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Dog Trick : Teach Your Dog to Ring the Bell

Difficulty: Easy 

It's ten-thirty in the morning. You have to be at your friend's house at eleven, but you don't want to leave your dog's mess unattended in the dining room floor. You're a long time cleaning, scrubbing, and vacuuming. Eleven o'clock hits the mark and you haven't left yet. You jump in the car and onto the road full speed, and you still arrive twenty minutes late.

You apologize to your friend, explain to them in sparse detail why you came late. Later during a conversation unexciting, you hear their tiny dog's footsteps, then the tinkling and jingling of a bell. You ask them what it is. Oh its my dog, they say, she's ringing the bell to tell me she has to go outside.

This is an extremely useful trick, perfect for house training puppies. The attractiveness of using a bell to let you know when your dog needs to go out is that you can hear it all over the house. Puppies don't have enough experience to come get you to take them out. In fact, the most common sign is spinning around. More often than not, you aren't around to see! Using a bell, you'll be able to hear every single time your dog needs some time outside.

Step 1: Use a training stick to target the bell.

Step 2: When he touches the bell, click and treat.

Step 3: When he touches the bell on his own, click and jackpot.

Step 4: Whenever you take him outside, have him touch the bell first. The reward is to open the door.

Step 5: our canine will, in a few days, learn that the door opens when he rings the bell.


Caspian was only a puppy when we taught him this trick. This made housetraining him very easy. We never used the newspaper or puppy-pad method. We taught him touch right away so that we could teach him to ring a bell to let us know that he needed to go outside. We threaded an old jingle bell left over from Christmas onto some twine, and wrapped it around our front door knob. We kept an eye on him before he quite learned touch and bell, but it didn't take but a couple of days for him to get the hang of it. Using the bell in this way makes a drastic difference in house training a puppy.


My dog rings the bell when all he wants to do is play
You can eliminate this sly dog behavior by paying attention to certain times your dog usually goes out. If you have just taken your dog out and it isn't reasonable that he needs to go out again, or if your dog is in a particularly playful mood, don't open the door. You want the bell to be the signal for a quick "do your business" trip, not playtime.

Tip: "Keep the jingle bell on the door and well accessible to your dog. Also, make sure it is well tied to the string so it won't come off for your dog to swallow."
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