In 7 Steps Teach Your Dog to Ring a Bell to Go Outside

>> 8/4/09

Has your dog been having accidents in the house because you’ve missed his cues that he needs to go outside? Or perhaps his cue is to scratch the back door and you’re tired of re-sanding or replacing the door. Maybe it’s time you and your dog figured out a signal that works for both of you. Teaching your dog to ring a bell is the solution to this problem. When your dog rings the bell it can be heard throughout the house and causes no damage to your door. Your dog will have the confidence that his needs will be met once he rings that bell. Follow the steps below to get started on teaching your dog this clever trick.

Step 1: Purchase a bell. The ones that work best are round, with the bell bouncing around inside. These can be found in the cat toys section of any pet store. Show the bell to your dog and let him play with it. Make sure he sees the cause and effect reaction of his touch and the bell creating noise. It might startle him at first so encourage him with praise and treats if necessary.

Step 2: Tie a length of ribbon to the bell and tie the bell to the back door knob. The length of the ribbon depends on the height of your dog. Make sure that the bell is hanging low enough that your dog can easily reach it with one outstretched paw.

Step 3: Instruct your dog to sit in front of the door and the bell. Lift his paw and swat at the bell with his paw. Touch the bell with enough force that it makes the ringing sound loud and clear.

Step 4: Have a command ready. Each time you hit the bell with his paw say the command. “Outside” is probably the easiest one for you both. He needs to see that the bell is associated with something and that it’s not just for fun.

Step 5: Put it all together. Lift your dog’s paw, hit the bell and say, “Outside.” Then, open the door and encourage your dog to go outside. Repeat this exercise over and over.

Step 6: Test him on it. When you think he understands the connection between the bell and going outdoors, it’s time to test his knowledge. While inside the house, say, “Outside” to your dog and see if he goes to the back door. If he doesn’t automatically paw at the bell, repeat the command until he does. If after a few tries, he doesn’t paw at the bell; you need to lift his paw and do it for him, then let him outside. Do not let him outside until he has pawed at the bell.

Step 7: Keep practicing. It’s likely that this trick is going to be learned in one training session. Be prepared to practice it several times a day for several days in a row. Also be prepared to reward his efforts with affection and treats.

If you’re somewhere in your home and you hear that bell at the back door, you’ll know you’ve achieved success with your dog. Both of you will find that it’s a much more convenient way for him to communicate that he needs to go outside. Ring ring!

In 7 Steps Teach Your Dog to Ring a Bell to Go Outside by Kelly McMurry

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Provided by Kelly McMurry of Where you can find great prices on Dog Doors and Dog Beds

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