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The 7 Most Unusual Habits of Bernese Mountain Dogs

Written by: Arlene Divina
Arlene A. Divina, a resident of the Philippines, is a devoted fur mom to two adorable dogs: a Shih Tzu and a Beagle. With a passion for animals and storytelling, Arlene has channeled her love for dogs into her career as a content writer at iHeartDogs. Her writing captures the essence of the bond between humans and their furry companions, offering insights, tips, and heartfelt stories to a wide audience of dog enthusiasts. Read more
| Published on April 14, 2024

Bernese Mountain Dogs, known for their majestic appearance and friendly demeanor, originate from the Swiss Alps where they were traditionally used for herding cattle and pulling carts. These large, tri-colored dogs are not only powerful but also incredibly gentle, earning them the nickname “gentle giants.” As a breed with a strong work ethic, Bernese Mountain Dogs are eager to please and thrive in environments where they can participate in family activities. Despite their well-known traits of loyalty and affection, Bernese Mountain Dogs exhibit a variety of unusual habits that may surprise those unfamiliar with the breed. These behaviors are deeply ingrained in their heritage and can provide fascinating insights into their personalities. This article will explore seven of the most unusual habits of Bernese Mountain Dogs, highlighting the unique aspects of their behavior and providing guidance on how to manage these traits effectively.

1. Leaning for Comfort and Affection

One endearing habit of Bernese Mountain Dogs is their tendency to lean against their human companions. This behavior is often seen as their way of seeking closeness and affection, showing their dependency and trust in their owners. While this can be charming, it can sometimes be overwhelming due to their large size. Owners should encourage this behavior with moderation, providing firm training on when and where this is appropriate to ensure that it does not become a nuisance or a hazard, especially around children or elderly individuals.

2. “Wooing” or Vocalization

Bernese Mountain Dogs are relatively vocal compared to other breeds, often making a distinctive “woo” sound that is not quite a bark. This vocalization usually occurs when they are happy, excited, or seeking attention and can be quite melodious and entertaining. Understanding this form of communication is crucial for owners, as it helps in recognizing their emotional states and needs, enhancing the bond between pet and owner.

3. Obsessive Shadow Chasing

Some Bernese Mountain Dogs may develop an obsession with chasing shadows or light reflections. This behavior could potentially stem from their herding instincts, misdirected at moving lights or shadows instead of livestock. It’s important for owners to redirect this behavior to prevent it from becoming an obsessive or anxious habit. Providing ample physical and mental stimulation through structured play and training can help channel their energy more constructively.

4. Sensitivity to Cold and Hot Weather

Despite their thick fur, which is well-suited for cold weather, Bernese Mountain Dogs can be quite sensitive to temperature extremes. They often seek out cold surfaces in hot weather and may become more energetic and playful in the snow. Owners should provide a comfortable and safe environment that helps manage their temperature sensitivity, such as cooling mats in summer and warm, indoor spaces during winter.

5. Nighttime Restlessness

Bernese Mountain Dogs can sometimes exhibit nighttime restlessness, which may be a remnant of their past as farm dogs needing to protect their territory. Ensuring they have a routine that includes plenty of exercise and mental engagement during the day can help mitigate this restlessness and promote better sleep habits.

6. Strong Attachment and Loyalty

Bernese Mountain Dogs typically form a strong, almost protective attachment to their families. While this loyalty is heartwarming, it can sometimes lead to separation anxiety if not managed properly. Training them to handle solitude calmly and providing reassurance through toys or clothing with familiar scents can help ease their anxiety when left alone.

7. Selective Hearing

Despite their intelligence, Bernese Mountain Dogs may occasionally display what is known as “selective hearing,” choosing to ignore commands when distracted or uninterested. Consistency in training and engaging their attention with positive reinforcements can significantly improve their responsiveness and willingness to follow commands.

Bernese Mountain Dogs are as complex as they are charming, with their unusual habits providing depth to their personalities and a glimpse into their historical background. By embracing and understanding these behaviors, owners can foster a more harmonious and fulfilling relationship with their dogs, ensuring these gentle giants lead happy, well-adjusted lives as integral members of their families.

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