This is a very important point for me, having a beautiful dog is nothing if he doesn't have a level-headed temper and personality.
The Bernese Mountain Dog is very affectionate, calm, level-headed, non-aggressive, happy and close to his family, he is also very sensitive.
I think that to fully enjoy your Bernese mountain dog, you have to bring him everywhere with you with pleasure, without difficulties for you, for him and for the others. I would say the same of children! Sometimes customers ask me advice for training their dog, I look at their children and if they're polite and sweet I have no qualms about they way they will raise their puppy and I tell them to do just like they did with their kids. If not, I feel obligated to warn them and give them a lot of training advice.
It is a very endearing dog but hard to train, because usually he's very easygoing the first months, adorable little fur ball, always happy, always behind you and eager to please. That's the problem, he is so cute that he rarely needs training when he's a puppy and then it's too late! Avoid this pitfall by giving him solid training bases as soon as he arrives at your home.
Rule n°1: happy dog, happy family! Teach him where he belongs in the family: at the dog's place!
This seems logical, but believe me most of the dog's training problems come from the fact that the dog doesn't know his place: dog, child or even chief of the family!
Rule n°2: Everything that will be forbidden when he'll be grown up should be put into place as soon as he starts living in your house. If you don't want him to go into certain rooms of the house, enforce that rule when he's a puppy.
Don't let him nibble you, puppy do that all the time, but he must understand that he can show you his affection without hurting you, tearing your clothes.. At the breeder's, his mother (not me, the real one!) would push him away when he was too exuberant, so do the same!
He should also learn not to jump on you to lick you, think that he'll become big and strong and what can be cute as a puppy, will be annoying as an adult when your companion will jump on a young child, an older person or a person wearing fancy clothes
Rule n°3: As soon as he is used to his new house and that the first days' stress has passed, he needs to get progressively accustomed to household noise (vacuum cleaner, radio, television, hairdryer, etc..) and to the outside world (car, shopping, picking the kids from school), all must be done progressively and with no stress.
Rule N°4 : Don't overprotect your puppy, the Bernese is very sensitive. Often between ages 8 to 12 month he can become scared of things that didn't scare him before. Don't let him get away with it, be calm and confident. If something scares him, stay calm, don't start petting him, hugging him or even going back home, otherwise he will never become independent and will be scared of everything.
Rule N°5: between 8 and 10 months he will most likely be stubborn. Be determined. By playing and rewarding him you will get him to obey you.
Rule N°6: You must teach him to obey to simple orders, I am not one for transforming a dog into a circus performer, but a minimum of education is highly appreciated.
Rule N° 7: Teaching him to walk around with a leash is a very good thing because nothing is more tiring than waterskiing behind your dog!
You read everything and are asking yourself: thanks for the advice but how do we train our dog to be a sweet Bernese!
IRON HAND IN A VELVET GLOVE!
-Give simple orders, not big philosophical sentences, always use simple words: yes, no, come, sit down, good dog... In reality the tone of your voice is capital: NO should be firm and stop him right away. Everything positive should be said with a sweet, calming tone.
-Don't give him contradictory orders
-All family members must train him the same way
-Always stay calm
-If your dog plays chief and growls, be firm, if he sees that you're not impressed with him and don't let him get away with it he will not do it again. If not, be careful because males can have a strong personality.
These are simple rules, if you feel lost, don't let the situation get worse, call me and take training classes with your dogs.
By following those simple rules you will have a wonderful companion that will take an active part in your family life.