Tips for Training


All dogs need to have good manners and understand what we wish for them to do. This is especially true for a large breed dog, such as the Bernese. A well-trained dog is a better companion, much easier to live with, more pleasant to take places, and more likely to be a welcome guest. As more legislation is passed in this country to control dogs and their ownership, it is imperative that our dogs be trained.

The main reason we have a dog is for companionship. Bernese however, need a job to do. Training helps the guardian teach manners, create a very special bond, prevent boredom, help satisfy his/her Berner’s need to be with and please his owner, as well as gives the dog a task to accomplish. Training can become an enjoyable sport for both owner and Berner, whether the goal is having a well-behaved companion or earning titles.

How To Train Your Berner

Bernese are a Working breed, developed to have a strong desire to accompany and interact with people. They are intelligent, learn quickly, and strive to please their owners. Positive training methods help to keep them eager and willing. Bernese are impressionable with excellent memories. Training sessions should be kept short to prevent boredom. Be creative in motivating your Berner by using games and play-training techniques. Try to end each training session with your Berner “wanting to do more.” Your primary job is to make training interesting and fun. Male or female? Either sex presents its own set of challenges! Personality is unique with every dog regardless of sex. A female may be moody with hormonal surges. A male can be easily distracted by all the good smells.

Where To Start

The main reason for training is to develop a pleasant adult dog that is easy to live with. This is a gradual process that will continue throughout the dog’s life, for in living with dogs, we are training them to live under our rules. Training dogs requires the 4 “P’s” – Patience, Persistence, Positivity, and Praise. Pre-puppy class: All puppies should attend Pre-Puppy class (usually held at vets so safe to take your pup prior to full vaccinations).

Look for a 'fear free' class that uses food treats, toys, clickers, play, pats, and lots of “happy voice” praise! Pre-Puppy class will provide needed gentling and socialization, satisfy doggy needs to play with other puppies, help owners to acquire valuable knowledge to meet a dog’s basic needs, and provide a good foundation for more structured training in coming months. Pre-Puppy class instills confidence and helps shy pups to overcome insecurities, giving all pups an excellent head start.

Good Manners Puppy Class: A Beginners or Good Manners Class is a good way to continue socialization as the dog learns to “watch me,” sit, down, stay, come, leave it, wait at doorways or gates, and Loose Leash Walk around other dogs, distractions, and people. It is also a good way for owners to meet other dog owners to talk “dog.”

Adolescence can be a trying time for owners as the dog learns how to meet human expectations and rules. A dog training class can provide information, guidance, and support. Attendance with your adolescent puppy is strongly recommended. Select a trainer who favors the use of food treats, clickers, and toys for motivation and reward.

Canine Good Citizen

With some training and conditioning, a Berner should be capable of earning a CGC (Canine Good Citizen) certification when the dog demonstrates good behavior for the testers. Exercises are done on leash and include: sitting/staying while the owner shakes hands with and talks to a stranger; walking on leash without pulling; walking comfortably with the owner through a milling crowd of people; being stroked, examined, doing a sit and down on cue; coming when called; walking past another dog in a controlled manner; accepting a distraction, such as a stroller, bicycle, and/or loud noise; and, staying quietly with another person while the owner is out of sight.


RSPCSA has a list of force free trainers here in Adelaide:



Club Sponsor:

For the Love of Your Dog


Former President (2020/2021) and BMDCSA member Emma offers training:

One on One & Small Groups

Sensory Therapy (FREEWORK) for fearful dogs

K9 Noseworks