3 Things to Know about Owning St Bernards

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Image via Pixabay

If you’ve rescued a St Bernard puppy from a shelter, and think that you can treat it just like any other breed of dog, you might be in for a bit of a nasty shock.

If you haven’t already picked this up from watching the Beethoven films, St Bernards are a very particular breed of dog, with unique attributes, and require a good degree of understanding and care on the part of any owner who wants to do right by these dogs.

So, whether an experienced dog owner who has just never owned a St Bernard, or are a
newbie to the world of canine-ownership altogether, here are some things you need to know about owning St Bernards.

Train them well when they’re young to avoid later grief

St Bernards are massive dogs, when fully grown, but you probably already knew that, right? Just in case you haven’t really grasped the scale in question, however, keep in mind that adult St Bernards can weigh up to 120kg in average (around 264 lb).

What’s more, St Bernards tend to be very enthusiastic dogs. Especially when relatively young, they are exuberant, energetic, and love to play. They also become accustomed to throwing their weight around quite easily, and although not very aggressive by nature, are more than capable of harassing other dogs when out for a walk.

What all of this means, in effect, is that you need to train your St Bernard well, at the earliest age possible. Ideally, you’ll furnish them with things such as the
best chew toys for puppies, to prevent them tearing the house apart, and then set about ensuring that they know how to behave in different social contexts.

Train your dog out of charging for strange dogs on walks, when it’s still young, or you’ll have a lot of trouble later.

St Bernards are ideally going to be outdoor dogs

St Bernards were originally bred in the Swiss Alps, as rescue and working dogs, sent out to identify people who had become trapped under the snow under avalanches, or who were otherwise wounded in the mountains. St Bernards were typically trained to travel in groups, identify and warm the stranded people, and fetch help.

What this means is that
St Bernards are hardy dogs who cope well with being outside in low temperatures. They are also quite social, and very energetic.

Ideally, your St Bernard will be an outside dog, at least once it reaches maturity. Keeping it in an apartment may be an issue.

They’re very physical dogs, you need to be able to match them

If you’re not a very big, or physically strong person, you might need to think twice about becoming a St Bernard owner.

As mentioned before, these dogs are very large and very powerful, used to using their physicality to get their own way. Even if you’ve trained your St Bernard to avoid acts of outright aggression against other dogs, you can still find yourself being tackled when you return home from work, or being dragged around when out on a walk if your dog sees something interesting.

Having the
strength to withstand these dogs straining at the leash or bounding up to greet you can be very useful.

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