Saint Bernards are among the most popular breeds in the world, and deservedly so.
Even though a great deal of their popularity comes from pop-culture prominence, they’re also beloved due to their sweet and kind personality and calm temperament.
They also have the looks to go with their personality traits, as these gentle giants are super cute and adorable.
However, as one of the largest breeds in the world, Saint Bernards are a bit of a handful.
Less experienced owners may have issues handling a dog of this stature and strength.
Although they’re very good-natured, their sheer size sometimes can cause trouble, especially when living in smaller spaces.
This is particularly the case with dogs that haven’t been properly trained and socialized. This brings us to the question are Saint Bernards easy to train.
Below, you’ll learn how trainable St. Bernards are and the best ways to approach their training.
Are Saint Bernards Easy To Train?
Saint Bernards are highly intelligent and very eager to please, so, in most cases, they’re fairly easy to train.
They usually pick up on basic training and learn verbal commands pretty quickly.
St. Bernards are known to respond well both to home training and when they take part in dog classes.
However, they are not always the fastest to react and may sometimes lack the motivation for training.
The best way to handle this is through positive reinforcement.
Saint Bernards don’t react well to punishment and it’s best to motivate them with tasty treats, verbal praise, and physical affection.
Also, they tend to do better with shorter training sessions.
The fatigue can catch up with them rather fast, especially when the weather is warm and this may hinder their ability to properly engage in training.
So, it’s best to keep the training sessions no longer than 5-15 minutes.
How to Train a Saint Bernard?
A well-trained Saint Bernard will make your life much easier.
Due to their size, ill-mannered St. Bernard can wreak havoc in your house and be a nightmare to take for a walk.
Failure to properly train and socialize may lead to some of the unwanted personal traits coming to the surface, such as extreme shyness, aggressiveness, or stubbornness.
It’s best to start training as early as possible, while your dog is still a puppy.
This way they’ll be much easier to handle than when they grow into giants they are as adults.
Before you start with training, arm yourself with patience.
St. Bernards are known as late bloomers and they mature a bit later than most dogs, so it may take some time to go through the whole training process.
Below, you’ll find some tips that should help you make the training as smooth and easy as possible.
Create a Positive Training Environment
St. Bernards thrive in a positive and rewarding environment.
Providing them with positive support and appreciation will make the dog more engaged and deliver a smooth training process.
Always avoid shouting at your puppy or punishing them for not listening.
Training-wise, this will likely have the opposite effect of the one you would want. It’s best to ignore any unwanted behavior.
Any kind of response will only reinforce it.
On the other hand, every time a pup successfully performs a task, reward them with a treat, praise, or a gentle pat.
When patting your St. Bernard, don’t do it on top of the head or back, but under the chin or on the chest.
Also, make sure that your commands are clear and consistent. A puppy should always know what’s expected of them.
In addition, ensure that everyone in the family knows the rules and commands to avoid confusing the dog.
Basic Obedience Training
Basic obedience training is a necessity for Saint Bernards.
Before moving on to more advanced training tasks, first, make sure that your dog has an understanding of and responds to basic commands.
Teaching your St. Bernard to sit, stay, stand, heel, or come, will make them much more manageable.
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One of the best basic training instruments at your disposal is a Dog Training Clicker .
You can use it to click every time your pup does something right and thus reinforce the desired behavior.
When teaching your dog basic commands, use a clear and firm voice and make sure to reward them for being successful.
The dog may not get everything quickly, so stay patient and don’t lose your temper.
If needed, you can look for professional help.
Signing up your St. Bernard for dog classes will help them learn basic commands and also allow them to socialize with other dogs.
Housetraining Your Saint Bernard
Housetraining and teaching your St. Bernard where to go potty is imperative if you want to keep your house in order.
Saint Bernards can leave a rather big mess behind them if not equipped with proper house manners.
To successfully potty train your dog, first select a designated area for them to relieve themselves.
Pay attention to signs that show that they have an urge to go and place to that spot immediately.
Stay with them until they’ve finished and reward them with verbal praise.
Eventually, the puppy will learn that this is a potty spot. In addition, set up a precise schedule for taking them out and stick to it.
Another useful thing to do is to crate train your pup.
It will help you monitor and keep an eye on the puppy and also give them a space in the household that they can treat as their own.
A well-behaved Saint Bernard is one of the best pets anyone would wish for. They are loving, loyal, playful, and can work hard if needed.
They’re very affectionate towards their family and enjoy spending time with kids.
Still, to get the most of your Saint Bernard and help them be the best themselves, you’ll need to properly train and socialize them.
As they are natural people-pleasers and rather smart, training them isn’t too hard, especially if you have some previous experience with dogs.
Remember that the sooner you start with the training, the better because an adult St. Bernards can be a lot more difficult to handle.