illness, this might not be a good time to bring a new dog into the family. On the other hand, it might be what a healthy but lazy elderly dog needs.

Introduce your new dog to the existing dog before bringing her home. One great way to introduce your new dog to existing dogs is to take the dogs to meet her first. If they seem to get along together, then you know it’s a good bet but if there are instant problems of aggression, perhaps this isn’t the dog to adopt.

Don’t introduce the newcomer to existing dogs on the day of arrival at home. Keep existing dogs outside and give the newcomer time to explore your home and become familiar with it first.

When you finally introduce the newcomer to the existing dogs, choose a neutral spot; basically, somewhere your current dog doesn’t spend much time in. And take it slowly; it may take a while before they establish themselves.

Know what to expect when dogs meet one another for the first time. Let your dogs off their leashes so that they can explore one another on dog terms. Expect rear-end sniffing, nose-to-nose sniffing, and posturing (stiff leg walks, placing a leg over the other dog’s shoulders, raised fur, etc.). Noises that may occur include barks, whines, and whimpers. This is “canine socializing” and you’d do best to keep out and just watch as most dogs will sort out this part of greeting and acceptance on their own; they work out where in the pack each dog stands while you just wait to reassure all of them that you and the other humans remain alpha! Also pay attention to whether territorial marking occurs. While it is considered a natural form of communication among dogs and a means for them to establish dominance and social standing, it could be a major nuisance if it occurs inside your home. Dog training techniques or anti-marking products such as sprays, dog diapers, and specialized dog clothes can help prevent this from being an issue.

8 Steps to a Peaceful Pack

Adding One More Bernese Mountain Dog – Manage the behavior

Use management tools such as tethers, crates, and baby gates to maintain order while you modify your dogs’ behavior through positive training.

Adding One More Berner – Train

The more dogs in a household, the more important it is that all dogs be well-trained and well-behaved. Intervention in an escalating conflict is easier and more effective when the dogs respond to calm cues.

Adding One More Bernese Mountain Dog – Be Calm

Aggression is caused by stress. If you can maintain a calm demeanor around your dogs, especially when they are becoming aroused, you will help defuse potential conflict. Resist the impulse to scream or yell when dogs are squabbling; this will only increase stress. Then make a mental note to analyze the incident and develop a management plan to avoid a recurrence.

Adding One More Berner – Let Dogs be Dogs

While it is not appropriate to let dogs “work it out” if conflicts are escalating, it is effective to let pack members settle small scuffles themselves. These are part of the inherited behavior developed for group survival, and can help to resolve hierarchy unrest and restore pack equilibrium.

Adding One More Bernese Mountain Dog – Exercise

A tired dog is a well-behaved dog. Excess energy is a stressor, and a pack of tired dogs is less stressed, less excitable, and far more likely to live in harmony than one whose members are spilling over with surplus energy.

Adding One More Berner – Cultivate Individual Relationships

Spend quality time with each dog outside the presence of the others. This is necessary for training purposes anyway, and will help you develop a relationship with each dog as an individual. This will make it easier for you to establish your position as benevolent leader and manage the pack as a whole.

Adding One More Bernese Mountain Dog – Protect Vulnerable Pack Members

Very old, young, small, sick, or disabled members of your canine family may be unable to defend themselves, especially if one or more pack members are determined to commit mayhem. You must keep such fragile members physically safe by separating them from the rest of the pack. This may be a temporary solution until the invalid has recovered enough to rejoin the group, or it may be a permanent fix if the size/strength disparity between participants is long term or the conflict too serious.

Adding One More Berner – Be Realistic

Quality of life is an important consideration for all the family members. If dynamics in your pack are stressing you or your dogs so much that your quality of life is poor, and if your efforts to improve relationships aren’t helping, then it’s time to consider other options. Finding one or more of the troublemakers new homes may alleviate the stress for the rest of the family, although finding homes for difficult dogs can be a challenge. Alternatively, you may choose to keep the more difficult ones and place one or more of the easy-going or vulnerable dogs with friends or family members. This could be a win-win for all, creating an extended family for your canine friends while making everyone’s life more peaceful.

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3 thoughts on “Adding One More Bernese Mountain Dog

  1. We have a seven month bermise, and it seems the older she gets the most misbehaved she is,we also have a almost 2 year old shepherd, they’re the perfect play companions,but the puppy now has a mind of her own and doesn’t listen, but is still super affectionate, I’d like her to be a compassion dog, she would be perfect if I can get her to listen.

    1. You can never have enough Berners. We got a rescue and then added a puppy. Then we got another rescue to play with the puppy. Unfortunately we have lost the first two to cancer. Trying to decide what our next step will be.

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