You are thinking about getting a Bernese Mountain Dog, but you are not sure how much exercise a Bernese Mountain Dog needs and if you are up to the task? In this article you will find the answers.
The Bernese Mountain Dog may be a large and comfortable looking dog, but ideally it needs exercise in the form of 2 walks of 30 to 60 minutes a day to keep it happy and busy. In addition to physical exercise, it is important to keep a Bernese Mountain Dog mentally occupied as well.
On average, 90 minutes of physical and mental activity can provide a good foundation.
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How much activity does a Bernese Mountain Dog need?
The basis to keep a Bernese Mountain Dog busy are the classic walks. These build the foundation for a happy Bernese Mountain Dog.
However, it is not enough to walk your Bernese Mountain Dog 2 to 3 times a day for 30 to 45 minutes at a time. A dog needs variety, even on a walk.
Ideally, you have 2 or 3 different rounds that you can offer your Bernese Mountain Dog as a walk so that he has variety.
It is important that you usually take your time and make this walk with your dog active and not absent and just want to finish it
Since a Bernese Mountain Dog sheds a lot, you can also use the walk in the woods to brush your dog. Grooming also strengthens your relationship.
That means it’s not good if you’re talking on the phone, checking messages on your cell phone, or anything else while you’re doing it. Your dog knows whether you are with him or not.
How far can a Bernese Mountain Dog walk?
If you are an avid hiker, the Bernese Mountain Dog can be the ideal companion for your walks through the woods but also mountains.
The Bernese Mountain Dog was originally used in Switzerland as a farm dog for pulling wagons and driving cattle, among other things. So they are used to and need exercise.
In various forums I have read reports of Bernese Mountain Dog owners who walk with their dogs as soon as they are fully grown for several hours a distance of 10 km and more.
A Bernese Mountain Dog is able to walk long distances with you. However, you must accustom him slowly to the load.
Especially when it comes to hiking in the mountains, you should build up the condition slowly and not start from 0 to 100.
Can you jog with a Bernese Mountain Dog?
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a large and heavy dog and consequently not the ideal athlete for daily jogging sessions.
But a smaller jogging session here and there is of course possible. So if you go for a jog once a week or so, maybe on the weekend, there is nothing wrong with taking your Bernese Mountain Dog with you.
Again, it is important to get him used to the higher workload slowly and that you only start jogging when your dog is fully grown. Before that, the muscles and joints are not yet sufficiently developed.
Also long bike rides are limited suitable for the big heavy dog. Of course, you can let a Bernese Mountain Dog run alongside a bicycle.
However, you must adapt to your dog and not force him to follow your pace.
How athletic is a Bernese Mountain Dog?
Even though the Bernese Mountain Dog seems rather leisurely , he likes to move around and is enthusiastic about a wide variety of activities.
Pulling dog sports
In its homeland, Switzerland, the Bernese Mountain Dog used to be harnessed to pull in front of waggons to help transport goods. This predestines the large dog for the train dog sport.
Dogs have basically a good nose. Some more, others less. The Bernese Mountain Dog is also suitable for tracking work and can be kept busy with it. Tracking is simply sniffing out objects and tracks.
In mantrailing, a human track is followed. The Bernese Mountain Dog is also suitable for this.
This is about the exact following of commands and orders.
For which sports is the Bernese Mountain Dog not suitable
Due to its size and weight, the Bernese Mountain Dog is not really suitable for activities such as Frisbee. The jumping and abrupt landings, can harm the joints in the long run.
Keep the Bernese Mountain Dog mentally occupied
In addition to physical exercise, it is important to keep a Bernese Mountain Dog mentally occupied as well. Only a dog that is physically and mentally stimulated is happy.
The daily training of basic commands like “sit” “down” or the recall are exhausting for your dog. Just like the training of leash leadership is exhausting for your dog and a good mental occupation.
Sniffing games/ search games
Sniffing is exhausting for dogs and mentally taxing. As you progress, you can keep increasing the difficulty level.
Frustration tolerance training
Train your Bernese Mountain Dog’s frustration threshold. Specifically, this means, for example:
- Your Bernese Mountain Dog is happy when you put on the jacket and shoes, take the leash, because he knows he is going for a walk. Put the leash away, sit down and wait for 30-60 minutes. Let your dog alone with this situation and process it. This will keep him busy.
- Prepare food for your dog but don’t give it to him immediately, as usual, but put the full bowl aside and give your dog the food 30 minutes later.
- Put treats in front of your dog’s feet and let him take them only when he says “ok”.
- Take your dog on the usual route, for example, to the dog park that you always visit. Your dog will know where you’re going and will be excited because it’s about to go play. Instead of letting your dog out, you drive past the dog park and back home. You drive back to the dog park an hour later instead.
These are all situations that create an expectation in your dog that he looks forward to, but which is not met. This unfulfilled expectation your dog must first process alone for a while. So he learns to deal with frustration.
Consequences of too little activity
If you don’t keep your Bernese Mountain Dog busy enough, it is possible that he will show behavioral problems over time. Especially with a large dog like the Bernese, this can end in disaster . Possible signs of too little activity are
- Excessive barking
- Lethargic behavior
- Extreme chewing
If your Bernese Mountain Dog becomes aggressive due to too little physical and mental activity, for example, this is a disaster.
CONCLUSION: How much exercise does a Bernese Mountain Dog need?
Your Bernese Mountain Dog needs about 1 to 2 hours of daily activity in the form of physical as well as mental. The foundation are the walks where your dog gets exercise but at the same time should get time to sniff.
Besides the walks you should challenge your dog mentally. This can also be done during the walks. Also, an occasional excursion, a long walk in nature is a good alternative to make your dog happy.
Mikkel Bigandt-stock.adobe.com (featured image)
I am Marco and I have the pleasure of living with 3 large Mastiff-type dog breeds. I would like to share my dog-related experiences on this blog