With such a large, powerful but also happy go lucky dog like the Bernese Mountain Dog, its only natural to wonder if they can get along with other dogs. After all, if your thinking of introducing a new dog to your Bernese or vice versa, the last thing you want to happen is they get into the fight. The ideal for everyone would probably be that they become best friends, maybe even snuggling together next to the fire. For a lot of dog owners that would be a dream come true but sometimes sadly the reality falls far short of the dream.
Bernese Mountain Dogs with their excellent personality are well equipped to get along great with other dogs. Caution is still necessary, however. Introductions must be made gradually along with training and supervision in order to have the best result. Even small dogs should get along well with a Bernese Mountain Dog but the large size differential needs to be constantly in mind.
Even though the Bernese Mountain Dog is a considerable natural when it comes to being friends. There are still a lot of different factors to be aware of to ensure the best result. You need to know the factors that encourage dog friendship as well as some of the obstacles that canines can face with each other.
Understanding the dog’s two personalities is of course key along with training. A poorly socialized Bernese Mountain Dog is going to have a lot harder time getting along with another dog. While one that has been exposed in short friendly sessions to other dogs since they were a puppy will more accepting of a new dog in the family.
The relative size of the two dogs needs to be taken into account as well. Though Bernese are generally friendly they are also quite large. Unless the other dog is of a size to equal them many of their dog relationships will be with dogs smaller than them. When you have big Bernese interacting with a small dog, even a friendly play session could lead to injury if your Bernese Mountain Dog doesn’t know how to restrain their strength.
Still, some of the best canine friendships are between a large dog and a small one. Which proves its all in how you trained them and how you introduce them.
If you keep reading we will dive deep into all the different facets of how to ensure that your Bernese Mountain Dog gets along great with other dogs.
Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Need Another Dog as a Companion?
Some people with an only dog may wonder if that makes their dog sad. Well, dogs are resilient creatures easily contented with their lot in life. Seldom will you see a dog wondering if the grass is greener on the other side. I mean they do want to go to the other side but that’s mainly cause they love adventure. Having a Bernese Mountain by itself they will be perfectly happy with their life, and it must be kept in mind that taking care of two dogs is much harder then just one.
But likewise, a well trained Bernese Mountain Dog will take like a fish to water when presented with a new dog friends. Many dog owners often find their Bernese becoming even happier when theirs another dog to play with. So the truth is they will probably be fairly happy by themselves or with a companion. But having a doggie playmate will always be very appreciated.
After all Bernese Mountain Dogs are natural pack animals. So having friendships with other dogs is literally in their blood.
What Kind of Dogs Get Along Best With a Bernese Mountain Dog?
Now some people might name specific breeds to this kind of question. But while the breed type of a dog does affect their personality a great deal, their upbringing and life experiences probably have a bigger effect. A lot will depend upon each dog’s individuality. There are however certain universal traits to dogs that will give a higher chance of the dog getting along with your Bernese Mountain Dog.
- Dogs of the opposite gender tend to get along better: Sometimes when you have two male dogs or two females they are more likely to be aggressive towards each other. Their each trying to fight for higher rank in the dominance hierarchy, but when you have one male and one female their more likely to be friends.
- Two girl dogs: While having another dog the opposite gender of your Bernese Mountain Dog tend to work the best. Two female dogs will tend to be more peaceful with each other than two males. Less testosterone in the relationship tends to lead to calmer outcomes.
- Neuter or spay both of your dogs: Getting your Bernese Mountain Dog and the other fixed usually calms dogs down. Dogs with all their hormones raging are more likely to be aggressive. But when working with males it’s important to neuter them before their two. After that, it tends to have a less positive effect on their character.
- Dogs that are slightly smaller than the Bernese Mountain Dog: With Bernese dogs being so gentle naturally. They tend to do better with dogs somewhat smaller than them. This applies to dogs slightly smaller but dogs that are significantly smaller are a completely different matter.
- Raise them together as puppies: If you can manage to raise your Bernese Mountain Dog and another dog together as puppies this tends to have the best outcome. Puppies tend to be naturally playful and affectionate. Being able to forge a bond from a young age will smooth over most conflicts later on when their older and stronger.
Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Get Along With Small Dogs?
While Bernese dogs have a strong natural friendliness to them its still smart to be nervous about introducing them to a much smaller dog. These kindly fellow are very large animals and will be many times bigger in weight then most small dogs they come across. But with a few tips, you should be prepared well to ensure your Bernese Mountain Dog get along with small dogs as well as possible.
- Make sure the small dog has an escape route: Nothing is more likely to lead to disaster then two dogs stuck together in a small space. So keep an eye on them and make sure that there is a path away from each other.
- Give the small dog a safe space: Provide the small dog with a place where only they are allowed. This means that if things get hot and heavy with the Bernese Mountain Dog the small dog can retreat there. This could be a little dog house, a separate room of the house, or block off an area with barriers of some sort.
- When you leave the house keep them in separate rooms: While this isn’t necessary once you have complete faith in their relationship. But when things are still new and your unsure best when you leave the dogs alone that they each have their own area separate from the other.
- Train your Bernese Mountain Dog to have a leave command: Its a good idea to teach your dog to leave something alone on command. This is some times called a leave it command. It’s easy to see how this could be useful when they’re interacting with a small dog. If the larger Bernese is bothering the little fellow too much you can tell to leave them alone and they will obey if you trained them well.
- Keep the dogs separate at feeding times: This actually goes well for dogs of any size. Feeding time can unfortunately be a good recipe for dog aggression. While Bernese Mountain Dogs are nice, few things might lead to aggression faster than feeling like their foods going to get stolen. Just get passed all this by not feeding them both in the same place.
How to Train Your Bernese Mountain Dog to Get Along Well With Other Dogs
Good training is always key to dealing with any dog behavior. To ensure your Bernese Mountain dog is always smiling with other dogs then your going need to train them to be so. Fortunately, Bernese are easy to train and eager to please. They also have a very naturally friendly disposition which helps a lot when dealing with other dogs.
It’s important that you make training a fun thing for your dog. I recommend that you mainly use lots of positive reinforcement training. Where you give your dog-loving encouragement to motivate them to behave rather than yelling or punishments.
Here is a step by step to give you a rough idea of how you could train your Bernese Mountain Dog to get along better with other dogs that they might meet.
- The key is to take your dog to a park where there will be some other dogs there but it won’t be too crowded. Take your Bernese Mountain off a little ways from everyone else. Maybe sit on a nice bench or something.
- Then wait until a dog crosses through your Bernese’s line of vision. If your dog behaves well then give them praise or even a treat to add a bit of extra spice.
- rinse and repeat as needed.
- After a while move your dog closer to the main thoroughfare and see how they do. If their still chill when a dog passes by once again praise them heavily.
- A little bit of barking is okay as long as your dog is mainly chill.
- After your Bernese Mountain Dog has successfully passed through these steps then ask a dog owner if its okay if they walk up to say hello. Keep these interactions short and sweet. Once again praise them heavily when they behave well.
Good Ways to Introduce Another to Dog to Your Bernese Mountain Dog
If your introducing a new canine member of the family to your Bernese, then its perfectly normal to be nervous and want to practice some precautions. Here are a few ways you can let them meet each other while still giving you a lot of control over the interactions.
- For the first introductions make use of a barrier: It can be very good to introduce another dog to your Bernese Mountain Dog through a see-through barrier. Like a chainlink fence or maybe a glass barrier. This way you can watch how they react when they see the other dog and see how difficult the task ahead might be.
- The scent method: Here this one is based around scent as opposed to eyesight like the other one. This time have a barrier but one where they can’t see each but can smell each other. A wooden door could serve the purpose well. At a later point, you could use an article of your clothing and place where one of the dogs sleeps. Let it get covered with their scent then move it over to the other dog. This way it mixes their smells together with the comfort of sleeping so they will associate positive things with each other’s scent.
Signs of Aggression in Your Bernese Mountain Dog
When trying to get your Bernese Mountain Dog to get along well with another dog, it’s a good thing to be aware of the signs that the interaction may be turning negative. Some of these signs may be displayed during play and thusly wouldn’t necessarily a sign of aggression from your Bernese. This is where its important to know your dog well, but if there are multiple signs then you can take that as good confirmation that things are about to escalate and you need to remove the dogs from the situation.
- Watch out for a stiff body posture: When your Bernese Mountain Dog becomes very stiff and stands up straight when around another dog, then this is a sign that there isn’t a lot of trust between the dogs. Try to redirect your dog’s attention or calm them with soothing words.
- Hair raised isn’t a good sign: Just like a cat when the hair around your dog’s shoulders and rear then it means their very bothered by something. If another dog is in the area and they’re facing them then chances are its aggression towards the other dog. Sooth them as best you can and take them out of the area if things don’t improve.
- Baring their teeth: This is probably one of the most certain and clear signs of aggression. If you see your Bernese Mountain Dog showing this kind of aggression to another dog. Then you need to put an end to the interaction fast as the next step of escalation at this point is usually a fight.
- Snapping: A dog snapping at another dog is a very negative sign. It’s not just a warning but usually beyond a warning. At this point, the interaction between the two dogs needs to end.
- Growling: Some dogs are more vocal than others. What might sound like a growl is actually a playful friendly noise. Some of it is about knowing your dog’s vocal habits well but watch out for a deep sound that seems to be coming from their throat. That’s a sign that things are escalating.
Most Bernese Mountain Dogs should get along well with other dogs both big and small. It shouldn’t be too hard as long as the other dog isn’t aggressive. But precautions should be made and it is important to give lots of exposure to other dogs to your Bernese from the moment they’re a puppy. A lot of how well your dog will do with others depends upon how well socialized they have been.
Also, remember to stay calm and centered in your emotions. Dogs can pick up quickly upon the feelings of their master. So if your tense and scared then your dog will be too. They will likely pin the cause on some other dog increasing the risk of aggression. By remaining calm in all situations you increase the chances of your Bernese Mountain Dog getting along well with other dogs.