Can Bernese Mountain Dogs live outside and why they shouldn’t?
Can Bernese Mountain Dogs live outside or is it more of an indoors dog?
The answer to this can be somewhat counter-intuitive. Bernese Mountain Dogs are large dogs with a luscious coat that is perfectly capable of protecting them against cold weather and rain. And they love being outside! They have been bred traditionally to be an active, outdoorsy dog tasked with lots of outside work such as assisting in herding sheep and cattle, guarding the farm animals and the farmer’s family, and even pulling the farm carts with cheese and milk to and from the market.
All of that predisposed Berners to have a great love for everything outdoors: from assisting with the modern farm activities to hiking and walking and playing in the park. Berners revel outdoors, in any weather, in any conditions.
Does that mean Bernese Mountain Dogs can live outside?
Despite the fact that Berners can easily withstand a wide range of temperatures and conditions, they are not a great outdoors dog and should not be left to live outside. They evolved living with their people and their families. That means not only in close proximity, but deeply involved in everything that their people do, on a daily basis. This is how a young Bernese pup will bloom into its best self, psychologically and mentally.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are extremely family-oriented and devoted to their people. They want to be at the owner’s side at all times, protect them from all ills, and participate in every step that you take. But for that to fully bloom, your Bernese needs to live with you, in your home. That way, from their young age, they watch you and learn about you and your family. They get attached to you and can fully love you, fully perceive you as their own family.
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If you plan put your newly adopted Bernese Mountain Dog puppy in a cage outside, or on a chain (ugh!), you might want to reconsider and either get a different dog, or not get a dog at all. Maybe a cat would do better, or a goldfish. People get Bernese Mountain Dogs for specific reasons, not the least of which are their exceptional personality as a breed.
You probably want a dog that will be loving and devoted to you, that will understand not only your words, but even what you say with your gestures and your eyes. Bernese are fully capable of that, probably more than any other breed. But that only happens if the puppy grows up with you, near you at all times. If you put a young Bernese puppy on a chain outside your house or farm, it will go against every inborn instinct this puppy has.
Should I say it will be a very unhappy puppy? Moreover, it will grow into a stressed, nervous, flighty, possibly unsociable and uncontrollable dog. This is bad with any dog, but especially a large powerful dog like Bernese Mountain Dog. This won’t even be a safe dog for you and your family, let alone a loving, devoted, caring, amazing companion and protector that you would like to see in your dog.
Why are you even getting a dog then, and especially a Bernese? Another thing is that a puppy or a young dog left without attention, supervision and entertainment for a long time will find their own things to do and you may not like those things. They might become destructive and get some bad habits like chewing things they are not supposed to (and how are they supposed to not what they are not supposed to chew if you are not there?), barking, digging, toileting in inappropriate spots, or even attacking passers-by.
All of which are issues you inflict on yourself by not taking care of your dog properly. This may start taking a serious toll on your own well-being, and, frankly, you are ruining the dog’s life too. The time when they are puppies is when an owner can instill rules and values into a puppy. If the puppy wasn’t raised correctly, they may get bad habits and negative personality traits that will last a lifetime and that somebody else will have to correct, if a puppy is lucky enough to find a new – better – family.
You have to understand the number of sacrifices you have to make – with any dog really, and especially with a Bernese – to get an ideal dog that you want. They don’t just “grow” like that. They are definitely not made like that. They become that if you as an owner provide the necessary conditions. For a Bernese Mountain Dog those conditions are living with you in your home. You can leave them at home, of course, when you go to work or school, but they need to sleep under the same roof with you, so to say.
If you worry about the dog taking full roam of your house and possibly being somewhere you don’t want them to be, that’s OK. That’s reasonable. Some people let their dogs sleep in bed with them. Some are disgusted by the thought. Some let the dog hang underfoot whenever they cook and then plead for food at the dining table. Some people forbid their dogs to go in the kitchen all together.
Those things are entirely your choice and they are OK. You can have some areas in your house that are off-limits to your Bernese. With Berners being smart as they are (if a little stubborn), your pup will very soon learn and accept the rules of your house and will obey them, because most correctly-raised Berners live to please their owners. Meanwhile, if the puppy is still small, you can use crates, baby gates or dog gates and other barriers, or just close doors. And, of course, training comes into place as well.
Another reason some people want to keep their dogs outside the house is that they think the dog will find ways to entertain itself, walk itself, play by itself because the owner doesn’t want to or can’t invest time into those activities with their dog. If that even remotely sounds like your case, you really need to reconsider getting a Bernese Mountain Dog or any dog at that.
Very few breeds of dogs do well in constant loneliness and separation from their human pack, if any. You really may be better off with a cat, although even cats require lots of love and attention from their owners. If you are not ready to provide it to your pet, a house plant is a safer and better option.
I hope you can see that leaving your Bernese Mountain Dog to live outside is not a good idea. Hopefully, if that’s how you imaging raising a dog, you can reconsider and perhaps postpone getting a dog till the time when your plans, desires and abilities can better align with the work and sacrifices (or just a preferred lifestyle, really) that are involved in caring for a dog. Especially for such a delicate, wonderful and devoted breed as a Bernese Mountain Dog.