The Bernedoodle is a designer breed that combines the Bernese Mountain Dog with the Poodle. The hybrid typically gets its intelligence from the Poodle parent, which is good news because the Poodle is known for being one of the most intelligent breeds and easy to train. However, the Bernedoodle also has the Bernese Mountain Dog: a lovely, loving dog, but one that is prone to being headstrong and stubborn.
Generally, the resulting mix can take to training very well, especially if you start when young and keep up with consistent training methods, but you might find some sessions are less successful than others.
Below are some tips and tricks to help ensure a positive training experience with your new Doodle.
The 12 Tips for Training a Bernedoodle
1. Start Young
Ideally, you should start training any dog when it is still a puppy, although this isn’t always possible if you adopt a dog that has already grown up. In any case, you can start some basic training as soon as you get your new dog home.
While it is possible to train adult dogs and enjoy success, young puppies are more receptive to training techniques. And, by starting training sessions when your dog is still a puppy, they will understand what is expected of them as they get older.
2. Train Daily
Dogs love routine and it will be easier to keep up with a training regimen if you and your pup know what to expect and when to expect it. Start with short training sessions, only a few minutes at a time if your dog is a puppy, and increase this gradually, but try to set aside this amount of time every day.
Training isn’t something that you do once a day and then forget, but you can use these sessions to teach new commands and work on existing commands to perfect them.
Socialization is important for all dogs, but it is especially important for breeds like the Bernese Mountain Dog, which can be aloof with strangers. This is especially difficult for Bernies because they look like giant teddy bears and a lot of people will want to approach the dog.
You can socialize your dog at home by inviting new people around. You can socialize at puppy training classes, which are a great environment to get your dog used to other dogs and humans. And you can socialize while out walking and at the dog park.
4. Make Training Fun
The stubborn streak in your Bernedoodle means that if it isn’t enjoying a particular training session or a specific training technique, it will likely dig its heels in and simply stop working. One way to counteract this is to keep sessions short and also introduce games and activities that will make the sessions enjoyable.
Fetch is a great way to teach recall, wait, and sit. And your dog will view the playtime as a reward for its efforts.
5. Keep It Interesting
While you do need to train the same command at least several times before your dog gets to grips with it, if you just keep pounding the same “sit” command over and over again, it will get boring for both of you.
Mix things up and, once your dog starts to get used to a particular training session, change it to something new. You will come back to earlier commands and techniques, and this is also a great way to see how well your dog has remembered their earlier lessons.
6. Use Positive Reinforcement Techniques
Positive reinforcement means praising or rewarding your dog when it does something you want to repeat. The positive element of the training refers to the positive action that you want your dog to perform. The reinforcement is the giving of a treat or the offering of praise as a means of reinforcing the desired activity.
Over time, you can reduce the amount of treats you give and replace them with verbal praise, but using treats at the beginning of your training journey will prove beneficial.
7. Utilize Food Treats
The Bernedoodle is highly food-orientated, which is very handy for training. It means you can use food treats as a reward and your Bernie will do just about anything to get that tasty morsel. When you first start training or if you’re going through a very difficult period with your Bernie’s training, use food treats.
If you’re working on training away from your property, for example in a dog park, you will benefit from having even higher value rewards for your pup. When you are doing repetitive basic work, at home, you can give treats intermittently and alternate them with verbal praise and a head rub, or sometimes playing your pup’s favorite game.
8. Don’t Overfeed
If you do use food treats as training aids, be careful that you don’t overfeed. Your Bernedoodle will likely just keep hoovering up those snacks and won’t know to stop when it hits its calorie count for the day.
No more than 10% of your dog’s daily calories should come from treats, and you should weigh your dog, carefully calculate how much they can have each day, and then weigh and measure their daily food. Reduce the food you give by the calories you give in treat form.
You can always cut or break treats down so they are smaller and therefore yield fewer calories. Or give food treats every other time, with verbal praise in between.
9. Don’t Scold or Reprimand
The Bernedoodle can be quite headstrong, and if it isn’t enjoying training, it will likely switch off and call it a day. Therefore, you need to keep training lighthearted. Avoid scolding, shouting at, or reprimanding your dog. And you should never physically harm a dog. If your dog isn’t listening or isn’t responding to your training, ignore the failed attempts. You can always try again in a few minutes.
Try changing your training technique up a little, turn it into a game, or introduce your dog’s favorite food treats to help incentivize your pup.
10. Use a Long Leash for Recall
Recall can be one of the more difficult aspects of dog training. Generally, it starts in the home. Stand a short distance from your dog and tell them to come. Have treats on hand and if your dog responds to the command, give them a treat. If they don’t respond, use the command again. Keep repeating the process.
When your dog gets the hang of it from the same room, move into a different room and repeat the process. Eventually, you can take it out into your own yard. Finally, head to the dog park with a long leash and try it while outside. There are more distractions and ways for your dog to ignore the training, and it will prove a greater test, but using a long leash ensures it is safe for both of you.
11. Consider Crate Training
When done properly, crate training can be a highly effective tool. You mustn’t leave your dog in the crate for too long periods or too often during the day, but using the crate at night or when you’re out of the house can be beneficial. It will take your pup time to get used to the crate and during this time, you will likely have to put up with barking and other noises.
Start by desensitizing your dog to the experience. Put their bed, some toys, and treats in the cage and let them wander in and out. Then, try shutting the door for a few minutes at a time.
12. House Training
Usually, the first thing owners train their dogs is house training. Set a feeding schedule because this will make it easier to predict when your pup needs to go out, and if you know this, you can set yourselves up for success. This makes positive reinforcement a lot easier, and it will help with effective house training. Socialization should also start as early as possible.
You will want to teach a big breed like the Bernedoodle to get down and stop jumping up, and because it is so highly motivated by food and treats, teaching them to get off the kitchen work surfaces is another good starting point.
The Bernedoodle is a cross between the Bernese Mountain Dog and the Poodle. Typically, the hybrid uses the Standard Poodle because it is closer to the size of the Bernese Mountain Dog, but you can get smaller dogs.
Whatever size, you should expect an intelligent dog, thanks to the Poodle parent, but one that might show signs of the Bernedoodle’s stubbornness. Keep training sessions short, start young, and use positive reinforcement with tasty treats to help instill new commands and reinforce existing ones. As well as training your puppy young, you should also start socializing from a young age.
Featured Image Credit: jcburke, Shutterstock
- The 12 Tips for Training a Bernedoodle
- 1. Start Young
- 2. Train Daily
- 3. Socialize
- 4. Make Training Fun
- 5. Keep It Interesting
- 6. Use Positive Reinforcement Techniques
- 7. Utilize Food Treats
- 8. Don’t Overfeed
- 9. Don’t Scold or Reprimand
- 10. Use a Long Leash for Recall
- 11. Consider Crate Training
- 12. House Training