Is Your Dog Only Partially Potty Trained? Learn How To Finish The Job With Bells

Posted on: 20 April 2015

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If you obtained a dog from someone who could no longer care for them, you may have been told that the dog was potty trained. If you find that this isn't actually the case, tell your vet at your pup's first visit, so they can rule out any diseases. This is rare though, and it's likely that the dog does not understand how to let their human know they need to go outside. This guide explains how to use bells to train your dog to let you know they need out to defecate.

Step 1: Introduce the Bells to Your Dog

Purchase some string and some small bells, the kind that go on Christmas decorations. Tie the string onto the bells through the little hole at the top.

Hold a treat in one hand and the bells in another. Then tell your dog to "touch" the bells. You may need to show the dog how to do this by gently touching the bells to their nose. 

Utilize patience as your dog learns to touch the bells. Then give him or her the treat immediately as they touch their nose to the bell and exclaim "YES!" Make sure you have a smile in your voice so your dog senses genuine happiness. 

Step 2: Point to the Bells

When your dog regularly touches the bells with their nose on command, proceed to holding the end of the string, with the bells are dangling down. Hold them a few inches away from the dog and say, "touch". When he or she moves toward the bells and touches them, exclaim "YES!" again and give them a treat.

Repeat this several times during your training session. Keep in mind that dogs learn best through consistency, so schedule a time every day to work on this.

Step 3: Associate the Bells With Going Outside

Tell your dog to touch the bells every time you take them outside to defecate. When they defecate outdoors, give them a treat and respond to them with "good job" or another "YES!"

Once your dog looks for the bells to touch before you take him or her outside, it's time to hang the bells on the door. Your dog should now associate the bells with defecating outside. To encourage this behavior, go to the door and let your dog out as soon as you hear the bells.

If you're dog does not touch the bells to let you know he or she needs to go outside, repeat step three of these instructions. If you're still having trouble, consult with your veterinarian (such as one from Bearss Animal Clinic) again to see if there is a medical condition causing your dog to defecate indoors.