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Q. While BMDs are known for their gentle disposition, care must always be taken in their interaction with children. Describe your experiences with Berners and newborns or small children.

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We have two Bernese both females: Misty 5 and Toya 4. While we do not have any children we consider them to be our children and they are treated like so. We do have friends with young children. Grant who is now about 7 was absolutely terrified of any dog, and came to our place often when we only had Misty. Misty doesn't consider herself to be a dog so she totally ignored him. He gradually warmed to her and could tolerate her coming within passing distance. By the time we got Toya (at 18 months of age) he had got slightly better. Toya is very scared of strangers and we said grant will not need to worry about her coming near him. The first time they came to visit they got out of the car walked up to the house and Toya couldn't get to him fast enough and started sniffing him. We since have noticed that Toya is more inclined to come to people sitting down. Perhaps size does matter. Grant's confidence around dogs is now very good and we attribute most of this to our beautiful gentle Bernese. Like most other people I think mutual respect on both sides is needed regardless of breed. Like all of us sometimes we just have bad days.

C. Clearie Adelaide, S.A. Australia - Thursday, November 05, 1998 at 05:16:56 (EST)

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My Berner, Yohji has not been raised around children, but ever since puppihood, he has shown incredible patience and sweetness. He seems to favor school age boys, he melts over them and will do anything for them, including fetch. Sometimes he listens to kids faster than he listens to me. He has also stood and let toddlers use him as a crutch. My 3 month old niece crawls all over him and grabs fistfulls of fur. He rolls onto his side and lets her do whatever she wants.

Judi _juweins_ibm.net_ New York, NY USA - Wednesday, November 04, 1998 at 21:56:44 (EST)

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We got our Bernese when my children were 8,9, and 13. I was a little afraid one of them would get knocked over or at least taken for a 'ride' instead of a walk, but that has never happened. I trained my dog to respond, not only to me and my husband, but to the kids as well. If you teach your children to stand up to the dog, he'll be fine. Our neighbors and friends often brought their young children over, one of whom had a tendency to pull tails, whack noses and poke eyes. Usually my dog would just get up and walk away. The only time I have ever seen him get defensive is when they try to take his bone away, which he guards with his life. From the beginning I trained him well, so when I say 'lie down' he does so. Sometimes the mother will object to her baby 'playing' with a dog that big, but he has never hurt a soul yet. As long as you watch them both carefully, I would feel free to put any child who can sit up on a carpeted floor with my Bernese. Only make sure that the dog is lying down before you put the baby there - something about that huge shape towering over them makes them cry, yet when he's on their own level, they're happy as clams.

Boston, MA USA - Friday, October 23, 1998 at 13:50:11 (EDT)

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Our berner was about 2.5 years old when we had our daughter. At first Sierra, our dog, was mildly interested in the baby, Merissa. When she cried loudly, Sierra perked up and made sure someone was attending to her. As the baby started moving around and having toys on the floor, we only had to tell Sierra once that those toys were Merissa's (Sierra tried to nab a stuffed frog, thinking it was hers). We have always had Sierra's toys in her own bin; and now we have a separate bin for Merissa's. You still have to make sure you keep the dog's routine and lots of loving. Now that Merissa is more interactive with Sierra, there are becoming good friends. Sierra will give Merissa kisses. But we are always careful to never leave them unattended, and although Sierra is careful to walk around crawling baby, care must be taken as you never know when the 100 lb berner might accidentally step on baby-- let's hope it never happens.

Donna Tudhope _donna_tudhope_cibcdc.com_ Brampton, On Canada - Wednesday, October 21, 1998 at 13:29:57 (EDT)

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While I agree that you never leave any dog unattended with small children, our 9 month Berner seems to truly love children. He is always so excited when I tell him it's time to get Max (7years old) at school. Fritz loves to greet all the kids as they exit. He is also quite protective of Max. Last night I was out of town and Max fell asleep in our bed with my husband. Fritz was sleeping on the tiled bathroom floor. In the middle of the night, my husband (who has a bad cold) had a loud coughing spasm. Max woke up screaming. Fritz was out of the bathroom in a flash, chest out and growling.He went to the foot of the bed, and looked around , growling somemore. Max, of course, had fallen asleep again. Fritz then jumped up on the bed, sniffed Max and layed down across his legs. My husband said that he layed there with his head up, looking around for about 20 minutes, then layed his head down and slept on Max's legs the rest of the night.

Cathy Susko _70773.373_compusrv.com_ Sewickley, pa USA - Saturday, October 10, 1998 at 16:26:43 (EDT)

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My dearly loved and sorely missed Bernese "Parker" was wonderful with my children. Parker was my first baby, so I followed the advice I read and sent home blankets and undershirts from both human babies for him before they arrived home. With my first, he met me on the sidewalk, smelled the baby and got petted by me. This set up a great interaction. I would thereafter nurse my baby with Parker under my feet. As the 1st child grew and the second came along he was protective and absolutely gently. I had roughhoused with him when he was a puppy in order to condition him to "rough handling" by children. He remained a loyal loving gentle dog to the end.

Connie Nichols _cnichols_banet.net_ Paxton, MA USA - Sunday, October 04, 1998 at 05:30:41 (EDT)

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Our young male Berner called Barney was only 4 months old when our daughter Laura arrived last year September. Although everyone must agree with me that a dog is an animal and should not be trusted with young children or babies, Barney seems to be an exception to the rule. From day one he has been very gentle and careful with Laura. Next to having a small child of my own, all the children in our neighbourhood love to walk with Barney. He accepts orders such as 'sit' and 'down' from a 3 year old and hardly ever looses his temper when the children get too playful or anything.

Laura is now 1 year old and they love to play with eachother. When Laura is playing with her toys Barney is a few feet away keeping an eye on her. He will greet her by licking her cheek and ears which makes Laura giggle. By now he knows that Laura is the best source for goodies and cookies, so we now have to teach Laura to not give the dog any food(!!)

When I take dog and child out for a walk, no male dog can get within 35 feet of Laura. He will growl and bark, and if needed fight(!!) He protects Laura that way. Most of the other dogowners (and ofcourse their dogs) in our neighbourhood know that and accept the fact that Barney is not mean or anything but simply protecting Laura.

All in all, Berners and children are great together!!

Sonja Joel-Vos _a.joel_tip.nl_ Almere-Buiten, Netherlands - Friday, October 02, 1998 at 08:16:27 (EDT)

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Our young male Berner called Barney was only 4 months old when our daughter Laura arrived last year September. Although everyone must agree with me that a dog is an animal and should not be trusted with young children or babies, Barney seems to be an exception to the rule. From day one he has been very gentle and careful with Laura. Next to having a small child of my own, all the children in our neighbourhood love to walk with Barney. He accepts orders such as 'sit' and 'down' from a 3 year old and hardly ever looses his temper when the children get too playful or anything.

Laura is now 1 year old and they love to play with eachother. When Laura is playing with her toys Barney is a few feet away keeping an eye on her. He will greet her by licking her cheek and ears which makes Laura giggle. By now he knows that Laura is the best source for goodies and cookies, so we now have to teach Laura to not give the dog any food(!!)

When I take dog and child out for a walk, no male dog can get within 35 feet of Laura. He will growl and bark, and if needed fight(!!) He protects Laura that way. Most of the other dogowners (and ofcourse their dogs) in our neighbourhood know that and accept the fact that Barney is not mean or anything but simply protecting Laura.

All in all, Berners and children are great together!!

Sonja Joel-Vos _a.joel_tip.nl_ Almere-Buiten, Netherlands - Friday, October 02, 1998 at 08:12:11 (EDT)

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My husband and I are the fortunate owners of two Berners, and each one is great with kids. I am a Speech Language Pathologist in the local school district, and both of my dogs have visited with the children in my workplaces. I work with students with various educational needs, including some with emotional disabilities. The dogs are an excellent provider of love to the kids.....with the students being able to receive love and give it. My dogs are blessings to have, and it is wonderful to share them with others. I have also signed on two junior handlers that work with my dogs. They are able to learn about the responsibility involved in having a dog, and can prepare for a future time when they have their own pet.

Polly Divens _skidoers_mtaonline.net_ Anchorage, AK USA - Tuesday, September 29, 1998 at 21:50:38 (EDT)

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I've had three Berners and all have been wonderful with people of all ages. Each dog was carefully socialized and we were sure there would be no problems before introducing them to people of any age. All three were wonderful with babies and children. The two older dogs (now waiting at Rainbow Bridge) were therapy dogs, visited people at hospitals and nursing homes. One was the first dog introduced to the pediatrics unit at our hospital. Please understand this is our experience. Each dog is different and one must treat each on his/her own terms. Caution is prudent.

Joni Payne Westlake, Ohio USA - Friday, September 25, 1998 at 15:08:05 (EDT)

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My berner is 7 months old and my baby is two years old--- Sky (puppy) went through a biting/chewing phase from 8 weeks-4 months old but even then hardly bit Hailey. Now she never becomes aggrassive at all with the baby who actually might deserve a growl once in awhile! Sky loves Hailey no matter what and she wants to be near her all the time.

Nancy Bruns _ngb4493_aol.com_ New Orleans, LA USA - Monday, September 07, 1998 at 14:08:52 (EDT)

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Our Berner is almost 8 months old. She has been introduced to "strange" children since she was about 12 weeks. She is always eager to greet children, both infants and young kids. I find, however, that she is not aware of her size (She is almost 70 lbs) and I need to crouch next to her and remind her to be gentle. But desipte children tugging on her ears or laying over her in our store, she just LOVES seeing and being around children of all ages!

Samantha Jensen _CAJensens_aol.com_ Oakland, CA USA - Sunday, September 06, 1998 at 18:31:45 (EDT)

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BMD's are great with kids, I know as my 18 month old nephew liked to sling his arm around Heidi's neck and drag her around the room!!

Alex Miller _bmiller_bigpond.net.au_ Sydney, Australia - Thursday, September 03, 1998 at 07:08:49 (EDT)

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Hi. I am 14 and I have a 9 month old Berner (Ingirid) who LOVES young children. She loves to go over and sit down in front of kids that are around the same size as she is, or smaller and greet them with a great big lick across the face and give paw to say "HI!" She has always been friendly with people, but it's like she has a thing for kids. The only thing I usually worry about, is that her tail is so strong that sometimes she can tip the smaller ones over. She has never shown any agressiveness or anything to any young children. When anyone wants to see Ingirid, I am always sure to place her in a sit or down stay until they meet each other. This way I can be sure that nothing unusual will happen.

Although most Berners are naturally good around children, I think that you should still be extra carful when introudcing a child to a dog, espicially when the dog is young. Basic obedience, I feel, is also a must.

Andrea Devereaux _berniced_thezone.net_ Newfoundland Canada - Monday, August 24, 1998 at 11:05:29 (EDT)

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We got our beautiful BMD from the pound four years ago. If it isn't every day it's every other day we ask ourselves ``who could give up a dog like this?'' Not only his he gorgeous with perfect markings, he's wonderful with our boys, 7 and 3.

``Bernie,'' (the original owners weren't too original), we figure was about 3 or 4 when we got him. He was a little on the malnourished side - we could easily place our fingers quite nicely between his ribs. He had the trots and terrible gas - whew! We have plumped him up to a healthy 72 pounds and maintain his gorgeous coat with regular visits to the groomer.

What has most impressed us about this dog is he is always so happy and gentle. When he's in the room with the boys he usually has his head in the older boys' lap or he lies on the floor with his chin resting on his front paws just watching the boys in action. The eyes move back and forth but the head stays still. He loves to go upstairs and dive on the bed with them. Berno is in his glory when he's being hugged or patted. I trust him with my kids - not 100 percent, you can't trust any dog that much - but pretty darn close to that.

We never did find out why he was given up for adoption. We suspect it was with his dietary problems - beef flavored dog food and table scraps are a no-no with him. It's lamb and rice or nothing! The only regret I have with him is that we didn't find him sooner!

gmac _gbmac_vgernet.net_ dalton, ma USA - Saturday, August 22, 1998 at 22:43:56 (EDT)

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A dog is an animal an even though I have had dogs all my life and love them dearly, I would never trust them 100%. I have three children ages 7,4, and 6mnths, our BMD is not quite 3 and still very rambunctious. Ido trust him more than most dogs I have had in the past. My kids have strict instructions on how to behave with the dog, no riding, no hitting, and no pulling tail or hair. The dog was raised from a puppy with the kids and has a good understanding of the pecking order and he's on the bottom. The kids can take food from him or feed him treats and he is very gentle and tolerant. He sometimes thinks they are puppies and should play with him whenever he wants and how he wants I am very happy with our BMD and how he is with the kids, but any dog needs to be worked with when it comes to behavior.

Sue Stock _sbstock_aol.com_ Mpls, MN USA - Wednesday, August 19, 1998 at 13:37:40 (EDT)

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Not having children of my own, and my Berner Josephine not being exposed to children I did not know how she would react to my sisters' kids when she came down for a vacation. Because of Josephine weight I told her to sit since she is quite exited when she sees people, but I must admit that after a while I let her play with the kids but I still kept an eye on her. I was not really afraid of the dog hurting the kids but somewhat weary of the abrutness of the kids that could bring a reaction from the dog. We never "slapped" her nor have we ever been rough with her so she wasn't accustomed to the "roughness" of the kids. But it almost seems that she could feel that they were kids and she stayed there looking desperate and not flinching to the "hair pulling", constant embrace, etc...

Manon Ravary Montréal, Québec Canada - Tuesday, August 18, 1998 at 08:39:29 (EDT)

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My Berner loves children, but he gets very excited when he sees them. Their weight could knock a small child over, so I am always careful to put my dog in a "sit" if a small child wants to come over and pet him. Once my dog becomes comfortable with the child around, I will let the child hug him. I always keep a watch on their interaction because anything could happen. I feel you should never leave a small child or baby alone with any dog. A family was at the park where my bernese and I were and they had a 8 month old baby who was very comfortable with large dogs. My dog went up to him in his stroller and sniffed him then gave the baby a big kiss! It was a moment!

Margo Bennett San Jose, CA USA - Thursday, August 13, 1998 at 16:15:09 (EDT)

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Any Dog not only BMD's should be treated with respect and care, children have to be advised and taught how to treat and when to interact with a Dog, the natural tendencies of a Dog are rather benevolent and good, only when at risk will they do any harm, a responsable parent and Dog owner must teach a child how to earn the love and respect of a wonderful Berner.

Bernese Mountain Dogs are one of the most gentle and loving Dogs.

Pabvas _pabvas_yahoo.com_ USA - Thursday, August 06, 1998 at 20:17:15 (EDT)

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I'm 12 and last year I got a berner. Her name is Juba. And she just terned 1 june 23. When we first got Juba she domonaited my then 9 year old brother she was constently biting him. Now the closest she gets to biting is gently holding your hand with her mouth.

In may my 5 year old cousin Ellen came to visit at first she was Ellen was shy but after a littel while they became best friends. Juba would let Ellen pull on her and if she had ENOF she'd leeve but she seldom did. At one of my brothers baseball games Ellen held Juba's leash. Juba isn't very obedent and strong so she could have easley pulled Ellen acrose the fieled but they were content to lie on each other for most of the time. Only ones did Juba pull Ellen and Ellen thot it was fun to drage flat out on the ground behind Juba.

On the other hand Juba dose not understand puppies. Resntly we got another berner puppy named Loupo. What hapend from Juba's point of view.

"We were playing tag my faivorit game I was it so I ran at him and hi didn't run! So I ended up runing hi over and he squiked so I had to hide behind mommy. Then I tride to see if he would chase me so I bounsted around infront of him and got to close and I landed on him with one foot and he squiked agan!"

Jaclyn Sharpe Surrey, BC Canada - Thursday, August 06, 1998 at 15:55:50 (EDT)

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Our 4 month old Berner, Chance is already learning to sit, stay, and down all thanks to our 9YO. They are a sight to see. We have two children and added Chance when they were 9 and 11, they are wonderful w/him and he is wonderful w/ them. I know my children will be watched over when our "baby" grows up! Berner's are the best!

Terri Stone _Mstsjsjs_aol.com_ Spotsylvania, VA USA - Wednesday, August 05, 1998 at 10:02:47 (EDT)

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My huaband and I have been very pleased with Ben our 4 yr. old berner. We now have a 18mo. old grandchild. Whem he comes to town to visit Ben is so sweet to him. Christopher can be a hand full and Ben barked at him once but never growled or acted at all agressive. We have some childern in to neighborhood. Ben always goes to visit them. I think you always have to be carefull. Mabe juat a little less with a BMD.

Rosalie Short _shorts1440_aol.com_ Roanoke, Va. USA - Monday, August 03, 1998 at 21:37:45 (EDT)

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While out on walks we have found that our male Berner (Shadow - 2 years old) seems to know the difference between small children and adults. When a child approaches him and pets him - he automatically stays calm and keeps that famous Berner smile on him. He has not licked a child yet and doesn't roll over onto his back (all submission signs) but he is very careful and gentle with small children. We live next to a school/daycare facility and he hears screams and laughter all day long so the sound of children doesn't bother him at all.

We highly recommend Berners for homes with children. Just be sure the child is well trained along with the Berner on how to interact with large dogs. Don and Lori :-)

Lori Oshiro _LODOoshiro_aol.com_ San Francisco, CA USA - Sunday, August 02, 1998 at 12:01:05 (EDT)

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My Berners (5) have grown up in an adult household. When the neighborhood kids (in groups of 3 or more) came in the house, they were nervous and barky. But in public, at outdoor gatherings, dog shows, etc., they are extremely gentle and tolerant of children. Very respectful and loving, actually. Just like they treat Berner puppies.

Chris Taylor _ctaylor_cybertours.com_ Saco, Maine USA - Saturday, August 01, 1998 at 22:30:33 (EDT)

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My daughter arrived (early) into a household of several Berners, all housepets. My brood bitch immediately recognized her as a human "puppy" and wanted to lick her repeatedly. That idea was veteoed. She had a litter of her own, and especially enjoyed it when I would tend to the baby while she tended her young (in the same room). The other Berners took varying interest in her. My male, a 100lber, would check every inch of the bed before delicately stepping onto it, quite a change from his usual jump and flop. And the others seemed very interested in her for the first few months. After that I think they all got used to the new being, and returned to their old selves a bit. By that I mean furiously wagging their tails at high impact setting, and once one of the ladies began her season, all bets were off. My male has never been aggressive with any animal, even when I would have expected it (such as at a show when a lab tried to swallow his head whole), but his exuberance at perhaps a glimpse of a sexy thing put his brain into oaf setting. My dogs have enjoyed my little girl, especially now that she can throw balls, chewies and dog bisquits, but I have had to be ever vigilant to her location whenever the dogs are awake, distubed by the door bell, etc. so that she isn't accidentally plowed over by the over zealous greeters. And her halting sentences include, bad dog, off and no bites (for puppies). Hope you have good luck and a good time!

Liz Owen _barkinup_eathlink.net_ Cave Creek, AZ USA - Saturday, August 01, 1998 at 14:44:33 (EDT)

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My first Berner had to be "watched" more carefully around my children as he could be easily agitated (he never bit or attempted to, but he would growl as a warning). My second Berner is as trustworthy with my kids as I could ever hope. He lets them use him for a pillow, plays in the yard with them, and likes just hanging out with the kids. I never worry about him with kids or adults! My daughter's friend has been bitten by another dog and is rather scared of dogs, especially big dogs. My Bernese has put her at ease as he rolls over on his back and is very gentle with her. He now gets a big hug and kiss whenever she is here! As with all breeds, each dog is an individual and needs to be socialized with children.

Pam Scudder _Scudderfam_AOL.com_ Upland, CA USA - Tuesday, July 28, 1998 at 15:17:14 (EDT)

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Our BMD Boomer has been socialized with several sets of children. He is gentle and tolerant allowing three kids under six to sit next to his food bowl and feed him kibble by hand. Some of the kids pull his ears and attempt to ride him. Boomer simply moves away when he has had enough and if my wife and I haven't rescued him. Never a growl - ever.

With adults that move onto the property he is a complete terror but's another question.

Tom Walker _walker18_msn.com_ Stamford, CT USA - Monday, July 27, 1998 at 23:33:53 (EDT)

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While I was pregnant our Berner, Auggy, loved to "nosebut" my belly. He knew the word "baby" and he loved to go into the baby's room on a daily basis to check things out. All we had to do was say the word baby and his ears purked right up! While in the hospital, my husband brought home one of Nicholas' blankets so Auggy could get used to his smell. The day we came home, I went into the house first to spend a few minutes with Auggy, who has been my baby for the last 18 months. I wanted him to know that he was still our baby but now had to share our affections. Then my husband came in with the baby. He took to Nicholas right away! Licking his cheeks and hair! Nicholas is now 3 months old and they absolutely love one another! Auggy is always checking to make sure the baby is OK and Nicholas can't keep his eyes of of Auggy! It is amazing just how nurturing a male can be. I was always told only the females would have this instinct and I can tell you from personal experience that that is not true. Our male is the first to tell us if something needs to be taken care of! If Nicholas cries, Auggy is running to his rescue, then he runs to one of us to let us know the baby is crying! He also checks into the nursery every night and during nap time to make sure all is safe and sound. Berners are truly a family breed.

Brooke Schmidt _brksd_aol.com_ Boca Raton, Florida USA - Friday, July 24, 1998 at 17:09:42 (EDT)

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My BMD loves children.When we went to visit my parents our dog cried and cried because she didn't know where the kids were sleeping. She is used to following us from room to room as we tuck in each child.My mother's dogs stay outside or in the basement.Our dog was allowed to sleep by the door in the porch.The second night we stayedwe allowed her to tuck the kid's in as usual and she was happy and cried no more.

My oldest taught our BMD to play tag, she's always " it " the kid's fall on the ground when they have been caught. If they don't fall she'll pull on their clothes though and I've seen a few holes in shirts as a result. All the kids in the neighborhood come to play with her.

When she was a puppy we did have to teach her not to nip at their heels when they ran. It seemed a natural instinct with her to herd the children.

Annette Lopez USA - Wednesday, July 22, 1998 at 19:01:55 (EDT)

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My Berner, Scarlet, does not live with children, however, she has encountered many children in our neighborhood during walks and during the many dog events in which we participate. Each child is greeted with gentleness and a wagging tail. She has even encountered babies in strollers and has simply nuzzled them gently and briefly. Scarlet really does seem to gauge her response to people in terms of what she thinks is appropriate. So far, she has been right on the money. She takes treats gently from everyone, but is always especially careful when it's coming from a tiny hand. This is due to very little training by me. I did teach her at a very young age, not to take my entire hand when receiving a treat, but her innate ability to be extra gentle with children is completely self imposed. I do, however, agree that young children should never be left unattended with dogs, especially if they are not used to dogs or do not know how to behave properly when in their company.

Lelia _fivepups_aol.com_ NJ USA - Monday, July 20, 1998 at 14:46:27 (EDT)

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My oldest Berner, Ceejae was 3 yrs old when my daughter Christel came along. I was sure to greet Ceejae first when I came home from the hospital because she was our first "child". Ceejae was very gentle but supervised at all times when Christel was around. Ceejae had been socialized as a puppy with small children. Now that Christel is 6 yrs old and Ceejae is 9 they are best buddies.

I have a 2 yr old berner "Jasper" who would never intentially hurt a child but he is so big and happy that I have to watch that he doesn't knock them down. Jasper thinks that he always has the "right of way" hence the nickname "moose" and kids faces are at the same level as his so they are fair game for wet kisses.

I have always taught Christel to ask before you pet an unknown dog and I urge any children that coming running up to Ceejae and Jasper to do the same. Berners do have a gentle dispostion but they do outweigh most young children and should be supervised when they are playing. They also should be obedience trained so that they will "down" when asked.

Cathy Maltby _jmaltby_uniserve.com_ Kitimat, British Columbia Canada - Tuesday, July 14, 1998 at 19:54:43 (EDT)

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My two dogs live with my husband and myself. They are rarely exposed to small children. I'm am often amazed when friends bring newborns over, they plop the baby seat on the floor and tell me that dogs "just know". I explain that my dogs don't know and to please be careful. My 2 1/2 yr collie shep mix, Pete, has jumped in a baby seat to get a closer look, my 2 1/2 yr Berner, Amanda, will sit patiently as my 18 month old niece examines her teeth. My 4 year old niece likes to wrap her arms around Amanda and give her hugs. Amanda just stands still. Amanda tolarates/enjoys the attention from children. She is very gentle which is surprising since she is not crazy about humans in general.

Betsy Hyatt _scottnbetsy2_chestnet.com_ Chalfont, PA USA - Monday, July 13, 1998 at 17:27:59 (EDT)

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When we got Kess, we had two children, Kristen (6.75YO) and Janelle (4.5YO). Kess has been wonderful with them, but we did have to teach them (all 3) how to behave around one another. We had a couple instances within the first couple weeks with Kess launching herself off the patio onto the back of Janelle (who is small for her age). Kess has a high prey drive (has caught birds and squirrels) and we had to watch this! We taught the children not to run away from Kess, and taught Kess that launching herself at them was unacceptable. We have had no further occurrances of this sort.

I have to say that we spent much more time telling Janelle to change her behavior than we did Kess! :-D Janelle does everything 110% and it took her much convincing to understand that she needed to be gentle, and that she needed to leave Kess alone, when she crawled into one of her several "den" areas (which included her crate).

When Kess was 7 months old, our youngest child, Andrea, arrived. Kess was overjoyed to see me when we arrived back from the hospital. She was her normal, boisterous self! She paused, however, when checking out this new thing in the baby car seat. And was pretty startled when it wiggled and made noise. Within a week, I was jokingly calling her my baby monitor, as she picked up waking sounds from the baby's room long before I did! She'd run towards the stairs and then look back at me as if to say, "Mom, she's awake! Let's go get her!"

As Andrea has grown (she'll be 2 in Aug 98), Kess has been wonderfully patient with her! Allowing Andrea to use her as a pillow, mattress, and step-stool. Kess will, in her exuberance, occasionally knock Ande over and that tail of hers makes a good whip! Ande has gotten philosophical about it and just says, "Ande fall down!" or "Silly Kessie!" Of course, Kess knows that Ande is a wonderful source of extra tidbits, and I really wish I had had my video camera at hand the first time Kess licked all the peanut butter off Ande's cheeks and hands. Ande just giggled!

All in all, I'd say we've had good experiences with our Berner and young kids, but I have to repeat what others have said: "Never leave them together unattended!"

Connie Schamaun _cschamau_mines.edu_ Westminster, CO USA - Monday, July 13, 1998 at 17:03:37 (EDT)

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When we got our first Berner, Bruno, my son was only 4 years old. We always had a yard full of young children at that time. Any and every time a child would cry Bruno would run to their aid. It was so upsetting to him to hear them cry. This also was the case if hearing an infant. Bruno would run up to the crying child and just sniff them to see if everything was all right but of course seeing a 100 pound dog charging at them was not a good thing to experience. So at the first sound of crying I would be on guard to keep him under control. He was the most gentle and loving dog to children but couldn't bear to hear them cry.

Jenise M. Klos _fnjmk_uaf.edu_ North Pole, AK USA - Monday, July 13, 1998 at 14:54:14 (EDT)

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I have two young children 3 and 5, and a male berner named Hank. My youngest Petey is low tone(muscular) in his hips so he is a little tippy. We have worked with Hank to always be slow and gentle around him. He has accepted the challange well and understands the gentle command around small kids.I also believe in socialization socialization socialization. I pick the kids up from pre-school and Hank has to come along always lots of hugs and fingers in his mouth truely a gentleman with the kids.My 5 yr old Claire walks Hank on the lead at a nice heel. My Hank is a gentle one year old intact male 85lb berner who exhibits no dominant or aggressive behavior ever. Socialization,? I'm not an expert I just know what worked for my family

Michael Holohan/"Hank" _Mpholohan_aol.com_ St. Louis, MO USA - Monday, July 13, 1998 at 09:40:24 (EDT)

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NEVER NEVER EVER leave small children alone with dogs! Never! Accidents happen. Things happen. An injury cannot be undone once it occurs! With that said, here is my experience with BMDs and young children. Our third Berner, Lucy, was the first puppy brought into our dogless home since having 2-legged children. Our daughter Hannah was 4 when Lucy finally came home as a young pup of 8 weeks. From the beginning, Lucy was an easy pup, readily trained, and totally a part of our family. She is very well socialized, which contributes to her reliability with children. Now that Hannah is a little older and doesn't need me to be with her as much, Lucy is her constant companion. She even lays next to the bathtub when Hannah takes a bath or a shower, and stays there until she comes out of the tub. On more than one occasion Lucy has alerted me to the actions of my daughter if Lucy thinks they are not appropriate. And, she shows excellent judgement! For example, if Hannah leaves the yard without letting me know first, Lucy sits at the door and barks her "Danger!!!" bark to let me know something is happening that I need to check on right away. Funny thing is, she doesn't do that if Hannah tells me she is going out the gate. Who says dogs aren't human! Lucy loves all children, especially toddlers. She is very patient with them, and loves to sniff their ears and necks. I trust her completely. On the other hand, there is Heather, our 'Wild Child'. Raised in the same environment, same socialization, same love.... and a completely different spirit. Heather thinks that any kid is a kid who loves her and wants to play....sigh....and hopefully wrestle, which is her favorite form of play. She is a very physical dog, and although she is now about 6 months old she still thinks she is a baby lap dog. Her specialty is flying leaps from across the room into Hannah's lap, or pinning her down and sitting on her...good thing Hannah is patient too! Heather is a true Mountain Dog, she can and will climb anything...chairs, tables, people, especially kids! It's not that she has no manners, it's just that she is so full of herself. She has to be closely monitored when around children, and I would NEVER leave her with a young child or baby. It's not that I don't trust her, but she gets carried away, and as I said earlier, once an injury occurs, it's too late! Please, don't ever ignore potentially dangerous behaviour on the part of your dogs towards children. Any sign of aggression from a dog towards a child needs to be dealt with immediately, in whatever form is necessary to insure the safety of the child. It's too late after a bite or an attack. The life of a child may be at stake - DON'T TAKE CHANCES!!!

Jaye Carl _SonriseBMD_AOL.com_ Hopewell Township, NJ USA - Monday, July 13, 1998 at 08:25:58 (EDT)

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My one year old son loves our three year old bernese and the affection definatly works both ways, my little boy can say Amber far more clearly than mam or dad. Amber, like all bernese is very protective of her owners, but she had no problems extending her love to our son when he was born, she is a very loving dog but can be quite boisterous with my neices and nephews, however she seems to know when to draw the line with my little boy. Even though we trust Amber implicitly with our baby I think the golden rule is never allow any dog to be alone with a young child no matter how trustworthy the pet.

lisa davies _tmclisadavies_hotmail.com_ port talbot, west glamorgan u.k. - Sunday, July 12, 1998 at 19:46:11 (EDT)

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I have a 2-1/2 year-old Berner who's wonderful with children. There's is only one problem. He doesn't know that he's 100 pounds. He thinks he's a toy. So I have to watch carefully that he doesn't knock my 3-year-old granddaughter over. He's sometimes a little too bouncy for her. Otherwise, he's a totally patient and trustworthy dog, never growling or showing any other kind of aggressive behavior. He's also very protective of the children. When an unknown adult or another dog is near, Dudley places himself between the child and the stranger. He doesn't get angry, just watchful.

Amy Zarett _Loveausten_aol.com_ East Northport, NY USA - Sunday, July 12, 1998 at 18:11:59 (EDT)

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