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Teach To Ask To Go Out?

Guest johnwe

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I think I have heard of people training a dog to ring a bell hanging on a doorknob...I'm wondering if there's a trick to teaching a new dog to signal when it needs to go out?



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I've always heard that people just ring the bell every time they take the dog out. If the dog then starts ringing the bell, you can reward that to reinforce the behavior.


Don't make the treats too good though, or the dog will start ringing the bell for treats.


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Yes, I've bell trained all my hounds (and other dogs). I use a standard shaped bell with stick-on felt to soften the under edge. Bell hangs only 2 inches below the door knob.

(I don't recommend sleigh bells because eager young chewer dogs are more likely to view long sleigh bells as a play toy. Grabbing and ingesting sleigh bells could cause a dangerous blockage.)


Keep practice sessions short, under 3 (to 5) minutes to keep hound's attention. Keep it fun for hound. (Don't allow either of you to become frustrated, if that happens, stop immediately and end on a happy note.)


1. Station yourself near the door you use to take your hound outside to eliminate.

Start by teaching your hound to nose your hand (with a smelly food treat hidden inside your hand).

Teach hound to "touch". When hound touches his/her nose to smell your hand, say yes! or good! + immediately reward with treat. Practice several times, and have a happy praise party!


2. Place bell (with smelly treat under bell) on your open, flat hand (still near the door). Say "touch bell". When hound sniffs/touches bell, immediately give treat reward + happy praise! (Helps to rub food scent on outside of bell.)


Step 2 Alternative: Place treat under bell on the floor. Tell hound to "touch bell". Repeat verbal + food rewards! Practice several times, end with a praise party.


3. You hold the bell (by it's string) up in the air near the door knob while you hold the treat under (or by) the bell. Tell hound to "touch bell". Immediate food reward + praise party!

(Okay to move the bell closer to hound's nose if needed.) Practice.


4. Eventually hang the bell on door knob (or next to door). Tell hound to "touch bell" and you hold the treat under (or near) bell. Treat and praise party!


During days/weeks thereafter, every time you take hound outside, be ready with treat, then tell dog to "touch bell" (or "touch outside bell") before you open the door. Give food treats as many days (or weeks) as needed until the dog solidly understands the connection.

Thereafter, simply opening the door + verbal happy praise becomes the hound's reward.


If hound has trouble remembering how to "touch bell", take the bell off the knob and hang it from your hand -- right in front of the hound's nose. If he doesn't touch it on his own, gently touch the bell to his nose before you open the door. He will soon get the idea that the bell has to be touched before the door opens.


Every dog is different re: time to learn this process, but it's well worth the effort so humans and dog have a clear understanding of the poor dog's desperate elimination signals. :)


Most important: When a hound rings their bell, it's the human's responsibility to respond immediately! :)


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