Do potential dog owners go out to buy a new pup and hope it isn’t smart? I don’t think so – I think every new dog owner hopes their pup will at least have a little intelligence. Fear not – they will. It’s just that different breeds have varying levels of intelligence. Are Bernedoodles considered up there with the smartest? What makes them smart? Are they bred for their intelligence? Are there ways of encouraging their smart factor to shine? Are smart dogs’ high maintenance? Lots to consider, let’s start.
Bernedoodles are a smart breed thanks to a combination of genes stemming from the Poodle and Bernese Mountain Dog. They can be stubborn but are willing to learn and please their owners. Their energy and temperament further compliment this breed’s prospects.
Although Bernedoodles are considered to be smart they also inherit traits from the Bernese side which, when combined can make it interesting. Bernese dogs are renowned for being a docile breed that can also be very stubborn. Let’s look into what makes a Bernedoodle smart, and whether this inherited stubbornness threatens this.
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What Defines a Smart Dog?
What do we mean when we call a dog smart? What makes them smart compared to the more average IQ? A smart dog is one who learns new commands with a lower number of repetitions. Simply put – the less time it takes to teach a dog a new command the smarter they are. Some dogs will find some commands easier than others though so it’s worth bearing this in mind. It also very much depends on how you teach your dog these commands and tricks – read more in our article are Bernedoodles easy to train?
The Part Genetics Play in Intelligence
It stands to reason that a dog’s level of smartness will be partly down to their parents. With a cross between a Poodle and a Bernese Mountain Dog, we have a fascinating combination. Poodles are up there right among the smartest of the pooches – they have definite boasting rights. There are not many breeds considered more intelligent than the Poodle. Poodles were originally bred for hunting and are renowned for their great abilities in the water. They also make great competitors in agility competitions – certainly not just a pretty face!
Bernese Mountain Dogs were also bred as working-class dogs. Bred for guarding farms and also for pulling the diary carts they are notoriously hard-working dogs. They aren’t on the same smart scale as the Poodle, but they are still ranked as an intelligent breed with amazing capabilities. Having said all this they are also quite calm and with this can also be stubborn, especially during puppyhood. The earlier training begins the less likely bad habits will filter through. In a nutshell, stubbornness can be overcome with consistent training from a young age.
Does Size Matter?
Mini and Toy Poodles are generally considered to have higher energy levels than the Standard Poodle. This also reflects through to the Mini and Toy Bernedoodle. So due to these tiny bundles having an abundance of energy dogs, you may find that they pick up new skills quicker than the Standard Bernedoodle. They may, for example, be easier to teach agility to, or may enjoy water challenges more than the standard. However, how smart your pooch is ultimately boils down to the effort the owner puts in from the offset and how training is approached.
Are Smart Dogs Higher Maintenance?
In many ways, the answer to this question will always come back to “yes”. A smart dog who isn’t given the stimulation or exercise they need will almost certainly develop behavioral issues. They may become bored, frustrated, or anxious and these could lead to unwanted destructive behaviors in the home. You may get away with less activity with the Standard Bernedoodle, but generally speaking this breed needs lots of nurturing to get the best from them.
How to Support Your Bernedoodle’s Intelligence?
How can you help your Bernedoodle stay smart or become smarter? Start training and socializing from a young age, the younger the better. A dog who is well socialized and has the basic command skills will have a very strong platform to develop further skills. Let’s use the example of assistance dogs, shall we? They are indeed of high intelligence and therefore able to pick up new skills quickly. However, they have all been well socialized from an early age as the first step. An unsociable dog will not be eager to learn or listen and will instead play up.
Bernedoodles will miss you when they are home alone because they are very family orientated dogs. To help them keep busy you can leave out a variety of mentally stimulating games and toys to use. We will look into some of the products on the market shortly but first let’s see what else you can do that doesn’t cost a dime.
One of the popular methods of nurturing a dog’s intelligence is by testing your pooch regularly. This is done to keep your dog thinking of solutions to problems they may encounter. Let’s look at a few examples:
- An indoor or outdoor obstacle course! Watch as they assess the best way to approach the different obstacles.
- Hide & Seek! Let’s be honest – who doesn’t love this game! Hide in an area of your home and call your dog, see how long it takes him to find you
Teaching your dog new tricks and taking them out of their comfort zone can be great ways to get them thinking out of the box. Like us, they will enjoy new experiences and new routines in their lives which will keep them learning and their mind’s busy. You could learn some obedience training with your pooch or meet up with other doggy friends for long walks in different locations.
Products Available on the Market Today
There are many food-orientated puzzles and toys aimed to keep your dog mentally stimulated. These should be used only under supervision and not when your dog is home alone. As well as toys you can also buy special food bowls which make it harder for your Bernedoodle to get their food from. These can be great if your dog is a “blink and miss it” eater! It can aid their digestion and stop them from eating too quickly. By having to use their mind and eat may mean they have a good nap afterward.
Interactive dog bones are quite pricey (around $80) but this is a toy you can play with your dog from the sofa! It just needs a Bluetooth connection on your phone and an app that links with it and hey presto hours of fun for your dog while you catch up on a show. This is just one example of the many interactive toys available. If your dog is a big chewer then it’s best to steer clear of these.
Having a wide variety of toys for your dog will also help with mental stimulation, especially when they are home alone. Rotating these regularly so that they don’t have the same toys every day will keep their minds busier. You could even hide a few of them in different places and see if they discover them throughout the day.
Thanks to the Poodle influence the Bernedoodle is a clever breed and this intelligence can be nurtured from an early age. The Bernese side can make them more headstrong and stubborn but with clear rules from the get-go, this will not affect your Bernedoodle’s intelligence. A smart dog requires effort from both sides and lots of physical and mental stimulation along the way.
Are Bernedoodles Good Running Dogs?
They make great running companions, both Poodles and Bernese Mountain Dogs have lots of energy and will enjoy regular runs. This will burn off some of that energy while giving them all the important exercise. It’s important to take into account the size of your Bernedoodle and base your running routes on their capabilities.
Do Bernedoodles Like the Water?
There is no guarantee that your Bernedoodle will have a love of swimming. Poodles generally like the water and they were bred to hunt and fetch from water. Bernese Mountain Dogs may not share the same love for it. However, if your Bernedoodle is introduced to the water early on then they may well enjoy a paddle or swim.