Help with bernese mountain dog?
HI! my parents have a 6mo old bernese mountain dog, and we are having a lot of issues. They bought the dog the same day i moved back in with my now 16 month old daughter. hes destroyed probably over a dozen pairs of shoes, and countless toys of hers. he has quite an affinity for my panties, which last week gave him a bowel obstruction.. so $4000 in emergency surgery later we are trying to figure out what to do. he went to obedience class and did well, although we are having trouble with him p****g in the house still. he will literally go outside and p*e and come in the house and p*e again. i mean it looks like a bucket of water spilled on the floor, and we closely restrict his fluid intake because of this. he eats anything he can get his mouth around, and yes he is crated when we aren't home and at night. any help would be appreciated, its just impossible to watch him 24/7 and the baby, and we have 2 other dogs. we are on the verge of feeling like we have to give him away- but theres nowhere to live that he can't eat stuff. we live in the cleveland area if that helps. oh and he's not neutered yet, the vet didn't seem too interested in it, would that help calm down some of the chewing??
first- the baby isn't left alone with him, just her things are accssible to him, theres nowhere he can't reach. he is taken for an 1- 1.5 hour walk every night... he has been tested for hormonal imbalances, diabetes, and x-rays to see if his bladder was in the wrong place... so its not a physical issue making him p*e as far as we can tell. he has kong toys and hard rubber ball with holes that a pig ear is in.
Asked By: gabismommy - 8/17/2008
Bernies, as well as most other large breed dogs, are working dogs. It is in their genes to have a job and work hard. Unfortunately, most of us have these dogs as pets, not working dogs to haul hay and people and other crazy things. That being said, there is some wisdom in the idea of giving your Berner a job.
Try fitting in some time each day (about an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening--split it up between humans, and it isn't so bad) to give this boy a job. This will eliminate his anxiety, which is what he is dealing with by chewing things and p****g in the house and all that stuff. Yes, absolutely, continue with training, and work diligently on this. But also take into account his need for strenuous exercise and to keep his mind active. Large working breeds have minds that need stimulated with jobs to keep them happy.
Try getting him a backpack. They make them especially for large working dogs. Put him in the backpack, and load it up with a soup can on each side...over time you can add up to about 2 to 3 cans on each side (just make sure it is even on both sides, don't load up one side with 3 cans and then put none on the other side). Do be sure to check with your vet to make sure your big boy can handle this type of work on his joints, as joint issues are prevalent in the large ones. Take him on a nice walk, at a steady fast pace (not running, just quick, and swift) while he is wearing his backpack. They also make little wagon type harnesses, but this is much more expensive and he isn't necessarily going to be a fan--backpacks are easier for them to adjust to without a lot of training and work to get them used to it.
Also, consider using a kong toy to keep him occupied when he needs to be inside (don't feed him treats all day, but a kong once a day can be a great tool!) and let him have a space to roll it around and play with it. Kitchens work great for this, as you can clean the floor easily. Try filling it with a mixture of peanut butter, oats, a tsp. of honey, some spreadable cheese (Laughing Cow is a good brand for this), and maybe a healthy treat (Innova makes a great baked treat, and the small bar size fits into an average kong easily.) Freeze the mixture in the kong for added time for your boy to play with it--it is harder for them to get out the frozen stuff, plus most big guys love the cold of the treat! You can also feed him in his kong (I'm sure someone will flag me for that, but hear me out, please!) If you mix his kibble with a little cheese or peanut butter to get it to stick, you can put his food in the kong and make him "work" for his meal. We use this with our rescues, especially when they come in with lots of anxiety and nervous energy. It will keep him entertain in his mind (allows him to do some "work") and it also occupies him longer than it does when he just eats out of a bowl.
Neutering will definitely have an affect on his behavior. Try waiting until he is about 7-8 months, if you can, as that seems to be a real magic age for it to happen, but if your vet will do it sooner and believes it to be safe, it might be worth doing.
It will be tricky in the beginning, but the more diligent and consistent you are with demanding him to behave and work for his "room and board" the more happy and content he will be, and that will translate into a content, non-chewing dog.
Give it some time for him to settle into this routine, but I promise, if you are consistent with this plan every day, your dog will be much happier. Just remember, he is still a puppy, and there will be some more accidents before he gets it right.
Also, it is possible he has a medical issue with his p*e behavior--check with your vet to make sure he is in good health on the insides--a hormonal imbalance, a UTI, or even diabetes can present with urinating behavior that isn't normal. Once you rule this out, you'll know whether you are dealing with a behavior issue or a medical issue, and can treat it properly. Good luck! Feel free to email if you would like more tips or have more questions. I'm an open book.
Answered By: ReddyLee - 8/17/2008