Working Your Berner

Drafting

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a working breed, and draft (pulling a cart) if a part of their heritage. Being an all around farm dog, they would haul many things in their carts, but are most noted for taking milk cans to the dairy.

Draft is not just your dog pulling a cart around; a well trained draft dog knows how to move their cart on various surfaces, up and down hills, and adjust their speed along the way. Turning the cart as directed and not colliding with obstacles is also a large part of their job. Finally, they must manage their load and be a true teammate to their handler.

Some Berners take quickly to draft, others are a bit slower. Our club often holds clinics on how to start your dog in draft, but partnering with an experienced draft handler is another way to help train your dog in this sport. If you’re not sure if drafting is for you or your dog, attending our annual draft trial is a great way to see the breed work with various carts, and at various levels of skill and experience. It’s also a great time to meet other members who are actively drafting! Whether you want to draft for competition or pleasure, we invite you to check it out.

BMDCA National Specialties

Berners and their human companions enjoy working as a team and having a job to do. By learning and participating in canine sports, dogs and humans strengthen their relationship and pack order.  Dogs do best when the pack order is clear.  The following is a list of performance events that have been/are included in BMDCA National Specialties.

Frequently Asked Questions

Agility

Dog agility is a dog sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Dogs run off leash with no food or toys as incentives, and the handler can touch neither dog nor obstacles.

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Regulations

  1. AKC Regulations
  2. AKC Regulations PDF

Conformation

Conformation is the evaluation of dogs by how closely they resemble their breed’s standard

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How to Get Started – AKC

The Bernese Mountain Dog Standard

Farm Dog Test

The Farm Dog test is an AKC assessment of a dog’s aptitude as a working farm dog by exhibiting self-control, confidence and trust with handler (AKC).

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Regulations

  1. AKC Regulations
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Herding

Herding is the act of bringing individual animals together into a group (herd), maintaining the group, and moving the group from place to place—or any combination of those.

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AKC Regulations for herding: AKC Regulations

Nosework

Nosework is a dog sport created to mimic professional detection dog  One dog and one handler form a team. The dogs must find a hidden target odor, often ignoring distractors (such as food or toys), and alert the handler. After the dog finds the odor they are rewarded with food or a toy.

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Regulations:

  1. National Association of Canine Scent Work
  2. AKC Regulations

Obedience

Obedience training involves training an animal, most often a dog, to obey basic control commands such as sit, down, and heel.

Developed in the 1930s, Obedience is one of the AKC’s oldest sporting events. From walking on- and off-leash to retrieving and jumping, or demonstrating your dog’s ability to stay, Obedience trials feature dogs that are well-behaved at home, in public places, and in the presence of other dogs. It is essential that the obedience dog demonstrates willingness and enjoyment while it is working with the handler.

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Whether or not you want to compete, every dog owner should consider some form of obedience training. It’s the best way to establish good communication skills between you and your dog – and to make sure that your dog is the most well-behaved one in your neighborhood!

Regulations

Rally

Rallyobedience (also known as Rally or Rally-O) is a dog sport based on obedience. … Unlike regular obedience, instead of waiting for the judge’s orders, the competitors proceed around a course of designated stations with the dog in heel position. The course consists of 10 to 20 signs that instruct the team what to do.

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Regulations:

  1. AKC Regulations
  2. Regulations PDF

Tracking

Tracking refers to a dog’s ability to detect, recognize and follow a specific scent. Possessing heightened olfactory abilities, dogs are able to detect, track and locate the source of certain odors.

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Regulations

  1. AKC Regulations
  2. AKC Regulations PDF