Frequently Asked Questions

Commonly Asked Questions

Should I get a Male or Female?


Firstly, each dog (regardless of gender) will have it's own unique personality that will likely adapt as they settle in and bond with their family. Either gender can make wonderful pets and family dogs! Males sometimes can be more willful or dominant towards you or other male dogs. Here are a few things you may want to consider when choosing which gender of dog is right for you and your family: Size Preference Males are typically going to grow to be reasonably larger than females. On average, we expect our male puppies to grow to weigh about 100lbs as adults and our females to reach around 80lbs. Of course diet and exercise can also impact their size as well! Other Dogs in your Household If your current dog has a high risk of aggression towards other dogs, you may want to reconsider adding another dog to the mix altogether, as it can upset their world as well as put the new puppy into a situation where fear, stress, or injury could easily occur. If your current dog is good with other dogs, either gender should be fine but you can always go with the opposite gender just to be on the safe side. If your current dog isn't really agressive, but may be more on the jealous or pushy side, a puppy of the oposite gender may also be a safe bet. Spaying/Neutering To go along with the previous point, you may want to consider the possibility of accidental breeding if you have a dog in the household who has not been spayed/neutered and whether you plan on leaving your pup intact or not. Also, keep in mind that there are certain "messes" that can go along with dogs if they are not spayed/neutered, so that may also be worth considering when choosing your pup!




Why Spay or Neuter?


There are risks associated with spaying and neutering, as well as risks if you choose not to. We encourage you to do your own research to decide which is the best option for you and your furry family member! Here are a few benefits that are associated with the spay or neuter of your dog. Spaying - Prevents the nuisance of periods and all the inconveniences that go along with them - Prevents false and real pregnancies - Partial protection against breast cancer and tumors - Prevents deadly infections of the uterus Neutering - Reduces leg-lifting and marking territory - Reduces dominance and aggression and altercations with other male dogs - Can reduce sexual behaviors - Keeps your dog from chasing females in heat - Reduces the risk of prostate disorders - Hugely reduces the risk of testicular cancer and tumors - Reduces the risk of perianal fistulas - Prevents your dog from breeding




When Should I Spay/Neuter my Berner?


Although there is no 100% definite answer, it is often suggested that you should have your male Bernese Mountain Dog neutered after he has reached the age of puberty (around 18 months-2 years). This is thought to have long-term health and benefits as well as benefits with their development. It can also aid in preventing behavioural traits, such as marking and aggression. For female Bernese Mountain Dog's, there is no dead set answer as to when you should have them spayed. Similarly to male Berners, she may also benefit by waiting till she has reached the age of puberty or has completed at least one or two heat cycles. We understand that every family is different and faces their own unique situations and may have other things to consider when making this decision (such as a dog of the opposite gender that may have access to your Berner- your own or a neighbor's dog). If you do choose to delay the spaying/neutering of your pup, definitely be responsible and proactive in preventing unintentional litters of puppies!




Pet Insurance?


Unfortunately, family health insurance doesn't cover pets, even though your new berner is definitely part of your family. So it may be worth considering getting him or her their own policy to be protected. Similarly to regular human-health insurance, if your pup has an accident or illness, you take him to any veterinarian, emergency room, or specialist. You send copies of the bills to the insurance company and they pay for his treatments according to the terms of your policy. You will also most likely face co-pays and deductibles and those will range depending on the policy and provider you choose. Insurance can cover a wide variety of illnesses, injuries, and conditions as well as the tests, surgeries, medications, and hospital care that may go along with them. No pet insurance company covers ailments that start before you sign up. They call them "pre-existing conditions". If you plan on insuring your new family member, we suggest doing it sooner rather than later! We personally do not have a specific insurance provider that we suggest or endorse and encourage you to research and read reviews to determine which ones have the greatest customer service and satisfaction, rates, coverage, and overall value!




Health Problems?


Every breed of dogs come with their own unique set of health risks, and unfortunately, Bernese Mountain Dogs are susceptible to common issues with dogs, particularly hip and elbow dysplasia. Hip and elbow dysplasia occurs when the leg or hip becomes weakened, and it can result in arthritis or lameness if not addressed. One of the best ways to prevent this is by keeping your dog from excessive running on hard surfaces. This is especially vital when they are a puppy. Because of their long, floppy ears, it is also important to regularly check the ears for signs of infection. Whenever your dog gets wet, make sure the hair inside the ears completely dries out. We have had our adult dogs' hips and elbows checked and even offer a 1 year health guarantee for our puppies. Their health is important to us and we strive to breed the healthiest puppies possible! If for whatever reason you do have any problems, PLEASE reach out to us! We care about the health and well-being of each puppy that leaves us as well as puppies from future litters!




How Big Will My Berner Get?


Bernese Mountain Dogs are a large-sized breed of dog. Although we can not make any guarantees as to how big or small our puppies will grow to be, males typically range from about 25 to 28 inches while females are usually around 23 to 26 inches. Weights of adult dogs can also vary, but generally range from 80-115lbs (males) and 70-95lbs (females). Of course diet and exercise can also impact their size as well!




What is the Average Lifespan of a Bernese Mountain Dog?


Bernese Mountain Dogs have a typical lifespan of 7-10 years. This may be short, but Berners are such good-natured, loyal, and fabulous family members and you will love and cherish every year you get with them!




What Will my Puppy Come With?


- 1 year genetic health guarantee - Every puppy will have up to date vaccinations and de-worming - Dew claws removed - A few pounds of their dog food (we feed them this kind!) - 30-day free health insurance - AKC Registration (All puppies come with limited registration. Please call for information if interested in full breeding/show rights.) We take care of all this paperwork for you. When you leave our home with your new puppy we want you to be able to adjust and focus on him or her and we want it to be as smooth a transition as possible for the both of you.





What Should I Know About Berners?

Exercise


Bernese Mountain Dogs definitely don't need or want jogging exercise, ESPECIALLY in elevated temperatures. But they do need a decent-sized fenced yard where they can romp about at will.




Separation Anxiety


Bernese Mountain Dogs generally need a great deal of companionship and do not like being left alone for more than a few hours. They tend to express their unhappiness through destructive chewing.




Socialization


Standoffish by nature, Bernese Mountain Dogs benefit from exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise, they may naturally become more shy and cautious.




Grooming


Bernese Mountain Dogs have a double coat: a longer outer coat and a woolly undercoat. These two coats work together to protect the dog’s skin and maintain correct body temperature. It also means that they will shed more than some breeds, and especially during their semi-annual shedding seasons. However, excessive shedding and loose hair can be minimized by regular grooming. It is recommended to groom your Bernese Mountain Dog puppy a minimum of several times a week, and preferably daily. Not only does daily brushing remove loose hair and reduce shedding; it also keeps knots from building up in their hair and coat. A key to grooming your dog is to start when they are a puppy. If grooming is done consistently as a puppy, it becomes routine to both you and your dog.




Slobbering


Some Bernese Mountain Dogs, especially those with larger heads and loose lips, slobber and drool, especially after eating and drinking.




Cooler Climates


Bernese Mountain Dogs love getting out, especially in cool weather. With their thick black coat, they can struggle in hot climates. Romping in the snow is a favorite form of recreation, and pulling carts and sleds is a wonderful source of exercise, especially if it involves children!




Cats


Most Bernese Mountain Dogs are peaceful and sociable with other animals, including cats. As puppies, they may be more curious and playful with their feline family members, so we do recommend that they be monitored around the family cat, especially at the beginning when they are building their relationship and getting used to each other!




Training


Responsive to obedience training in a slow, good-natured way, Bernese Mountain Dogs should be handled kindly, with much praise and encouragement. However, they are not complete pushovers to train. Some can be a little bit hardheaded and dominant, especially during adolescence when they're "feeling their hormones."




Food


Be careful not to overfeed your Bernese Mountain Dog as they can gain weight really quickly. They can tend towards obesity if not carefully watched and kept on a healthy diet. 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, try to resist the temptation to give them pieces of your food (like cookies, chips, bread...) this is a recipe for disaster and if it is simply not a good habit you want to start with. Things will work out better for you and your pup!




Summers and Heat


Bernese Mountain Dogs DO NOT like heat or hot weather. During the day they will seek out cool places as they love colder 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. They may even try digging so they may have cold dirt to lay in so try to make sure they have lots of access to nice and shady areas where they can cool down at while they are outdoors. They do love water, sometimes a little kids pool filled with water is great fun for your dog on a hot summer afternoon!





Training and Tips

Your New Puppy's Immune System


Be careful where you take your berner puppy until they are about 4 or 5 months old, they need time to build up their immune system. Try to avoid areas where puppies and other dogs congregate (such as parks or puppy sitters).




Potty Training


Potty training will go faster if you arrange circumstances for success! Try not to overreact when a mistake occurs. Also 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. when you take them outside to use the bathroom, be consistent with whichever terminology you use to encourage them to go potty. For example, 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" and "that was really good!" Pet them dramatically and let them know you are pleased with their behavior. Bernese Mountain Dogs are very bright and want to please you; your pup will love the attention and it will become lodged in their memory system that going potty outside is "good."




Training Begins on Day One


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 and is calculating in their mind what is pleasing to you and what is not. Send clear messages to him and he will learn quicker!




Don't Leave Your Puppy Alone!


Please dont leave your puppy alone with small children or animals. We suggest not leaving them alone with new animals in general until they have had time to safely and thoroughly acquaint themselves with the new animal. Also, 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.





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