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How to Bell Train Your Puppy

Updated on January 19, 2011
Molly | Source

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!

Would you consider training your puppy to ring a bell as opposed to traditional potty training?

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    • profile image

      Debbie B 7 years ago

      Our little maltese puppy actually bell-trained us (which we thought was hilarious). The bell went up for Christmas, and within a day or two, we'd hear it ring and see Tara standing expectantly by the back door. Whenever people come over, they'd laugh at our silly puppy, but love the idea! Of course, the bells are a permanent fixture by the back door now, and our 10 year old dog still rings when its time to go out.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      I have no pets (except squirrels and birds-they're outside pets. Make a mess inside). I did have a girlfriend once who bell-trained me though.

    • Donna Janelle profile image

      Donna Janelle 7 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thank you both, I'm very excited to be on hubpages and writing!

      A second set of bells is a great idea. I usually end up having to carry mine around fom place to place, but an additional set would definitely simplfy things!

    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Marie Giunta 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Firstly, Molly is too cute, secondly, these are great tips on potty training a new puppy, the bell is a great idea. Also, welcome to hubpages, you're off to a good start. If you do need help visit the learning center or send me questions if you like, I'll help where I can. Cheers Marie, member of 'hubgreeters' team.

    • Norah Casey profile image

      Norah Casey 7 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area

      Great hub! My puppy (and frequent HubPages office visitor) Mellie is bell trained. I followed this basic process when we first got her, and she picked up on it quite quickly. I recommend that if you take your puppy someplace frequently, you should get an extra set of bells to hang up with a thumbtack. The HubPages office has a special set of bells to avoid accidents.

      Welcome to HubPages!