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Do these really work? We adopted a year old dog almost 2 weeks ago. For the most part she seems potty trained, but she has had a couple of accidents since we got her. This is complicated by the fact she went into heat 2 days after we got her so she is wearing doggie underwear, and clean up is quite disgusting. If she is showing a sign, we aren't spotting it. She does not bark or whimper at all (seriously in 2 weeks she has barked once). She seems like a smart dog, but I have never used something like the bells. Are they something easy to train? Do dogs with strong chewing drives, chew the bells? Any tips from people that have BTDT?
 

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These are more "open the door!" bells than potty training bells! You may learn that your dog will use them indescriminately! Might drive you nuts!

If your dog needs house-training skills, this isn't going to help much. The bells will help for a dog who is already housetrained but is too polite to bark at the door.
 

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They sell these on Amazon, I was thinking about getting some for Zoey. She hasn't had an accident in over 8 years, and as it is she whines and I just keep guessing what she wants until she stops whining, lol.... (not too quick with the non verbal queues, lol) this would be great cause it would take one thing off my list of guesses!

How do you get your dog to use them?

If the bells ring everytime someone goes in and out the door, will that cause any confusion for the dog?
 

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Oliver figured out real quick that if he rings the bell he goes outside. Soon he was ringing it all the time because he loves playing outside. LOL!! Personally I would try something different.
 

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Oliver figured out real quick that if he rings the bell he goes outside. Soon he was ringing it all the time because he loves playing outside. LOL!! Personally I would try something different.
I must admit, this is a fear I have. Currently she won't go outside without one of us, so this would get annoying really fast.
 

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I bell trained my dog. And also trained her NOT to abuse the bell. Sometimes your dog has to offer a behavior you don't like (abusing the bell) to give you the chance to teach it that is NOT what I meant. In other words behaviors we don't want (jumping up on people) are just training opportunities!

I had started clicker training the dog so she knew what the clicker meant, and was trained to touch on command. Then I just placed my hand behind the bell on the door and said "touch" she hit the bell and reward was going outside. Took her 3 days to figure it out. . Before I bell trained the dog I had already trained her to potty outside in her spot with in a minutes time. So I just added that onto the bell training and wha la a bell trained dog. Who later abused the bell to go outside and look for the cat, squirrel etc.

What to do when they abuse the bell; Now I have a dog who loves the crate. I wouldn't do this to a dog who isn't happily crate trained. She would hit the bell and I knew she didn't have to go but I went through the motions anyway. In oher words she hits the bell, I grab the leash and go to her potty spot. Give her time to potty, one minute (sometimes only 20 seconds) then say "Opps!" (her no reward marker) and run inside and crate her for 20 minutes. Then leash her and take her to the potty spot. No potty then back in crate for another 20 minutes. Until she pottys... then she gets a food reward OR a play session in the fenced in back yard AND free roam of the house.

We went through 2 episodes of bell abuse. Not 2 different times, but say 2 different weeks when she abused the bell and got the crate for it.... they were probably about 2-3 months apart. But she's almost 3yo and now uses the bell for the potty only.

I would Never bell train a dog and let them go outside on their own b/c they could just goof off and play and turn you into their doorman. Not happening in this house. The bell is for potty only. BUT if she potties then her reward will be play int he yard or food. Sort of a Premak. You give me what I want (potty) and I'll give you what you want (playtime outside OR food depending on what I have time for)

I will add that the dog is walked everyday, play sessions in the yard. So there are plenty of other opportunities for this dog to have fun outside. If you never ever walked your dog or spent time outside with it then I could see the groundwork laid for some serious bell abuse. I mean if the only time I got to go outside was when I rang the bell I'd be abusing the bell also.

I use bells that I bought at local craft store, string them up with twine. Every door in my house has them but the dog prefers the front door or the basement door. I like it that whenever my hubby comes and goes I can hear the bells on the door. So it would be difficult for someone to enter the house un announced.
 

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We made our own bells from the craft store, love them! Worked great on both our pups. When they did try to use then to simply go outside we would just come right back in. they learned that front door meant potty & going byte bye, back door meant play time. They learned quick & still use it, great for when we are anywhere in the house.
 

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NRB--

Your post and your training method are just brilliant! Really, really brilliant!

I don't know how many owners are disciplined enough to follow your method well enough to get your results or how many dogs are savvy enough to make those connections (if they aren't trained in the game of training) but that's just brilliant! I never bell trained because all of my dogs are committed and effective communicators, so no need. But if I ever got a stoic dog, I would use your method.
 

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NRB--

Your post and your training method are just brilliant! Really, really brilliant!

I don't know how many owners are disciplined enough to follow your method well enough to get your results or how many dogs are savvy enough to make those connections (if they aren't trained in the game of training) but that's just brilliant! I never bell trained because all of my dogs are committed and effective communicators, so no need. But if I ever got a stoic dog, I would use your method.
Our training for the bell was very similar, we had many potty parties.
 

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I bell trained my dog. And also trained her NOT to abuse the bell. Sometimes your dog has to offer a behavior you don't like (abusing the bell) to give you the chance to teach it that is NOT what I meant. In other words behaviors we don't want (jumping up on people) are just training opportunities!

I had started clicker training the dog so she knew what the clicker meant, and was trained to touch on command. Then I just placed my hand behind the bell on the door and said "touch" she hit the bell and reward was going outside. Took her 3 days to figure it out. . Before I bell trained the dog I had already trained her to potty outside in her spot with in a minutes time. So I just added that onto the bell training and wha la a bell trained dog. Who later abused the bell to go outside and look for the cat, squirrel etc.

What to do when they abuse the bell; Now I have a dog who loves the crate. I wouldn't do this to a dog who isn't happily crate trained. She would hit the bell and I knew she didn't have to go but I went through the motions anyway. In oher words she hits the bell, I grab the leash and go to her potty spot. Give her time to potty, one minute (sometimes only 20 seconds) then say "Opps!" (her no reward marker) and run inside and crate her for 20 minutes. Then leash her and take her to the potty spot. No potty then back in crate for another 20 minutes. Until she pottys... then she gets a food reward OR a play session in the fenced in back yard AND free roam of the house.

We went through 2 episodes of bell abuse. Not 2 different times, but say 2 different weeks when she abused the bell and got the crate for it.... they were probably about 2-3 months apart. But she's almost 3yo and now uses the bell for the potty only.

I would Never bell train a dog and let them go outside on their own b/c they could just goof off and play and turn you into their doorman. Not happening in this house. The bell is for potty only. BUT if she potties then her reward will be play int he yard or food. Sort of a Premak. You give me what I want (potty) and I'll give you what you want (playtime outside OR food depending on what I have time for)

I will add that the dog is walked everyday, play sessions in the yard. So there are plenty of other opportunities for this dog to have fun outside. If you never ever walked your dog or spent time outside with it then I could see the groundwork laid for some serious bell abuse. I mean if the only time I got to go outside was when I rang the bell I'd be abusing the bell also.

I use bells that I bought at local craft store, string them up with twine. Every door in my house has them but the dog prefers the front door or the basement door. I like it that whenever my hubby comes and goes I can hear the bells on the door. So it would be difficult for someone to enter the house un announced.
Thanks for the advice.

We made our own bells from the craft store, love them! Worked great on both our pups. When they did try to use then to simply go outside we would just come right back in. they learned that front door meant potty & going byte bye, back door meant play time. They learned quick & still use it, great for when we are anywhere in the house.
I was thinking they looked easy to make. This may mean a trip to the craft store, one of my favorite places to go.
 

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If she's in heat, chances are she's 'marking' because they do tend to have to pee more when they're in season. Think of it as advertising! She's putting out 'for a good time call' flyers in other words. Not a big deal. Or it could be new place and stress, or she's not totally housebroken, take your pick.

You can book her in for a spay in about six weeks as far as I know, that'll help and be less messy for you.

I wouldn't use the bells or teach that sort of cue personally. My guys have a dog door most of the time or I make a point of letting them out often, but it's on MY schedule mostly. If I see them acting like they need to go I'll let them out, but otherwise I dread the dogs who scratch or whine or bark to go out and in. Where I work there's a beagle who was taught that way, and it gets annoying sometimes when I'm busy and he wants upstairs, downstairs, wants out, in, cookies, whatever. There's two twins that are crawling and so the stairs are blocked off, and the beagle will bark or scratch at the worst times, then give me a dirty look and do it again, let him in/out and two seconds later, he's at it again. I tend to end up ignoring him because at times he's wanted upstairs, downstairs, upstairs again, outside, inside, downstairs, upstairs, scratching at the wall?..... all within 20 minutes. I'm not there to be his personal attendant, I have other things to deal with! So he's starting to clue in to that a bit. I may bring him some bones to keep him occupied and out of the way too....
 

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When SiSi was a pup we had a very hard time potty training her. We eventually bell trained her and it worked like a charm. Her old "I have to go" signal was staring out the window, which was not only silent, but also what she did when she was bored, if there was anything interesting outside, or randomly out of curiosity (I guess). Now she rings to go out. She did learn to abuse the bell. She would ring if there was a squirrel outside, if the cat was there because she wanted to chase the cat outside, if Neeka was outside, if she was just curious as to what kind of a day it was... ALL THE TIME. But she stopped having accidents, so we didn't mind being her doorman for a bit. It's better than cleaning her poop off the carpet.

It took her about a month to stop abusing the bell. She did this annoying thing for a while where she'd ring and then not go outside because it was cold. We fixed it by putting her outside every single time she rang the bell and waiting a minute or so before letting her in again. It didn't take long for her to figure it out.

Every once in a while she'll ring it because she wants us to interact with her, but we just say "Are you sure, SiSi?" and if she doesn't have to go she'll come over because we said her name. If she rings again we know she really has to go.

We use those Christmas bells that come on a band. We put a string on it and hung it from the doorknob and it works pretty well.
 

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I decided to bell train this dog for alot of different reasons. First b/c the previous dogs would never give me any indication that they had to potty... and they just went potty in the house.. So frustrating. But I didn't know about bell training or clicker training back then. Also this dog took forever to get reliable in the house. Like 6 months. Maybe more. On top of all that when I was potty training this dog I was also potty training my dd. Very time consuming to sit for 30 min with my dd in the bathroom only to find a surprise for me on the carpet left by the dog. So when I introduced the bell training I had had my dog for about 6 months, and after the bells the dog potty training went smoothly. The dd on the other hand took forever it seemed!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So far the dog has no interest in the bells, but we also haven't had any more accidents.
 
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