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Dog Tip: Teach Your Dog to "Ring" You

Here's a neat trick to help with potty training, contributed by reader Susanne Chastain, a canine teacher in Springfield, Missouri.

Most puppies and dogs will alert their owners when they need to potty with body language, turning circles, sniffing, running to the door, whining, barking to go out. We can teach even very young puppies a smart way to let us know they "have to go" by hanging several jingle bells on a cord, then place them nose-high for the puppy or dog on the door knob of the door we routinely go out with the dog for potty time.

As you approach the door, ring the bells and say "let's go potty" or "let's go outside." Put a little peanut butter on one of the bells, so when the puppy or dog licks it off, the bells will ring. Let the puppy or dog outside, saying "let's go potty" or "let's go outside."

Before long, the puppy or dog will be ringing the bell by themselves. Sometimes it will mean "I need to potty" ... sometimes it will mean "I just want to go play and run." But always acknowledge the ring. They learn this practical trick in a short period of time.

When you have company and the bell rings, you can say "excuse me, my dog is ringing her bell to go outside." People will think you are the smartest dog parent.

Susanne Chastain is at ssalldogs@aol.com.

Find other tips to help with potty training, housetraining and more at


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Last Updated: April 26, 2018 (LET) PawSupport