The Barry Foundation offers a wide range of animal-assisted activities in the social sphere with its dogs. Our social dogs love contacts with people and are trained together with their handler as a “social dog team”.
The St. Bernard is typically a sled dog. Due to its size and strength, it’s well-suited for pulling loads. The Barry Foundation’s dogs pull carts in the summer and sledges in the winter.
Searching for objects
St. Bernards learn to find a hidden object using their sense of smell. This work is very demanding for the dog as it requires its full concentration. The exercise involves the dog following a scent trail to find an object that has been hidden beforehand. When it has found it, it indicates this by lying down next to the object in question.
Teaching the dogs to do tricks stimulates them mentally by learning and strengthens the bond between the dog and its animal keeper. Training the dogs to perform tricks is great fun for both dog and animal keeper alike.
We often work with intelligent dog toys to encourage our dogs to use their mental faculties. The principle is always the same: a small amount of food is hidden inside the toy. The St. Bernard can only reach it by moving certain parts of the toy (either by pushing, pressing, rotating or pulling). These toys can come with varying levels of difficulty, from very simple to quite complex.
Regular mobility training with obstacles, a sort of agility exercise for large dogs, helps develop the mobility of the St. Bernards.
The Hospice’s dogs are athletic animals that enjoy getting out in nature. In spring, summer and winter, we organise walks and hikes accompanied by our St. Bernards to Martigny, the Great St. Bernard Pass and Champex-Lac.