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Old 11-21-2012, 10:48 AM
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Over ringing the "potty bells"

Ok does anyone have this problem???

When training our 9 month old pup to go outside to potty, we used bells so she could let us know when they needed to go. She learned to ring the bells very quickly! And we ALWAYS let her out when she did use them. But now she is ringing them alllllll the time! And I can't NOT bring her out because that would be inconsistent right? Sometimes I think she just likes to ring them. Because as soon as I let her out she will scratch the door to come back in.

How do i teach her to ring them when she only needs to potty?
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:10 AM
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Hmmmmm that's an interesting one! It sounds like you have the inverse problem that most people have - instead of your dog not knowing how to go out, your dog knows to go out too much!

Are you giving her treats when she does go still? Maybe that will make the difference - right now, I think she's seeing the bells as "ring bell = go outside", and going outside as being the behavior you want.

So I guess maybe continue letting her out, but she gets a treat when she goes potty and no treat otherwise?

If I may, I notice that in your sig Libby is a little over a month old, so I'm guessing you don't take her out a lot yet since she doesn't have all her puppy shots. Maybe she's trying to tell you she wants more outside time, and a small playtime outside would help as well.
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:12 AM
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Pay attention to how often she really needs to go and when. Then when she rings the bells only take her out then and not every time she rings them.(if you think she's fully potty trained) My dog abused the bells. He thought they were the "go out and find another stick" bells. It was ridiculous! Haha so I just started doing that. He got a lot better but eventually I just took the bells away completely(when he was about 6 months) and he will now whine or bark to go outside, only when he needs to go.

I've read and heard dogs tend to overuse the bells. Good for potty training, but once they're trained it might be ringing every 2 minutes! Hope that helps!


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Old 11-21-2012, 11:30 AM
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Our MacKenzie was the same way. After two weeks, we took the bells down, and put them in the corner. MacKenzie is the type of dog that will use other means to tell us when she has to go outside, the bells just got to be too annoying.

Now that she is three, we put them back up a few weeks ago, and she is using them less frequently. She is the type of dog that is in and out of the house constantly, most of the time it is to chase a leaf she saw blow by or to chase a bird, so at her age, I can tell her not now a lot of the time when she wants to go out.
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Old 11-21-2012, 02:32 PM
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That's very impressive that she is doing it already at such a young age. And it's very common that bell trained dogs go through a phase where they ring the bells all the time. You have to put up with it for a while (a few weeks) until you are pretty sure that she understands that she is only to potty outside and you can be reasonably sure she can hold it. Plus by that time you will know how often she *really* needs to go potty. Once those criteria are met, then you can start ignoring the "I just want to go outside" ringings. But for the meantime, you need to let her out EVERY time she rings the bells! If there are times when you can't take her out, she needs to be confined so that she doesn't ring the bells and then you don't take out, causing her to have an accident.

One thing about your post-it sounds like you aren't going outside with her (you say that she scratches at the door to come in). At her very young age, you really need to be going out with her every time so that you know when she is really going potty and to keep her mind on that business rather than just going out and sniffing/playing around.
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Old 11-21-2012, 03:01 PM
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I agree with IowaGold...Cooper went through a phase where he rung his bells all the time, but this stops eventually and, over time, you learn your dogs signals. When Cooper actually needs to go outside, he rings the bells and then sits....if he just wants attention or to go outside for fun, he rings and walks away....if he wants water, he rings and then walks over to his dish and stares at you .
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Old 11-21-2012, 03:30 PM
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Olivia does this too and she's 18 months old.
She even gets fancy and uses her butt to ring the bells.

This reminds me of her

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Old 11-21-2012, 03:40 PM
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When Molly did this I just ignored her bell ringing all together for a few weeks. We were at the point where I knew her potty schedule so I would just take her out accordingly. When I started to ignore her she stopped ringing, then when she finally started ringing again, she meant business (pun intended).


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Old 11-21-2012, 04:14 PM
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When I took the bells down, MacKenzie started to knock on the door with her tail, and when that did not work, she took her butt to the grandfather clock, and then would hit that with her tale so the chimes would ring.
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Old 11-21-2012, 04:25 PM
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Gabby, four and one half months old, has figured out that when she scratches at the door and whines, we take her out, 1 in3 times, it seems she is crying wolf. So,mostly, Imjust use praise. First thing in the AM, she gets treats because I let her loose. At work, she is in a run with relatives and goes for four or five hours...
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