How To Bell Train Your Dog
When I first brought Maybel home, I decided I was going to bell train her. I did this because I didn't want her crying at the door every time she had to go outside. Additionally, our bedroom was far away from the door & I wanted to make sure that if she had to use the bathroom & we were in bed, that we would be able to hear her. I didn't want to teach her that scratching on the door was OK because we were living in an apartment with a sliding glass door and I didn't want there to be scratches on it.
It happened to be October when I first got Maybel so it was easy for me to find a bell, as many places already had their Christmas decorations out. However, I'm sure it wouldn't be difficult to find a bell online or at your local craft store. I tied the bell to a string & placed it on the door handle. This quickly was adjusted however, because we realized we wouldn't want to hear the bell jingle every time we opened and closed the door. I put a very small nail in the wall next to the door, and left it sticking out a good amount, and tied the string & bell to this.
When you start figuring out how to bell train your dog, you need to keep a few things in mind. First, you need to take your pup out whenever she rings the bell. Even if you know she’s just playing with it or just went out a moment ago, she needs to learn that the bell means it’s time to go outside and go potty. Second, she needs to ring the bell every single time she goes outside. For the first few times you'll have to help her ring the bell. I would have her reach out her paw and gently nudge the bell each time before we opened the door to bring her out. The moment the bell rang, even though I made her ring it, I would give her a treat and praise her, THEN take her outside. If she went potty outside, she'd receive another treat. By the time she was able to ring the bell without my hand forcing her to, I stopped the treats slowly and only offered them if she went to the bathroom afterwards. If you continue to reward the dog with treats after they ring the bell, they'll think it's a ""feed me"" bell- and that would become annoying FAST. Maybel was completely house broken after only couple of days.
I credit this to both the use of the bell, as well as the Bark Potty, which is what we had on our balcony for her to go potty on. The Bark Potty was helpful because she instinctively knew to go on it. It had a natural scent that attracted her to ""go."" We tried wee wee pads the first day and she wouldn't go on them. As soon as we put the Bark Potty out though, she peed on it. It's a great dog bathroom alternative and much better than potty pads- cleaner & cheaper too! The first time I brought Maybel over to a friends house, I was afraid that she would have an accident because there was no bell to ring. However, she somehow found a door, reached up, and jiggled the door knob in place of a bell! Genius. I couldn't believe how quickly Maybel caught onto bell training. Even now, a a couple years later, I still get so proud when she rings the bell to go out."