In many ways, Great Swiss Mountain dogs are wonderful choices for pet owners, particularly those with experience training and handling dogs and/or those needing work animals which maintain a strong bond with their owners and double as companion animals. Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs aren't the best choice for novice or inexperienced people purchasing a dog for the first time. For experienced pet owners who have time and the skills necessary to diligently and consistently train and exercise a dog, the Great Swiss Mountain Dog, or Swissy, can be a fantastic family companion animal.
The training and socialization of a Great Swiss Mountain Dog must begin at a very early age. Most Swissies are ready to be adopted and introduced to their new family at approximately eight weeks of age. Diligent socializations should begin at this time by introducing your Swissy to all family members and as many new situations as possible. By all family members, I do mean other dogs. Some Great Swiss Mountain Dogs exhibit aggression to other dogs, particularly dogs of the same sex, and prompt introduction to older canines will decrease the likelihood of potential problems.
Swissies possess an inclination toward dominance in their pack mentality. Originally bred as draft and guard dogs, some of the characteristics that made them great for their intended purpose make them a challenge as a family pet. Teaching your Swissy their place in the family ranking takes a great deal of patience and a considerable amount of time. For this reason, anytime a new Swissy is introduced into the family, care should be exercised when Swissies or any larger breed dog is to be around smaller children and babies.
Great Swiss Mountain Dogs are extremely strong and determined. Bred as draft animals who were strong enough to pull plows, and loaded farm carts, they are often difficult to leash train, and children and smaller adults may have a difficult time accomplishing that task.
Know ahead of time that Great Swiss Mountain dogs are very territorial. They will bark (loudly) at neighbors and other animals. Their instinct to pursue prey could necessitate their having a safe containment environment. Fenced yards must be secure to ensure that they are unable to hunt other neighborhood animals, such as cats and wild animals. It is also necessary to curb the naturally playful nature that could lead to danger in traffic areas. Further, Swissies prefer to be with their families. If you are looking to put your Great Swiss Mountain Dog in a back yard or kennel, they will likely not be happy. They prefer to be with their families the bulk of the time.