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.