Dog Breeds

St. Bernard Dog Breed Information

St. Bernard

An ancient breed, the St. Bernard probably descends from the heavy fighting dogs brought into Switzerland by Roman armies in the first century A.D. He gained fame in the Swiss Alps, where, at the Hospice of St. Bernard, dogs were raised and trained to rescue travelers lost in the snow.

He is a large, powerful dog with strong back and well developed hindquarters and muscular and powerful shoulders. The head is imposing with its broad forehead, wrinkles and furrow, and muzzle with looseskinned lips.

His rather high set ears are medium sized and lie close to the cheeks, and his lower eyelids fit loosely. The long tail hangs with a slight upward curve at the tip. He comes in two coat types: shorthaired (smooth, dense, and tough) and longhaired (medium length, plain to slightly wavy).

WEIGHT: 150 180 pounds, HEIGHT: males minimum of 27 inches; females minimum of 25 inches,

COLOR: white with red, or red with white; brindle patches with white markings.

GROUP: Working.

When he gets the idea of holding for a moment or two, tell him to release it. Kneel down before him, gently take the toy out of his mouth, and say “Out!” or “Drop it!” If he won’t let go, force the mouth open as described above. He must learn to let go of the object only when you tell him to.

Carrying an object comes next. But make sure the pupil knows Hold it first. Snap on the leash. With the toy in his mouth, lead the dog around the room or out in the yard. Since holding a hard object is a strain on teeth and jaws, you may want to use a newspaper or an old shoe or anything soft. The dog usually enjoys this, he’ll walk as far as you like. But do not overdo it. Every so often say “Sit!” and “Out!” Remove the object and wait awhile before you give it back.

The next step after holding and carrying is to teach the dog to get an object, pick it up, bring it back, sit, and drop it. This may be difficult, since the pupil will want to run and play with the object instead of bringing it back. Therefore, it is best not to try this trick until the dog has learned to come when called.

With the dog on a fairly long leash, take the object in your hand and waggle it before him to attract his attention. Throw the object a short distance away. Then run with him to it and order “Hold it!” Wait until you are sure he has it firmly in his teethhe may mouth it and play with it, so you must insist on the hold before giving the next command.

Now say “Fetch!” as you crouch down and slap your knee exactly as you did when teaching the Come. When he gets fairly close to you, order “Sit!” and then “Out!” You may skip the Sit, but it may be helpful in teaching control.
Hold, Carry, and Fetch should be taught in just that order, but use the same command so as to simplify things for the dog. Each should be thoroughly mastered before the next is attempted. Actually, they are one trick, taught in three stages to avoid confusion. You will use the Fetch around the house as well as out in the yard as the dog learns to bring your slippers, his leash, his bone, a ball, or the newspaper.


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