Puppy and Dog Training: Bell Ringing

Some people like to train their puppies to ring a bell in order to be let outside.  We don't train our dogs to do this for several reasons. First of all, we prefer to let our dogs in and out according to our schedule for our own convenience.  By the time a puppy is 8-9 months old, he can go 6 or 8 hours without going potty.  I can easily remember to take a dog out a minimum of 3 or 4 times a day and prefer not to be letting him out at his whim.  Bell training is no different than training (or allowing) a dog to bark to go in or out.  We have chosen not to encourage that either.  A second reason we don’t advocate bell training is that dogs who go in and out at will never learn to hold their potty as well as dogs that are encouraged to hold it.  A 3 month old puppy raised by our methods of crate training can easily hold their potty for 2 or 3 hours.  We’ve gotten puppies at 3 months who were accustomed to peeing whenever they wanted.  They don’t hold it over 30 minutes.  Having a person in control of when a puppy goes in and out greatly speeds up the housetraining process by helping puppies to develop bladder control.  Being let in and out constantly and at a whim does not promote good bladder control.  The final and most important reason that we don’t like bell training is that it goes against our overall philosophy of training pack structure by putting the puppy in the position of telling the family what to do instead of the family being in control of the puppy. 

We do think that doggy doors can be a big help, especially for when you need to leave a puppy. Puppies can easily be trained to a doggy door if a small enough space inside is given to the puppy. Within days, an 8 week old puppy can be trained to go in and out a doggy door consistently. However, I still think that it is in a puppy's best interest to be trained to "hold it" until you decide it's best to go out for bladder control and for those times when he may not have access to the door.