Monday, June 28, 2010

Using a bell to housebreak your dog will give them a way to communicate the need to go out, and is a great way to stop the housebreak horror.

As promised in my last post I wanted to talk about Using a bell to housebreak your dog will give them a way to communicate the need to go out, and is a great way to stop the housebreak horror.

Let me start by saying this is not my first Dog. But this is my first Miniature Dachshund and my first housebreaking horror.

I felt like I was doing everything I was supposed to do, including but not limited to taking him our first thing in the morning and after a meal. I became obsessed with trying to housebreak this dog. I tried not to let him out of my site (which only worked until the first time I let my guard down). I knew that he was smart; he had proven it time and time again in other training sessions. I had been struggling for weeks and I was at the end of my rope. I was not looking forward to spending the next 10 to 15 years cleaning up his business. And I knew that he knew what it was all about. Because I had been using what we called a business treat to encourage him. I would tell him "go outside and do business” “for a business treat”, then I would keep repeating it until I saw him do his thing. Once it was done I would praise him and once inside I would give him a business treat. (Usually they were on the counter) It only took a day or two before; he would go out do his business, then run in staring at the counter, expecting a business treat. When he started doing this I thought we had solved the problem but I was wrong he still did not seem to know how to tell me he wanted out.

That is when it hit me I would try using a bell to housebreak him. I thought it would help him communicate the fact that he wanted to go outside. So with my fingers crossed I found an old Christmas decoration with a big bell on it, put a hook in the bottom half of the door and hung the bell there from a short chain and called it the business bell.

Before you begin

• It is important that your dog knows how to pay attention.

In other words your dog should know when you get out the high value treats it means he is going to have to perform. Even if it is just the simple sit or down command give your dog some practice at paying attention before you expect success.
I had trained with Jack before, so he knew as soon as the treats came out that he would have to do something in order to get one. The first trick he learned was to roll over, so when I brought out the treats he would be so excited that he would just keep rolling over, sure that is what I wanted him to do. But he quickly realized that rolling over wasn’t working this time and started paying attention.
• Use High Value Treats when it comes to something as important as housetraining the no treat is to good. If you or your dog prefer not to have snacks between meals than try a favorite toy, or just laying the praise on thick.
Also this is just a theory I have but I never give Jack the high value food treat until we get inside the house. I tell him he is getting a business treat and since he has heard the word so many times when he does his business he gets the point.
But in reality the reason I give it to him only inside is because if he thinks there is the possibility of a great treat inside he is less likely to ignore me and run off outside. This theory worked he does not run off. And if he does get rowdy and try chasseing a dog walker as they pass all I have to do is offer a treat and he comes running.
Step One
To start step one it is important that your dog is actually paying attention then with your bell in place grab some high value treats and let your puppy follow you to the door.

Stand next to the door, ring the bell and say ring the business bell. At first your dog will probably just dance around trying to figure out what you want him to do, but he will accidentally bump the bell, and when he does say business bell and reward him. The dog will still have no idea what he has done. But keep repeating this step and before you know it he will be ringing the bell before you can get the words out of your mouth. At this point you have successfully completed step one. Pat yourself on the back and have some play time with puppy.

It is important to move on to the second step quickly otherwise you may end up with a dog that thinks that the whole purpose of the bell is to tell you when he wants a treat. And I don't know about your dog, but Jack always wants a treat.

I recommend starting the next day first thing in the morning when you know your dog has business.

Step Two
Lead him to the door. Hopefully you have been doing this already so your dog knows why you are going to the door in the first place. Once you get to the door ask him to ring the business bell. If your dog is accustom to training for rewards he should quickly recall the past lessons and ring the bell.

If not just go out for business as usual and try again the next time you go out.

When your dog does ring the bell even if he does it before you ask say good boy and open the door while saying let’s go do business. Or something like that whatever works for you.

Once out the door continue to ask your dog to do business and give praise when he does. Tell him what a good boy he is and invite him in for a business treat.

This step should be repeated anytime you go out for business.
Step Three
The third step is simply follow through ask all of your family members to help.
Anytime your dog wants’ to go outside ask him to ring the bell. Not just for business but for walks and car rides even if it’s just to take out the trash if your dog wants the door open then he needs to ring the bell. And when he does don’t forget the praise. Lay it on thick he will eat it up. And one day soon you will be sitting on the couch when you hear a bell ring. Success he wants’ out and now he knows how to tell you. Success is sweet and if you are anything like me you may scare your dog when you come running in to let him out.

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