All the puppy content over on my Instagram because I’m obsessed with Nova and I don’t even feel bad. I hate that she’s going to grow so much though, I want her in this puppy stage forever! I always thought I wouldn’t be that mom who was obsessed with their kids, but now that I have Nova I’m not so sure any more.
When I was in high school, my parents had trained our dog to use bells for potty training and I loved that idea and wanted to do it with my own dog one day. When we got Nova, it was one of the first things I purchased because I knew how important it was to establish routines when they were young before they got into other habits.
I’m not sure if we got lucky or if it was my OCD nature of training her but Nova was trained in about a day with the bells and we only had 2 accidents in the house the whole time we’ve had her (she’s now 8 weeks old)!
It’s a pretty simple concept if you’re familiar with Pavlov’s dog training (throwback to psych class). The basic concept is that the dogs begin to understand that every time they ring the bell, the door opens and they get let out.
The key to this is to do it every single time they ring. It may be really annoying if they think it’s some sort of toy but they will quickly recognize to use it only to go out!
When you first get the bell, you’re going to want to put it somewhere near the door you’re letting them out at. Ours is actually just put up with a command hook on the sliding door to our backyard.
Once it’s up and secure, each time you take them out to the bathroom (I literally took her out every hour because I’m OCD and didn’t want any accidents in the house lol), you use your hand and hold their paw up to it so they ring it. I tried to keep saying the word ‘outside’ in some form when we rang it so she understood that and then we’d go out.
You keep doing this until they start to get the hang of it and I’d then have Nova ring the bell on her own before we got out. Eventually with this consistency it took about 1 full day of me guiding her paw before she started doing it on her own.
Like I said though, the key is that even if you just took them out, if they ring it again, you take them again. It has to become second nature. Bell. Outside. Bell. Outside. Bell. Outside.
Let me know if you’ve had success with this! It is my favorite thing we’ve taught her because we can be anywhere in the house and hear her need to go out!