- Bernard dog
When you first bring your puppy home, show him the area where he will be sleeping. You want to give him a comfortable place where he can be with the family, and safely confined overnight until he is house trained. He may whine the first few nights as he misses his litter mates, but he'll soon adjust to his new family.
- Step 2:
The first few months with your St. Bernard puppy, you should be focused only on him learning the commands for sit, stay, come and no. You can practice these cues with him about ten minutes each day. Most of the first few months will be establishing a routine that will help the puppy feel comfortable. Feeding at certain times, bathroom right after eating, playtime, grooming that long coat and naptime in between. As much interaction as you can have with your family and strangers (going out for walks or going in the car) will help your dog socialize and feel secure and bonded with you.
- Step 3:
As for curbing bad habits, the best way to keep a St. Bernard from learning to bark excessively is to stop it immediately with a firm "no." The same goes for nipping, chewing and whining. A puppy will rarely continue to do any of these things if he gets a negative response from you, and if you are around to teach him more positive behaviors. Teaching a St. Bernard early on not to jump on people is essential. If he starts to jump, pull the leash back with a jerk and say "no!" You will learn as you get to know him, right before he is going to jump on someone and you can put him in a Sit/Stay to keep the behavior from happening, and reward him instead with positive reinforcement for the Sit/Stay.
- Step 4:
A St. Bernard responds well to house training if you start off and continue in the exact same way each day. If the dog has a solid routine and knows when he eats and when he goes outside, and that he's expected to go outside to pee, he'll get used to this habit and continue it. In the house he should be contained when you're not playing with him, so you know where he is and he isn't free to wander around and make a mistake with peeing in the house. Once he's house trained he can roam freely, but a very young puppy isn't mature enough to understand house training. The routine over several months will teach it to him.
- Step 5:
A St. Bernard is a loving, devoted animal. If you celebrate all his accomplishments with verbal praise ("Good!" and "YAY!"), your dog will try very hard to please. A food reward is good too, but you want your dog to respond to your pleased reaction. Help your dog to learn the correct behaviors and then emphasize the good at the moment the dog is obeying, and you will have him obeying in no time. The only time to correct a negative behavior is when he's in the middle of doing the negative behavior. If he's torn up the couch and you find it hours later and punish him, he won't have any idea what you're doing and only learns to fear you. Keep negative behavior at a minimum by confining the dog to a safe area when you can't be with him and you'll have less to be angry about and more to congratulate him on!