Bernese Mountain Dogs Are Great Playmates – If two dogs are wrestling and it seems too rough to you, with all that growling and snarling, body-slamming, and biting of each other’s necks, should you intervene? How can you tell if dogs are playing or fighting? Here are some thoughts about how to monitor Bernese Mountain Dogs at play.
Bernese Mountain Dogs Normal Play
Bernese Mountain Dogs Normal Play – Bernese Mountain Dog puppies play with their litter-mates constantly. From around two weeks, when their eyes open, until they go to their new homes, they spend almost all of their waking hours wrestling with their litter mates. It’s a critical time for Bernese Mountain Dog social development because it is when they learn bite inhibition and good dog manners. It is good exercise and socialization for Bernese Mountain Dogs and fun for us to watch. But you should learn how to tell the difference between Bernese Mountain Dogs playing and a real fight when adult dogs are involved.
Bernese Mountain Dogs Are Great Playmates
Here are some Bernese Mountain Dog behaviors that say their play style is all good fun.
The play bow – front end down, back end in the air.
Sometimes Berners try to initiate play by slapping their front legs down on the ground repeatedly.
A big, silly open-mouthed grin on a Berner is a good sign that they are ready to play.
Exaggerated, bouncy movement is sign your Berner is simply acting silly.
Loud, continuous growling and snarling, especially when they are wresting with a rope or play toy.
When your Berner voluntarily makes themself vulnerable by “falling” down and exposing their bellies and allowing themselves to be caught when playing chase is a common game Berners love to play.
When Berners take turns chasing each other is a good sign each Berner is mutually enjoying playtime.
When Berners keep going back for more. Even the Berner that ends up on his back doesn’t want to stop playing.
They will probably take turns with most play-fighting behaviors.
Berner Behaviors That Are Signs This is Not Play
A Berner’s body get very stiff.
A closed mouth, curled lip, low warning growl.
When your Berner’s movements are very quick and efficient – no bouncing around, no taking turns.
If a Bernese Mountain Dogs ears are pinned flat and lips curled back and snarling.
No big silly smiles.
If your Berner gets into actual combat, hopefully it will be a short encounter, and the “loser” will try to leave the area.
When your Berner does not go back for more play.
When your Bernese Mountain Dog is trying to get away from the other dog and their body language is not happy and bouncy.
If the tail is tucked.
If it appears your Berner isn’t having fun – trust your instincts.
Tips to Ensure Safe Berner Wrestling / Play
Not every dog is meant for the dog park, and that’s OK.
Some breeds are just quick to take offense – usually dogs that fall in the “protection” category.
Sometimes your Berner may be better off playing at home with you or with a dog buddy they know well.
Don’t allow a your Bernese Mountain Dog puppy or dog to be ganged up on by other dogs.
Even if your Berner does not get hurt, a bad experience with other dogs can traumatize your Berner and cause fearfulness that will be hard to overcome – your Berner expects you to protect them and to keep them from harms way.
Keep food and toys out of the picture.
Most dogs are possessive of their food and there toys, so do not introduce these variables until there is a true friendships as these items may be worth fighting for.