Teaching Your Dog How To Tell You When They Need to Go Outside
Maya was really bad about letting me know when she needs to go outside. It is not a problem most of the time since I let her out regularly. However, there have been a few times when she really needed to go but she didn’t know how to let me know. So I’ve started training her to use a bell.
If I let Maya out regularly, why would she need to know how to tell me when she needs to go out? There have been two fairly recent incidents as to why. This past summer, Maya played in the sprinkler. After I let her inside, I didn’t think about all the water she had just drunk. As a result, she decided she had to go so badly that she couldn’t wait for me to let her out at her regularly scheduled time. Another incident was when I forgot to let her out before bed time. As a result, she had to go in the middle of the night. Since I was asleep and since she didn’t know how to tell me she needed to go, she went on the floor.
So teaching Maya to use a dog doorbell has begun. I’ve read a lot about it and here is how I am doing it:
First, get a dog doorbell. Maya’s bell is a ping-pong sized jingle bell that is hangs from a ribbon by the door. The jingle bell hangs right at her nose reach. I made one and it is ugly, but it works. You can get a nice dog doorbell like the one in the above photo on Amazon. Then there is the cute one below, also from Amazon.
Next, I teach her to ring the bell. Maya knows the word ‘outside’ and gets excited every time I say it. So to train her to ring the bell I say outside, get her excited about it, then direct her to the bell hanging by the door. It is fairly easy to get her to touch the bell with her nose. When she does, I tell her she is a good girl and I reward her by letting her outside.
If your dog doesn’t engage with the bell as easily as Maya did, use a treat to guide your dog’s nose to the bell. And if your dog doesn’t already know the word for going outside, you can teach your dog this word at the same time as you teach them to ring the bell.
As of yet, Maya has not learned to ring the bell when she wants to go outside off-schedule. She still goes out regularly so she really hasn’t had the opportunity. But someday, I hope she uses the dog doorbell when she really needs to let me know she’s got to go.
What does your dog do to let you know they want to go outside?