Let The Bells Ring Outside!


April 28, 2016 by The Dog Rules

I just train my dogs to say “Excuse me, I would like to go outside now to pee.” Joking!!!

As a kid I was always amazed that Timmy could say whole long sentences to Lassie and Lassie would bark back an answer. How do we teach them to communicate with us?

Drift is already house trained and will go and quietly sit by the door. I’ve been working with him to see if I can get him to indicate his need to go Outside by ringing his bells.  When I notice him sitting there patiently for about 15-30 seconds, I ask him (while clipping the leash on his collar) “Do you want to go Outside? then “Ring Your Bell” while holding a treat next to the bell. As soon as his nose causes the bell to ring, I say “Good Dog”, immediately give him the treat, open the door and say, “Outside”.

I like the idea of doorbells because they remove the need to bark or scratch the door.  Naturally, when you train your dog to ring the bell, you’re going to have a few false alarms when he realizes he can get your attention and a trip outside for fun. To reduce the number of false alarm, try a giving a reward that is conditional on what they do when outside. There are no treats for a dry run.

If you get a lot of false alarms, you need to consider perhaps he’s really bored and he’s telling you that he wants you to be more engaged with him. Is it time to add more walks or a fun training activity?  False alarms actually aren’t so bad. At least it gets you off your butt and outdoors. Dog walks have many benefits for people too.

Dog using doggy doorbell. (Not my image.)

Dog using doggy doorbell.
(Not my image.)

10 thoughts on “Let The Bells Ring Outside!

  1. Leah says:

    I like the point that the false alarms could actually be the dog’s way of sending another message. Bored dogs are not happy dogs!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. tippysmom2 says:

    This is a great idea, esp. if you have a dog that scratches on the door. Fortunately, Tippy will come nudge my hand and then go to the door.


    • I only wish Drift would do something like that. He’s a very touchy-lovey pup and constantly nudges for pets. Too much so for communicating anything other than “rub me”.

      One person I know uses this method and takes the bells along when they travel. You can hang the familiar bells on the door where you are staying and the dog can tell you even in a place they don’t know.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ll probably never enjoy another animal companion, but if I do, I hope you’re still blogging about best ways to make living with them comfortable for them as well as for us. I love the idea of the bells!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Kathryn Grace. I’m certain Drift and his kin will keep me writing for some time yet.

      As Leah predicted, Drift is already developing other “uses” for the bells. I returned home to hear the bells ringing and took him promptly Outside. When we came back in he turned right back around and was ringing them again. Ringing the bells has become a novelty and he appears to enjoy the activity. I think I may be completely ding dong if he keeps this up.


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The Dog Rules

The Dog Rules

Once the proud guardian of a rather cheeky Border Collie/Aussie Cattle Dog mix, may she forever rest in peace, my favourite activities were those things that included my canine friend. Now I have a new canine buddy in my life. He's also a Border Collie and sassy like my girl was. We're in the middle of an adventure; teaching him how to be a good canine citizen I spend my spare time volunteering at the local animal shelter as a dog walker/trainer. You can read all about it @ TheDogRules.wordpress.com

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