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Bernese Mountain Dog Service Dog - Everything You Need to Know

Bernese Mountain Dogs, renowned for their gentle nature and strong build, can be excellent service dogs for roles that involve physical support and emotional comfort. Their large size and strength make them suitable for tasks such as bracing and stability assistance, particularly beneficial for individuals with mobility challenges. Their calm and affectionate temperament also contributes to their effectiveness in providing emotional support in various service settings.

Kristi Carignan
January 12, 2024
June 5, 2023
7 minute read
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Grant FiddesGrant Fiddes
SEO Associate
June 5, 2023
August 18, 2021
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A Bernese Mountain Dog service dog can provide individuals with disabilities significant help in their day-to-day life. Find out if they are right for you.

Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for being big, loveable, 'gentle giants.' They have loyal dispositions and excel at performing strength-based tasks like mobility and balance aid. In this article we’ll explore Bernese Mountain Dog Service dogs.

We’ll describe everything you need to know about this loyal, loving and intelligent breed.

Bernese Mountain Dog Service Dog

Bernese Mountain Dogs make for brilliant service animals and will fill their handler's life with love, support, and dedication. They are extremely responsive to training and can be taught tasks to assist with a broad range of physical or mental disabilities. This breed also has the ideal demeanor to provide vital support for their handlers in any environment.

What Are Service Dogs?

Service dogs are recognized under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as dogs who are required because their handler has a disability. These dogs are individually trained to perform specific tasks or functions related to the disability.

Service dogs are seen as medical aids rather than pets. This means that they have different rights to conventional pets. They are allowed to accompany owners to any public space (including shopping malls, restaurants, universities, schools, libraries and movie theaters) provided they are well-behaved. They can also accompany owners on flights, trains and any mode of public transport.

An establishment cannot legally ask handlers for proof that their dog is a service dog. However, they can ask two critical questions:

  1. Is the dog required because of the handler's disability?
  2. Can they perform a specific, disability-related function?

Are Bernese Mountain Dogs Good Service Dogs?

Bernese Mountain Dogs can make fantastic service dogs for several reasons. They are smart, loving, and strong, meaning that with the proper training, they can become hugely valuable in a service role.

They Are a Smart and Trainable Breed

The breed thrives in a training environment thanks to their high intelligence levels. With consistency and reinforcement-based training, they can quickly learn new skills.

They Are Loyal to Their Handlers

They are incredibly loyal and will show their handlers great love and dedication.

They Are Friendly Dogs

Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their loving and gentle dispositions. They are brilliant family dogs and are known to be exceptionally soft around children. They are also usually calm, even aloof, around strangers, making them ideal in public spaces.

What Tasks Can a Bernese Mountain Dog Perform?

Bernese Mountain Dogs can perform many incredible tasks. Let's have a look at some of the functions they can perform for their handlers.

Did You Know?

Psychiatric Service Dogs (PSDs) are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act and are legally granted access to places where pets are prohibited, such as airplane cabins, storefronts and restaurants. Find out more

Deep Pressure Therapy

Deep Pressure Therapy (DPT) is a powerful therapeutic tool that can mitigate specific psychiatric symptoms. During this therapy, the service dog uses its weight and bodily warmth to comfort and support their owner. This can bring them back to the present moment and stop certain psychiatric symptoms in their tracks.

Danger or Intruder Notification

While known for their gentle nature, they will still alert owners to the presence of an intruder. The breed can also be trained to identify and alert owners to dangerous situations through pre-established cues. For example, they may alert a diabetic owner that their blood sugar is low or assist an owner who is about to have a seizure. 

Mobility and Balance Aid

Thanks to their strength, these dogs are fantastic mobility and balance aids. Reaching a whopping 27 inches at shoulder height, they really are built to work. They can effectively help to pull wheelchairs or offer owners guide support.

How To Get a Bernese Mountain Dog Psychiatric Service Dog

If you are looking to get a Bernese Mountain Dog as a psychiatric service dog (PSD), it is always best to go through a respected breeder or a rescue organization. You can then enroll in a PSD training program with your pup and equip them with the confidence, knowledge and tools to become a stellar service dog.

If you're interested in obtaining our PSD certification, follow these steps:

Take Our Assessment

Take our quick, hassle-free assessment so we can determine your needs.

Get a Psychiatric Service Dog

You have multiple options when getting a psychiatric service dog. You can opt to train your current or newly adopted dog yourself, hire a trainer, or purchase a fully-trained dog.

Complete Training

Training your own service dog is made easier with the proper tools. With our online PSD training program led by a professional dog trainer, you'll be equipped with the necessary knowledge to fully train your own psychiatric service dog at your own pace.

Can I Teach My Bernese Mountain Dog to Be a Service Dog?

Yes. Any dog that responds well to training can become a valuable service animal. Access our 15 online self-paced sessions and get your certificate once you've completed our course.

What Disabilities Qualify for a Service Dog?

Many disabilities qualify for a service dog, including psychiatric disabilities, physical disabilities, intellectual disabilities and sensory disabilities. Some examples include Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety, Depression, Multiple Sclerosis, and Cerebral Palsy.

Service Dog Laws

Several laws protect the rights of service dogs. These include:

Fair Housing Act: The Fair Housing Act protects the rights of all service dogs and emotional support animals (ESAs) by ensuring that landlords do not unfairly discriminate against them or their owners regarding accessing housing.

Air Carrier Access Act: Under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), service animals are permitted to travel with owners on planes. ESAs have since been excluded, and allowance thereof will be at the discretion of the specific airline.

Americans with Disabilities Act: The ADA recognizes service animals and legislates that public spaces must make reasonable accommodations for them.

What's the Difference Between Psychiatric Service Dogs vs. Emotional Support Dogs?

Psychiatric service dogs and service dogs are recognized under the ADA as they perform specific tasks that support their handlers through their disabilities. These disability-related functions for a legitimate disability qualify them as service animals.

Emotional support animals, while hugely beneficial at a therapeutic level, do not have the same rights. While they provide immense support and can help owners through a wide range of mental health conditions, like anxiety and depression, they are not trained to perform a specific disability-related task. As a result, emotional support animals are only legally protected under the Fair Housing Act and are only permitted in private housing. ESAs can also be any legal species of animal. Popular ESAs include dogs, cats, rabbits, rats, ferrets, guinea pigs, goats, miniature horses and pigs.

The Bottom Line

If you need an ESA letter or PSD letter for housing or travel purposes, contact our expert team, and we will gladly be of assistance.

Meet the author:
Kristi Carignan

Kristi Carignan is a seasoned freelance writer with over 20 years of experience crafting copy for global agencies and brands. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with her furry companions, Sugar the PomChi and Rudy the Shiba Inu, and indulging in hobbies like crafting and home renovation.

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