Originally bred to be a working dog, the Greater Swiss Mountain dog breed has a storied history of herding, hauling, and guarding. Today, this furry beast has settled into the role of the family pet. However, the Swissy’s busy nature is still an important aspect of its personality, making it ideal for a variety of sports with humans and dogs alike.
If you’re planning on bringing one of these amazing canines home, the eight tips outlined below will prove handy when training and caring for your new dog.
Tip #1: Provide Ample Living Space
When you find a breeder with Greater Swiss Mountain Dog puppies for sale, don’t let the size of the litter fool you. These little cuties will grow into a large size, mature slowly, and require a generous living space to accommodate. They love the outdoors, and the local wildlife will likely keep them entertained. Ensure your yard’s perimeter is fenced, so he can’t escape chasing a squirrel or neighborhood cat. It
Tip #2: Stay on Top of Grooming
Despite their size, Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs sport shorter coats. Grooming takes minimal effort, requiring a couple of brushings a week when their fur isn’t seasonally shedding. Bathing is only necessary once a month unless your dog has gotten dirty while outdoors.
Just like other dogs, check for signs of ear infection or excessive wax. You can get a cleanser from your vet to clean using cotton balls. You can expect teeth brushing to only be necessary once a week at most. Another good rule of thumb is if you can hear their nails tapping, they need trimming.
Tip #3: Keep Your Swiss Mountain Dog Busy
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the Swissy has a long history of being task oriented. This expectation has stayed the same despite the dog’s role changing to that of a house pet. Therefore, mentally stimulate it through play and/or obedience training to keep it happy. These activities will fulfill your companion’s need to be occupied with something to do.
Tip #4: Prevent Overheating
The Swiss Mountain Dog was bred to withstand extreme cold weather, so its body doesn’t dissipate heat effectively. This condition can cause it to overheat and suffer a stroke in a matter of minutes, so be aware of your pup’s limitations for exercise and play at all times. In addition, keep water handy and ensure he stays cool during hotter months. Unfortunately, your dog won’t realize that he’s overdoing it, so it’s vital to be vigilant about keeping him safe.
Tip #5: Be Size-Conscious
The Swissy is a loving family dog that often doesn’t realize its size and might accidentally knock over little ones who get in the way. This is rarely, if ever, intentional because they need to be made aware of their proportions.
Tip #6: Ensure Your Swissy Gets Plenty of Exercise
Despite their propensity to overheat, these dogs need to enjoy a good amount of physical exercise. They were bred for work, so it should come as no surprise they like vigorous play or long walks. Of course, you don’t need to take them running for long distances, either. Instead, consider putting a doggy backpack on them and having them help you move things around your garage. The point is a Swissy needs to be busy, so finding ways to make a game out of small chores is an excellent way to stimulate your dog.
Tip #7: Training is Essential
Yes, Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs love additions to the family, but you must socialize with them and establish your role as the household’s leader early. Otherwise, your dog might be domineering and regularly test your authority. They’re known to have a rebellious streak in their adolescence, so being consistent early on will help manage this challenging time. When conducting training exercises, break out the treats to boost their motivation.
Tip #8: Be Aware of Your Dog’s Prey Instincts
As mentioned earlier, Swissy dogs have some level of a prey drive, though it varies from dog to dog. You can see this behavior on display while they are exploring the yard when they chase after local wildlife like squirrels and rabbits. It’s a funny sight to observe but should be a red flag of the danger this behavior poses to other animals. Socializing your pup at an early age can help reduce the risk of a chase going too far one day.
Is the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog the Right Breed for You?
There are many things to love about owning a Swissy, but there are also reasons to think twice. Because these are larger dogs with a strong work ethic, you’ll need to provide consistent leadership and invest time in obedience training. In addition, you need to provide this canine with plenty of space to move around indoors and out. And because of their proclivity to overheat, you should purchase an air conditioner to help dissipate their internal body heat during the summer.
Despite all of these concerns and responsibilities, Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs make great pets if you’re willing to put in the work to train them.