Does Your Dog Ring A Bell To Go Outside???

Lounge By sweetcravings Updated 29 Nov 2008 , 7:15am by cakebaker1978

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sweetcravings Posted 12 Nov 2008 , 4:59pm
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Here's some history...I have an 8yr old golden him very much. He almost never has accidents in the house but a few weeks back we had a big thunderstorm and he hates them..i heard him in the front room moving around so i got up and said, "gotta go outside?"..normally he would get up right away but he didn't so i went back to bed. Being that the storm was loud i couldn't fall back to sleep so i turned on the tv and layed in bed. Well, while doing that i once again heard my dogs nails on the floor and i went to the front room and he wasn't on his pillow this time, he was by the back door and actively pooping on the floor...yikes icon_eek.gificon_mad.gif I was so upset because he didn't alert me to go out and i was i just hurried him outside and cleaned it up. He isn't allowed in our bedrooms, so maybe that's why he didn't come tell me he had to go out, i dunno.

Well, since then i was thinking of how i can figure something out where he can alert me of his need to go out..and i read online that you can train a dog to ring a bell at the So last week i went out and bought a few bells, tied them to string and hung them on the door. Initally i would just ask for his paw and use it to ring the bell before i opened the door and said 'good boy'...It's been a week and still he's not ringing the bells. So i went out and got a long string of bells on a leather strap and put that on the door thinking he could see it better. Still no ringing. icon_confused.gif I try and use a word that he will recognize when i let him out like, "outside' to see if that will initate his ringing of the bells, and nothing. The most he has done is put his paw up in the air. It's like he expects me to take his paw and ring it. I also tried using his nose to ring it but i think that all out confused him. Well, now my husband thinks i'm just crazy to believe he will ever do this and wants to give up. I'm convinced that if any breed could learn this trick it's a golden so i'm not willing to give up just yet. I've seen videos on youtube of dogs doing it too, so i know it can be taught.
Anyone trained their dog to do this? What am i doing wrong? Any tips? How long should it take for him to 'get it'? Do you think his age has something to do with the fact he's not doing it yet?


21 replies
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BuncoHappens Posted 12 Nov 2008 , 8:25pm
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We tried this for a few days until she scratched my door all up!

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tiggy2 Posted 12 Nov 2008 , 8:44pm
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My dog does but we trained him to do it when he was a puppy. I took him to the door, shook the bells and opened the door for him to go outside. Repeated this a few times and the next thing I new he was over there ringing them on his own and he's been doing it ever since. We just got a new little dog that is 2 years old and he only rings them by accident but he will come tell me when he has to go out.

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sweetcravings Posted 12 Nov 2008 , 8:50pm
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So far i just haven't had much luck with it...he just looks at me like i'm crazy. Generally if i'm sitting around the house he will come up and start bothering me when he needs to go out, or he sits upstairs in the foyer so i kinda figure he has to go out. It's just those times when i'm in my room he needs to notify me of his need to go out, and since he isn't allowed in the rooms the bell is the only thing i can think of. The only times he has had accidents in the house is early morning when we are sleeping.
Tiggy..i wish i had such luck. I tried ringing it for him for a few days,and nothing..i've tried taking his paw and ringing it and ..nothing...i've tried treats and NOTHING>..geesh i just don't know what to do.
Buncohappens..yikes sorry to hear that. i hope mine doesnt' do that.

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jen1977 Posted 12 Nov 2008 , 8:56pm
post #5 of 22

I have no ideas for you, but would like to know how in the world you trained them to stay out of your bedroom! We have a dog who loves to sleep in beds, and my boys don't mind, but I hate it when he gets in my bed!

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sweetcravings Posted 12 Nov 2008 , 9:33pm
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Jen... there was no real trick really...when we first got him (he was 2yrs) he was very well trained. We allowed him to always sleep in our rooms, but on the floor..WELL.. i'm such a light sleeper and Titan is sooo active in the night. He gets up to change position, move spots on the floor, and then the nightmares and heavy breathing. I finally couldn't take it anymore and decided he shouldn't sleep in our rooms. Not to mention all the hair in the room. We were all getting coughs, bronchitis and i wonder if it was from all the dog hair. Even with good cleaning retreiver hair is constant. So when we went to bed i would just tell him to 'stay' when he was laying on his pillow in the front room. Yes, there were days when he would try and creep into our rooms. It was funny, as soon as i turned off our tv you could hear him inching his way to our room. I would just get up and say, "no" and send him back to his pillow. Just like a kid..and after a few days he pretty much stayed put. Now he will not come into the rooms at all unless i ask him too and even then he comes hesitantly. I know i make it sound easy but it was. I had to put up with a few nights of him wimpering but if you can stay strong it stops. Really if he had his way he would be sleeping ON TOP of us..the closer the better. ;0) I think the main thing is if you can get them to 'stay' you are halfway there.

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Chippi Posted 13 Nov 2008 , 5:55am
post #7 of 22

Hi Sweet.........I use to have a golden. I would try even maybe giving him a treat once you have rang the bell and opened the door. I'm surprised as you as to why he hasn't learned it yet. Goldens rock at learning. Try having him ring it with your help and give him a treat. Although he will probably wake you up all night for treats. I dunnooooo. lol I will try it with the dog that we have although my grandson will remove the bells I am sure when he is over. lol Good luck too you!


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sweetcravings Posted 13 Nov 2008 , 2:00pm
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Ohhhh i tried the treat after ringing the bell, for a few days and he still didnt' catch on. I even spent ten minutes one day just ringing the bell, treat, opening door, let him go outside and repeat and still nothing...My DH said he's just gonna think that bell means treat, and he's gonna get fat. ;0)
This morning when we woke up i let him stand at the door for a good 5minutes and ingnored him thinking he would ring it being that he has to go to the bathroom real bad..and nothing...i'm frustrtated. I'm gonna go by a hook and hand it on a cabinet right next to the door, maybe then he'll be more willling to ring it. I just dunno what to do anymore.

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Tinaweena197 Posted 13 Nov 2008 , 3:08pm
post #9 of 22

I had two dogs that I trained to do this.

I did it by actually taking their nose in my hands and hitting the bells with it (gently of course!) then opening the door. I did that for a few days everytime we would go outside, and they eventually learn that the sound of the bell means the door will open.

I used their snouts so they didn't scratch the crap outta my door with their claws.

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Memie Posted 13 Nov 2008 , 5:05pm
post #10 of 22

We trained our dog to do this when she was a puppy. She's almost 10 years old now and still does it. The bell is the type that you hang over a door so you can hear if someone comes in. We have it screwed to the wall by the door. What's really funny is when she rings it and I don't let her out immediately. She'll walk around a bit, look at me and then go over and slam the bell against the wall as if to say, "DID YOU HEAR ME RING THIS THING?"

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GeorgiaGingerbread Posted 13 Nov 2008 , 5:38pm
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I have 2 Golden Retrievers that we have trained to hit the bells on the back door with their noses. We started working with them at 8 weeks old, the same day we brought them home. However, the almost 2 year old female,Sugar, is the only one that consistently hits the bells when she needs to go outside. My 10 month old male,Kramer, only did it for a month, then I think he decided to depend on his big sister to hit the bells for the both of them! Our breeder has also attempted to work with her Retrievers and the bells, but only one out of the four dogs will nuzzle them to go outside.

As for bedroom dog behavior, we taught them "OFF"! That helps keep them off the bed when we do not want them there. We've also crate trained them for sleep/night time. They get to sleep in our room, just not in bed with us. Our female would rather be in our bed at night, but our male actually prefers his crate! I also invested in a Furminator to help cut down on dog hair. Helps a little bit, but I knew ahead of time that I would have a furry home if I had Goldies!

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MosMom Posted 13 Nov 2008 , 6:12pm
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I have a golden and she whines when she needs to go out. Even if you did have a bell, it is possible your golden would not have signaled you since he is afraid of storms and didn't want to go out.

On a side note, I spent $165 this week on my golden because she ate something she shouldn't have. The doc had to give her an intestine coating shot and some medicine. Oy! Pooping golden retrievers are not my favorite thing this week.

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sweetcravings Posted 13 Nov 2008 , 6:35pm
post #13 of 22

Ok, after reading about a few of your dogs i don't feel like such a failure. I just figured it would come easy, being that goldens are so smart.
Tina..i tried with his nose too, but i don't think he likes it much..but it does make sense..that big fat nose wouldn't scratch the wood around the door. ;0)

Mosmom, sorry to hear about your 'baby' being ill. I hope she has a quick recovery. Oh i sooo feel for you with all the pooping. HUGS... It's bad enough when it's much of it..i can't imagine the diarrhea. The time when my dog has had accidents he's done it in the strangest places...first time it happened it was near the door, then the next few times he pooped right on his pillow which i was shocked at. I think he did it there because he didn't want to disrespect us or something. The last time it was right by the door again. Really i'd much rather he do it there as the floor can be easily cleaned. What we do for our babies. ;0)

I'm not giving up just yet, i just hope it happens soon. Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences.


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Callyssa Posted 13 Nov 2008 , 7:08pm
post #14 of 22

Peanut butter!!! We've trained our Cavaliers this way. One was a puppy when she learned, and now our 8 yr. old foster has started to jump on them, but only for something REEEALLLY interesting, like wanting to devour the cat! She still won't ring them for potty purposes.

Anyway, here's how we did it, and it works like a charm. I hung one of those leather harness straps on the handle of the french doors with ribbon. I kept a jar of peanut butter right by the door, and everytime I would go to take her out to potty I would repeatedly say, "Go potty", or "outside". Keep your phrases simple. Then I would smear a very small amount of pb on one of the bells and make them ring as I was wiping it on. I would let Bella lick it off and they would jingle in the process, all the while saying the go potty phrase. Then I would take her out and stay out with her until she actually DID go potty, praise her up really well, and when I brought her back inside wiped a bigger dab of pb on the bells again, and while she was licking that off I praised her up ridiculously.

Two things were accomplished; licking the bells while they were ringing taught her that they weren't scary and GREAT reward comes from making them make noise (the pb), and, she also associated the act of going potty with the great pb reward, which all dogs love. She's such a smart little thing that it didn't take her long to figure out she could get peanut butter whenever she wanted by jumping on the bells, and those first few weeks it was insane letting her in and out. She only got the pb when she came back in IF she actually went potty, and eventually eased up on ringing them constantly. Just be prepared that he will probably take advantage of you for a while! And, I only used a very small amount of pb each time anyway because it would have made her sick, and decreased it as time went on to just a little smear from my fingertip.

She NEVER has any accidents in the house. Just make sure you enjoy the sound your bells make because you'll hear them dozens of times every day and you'll curse yourself if not! (go ahead, ask me how I know!) There's a company that make special bells just for this purpose called "Poochie Bells" and they have all different styles and designs of strap or ribbon you can hang your bells on to match your decor. They're different than the harness bells and I don't know how they sound, but they do a TON of business and people love them. I would definitely order from them for the next puppy. Good luck!

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sweetcravings Posted 13 Nov 2008 , 9:06pm
post #15 of 22


Great idea! BUT>>there's always a but son has a severe allergy to all nuts so peanut butter is out unfortunately. But you've got me thinking now..they do sell peabutter which smells like peanut butter, and tastes like it but isn't nuts. We have some in the fridge..we don't like it much, but maybe i should try it for the dog. heehee ;0) Even jam or something might work.

I bought a long leather strap with bells on it, in the christmas isle. The bells sound really nice and are loud enough to be heard. If only he would ring the darn things.
Thanks for the suggestions..i'm gonna give it a try.

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Callyssa Posted 13 Nov 2008 , 9:35pm
post #16 of 22

Cheese Whiz would work great too; it has to be a "high value" food. The bells we have are the same as you; Christmas bells. I USED to think they sounded nice too! LOL I swear, sometimes she rings them just to watch me dance! What really, really irritates me is when she rings them, I get my hand on the door handle and before I can get it open, she pounds on them again, almost as if for emphasis. Like, you not see me standing here with my hand on the door??!! Maybe next time it will be wind chimes....... icon_biggrin.gif

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sweetcravings Posted 13 Nov 2008 , 11:21pm
post #17 of 22
Originally Posted by Callyssa

Cheese Whiz would work great too; it has to be a "high value" food. The bells we have are the same as you; Christmas bells. I USED to think they sounded nice too! LOL I swear, sometimes she rings them just to watch me dance! What really, really irritates me is when she rings them, I get my hand on the door handle and before I can get it open, she pounds on them again, almost as if for emphasis. Like, you not see me standing here with my hand on the door??!! Maybe next time it will be wind chimes....... icon_biggrin.gif

Awhhhhh how cute! icon_biggrin.gif Give her a kiss for me.

I like the cheese whiz idea too. I just finished hanging a hook on a nearby cabinet to put the bells on, that way i don't have to keep my blinds open all the time for Titan to get to the bells on the door. I hope that doesn't confuse him more. icon_smile.gif

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Callyssa Posted 14 Nov 2008 , 6:50pm
post #18 of 22

Well, I've kissed her about a hundred times since you posted this! I just can't say how in love with her I am. She's tiny; about 12 lbs. and looks and acts like a baby. She even prefers to sleep in my arms on her back like a newborn!

Back to subject though; I don't think putting the bells near the door will confuse your dog as long as every time he makes them ring he goes outside, whether it you putting cheese whiz to MAKE him ring them, or him learning to do it on his own. You just have to be sooooo consistent because dogs learn on the basis of 'action, then consequence'. In this case the action will cause a GREAT consequence-CHEESE WHIZ!! I think I'd lick the bells for that myself! icon_redface.gif Give it a few weeks. Let us know how it goes for you though!

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sweetcravings Posted 14 Nov 2008 , 8:53pm
post #19 of 22

Well, i put the cheese whiz on it last night and sure enough once he smelt it he licked it...bell rang..i said "good boy, outside", gave him a nibble of a cookie and opened the door for him. We did this several times last night. This morning my DH got up before me and let him out but didn't get him to jingle the bells..argh! He said, "well, he really had to go out." I said, 'that's the best time to get him to ring it!"..I'll have to work on I'll keep working at it this weekend and let you know what happens.


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sweetcravings Posted 22 Nov 2008 , 11:43pm
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well, i've officially given up on the bell. We are now into our third week and still the silly dog will not ring it when he has to go outside. The cheese whiz did work somewhat..he did lick the bells , i praised him but he licks them so lightly it's barely audible. This is what happens..he has to go out, i say, "outside", he wags his tail and gets excited, i say, 'outside, ring the bells", he looks at me puzzled, i point to the bells and sometimes he will lick it, sometimes not. ugh icon_cry.gif
But i don't understand why oh why he doesn't do it himself! I'm frankly frustrated beyond belief and have abandoned the idea.

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-Tubbs Posted 24 Nov 2008 , 10:13pm
post #21 of 22

Not really answering your question, but I haven't seen any mention of dog doors here. We put one in and LOVE it. Our dog (4 year old bichonXcocker spaniel comes and goes as she feels like it. When she was a puppy she would get very anxious when she was home by herself, which affected her tummy, and we came home to several really nasty messes. Nothing like that since she had her door. It's also really nice not to have to get up to let her out on a cold Sunday morning, or worry about getting home if we run late somewhere.

It is really easy to train a dog to use a door. Even my sister's 6 year old dog learned to use ours, and he isn't smart enough to push open their screen door! Just a thought.

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cakebaker1978 Posted 29 Nov 2008 , 7:15am
post #22 of 22

I have a 3 yr old Boxer. She does ring a bell to go outside. The people who we got her from said that her Mom rang a bell to go outside. I was so curious that we started getting her to ring the bell. She is Kennel trained so every time she came out of her kennel and we were sure she had to do her business, we would literally take her paw and ring the bell (which is just Christmas type bells on a string on the door knob) and we did that every time she went outside for a bathroom break. we would encourage her to do it each time until she got the hang of it. She is a very cute and very smart dog! Good luck with your Dog!! It just takes patience I think.

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