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Teach Your Dog to Ring a Bell

 by jaime on 01 Aug 2014 |
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As dog owners, there are countless of times that you wish your lovable pooch could speak to you and tell you what they want or need. Needing to go to the bathroom is no exception. As much as we would love for them to approach us as say "excuse me, can you let me outside to use the bathroom," we just have to settle for them sitting by the door or barking as a signal that toilet time is approaching. But imagine if there was a clear cut signal you could teach your dog, so no matter where in the house you are you'd know your dog needs to go outside - and little accidents can be easily avoided.

Well, there is. You simply teach your dog to ring a bell-and it's much easier to achieve than you think.
 
Introduce the bell
Introducing your dog to the bell is the first step in training. Hang the bell from a hook or tack near the door frame on the opening side. You can also hang the bell from the doorknob, whichever approach works is fine. Introduce your dog to the bell by holding a treat next to it and ringing the bell at the same time.
 
Associate the bell with outside
As you are teaching your dog to go outside to potty and which door grants access to the outdoors, associate the bell with this action. Every time you take your dog outside, show it the bell. Make sure to ring the bell (either yourself or using its paw) to associate the action and its resulting sound with going outside to potty.
 
Be consistent
It is important that every time you are taking your dog outside you stop to ring the bell. If you don't ingrain this process in the dog's mind each time, it isn't likely to remember to ring the bell itself when it needs to go outside. With some consistency, you should begin to hear that bell as your dog needs to get outside. When you do, make sure to praise your dog for using the bell and let them out immediately.
 
Keep trying
If your first approach to training your dog to ring the bell doesn't work, consider this alternative method. Begin by smearing some cheese, peanut butter, or other treat on the bell. If your dog notices the treat and touches the bell, praise it and offer more treats. Repeat this so your dog knows that touching the bell results in a treat. To transfer that positive association with the bell to the ability to get outside, you can move to the final step of opening the door.
 
With your dog watching, open the door and drop some treats on the ground outside while your dog watches. Then close the door and encourage the dog to ring the bell. If your dog rings the bell, open the door immediately and let it outside to retrieve the treats. With consistency and repetition, you'll be surprised how quickly your dog catches on to this trick. More importantly, accidents will become a thing of the past.


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