Merlin has always been able to just stroll through his doggie door whenever he needs to go to the toilet, even at night. But its winter here now, so we cant leave the door open, coz the house gets sooo cold! (The door that his doggie door is on is just fly screen.)
I dont think he can hold it through the night, coz I have tried for the past few nights of taking him out just before we go to bed, but he has woke me once whining, needing to go out, and once he didn't make it, or didn't whine. :-\ poor thing.
So I have devised a plan. I have rigged up this old hand bell, just in front of the door. I am teaching him to ring it when he needs to go!! He knows shake paw, so 'Tap Bell' has been so easy for him to learn. Then as soon as he's tapped it, I praise and we go straight outside.
I think I need some more tips on how this can work. Should it be only for if he needs to go toilet? Or when he taps it, should we go outside, and play fetch, and then tap bell means go outside, and he will know that he can go toilet when he's out there. I also didnt think of him being so interested in his new skill of 'tap bell' that he always wants to do it, and tap the bell constantly. And as soon as I hear it I have to leap up, and take him outside.
I'm interested in any advice too. Ranger is the silent type and I'm afraid he won't be vocal enough to tell me when he needs to go out. Right now, I have just been taking him out every few hours.
Well, the idea of tapping the bell whilst shaking paw isnt working. So now im trying to make him poke the bell with his nose. OMG he so doesnt understand how the bell works!! :
I'm only doing it to go to the toilet atm. We go back inside as soon as he is done, and make going out to play completely seperate. I figured I dont want him ringing the bell just becuase he wants to go out to play!! ;D
So far he definatly knows that the bell means he goes outside, coz as soon as he hears it ring he presses his lil nose up to the door. I just need to try to get him to tap it himself!! :-\
We bell trained Piper with great success, I have a strip of sleigh bells tied to the door handle. One suggestion I can make is instead of trying to teach Merlin how to ring the bell, simply ring it yourself every time you go out through the door. You want to teach bell = door. After doing that for a couple of days, pause at the door and encourage Merlin to ring it himself, if he doesn't do it then you ring it. Ring the bell every time you go out for whatever reason. Eventually he will tie the ringing bell with going out that door and should start ringing it on his own, with whatever method he sees fit .
The bell should just be for the bathroom. You don't want him to get the idea that this is a toy! :-\ Always take him out the same door so there is no confusion. Whenever you are taking him out to go to the bathroom have him touch his nose to the bell to ring it. Give him praise when he rings it.
I just want to add, that I only trained one dog to ring the bell (our little one) but the big one has taken up ringing it now as well. It's kinda funny.
For me, Abby was about 16 weeks when I started training her. For the first week, I rang the bell everytime we went out. The second week I asked her to ring it with her nose. I did this by pointing my finger at the bell and saying "get it". She caught on that week, and it's been bell ringing craziness ever since.
My advice to you is to keep the bell strictly for potty purposes. Abby tries to ring it for every other purpose in life, but if I know she's just done her business 4 seconds ago, and she's ringing it cause a leaf blew across the yard and she wants to catch it, I ignore her.
Good luck! Merlin really is a little cutie!
Me, Abzilla and the Helomonster.
I'll echo what TangerizeFuzz said...Ty was pretty easy to train the bell on. Just ring it yourself whenever you go out and pretty soon he'll get the idea. Soon after that, he'll ring it ALL the time. But, I think that'll kinda go away. Also, you'll soon start to realize which are the "real" bell rings. When Ty just wants to go outside to play, he'll ring it once or twice then go and lay down somewhere. If he really has to go, and we ignore his first ring, he'll ring it with more authority and kind of give a whimper as well.