Bell Training for Dogs: How It Really Works

Potty training your pups through bell training

Potty training your puppy is not an easy task – but bell training can really save your life. Teaching your puppy or adult dog to ring the “potty bell” is a fairly straightforward approach to solving this challenge.

Do you want to prevent accidents? Then, the potty bell lets you know when your puppies need to go.

There are few things in life as challenging as potty training a puppy or young dog from scratch. But, when successful, the results can be rewarding.

Unfortunately, many ineffective methods are used by even so-called professional trainers that should ultimately be avoided. Sometimes, those methods are seen by some as inhumane too.

A Bell for Potty Training

We’re here to tell you about one potty training method that remains our procedure of choice. That is the bell training technique.

When it comes to potty training your dog, the use of a bell can make a tremendous difference. Indeed, teaching a puppy or even an adult canine to ring a “potty bell” is relatively easy and very convenient.

In potty bell training, you teach your dog to ring the bell every time he or she needs to potty or relieve himself or herself outside. In doing so, you eliminate (or drastically reduce) accidents or the dreaded “silent potty stare,” which many of them have mastered to a T.

How does dog potty bell training work? What are the steps involved in successful training? Where can you find the right potty training bells?

Here at Dogschool.com, we know how much you value your four-legged friend – as much as any other member of your family. Hence, we’re going to answer all of these questions for you in this blog article.

What the Bell Training Actually Is

Some people will tell you that dog bell training is as simple as your dog ringing a doggie bell to go outside when needed. However, there is significantly more to it.

From our perspective, the best results can be obtained by following this three-step process:

• The first step is to teach your canine friend to hit the bell with his/her nose.
• Then, with the bells already hanging at the door, train him/her to ring the dog bell.
• And finally, your dog should understand when to ring the bell
. The goal is that he/she rings it only when there’s a need to go outside. Your dogs should not be ringing the dog bells all the time.

What’s more, we have found that the bell technique works especially well for dogs that only have a few accidents or happen to have accidents by the door. Teaching your dog to ring a potty training bell prevents him or her from needing to resort to such “uncivilized” behavior as barking or scratching on the door to tell you to let him or her out.

When it comes to those furry balls of love we call puppies, teaching the bell method is a great idea and very helpful for puppy house training, and is a preferred method over having your puppy bark at the door or just stand there when you may not even realize that he or she is waiting for you to open it.

How does Bell Training Work?

As we mentioned above, the training process begins with touching/tapping the bell. Potty training bells can be made at home using basic supplies found at any arts and crafts store. Even an old jingle bell from your box of holiday decorations will do. You can also buy a specifically designed puppy training bell from select retailers, which we will cover in another section.

After you have your dog bell, the training process can begin. Be sure to stock up on soft, small treats and have them ready. And if you engage in “clicker training,” ensure you have your clicker handy, as well.

Step 1: Say “Yes” to the Bell 

This step introduces your pet to the bell and how he should touch it.

In the initial stage of this process, hold the bell close to your puppy’s (or dog’s) nose to encourage him to touch it.

Tell your pup to touch the bell. Once he or she touches the bell, respond with a solid “yes!” and give the pup a treat.

Repeat these steps 10 to 15 times or until your furry companion is routinely nudging the bell every time you say “touch.”

The majority of dogs will, in order to sniff it out, immediately move towards the bell. But, treat scent/musk can always be rubbed on to make the item more appealing.

The clicker or “yes!” exclamation serves as a “marker” to tell him or her that he/she has done the right thing – and the treat is the reward.

This step will take your dog from hitting the bell to actually ringing it next to the door. And that is exactly the goal. 

Step 2: Take it to the Door

To start, hang your dog potty bells on the doorknob of the door most utilized in taking your pet outside. The bell can also be hung or mounted next to the doorframe.

We have spoken with some families that have an electric doggy doorbell. It is also a good option for dogs that do not develop a liking to the “jingly” sound of bells. But regardless of what you’re using, the bell should be placed at paw or nose level so your four-legged pal can easily reach it.

Now, showing your dog that you have treats in hand, beckon him or her over and resume training as follows:

Take the bell – with it hanging from its hook or knob – in your hand and instruct him/her to “touch,” presenting it outward toward your dog as close as the hanger or string will allow.

Immediately upon your dog’s nudging of the bell with his/her nose, click or exclaim “yes!” and give him/her a reward in the form of a treat.

During a training session, repeat five to 10 times.

Ideally, you should practice this part of the training process one or two times a day for three to five days. Or, until there’s a reliable connection between your dog and the bell each time you point at it and say “touch.”

Once he or she is ringing the bell next to the door, it’s time to move on to the final step of the process.

Step 3: Making the Connection to Go Out

Now that your furry friend is an expert in bell-ringing, it is time to help him understand that he can ring the bell when it’s time to go out.

But the key here is to show him/her that potty time is the only time to ring the bell. You don’t want your best friend to ring the bell all the time!

To train your dog when to ring the bell, performing the following steps is a good idea every time you take him/her outside for a bathroom break.

Upon approaching the door with your pooch, say “touch” once again, and point to the bell.

When your dog touches the bell with his/her nose, click or say “yes!” and proceed to give a treat.

Adhere to this each time you take your companion outside; remember, consistency is what it’s all about when it comes to training.

Through constant repetition, your pet will learn that he or she must ring the bell in order to go out.

Where to Buy Dog Training Bells

Outside of Chewy.com and Amazon.com, dog training bells can be found at PetSmart.com and Walmart.com

Of course, there’s no point in using this type of behavior training if you can’t hear the bells from the other end of the house when your dog rings them. Please keep that in mind, too.

For more information on dog training, contact us at Dogschool.com.