How to Bell Train Your Dog to Go Outside

How to Bell Train Your Dog to Go Outside

training your dog to go outside

When we first adopted Sophie, I had several friends suggest that we bell train our dog. I had never heard of bell training before so of course, I had a lot of questions.

What is bell training? 

 Bell training consists of teaching your dog how to ring a bell whenever they need to go outside.

Why should you bell train your dog? 

Because with bell training, you will be able to hear when you dog needs to go out. I used sign language with my babies before they could talk, this seems very similar to me...the ability to communicate with your dog.

How do you bell train your dog

We started by hanging a single bell on a string by the door. Every time we would take Sophie out, we would ring the bell and head outside. During our house training phase we were going outside every hour on the hour and she was getting a treat every time she would come back in. 

How long does it take to bell train your dog?

 I think it depends on the dog. Within the first two days, Sophie was dinging the bell on her own. Definitely after a week, she knew that if she would ding the bell we would take her out. Sometimes she would even ding it if she knew there were kids outside that she wanted to play with!

UPDATE: we bell trained a rescue dog in less than 48 hours using these same techniques. It's easy!

How to make your own Dog Training Bells for your Door

training your dog to go outside

Start with your materials:
You will need four large bells. I got mine at JoAnn's two for $1.
keychains-mine were from the dollar store-you will need four
7/8" grosgrain ribbon

The key chains came like this. I unwound the extra chains so I was left with just the ring. Then take the ring, and put one bell on each ring.

I cut about 30" of ribbon. This will all depend on how long you want it to hang. When Sophie was smaller, the string we started with was too short. So make sure it hangs down low enough for the dog to be able to nose it.

Thread through the bells and starting eying the placement. You want two hanging at the bottom and two about five inches up from the bottom.

dog door bells
You form a loop that the bells rest in and sew the ribbon together making sure the bells hang how you want them to.

Make sure you also form a loop for the door handle. Again, taking into consideration the height of your handle and the height of your dog.

how to bell train your puppy dog
That's it! As always with training, consistency is key. Have you bell trained your dog? I want to hear about your experience.



Lori said...

That looks like an easy thing to do. My friend has a new French Bulldog puppy that is only 4 1/2 months old and she has had great success with bell training. No accidents in the house since after the first week she brought him home. :) She also said he likes to ring the bells when he just wants to sit outside and look around.

Jayme said...

We bell trained our golden puppy and we've had great success with it. We live in an apartment, without a yard of our own so it's really been helpful. We started like you did... we'd ring the bell, open the door and head outside. It took our little guy a little while to start ringing it himself because he was scared of it. He went through a phase where he though ringing the bell meant the door would open, silly dog. But now that he's older (9 months) it's become an awesome tool for us.

I made our bells too! Such an easy project.

Julie said...

Honestly we trained our dog with bells and now I have to say it drives us crazy!! She will ring the bell whenever she wants to go out which is pretty much every 5 minutes - got to love those squirrels! Not sure I'd bell train if I did it again but my dogs have both been Westies and will bark vs Frenchies that dont really bark so I can understand bell training Frenchies.

Unknown said...

Oh I can't wait tos ee when you make them!!! Make sure to post pics!!

BTW we bell trained our yorkie... she's OK at it. She usually rings when she reallllllly has to go. But she also rings it when she just wants a treat :) But it's worth it.. she never barks to go out.. ever! GOOD LUCK!

Steph said...

I know this post is almost a year old, but I found it via a Google search on DIY Poochie Bell, and I had to comment.

We've had all sorts of dogs over the years, and I've done bell training with each of them. I have to say this is my favorite way to train a dog to "ask" to go outside. Do the dogs often just want to go out to dink around? Sure, but my dogs have all learned that they have a limited amount of time to do their business before we head back in. (I give them 15 minutes.) That seems to curtail the problem of them ringing the bell just to go out and goof around.

We're currently training our new puppy (a Yorkie-Maltese mix) with bell training, and he's finally getting it which makes life SO MUCH EASIER, IMO.

Anonymous said...

I had never had to use to before. We bought a large house that is a tri level and they would go to the door and we could not see or hear them. I got a set of bells and shook them and said outside and let out. Love this system. One of our dogs likes to ring and run away, like she did not ring it. Less accidents for sure with our puppy. Now almost 10 months old.

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