Maintaining the coat takes time, for sure. But it gives great satisfaction and makes for great bonding time between you and the dog.
The Berner Sheds a lot, an appropriate species appropriate diet will help with keeping year round shedding to a minimum but 2x a year the Berner goes through a shed. Regular brushing will also bring out the best potential in the coat.
Females can literally lose their whole coat. It comes back gorgeously!
Start your pup with a soft Brush to get used to the brush and daily handling A soft brush with soft bristles on one side and pin bristles with the little knobs on the other will do nicely.
The pin bristles you can use throughout the dogs life for daily brushing the coat The more you brush the shinier the coat will be! A once a week brushing usually is enough to prevent matting!
At about 5-9 months your pup will get rid of the puppy coat, especially near the pants the baby fur will get stuck. This needs to be combed out. The puppy brush will not suffice anymore
Below are the brushes I use. Invest in the better kind and they last a long time.
The coat king 12”
This type of brush I use for behind the ears and the pants area! It thins out and removes dead hair. It also prevents having to give a sanitary trim. A sanitary trim takes away from the good looks of the berner. A well maintained coat stays clean.
Do not Use this brush on the dogs romp.
This type a brush I use for the whole coat, it grabs dead hair and undercoat. Do not Brush too long in one area, this may give the dog a red irritated skin! No more than 10 stroke in one area at the time, move to another area after 10 strokes and come back later if you need to. Too much pressure on the brush can cause brush burn. and could develop into a hotspot.
The poodle comb
After your done Brushing, your comb should glide through the coat!
Don’t forget the tail!
Large Resco Nail clippers will last the lifetime of the dog.
They are great and will not go dull easily.
Please read this article about how to clip the nails and why!
I use these to keep the ear fluff nice and short which prevents knotting and gives an overall nicer look, I also use it to keep the front leg feathers at a decent length and to cut away too much hair around the foot to prevent the dog from slipping.
Good scissors are expensive but you don’t use them often and walmart has them cheap.
Round nose scissors
I use these small safety scissors to clip away excess hair in between the toe pads
This also prevents the dog from slipping.
Touch the puppies feet often to get used to handling. Lift the tail and touch the legs. This will also make for easy tick checking and vet visits.
The Berner's coat is basically self cleaning. However in some circumstances the coat needs to be washed to keep the skin healthy. This all depends on the dogs living and working conditions.
For instance in my part of the world we deal with mud season and a bath in the spring when things have dried up is highly recommended.
Show dogs gets baths usually before every show. But in general I do not bath our Berners more than 2x a year.
I do recommend to bath your growing puppy a few times when it's young, this will make bathing a lot easier when the dog is fully grown.
Always brush your dog out first before you bath him/her.
Teach the pup to stand while bathing, I use treats and loads of encouragement.. I also do games in a child wading pool with them in the summer, dunking for hotdogs is their favorite, this helps them getting used to water.
Always start spraying water at the back end of the dog and make sure the ears do not get water in them (yeasty ears especially in one ear, can happen this way) Cotton balls in the ears will prevent most water from running into the ear canal.
Lather up with a good shampoo, (better pet stores), do not use shampoo on or too close to the genital areas.
Then make sure to rinse rinse rinse.. and rinse some more.
I use a cloth for the face.
When this is done, prepare to get wet.
The berner will vigorously shake their coat. It's awesome.
If you bring your dog too a groomer, Please never, ever let a groomer use a cage dryer for your dog.
I invested in a high velocity blower and it helps to get the undercoat out even more.