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Teaching Your Dog to Ask to Go Out

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How to Teach Your Dog to Ring a Bell to Go Out continued...

Use the string connected to the bells to hang them on your doorknob or on a hook next to your door. Get your treats ready and call your dog over to the door.

  1. Take the bells in your hand (with them still hanging on the knob), say “Touch,” and hold them out toward your dog.
  2. Right when your dog’s nose touches the bells, say “YES!” and then deliver a treat.
  3. Repeat 5 to 10 times or until your dog readily touches the bells as soon as you say ”Touch.”

After a short break from the above three steps, do the exercise again, but this time just point to the bells instead of holding them

  1. Say “Touch,” and point to the bells.
  2. As soon as your dog touches the bells with her nose, say “YES!” and give her a treat. If your dog doesn’t touch the bells, you might need to practice the first three steps of Step Two for a while longer. Repeat the exercise as described above, holding the bells in your hand when you ask your dog to touch them. After practicing for a couple of days, try just pointing to the bells again.
  3. Repeat the exercise 5 to 10 times.

Plan to practice Step Two with your dog for three to five days, just like you practiced Step One.

Step Three: Teaching Your Dog to Ring the Bell at the Right Time

Now you can put your plan into action. When you need take your dog outside for a potty break, ask her to touch the bells with her nose right before you open the door.

  1. Approach the door with your dog. Say “Touch,” and point to the bells.
  2. The moment she touches the bells with her nose, say “YES!” Then open the door and let your dog go outside.

Ask your dog to ring the bells every time you take her out. With repetition, your dog will learn that she has to touch the bells with her nose to make you open the door. So when she wants to go outside, she’ll go to the door and ring the bells. The first time this happens, praise your dog enthusiastically and immediately let her outside. You can also give her a few tasty treats after she eliminates, just to make sure she understands that you love it when she rings the bells to ask to go out to potty.

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