Activities For Rhodesian Bernards

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Introduction

The stunning Rhodesian Bernard is a mixed breed with two well-known parent breeds: the Saint Bernard and the Rhodesian Ridgeback. Both parent breeds are large, making their presence known, though gentle in nature. The offspring of the two makes for a loyal and loving companion who aims to please their owner.

The Saint Bernard is another one of the dog world’s friendly giants, with a somewhat intimidating appearance and size, but kind temperament. They require less exercise than the Rhodesian Ridgeback, having a laid-back and calm demeanor. Bernards are good with children and eager to please their owner, making them easy to train. The Rhodesian Ridgeback, on the other hand, is independent in nature, which can lead to a stubborn attitude and resistance to obedience training. A strong and confident handler is recommended for the Ridgeback, as well as Rhodesian Bernards, as they can inherit these traits from their parent breed. Obedience training is one of the many activities you can try with your Rhodesian Bernard.

Obedience Lessons

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
30 - 60 min
Items needed
Favorite Treats
Activity description

With a strong and powerful breed like the Rhodesian Bernard, obedience training at a young age is recommended to establish leadership. Obedience training can come in handy at all times, and it will strengthen the bond you have with your pooch. 

You can begin obedience training when your pooch is still a young puppy. Starting with basic commands is essential for success. You may also choose to enroll your Rhodesian Bernard in formal training classes. Classes can be extremely effective with knowledgeable trainers; however, they can also be costly. Depending on your budget, this is something you may want to try. 

The benefit of obedience training is it can be done anywhere. Once your pup knows the commands, daily practice is simple and not at all time-consuming. Grab some treats and get ready to train your Rhodesian Bernard's brain, which is just as exhausting as training the body! 

Step
1
Starting with simple commands
Don't expect your pup to roll over during your first lesson. Begin with the most simplistic commands for your pooch, so they learn the process of your training sessions. Try sit to start, followed by lay down, then roll over. Scaffolding the steps is important to set your Rhodesian Bernard up for success.
Step
2
Giving commands
When you give commands, remember you are the pack leader. Be confident, firm and calm at all times. Do not react with anger; rather, make any necessary corrections calmly. Pair each command you teach with a gesture, so that eventually your verbal cues are no longer required. Stand up tall, positioning yourself in front of your pup to get their attention before saying your command firmly. If they complete the command correctly, move on to the next step. If not, repeat the command. Beginning with a leash is helpful as you can direct your pup to sit by pulling up. This may be needed during your first sessions.
Step
3
Using positive reinforcement
When training your Rhodesian Bernard, keep in mind that reinforcement and rewards go a long way in promoting behavior. Following up a correct response to a command with a reward immediately after it's completed will lead to a positive association being formed. As a result, your pup will have an incentive to repeat the behavior on command.
Step
4
Practicing daily
Another way to ensure the commands are drilled into your pup's memory is to practice them daily. After they've practiced and mastered each command consistently, you can remove the treat reward and just use positive reinforcement in the form of praise or encouragement. Practicing obedience is like any hobby; without repetition, the skills will be lost!
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Beach Trip

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Hot Day
Free
Easy
1 - 2 hrs
Items needed
Leash
Waste Bags
Towel
Activity description

Depending on your Rhodesian Bernard's coat, they could have inherited thick and long hair from the Saint Bernard parent. As a result, they can overheat in hot temperatures, which is why visiting the beach is a "pawsitive" way to spend a sunny day! 

The only equipment required for this activity is a leash and a beach. Depending on where you live, this may not be hard to accomplish. If there's no beach within your town, find the closest and most convenient location, and make a day trip out of the activity, packing refreshments for yourself and your Rhodesian Bernard. Whether you go for a swim, walk the shore, or explore water activities, there's a variety of inexpensive ways to enjoy your day. Beaches may have small admission costs and closures due to inclement weather. 

Step
1
Finding the right beach
To find a dog-friendly beach to visit with your Rhodesian Bernard, jump online and search your area for the most convenient location. You can also check Wag! for information about dog-friendly beaches awaiting your exploration. Determine all dog regulations for your location before heading out so there's no surprises upon arrival. Some beaches have dog designated areas for off-leash roaming and others allow for anchor tie-downs.
Step
2
Packing for the day
Decide where you’re going and how long you'll be there. If it's just a short visit, you may only need to bring along towels and water for hydration. If you plan to stay the day, pack a picnic and bring treats for both you and your pup. Treats may also be useful in coaxing your Rhodesian Bernard in the water if it's their first time visiting.
Step
3
Exploring the water
When you arrive at the beach, find a spot to set up your location. Depending on the beach rules, you may have to keep your pup on leash while in the water, but that's okay. Just be sure to give them lots of slack for their safety. If your pup is visiting the beach for the first time, ease them into the water with a walk before swimming or trying out water games! Use treats if they are hesitant or wary of the water.
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Visiting the Dog Park

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Any Day
Free
Easy
1 hr
Items needed
Waste Bags
Treats
Activity description

Visiting the dog park is essential for socializing your Rhodesian Bernard. The Saint Bernard by nature is a social pup who seeks the attention and affection of both humans and other dogs. The Rhodesian Ridgeback can have a more independent personality, which is why socializing your hybrid breed at a young age will promote them to develop healthy and positive relationships with other pups.

In general, this activity is free of charge, depending on the dog park you visit. Most dog parks come with waste bags for tidying up after your pooch, but if it's your first time visiting, be prepared with your own, just in case. Dog parks generally have hours of operation, which is something to determine before setting out on your adventure together! 

Step
1
Finding the right park
Depending on where you live, you may have a dog park located nearby. Most major cities have dog parks for our four-legged companions, commonly separated into small and large dog areas. Dog parks are enclosed spaces that give dogs the freedom to roam and play. If the park you choose is close by, consider walking with your pup for extra exercise. If not, take a cruise and enjoy your car time together throughout your travel.
Step
2
Greeting others
If it's your Rhodesian Bernard's first time at the park, it's a good idea to visit during less busy hours and to keep them on-leash. It's likely other dogs will approach and greet your pup, which will give you the chance to observe their reaction. If they react aggressively, correct the behavior and keep them on-leash. Reward them with treats or praise when they interact positively with others. When you're ready, set them free and watch as they mix and mingle with others.
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More Fun Ideas...

Taking a Stroll

Taking a daily walk is one way to help you meet the physical needs of your Rhodesian Bernard. Good leash manners are especially important for this breed, as their size and power may lead to a struggle between handler and pup. Be firm and calm while you walk, and establish your expectations while your pup is still young.

Picking a New Toy

Take a day trip together to your local pet store and let your Rhodesian Bernard choose a new toy! Many pet stores allow owners to bring in leashed animals, but refresh yourself on the regulations at your store of choice. A new toy is a "grrreat" strategy for occupying and even challenging your pooch mentally, depending on the toy chosen. 

Conclusion

Rhodesian Bernards are large dogs that require moderate exercise to stay healthy and happy. As these pups are eager to please and can be stubborn in nature, obedience training at a young age is highly recommended as an activity of choice. On a hot day, you could also have your pooch "wag along" with you to the beach for a refreshing swim. If you’re not up for a swim, taking a walk through your community for fresh air is just as effective for expending built up energy. If the dog parks not far from your route, stop in and let your Rhodesian Bernard enjoy some socialization and play before heading home. If you want to add a challenge to their day, swing by your local pet store and pick out a puzzle toy or satisfy them with a treat. In essence, the Rhodesian Bernard is both large in size and personality, so get creative when finding ways to keep them occupied!