The Bernese Mountain dog is giant-size herding and working dog breed that is rapidly gaining in popularity in the United States and elsewhere.
These enormous, shaggy guard dogs are typically calm. But just watch – and listen – to what happens when a Bernese Mountain dog detects a threat of any kind. These dogs are as brave and stalwart as a canine companion can be.
If you are considering adding a Bernese Mountain dog to your family, you may be wondering if they bark a lot. Sure, if a real threat happens, nearly any dog will bark out a warning. But do Berners bark a lot in general? Let’s find out now!
Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Bark a Lot?
Do Bernese Mountain dogs bark a lot? As the popular Berner Talk forums highlight, the simplest answer is yes.
Why do Bernese Mountain dogs bark so much? The Berner is a guarding and watchdog that comes from a long lineage of herding and protecting livestock and people.
Bernese Mountain dogs have traditionally worked outdoors, herding, guarding, and protecting herds of large livestock animals like cattle – often at great distances from their people.
Barking is an effective way to communicate across long distances. It is also a great way to put poachers and predators on notice that coming closer won’t be tolerated.
Listen to Bernese Mountain Dog Sounds
It is true that some dog breeds are “barkers” and some dog breeds are not barkers. But some dog breeds can do it all – howling, whining, barking, and more.
In this YouTube video, you can listen to two Bernese Mountain dogs showing off their howling and barking skills, which are quite impressive.
Why Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Bark So Much?
As the American Kennel Club (AKC) recounts, the Bernese Mountain dog is overall a sweet, calm, good-natured dog breed.
These dogs tend to be great with kids and yet are surprisingly aloof with people they don’t know. This is in keeping with the temperament of a classic guarding and protection dog.
This is why Berner’s bark so much. Barking is arguably a dog’s best form of communication.
Your Berner will bark to put the suspected intruder (whether human or animal) on notice to move away. Your dog will also bark to alert you that there is a potential threat.
And your dog will bark for all kinds of other reasons as well, some of which will remain forever unknown to anyone other than the Berner.
Teaching a Bernese Mountain Dog When to Bark
If you are considering adding a personal guarding and protection dog to your family, you want your dog to bark.
But you don’t want your dog to bark all the time at anything and everything or even nothing at all.
You don’t want your guarding and protection dog to bark out of boredom, frustration, hunger, a desire to play, or excitement.
You want your dog to bark to alert you the there is a potential threat, even if that threat turns out to just be the mail person delivering your daily mail.
The Bernese Mountain dog may get big size-wise quickly, but like many giant dog breeds, they can take a longer time to grow up mentally and emotionally.
As Vetstreet points out, your Berner will need early, consistent and ongoing training and socialization to learn how to use their bark as an effective communication tool with you, their owner.
Your dog will need your help to learn when to bark and when to stop. You will need to teach your Berner how to distinguish between a true potential threat and your child’s best friend who likes to visit.
It will be up to you to ensure your large, powerful protection dog does not inadvertently cause harm to another human being or animal. This is not a small task and it is worth considering, especially if you have guests to your home often.
You want to start this training and socialization process on the very first day your new BMD puppy comes home with you.
It is especially important to ensure everyone in your family spends equal time with your puppy to avoid the tendency these dogs have to bond more closely with one family member over all others.
Luckily, as the Animal Health Center of New Hampshire explains, the Bernese Mountain dog has a strong drive to please their people, which makes these dogs relatively easy to train.
However, if you find you are having any trouble training and socializing your Berner and teaching your dog when to bark and when to stop, working with a K-9 training professional will get your new relationship off on the right foot.
The Main Reason Why Bernese Mountain Dog Barking Might Become a Problem
As the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America explains, the Berner is by nature a dog that is watchful and alert.
This is because one moment of inattention could cost lives.
In the course of any given day, a working Bernese Mountain dog could find themselves having to direct large, heavy prey animals while feeding off equally large, hungry predators like bears.
When not employed in herd guarding, the Bernese Mountain dog found useful work as a droving (carting and hauling) dog and a guard dog to people.
The reason this is important to understand is that the Berner is a working dog breed through and through. Even though these dogs are not as high-energy as some working dog breeds, they have been bred for generations to have important jobs to do.
The primary cause of “problem barking” in Bernese Mountain dogs is simple: boredom.
As the Twin Cities Bernese Mountain Dog Club explains, the main reason a Berner would ever start barking just to bark is being left alone for too long a period of time.
So this definitely is not a dog breed that can endure being “home alone” on a regular basis.
But as long as the Bernese Mountain dog has at least one person or animal to guard and protect, they are as good as “employed.” But leaving a Berner home alone for hours at a time is a recipe for problem barking, among other problems.
How to Stop Your Bernese Mountain Dog from Barking Too Much
When it comes to problem barking, it actually doesn’t matter much what breed your dog happens to be.
What matters is identifying why your dog is barking excessively and that will give you the information to stop the problem barking.
As the American Kennel Club (AKC) points out, there are many different possible reasons why your Bernese Mountain dog might start barking too much.
These are the most commonly reported reasons:
- Boredom (physical, mental, or emotional).
- Loneliness (even if there is another pet present).
- Separation anxiety.
- Improper (or no) socialization.
- A triggering environment.
- Poor (or no) training.
If you are hearing about your Berner’s problem barking second-hand from a friend or neighbor, you may not know exactly what is causing the excessive barking.
Here, it may help to install a pet camera so you can observe your dog remotely while you are away from the house.
As you are probably already beginning to grasp, finding solutions to some of the common reasons why your Berner may be barking too much is relatively easy.
Is your dog bored or inactive? Add more interactive playtime, puzzle toys, slow feeders, training activities, and fun to your Berner’s daily schedule.
Loneliness may be effectively relieved by enrolling your dog in some type of doggie daycare program, hiring a daily pet sitter or pet walker, or asking your employer if you can take your dog to work with you (many employers are now allowing this).
A lack of socialization or training can be a little tougher to remedy and may require working with a professional K-9 trainer, especially if you have already given it your best effort and the results are not what you hoped for or expected.
For some adult rescue Bernese Mountain dogs, there may be pre-existing behavioral issues that resulted from prior neglect or abuse that you need to sort through. Here, a professional K-9 trainer can become an invaluable resource and guide for you both.
What if your Berner has a triggering environment to deal with?
Perhaps your dog spends all day in the back yard where squirrels are constantly taunting them from fence posts or trees. Or maybe your dog can hear activity outside the fence but cannot see anything.
You may need to make some adjustments to your dog’s space to ease triggers that can easily provoke a guarding and protection dog breed like the Bernese Mountain dog.
Adding view holes in your fence will let your dog see out. Installing squirrel-proofing netting may prevent constant provocation from occurring.
The more you can learn, the better you can address the problem.