Training Your Dog to Ring a Bell to Go Outside

61mjP-cHfZL._SL1500_My newest furry member, Kona, is a few days from being five months old. She has gotten much better about not peeing in the house BUT she still isn’t giving any signals that she needs or wants to go outside. I’m trying to give her more free reign of her accessible areas but when she is out of my sight for too long I start calling her name or I go and look for her. She usually is found sniffing around, I think looking for food. But I can’t be sure yet.

I bought a bell off of Amazon called PoochieBells The Trusted Name in Dog Training Doorbells in Classic Sahara Stripe
and made the mistake of hanging it on the door thinking she would know exactly what it meant. So I researched how to use it and began my training.

STEP 1 – Introductions

Hold the bells in your hand but keep them behind your back. Have treats in your other hand. Bring the bells out and put in front of your dog, about a foot away. Naturally your dog should go and sniff them. I shake my hand a bit to ring the bells so she can get used to the sound. I say “Yes” has soon as her nose touches the bell and I reward her with a treat. Repeat this step putting the bells further away, above her head, near the ground, etc. Keep doing this until there is no doubt she knows what to do. I would recommend doing this for 5-7 days, every day. Put the bell away when you are not doing introductions.

STEP 2 – Let Them Be

Place/hang the bells close to where you sit in the evenings. For me it is on my sofa since I have my TV shows that I must watch. I keep the treats there too. Because she should now know that if she rings the bells, she will get a treat, whenever she randomly comes over and rings the bells, say “Yes! Good girl/boy” and reward her with a treat. My dog is very food motivated so I have found that when she is hungry for a treat, she goes and rings the bell. Put the bell away when you are not in your spot. You want to be there when they ring the bell. Do this step for at least another week.

STEP 3 – New Message

Now that the dog has a really good understanding that ringing the bell = a treat, we need to change it’s meaning to Outside. To do this, hang the bell near the door you normally take your dog out from. Only hang it there when you are home and in a range to hear the bell. Anytime the dog goes and rings the bell, go over the the door, say “Outside” (or any other command), open the door and let the dog out. You might have a dog like mine who likes to just stand there and won’t go out. Either grab his/her collar and escort them out OR pick them up and put them outside. Do this each and every time they go and ring the bell. Soon they will understand that each time they ring the bell they go outside. No treats. The dog may or may not want to ring the bell a lot because they want treats. Take them outside each time. You have to be consistent during this step or they won’t fully understand that ringing the bell = going outside.

How has this method worked for you? Share your stories. Did you do something different?

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