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How to teach your dog to ring a bell to go outside

Updated on August 28, 2012

Keep the bells ringing!

How many times as a dog owner have you really wished your dog could talk? Wouldn't it just be phenomenal if dogs could have the gift of talking and the power to just tell you something such as: "Hey, dude, I think it is time for me to go out potty, I can hardly hold it anymore!"I have wished that with all my heart, believe me, since I started house training my two eight week old puppies.

At first, while the puppies were playing I could just tell they were thinking: "Oh gosh, I have to go but I will not make it to the door, oh no, here it comes!" and in less than a second there was a big puddle on my kitchen floor. Then they started progressing to pawing at the door as if saying: "Hey mom,look at me, I can give you some notice!" But this was not helpful because if I was on the phone or in another room there was no way to retrieve their message in a timely matter.

The latest upgrade they had was crying in front of the door but I was still having a hard time hearing them from another room or I made unnecessary trips because what I thought was: "Mom I really have to pee" in reality was "Mom I am soo hungry" or "Mom I want that toy on the shelf!"

Finally, I went to a friend's house and she showed me how her dog was trained to ring a bell to go outside. My first thought was:"That is phenomenal!" I am actually now in the process of training my pups to do this because a bell can be heard from anywhere in my home and of course, it is so convenient! In order to successfully train your dogs to ring the bell you must be armed with lots patience and persistence. It will not happen in one day, but once learned you are granted a lifetime of ringing bells!

Now to materials:

1)You will need to buy either a single jingle bell attached to a cord or if your prefer a series of bells attached to the cord. Its your choice if you prefer the sound of a single bell or a series of bells.

2)You also will need the incentive that will bring you and your dog to success: food!

3) Obviously a door!

Keep plenty of treats somewhere high near the door. You need to be prepared because in the first days and weeks when the bell rings it means you will give a treat, praise the dog and head outside.

The bell needs to be hung to the door knob in such a way that the dog can easily move it by pawing at it or touching it with its nose.

Make sure it is easily accessible to make things easier.

I have found it easy to teach by first attaching a treat to the bell. As soon as the dog goes near the door I will say: "Outside"?

Then as he gets closer to the door he should smell the treat and as he reaches for it the bell will ring. I would repeat this several times.

Then I upgraded it to taking away the treat from the bell.

The dog started ringing the bell without no incentive around. As soon as he rang the bell I would praise and give a treat.

At the end I started giving treats only after we were outside and he did his business.

I think this is the best invention ever, because I can do my errands and yet they can communicate their needs.

Of course this is not exactly like them mumbling to me "Hey, dude, I can hardly hold it anymore" but it is sure close enough!

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