How to Bell Train Your Puppy
Although bringing home your new puppy can be an extremely exciting time for you, it can also be challenging for those who have never had to deal with a brand new pet before. Many people may not be fully prepared for the many obstacles that lie ahead. One of the first things you will want to begin as soon as you bring your puppy home is the potty training process. This can be horribly trying at first, but having a puppy that is potty trained (and who will later grow in to a much larger dog – with larger poop) is definitely well worth the effort. One of the best ways to potty train your new puppy is to teach him or her to ring a bell whenever he or she needs to go potty. This can be frustrating at first, but the pay off will be astronomical.
Obviously, the first item you will need if you plan on bell training your puppy is a bell. Finding a bell that your puppy is able to ring may be difficult; the best route to go is simply to make one yourself. Craft stores such as Hobby Lobby sell small bells (about the size of a golf ball) and thick craft string or rope that you can tie them onto. Place the bells a couple of inches apart all the way down the string. A string that hangs close to the door or right on the door handle of the door that your puppy goes out to potty is the best place for you to hang the bell.
Beginning the bell training is the hardest part. Each time your puppy goes potty inside your home immediately take him to the door, ring the bell, and place him outside in the area you would like him to use as a potty. This will happen frequently, as most puppies often do not catch on exceptionally fast. Consistency is the most important aspect of potty training. If you notice your puppy begin to potty on the floor, clap you hands loudly, or firmly state “No!” and quickly take your puppy outside. If your puppy is kept in a crate during the day, always take him outside as soon as you let him out of the crate. Typically, puppies will not do their business where they eat or sleep, and once they get old enough to control their bladder they will wait to do their business until they get outside. If you do not crate your puppy during the day, a good rule of thumb is to take your puppy out at least every couple of hours to the area you want them to use. Make sure to always ring the bell before you go out!
It will take most puppies quite awhile to get the hang of it, but eventually they will walk up to the door and ring the bell to signal you that they need to go potty. Be warned: some puppies, devious little creatures that they are, will ring the bell simply when they are bored and want to go outside and play. Usually, this habit will not last long, but it is best to take them out whenever they ring the bell, and give them a minute or so to sniff around and finish their business. Typically, it will quickly become apparent if your puppy truly has to go potty or is just “crying wolf”. Eventually, your puppy should learn that the bell is to signal you that he needs to go potty, and is not just a free ticket to go outside and play.
Puppies should be rewarded for their good behavior. It is a good idea to give your puppy a small treat after he has completed his business outside. Your puppy will begin to associate ringing the bell and going potty with receiving a delicious treat, and improve at signaling you their need to go. Of course, puppies do not need extremely large treats. You can purchase small treats that are used for training at stores such as Pets Mart. Cheerios are also a great money saving treat that you can use while training your puppy to potty outside.
Although it may seem like your puppy will never be bell trained at first, all of your hard work will eventually pay off in the end. There will of course be accidents here and there as your puppy is still learning what to do. It is important to remain consistent and not lose hope! Your puppy can be trained to ring a bell when he needs to go potty, and you will be a tremendously thrilled dog owner!
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