Teaching your dog to ring a bell to go out

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Teaching your puppy to ring a bell to go outside is a great trick and very helpful for housetraining a puppy.

Teaching your puppy to ring a bell to go outside is a great trick and very helpful for housetraining a puppy. You may prefer this method over having your puppy bark at the door or just standing at the door when you may not realize he is there waiting for you to take him out.

First off, you need to decide what you want to use. You can buy specially made “doggy doorbells,” but all that you really need is a bell (like a cowbell on a rope or a string of jingle bells) or wind chimes hung near your door (not on the door). You can teach this to any dog, hearing or deaf.

Every time that you go outside hold a treat behind your bell. Your dog will hit the bell with her nose to get the treat. “Good Dog” sign, and out you go. For your dog to understand that this bell means “potty” and not “playtime,” keep her on her leash until she finishes (use the same procedure as above for house training; stand in the spot, don’t move, and wait for her to finish). Once she is done, you can take off the leash and let her play if you want, or you can bring her back inside and play at a different time (don’t have her ring the bell when you go out for playtime). If she doesn’t eliminate within a couple of minutes (try using your signal, if you have taught it), bring her back in, no playtime (period).

Eventually, your dog will associate ringing the bell with going outside to eliminate and will ring it on her own. You don’t need to make a big fuss over this. Tell her “good dog” and take her out. If she backslides and starts to ring it every 15 minutes wanting to go out, take her out on a leash again until she quits.

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Welcome to Spike’s Dog Blog by Acme Canine. Throughout the site, you will find a variety of helpful dog training articles, insightful dog behavior tips, and truthful product reviews from nationally-recognized canine trainers and professionals.