If you are a dog lover with kids, you may be trying to find out if a Bernese Mountain Dog will fit into your family. How they get along with children will probably be a huge part of this decision. After all, a dog who isn’t good with children would be a recipe for disaster. This article will talk about if Bernese Mountain Dogs are good with kids, including infants, toddlers, and older children. Here are the things that you can expect from a Bernese Mountain Dog.
Bernese Mountain Dogs do better with kids than almost any other dog. Their size, patience and affection allow them to be tolerant of childish antics. Though they are a working dog, their energy level should be low enough to lay contentedly by the fire with their family.
Things that you can expect to learn from this article:
- What kind of dog is a Bernese Mountain Dog and what will be their personality with children? How tolerant and patient they are, plus what are their little quirks.
- Training and socialization. The kind of socialization they need. What places to visit and with whom. How to get kids involved, to build rapport between your dog and child.
- How kids should behave around the dog. The dos and don’t of childish and canine interactions. Several things that children should never do to a dog.
- What dogs can teach kids. Dogs can teach kids a lot and there’s no better instructor than a Bernese. Learn all the positive that dog ownership can bring children.
- How do Bernese Mountain Dogs act around babies? Behaviors to expect as well as how to prepare your dog and house for your new bundle of joy.
The Bernese Mountain Dogs Personality With Children
Bernese Mountain Dogs have big thick fluffy coats that allow them to thrive in cold climates. Historically these dogs used to pull carts and sleds, as well as guard sheep. This is a breed raised from the beginning to be close to their family. Whether that be romping through the snow, or running in a field of daisies, as long as their family is by their side Bernese Mountain Dogs are happy.
Calm and patient, they have a high tolerance for family members, including the children of their pack. They dutifully watch the kids at play, while sometimes joining in on the fun. This combo of calmness, patience, and playfulness make them a great companion for the kids.
Gentle natured and polite, the chances are low for aggression from this breed. In fact, it’s entirely possible that you might think that they don’t even have an aggressive bone in their body. Happiest when surrounded by a group of children, they will adore all the attention and love they will receive. All of this makes for an extremely trustworthy breed, which is vital whenever kids are involved. Bernese Mountain Dogs are truly gentle giants and get along wonderfully with children.
Generally peaceful with other pets in the family, there shouldn’t be any worries about scuffles between this dog and the family cat. The trustworthy disposition of this breed extends beyond the two-legged and into the four-legged members of the family.
A great guard dog, Bernese Mountain Dogs can be aloof with strangers, though they’ll quickly warm up once they know they’re okay. This can make them very protective of the kids, especially when children are very small.
Known for quick bursts of energy, they are not marathon runners though. A fairly calm dog you might be disappointed if you want a dog who can go jogging with you. They’re likely to get tired fast. For more sedentary families this can be perfect however as they have enough energy to play but won’t have excessive exercise requirements like a dog as the Belgian Malinois might.
Hitting green check marks on the list of most important family dog traits, one major disadvantage is health problems. A tendency towards bad hip problems along with predisposition to cancer causes them to have an average life expectancy of only 6-8 years. Not all Bernese will die at that young though, but it does make it very important that you buy from skilled breeders.
Bernese Mountain Dog Training and Socialization
Socializing a dog will play the largest part in whether that dog will be a good family companion or not. While the breed is important so is their training. Because of their large size, these dogs need to have extensive exposure to many kinds of people including children. Otherwise, they can develop a strange shyness, which could be humorous if it wasn’t sad. Some without socialization will avoid people who look or act a certain way.
Getting the kids involved is the best thing to do. Encourage them to interact with your dog as much as possible. Play with them outside and inside and get them involved with feeding time. Nothing is cuter than seeing a little kid putting down a bowl of dog food in front of a big dog with the canine behaving like a gentleman. Likely your dog will learn to love the little ones fast as they are most likely to drop and share their food.
This will help your Bernese to get used to children. Have kids in your family or even your children’s friends give them some of their favorite treats.
With a Bernese puppy you need to get them to meet about 50 people in the first month if you can. Introduce them to your friends and your friends kids. Dog loving co-workers can be another great way for them to become people-familiar.
Of course, nothing can beat the dog park. This should be reserved until at least 3 months of age, at which point the most important dog vaccines have been given. At the dog park, your dog will get a triple helping of social skills. Being likely to meet other kids, dogs, and adults. Plus it’s a great way to give your dog exercise and get them out running and playing.
Teaching kids to be around your Bernese
Bernese Mountain Dogs, while they will be immensely patient with the kids, there are limits to the tolerance level of any breed. Many dog bites are against children, while the risk is lowest for the Bernese. This can be something that any dog might resort to if it feels bullied and harassed while being powerless to stop it in any other way.
This makes it imperative to make sure that kids understand that dogs have feelings too and that there are ways they should never treat them.
Most of these things are just being polite. While it’s important to make sure that the dog understands that every member of the family stands above them in the pack order. This shouldn’t be allowed as an excuse to be rude or engage in bullying behavior towards them.
- Teach your child that they should never take away the dog’s food or toys. Most people would hate it if someone just reached out and touched their food. You might even slap their hand away. This is no different from a dog, except it might even be stronger. Since with the dog’s survival instincts they might not realize that there’s plenty of food and so consider it immensely precious.
- Don’t disturb the dog when their sleeping or resting. A quickly roused dog could be confused or disoriented. Not knowing what’s happening they might lash out fast thinking their in danger. While this is less likely with younger dogs, who are much more spry and alert. With an older dog, who might be going deaf, this can be a much bigger deal.
- Avoid loud screaming around the dog, and definitely don’t direct it at the dog. Dogs have sensitive ears and in the case of a Bernese, they can be a bit noise phobic. While childish shouting is expected around the house, still make sure it doesn’t reach an excessive level. Alternatively, let your dog have a quiet place they can scurry off to if everything becomes too much.
- Never pull on the dog’s tail or ears. Bernese Mountain Dogs are pretty dang tolerant. But any dog is going to have their limits, And a kid pulling on their body is likely to be past it. Make sure your child knows that pulling on the dog’s body parts is strictly forbidding. This should go for throwing or dropping things on the dog as well.
If your child is not mature enough to be able to follow and understand these rules then please don’t allow them to play with the dog unsupervised. Bernese are very tolerant with children but still, any animal can have a tough time with kids who treat them this way.
What Owning a Bernese Can Teach Your Kid
Getting out of the heavy-handedness of laying down some tough love rules for your child’s interactions with the dog, there are a lot of great things that they will learn from having a canine in their lives. Many adult’s fondest memories are of playing and training the family dog. Let your kids have these wonderful experiences as well.
- A Bernese will teach kids responsibility. Feeding, watering and cleaning up after a dog. These are the sorts of things that build character in a child. Learning a disciplined routine to care for an animal dependant upon them, helps them to grow up to be stronger caring people.
- Bernese Mountain Dogs will teach kids how to empathize with others. Experiencing the devoted love of these mountains of Furr will help children to understand their own feelings towards other people. Seeing their dogs hurt when they have to go to school, might help them pause and reflect on the cares and concerns of others.
- Children having a dog to confide in can help them cope with stress and trauma. Bernese dogs make great listeners. A dedicated friend who will allow kids to voice their problems without interruption or judgment. This can help them process their feelings and work out what’s bothering them and why. A scientific study found that preadolescents who owned a dog had superior responses to social stressors.
- Dogs and kids can have lots of fun. Few things are more fun for a child than playing with a dog. It usually involves moving around, which in this age of computers is sorely lacking, allowing kids to get a fun-sized dose of exercise. Games like catch, chase and even frisbee will always find a willing partner in a Bernese Mountain Dog.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are Good with Infants, Toddlers, and Babies
With all the stress of a new baby on the way. Probably one of the last things you want to have to worry about is whether your dog will treat your brand new infant well. Some new parents are so scared of this problem that they even give the dog away. Fortunately, there’s not a lot to worry about when the dog in question is a Bernese. They’re great with the tiniest new members of the family.
Just so their are some things that should be done to prepare your dog for the new arrival.
A Bernese dog’s natural inclination will be to protect and cherish the new baby. They might behave cautiously around the infant while licking or nuzzling their face when they cry and your dog thinks their sad. They’ll say yes I know coming into this world can be hard but I will always be by your side loving you. Finding them laying near the crib should not be unexpected. They merely posted a guard on the most precious thing in your life.
Some basic ground rules to lay down however are:
- No jumping
- Prepare them that they might have to be alone sometimes
- Consider restricting their access to the baby’s room. This isn’t all about protection from the dog but with a Bernese rather the fact that they can shed a lot
- With all dogs and small babies it a good rule of thumb to not leave the infant unsupervised with the dog. Your dog is going to be very trustworthy but babies shouldn’t be left unsupervised anyway.
You should start preparing your dog for the new arrival at least 60 to 90 days before. The ideal, however, is to start training them for as soon as you know that you’re expecting.
Last but not least make sure your dog doesn’t get neglected. Include them in family activities, even those that involve the new baby. So that they fully learn that the child is apart of their pack and not replacing them. Do these things and everything should go just fine.