Teach Your Dog To Ring A Bell To Go Outside
This is easier than you might think, but does require patience, consistency and a good supply of training treats!
Select the type of bell that you want your dog to ring. We purchased some large sleigh bells, and attached them together with split rings, but you can use any bell that you can hear around the house.
We purchased bells that are 25mm / 1 inch in size.
Attach your bell to a string (we used an old puppy lead).
The string needs to be long enough to be tied to the door handle, and for the bells to hang at shoulder height to your dog.
Lay the bells on the floor and encourage your dog to touch them, with their feet or their nose. You can move the bells around on the floor if this makes them more interesting at the beginning. Every time they touch the bells you make a big fuss and give a treat.
Play the game for 10 minutes every couple of hours, and always stop before your dog loses interest or becomes bored.
Continue with the exercise until you dog understands that when they touch the bell, they get a treat.
Next, move the bells onto the floor in front of the door that you plan to hang them on. Repeat the exercise again in the new locations.
Once your dog is touching the bells comfortably on the floor, repeat the exercise while holding the bells up at shoulder height.
Once your dog has learned this game fully, tie the bells to the door.
When your dog touches the bells, you say the command they know for going outside (‘garden’, ‘wee wee’, ‘outside’ – whatever command you already use) and give the treat at the same time.
Open and close the door each time your dog rings the bell.
Over the next few days, you will hear the bell frequently - even when your dog fancies a treat or some general attention! Please note that you must go to the door and open it every time, even if you know they don’t want to go outside. Use the 'wee wee' or 'garden' command every time, consistency is the key to the exercise. The ringing will stop in time - I promise!
Over the next day or two, reduce the treats but always open the door and use the outside command. Keep the praise going, it is important.
Within a week your dog will have learned that when they ring the bells, someone will come and open the door.
We take the bells away when no-one is home, so that ringing the bell is always a positive experience.
We take the bells on holiday and to friends houses, as they work on any door.