Berners at Play
Berners at Play. Typically, Bernese Mountain Dogs are not interested in a game of fetch – throwing a ball, retrieving it and dropping the ball for the person that tosses the ball. Sometimes, Berners will run after the ball and retrieve it but most aren’t very interested in bringing the ball back and fewer are interested in dropping the ball as part of a rinse and release effort.
Bernese Mountain Dogs prefer to romp in the snow, lay on your feet, flip your hand with their snout or stand between your legs. Lola is very jealous so she will push her older and larger brother (Fenway) out of the way if he is receiving attention from someone.
As a Bernese Mountain Dog gets older they become less active and have lower energy levels. However, it is still important that they remain reasonably active to keep their joints and muscles mobile and to manage their weight. There are three main types of exercise and activity you must provide your Bernese Mountain Dog every day.
- 1. Daily walk
- 2. Purposeful Activity
- 3. Mental stimulation
Berners are deceiving. Berners are large dogs weighing 100- 120 pounds – they gain about 2-2.5 pounds a week from the time you take them home until six months or so. To look at you would think that you need a large yard. Wrong. Berners loves to play but they are more of a social animal than a sporting dog. Berners prefer to be around people and to be part of their activities and daily routine.
You don’t need a farm to have a Bernese Mountain dog. We lived on a quarter acre property and Lola and Fenway would pretty much hang out on the deck for the breeze or in the back corner of the yard to play with their toys. The rest of the yard was for urination and the other thing – what goes in must come out. When we sold our house and moved into an apartment we were nervous as there is no yard but a couple of deck (about 125′ each). To our surprise, the dogs show no sign of cabin fever. However, Lola and Fenway have to go out thirty minutes after eating – for obvious reasons
Berners at Play
This is Fenway getting toweled off after a walk in the rain.
Berners are a hardy dog who that thrives in cold weather. In summer the Berners thick fur (it’s a double coat) keeps the dog very warm. Hot summer day are not a Berner’s friend so if you live in a warm climate you are going to fight and uphill battle – a lot of air conditioning. During the summer, you should take your dog for a walk in the early morning hours or the late evening. Also, make sure your Berner has a cool and shady place outside or consider fans and air-conditioning – Berners love tile (unheated tile floors). At the end of the day, it’s just common sense. On hot days keep the dogs in a cool place and do not exercise as you risk of heat stroke.
It’s important to keep the puppies from playing and running on hard surfaces or jumping too high or too much. Our first Berner, Milo, jumped a lot as a puppy and the palates in his front legs shifted and that caused his front paws to bow outward. Moreover, don’t let your puppy pull carts or other heavy loads until they reach two years of age – Berners can pull over 1,000 pounds. The Bernese puppies grow very fast in size, which makes them prone to bone injuries and disorders.
Toys for Bernese Mountain Dogs
If Berners are not occupied sufficiently (especially before the age of 2), expect mischief and destruction. Like other dogs, they will get into trouble. For instance, Fenway loved chewing on my wife’s Parada shoes. So, we were trained to keep shoes up high and to have plenty of Nyla bones around. On the other hand, Lola liked chewing the casing around a door frame or chew a hole in a wall – yes, the sheetrock. As a result, we learned to crate her if she was left alone for any period of time.