Do you want to teach your Dachshund how to ring a bell? Maybe you want them to alert you when they need to go outside to potty? Here’s everything you need to know about teaching your Dachshund to ring a bell to go outside.
How Do You Teach A Dachshund To Ring A Bell To Go Outside?
- Introduce the bell
- Sound the bell
- Choose high value treats
- Hold the bell in your hand
- Put the bell on the floor
- Reward your Dachshund for touching it
- Use a clicker or mark
- Increase the distance
- Practice regularly
- Move the bell near the door
- Break it down
- Be consistent
- Keep sessions short
- Keep things fun
- Finish on a high!
Read on to find out why owners teach Dachshunds to ring a bell, how long it takes to train them, and for a step-by-step guide on how to teach your Dachshund to ring a bell to go outside to potty!
This article is based on research and personal experience as a Dachshund owner of 10+ years. I’m not a Vet, qualified dog trainer or dog behaviourist.
Why Does My Dachshund Need To Ring A Bell?
Many Dachshund owners choose to teach their dog to ring a bell as a way to let them know that they need to go outside to potty.
It’s a really useful trick to teach them as it creates a clear and audible signal that they want to go out for a wee.
Some just use it as a party trick, because who doesn’t love a Dachshund who can do tricks!
Teaching your Dachshund to ring a bell is also a great form of mental stimulation and enrichment for them too.
Should My Dachshund Ring The Bell With Their Nose Or Paw?
It doesn’t really matter whether your Dachshund rings the bell with their nose or paw, so long as they understand what they’re being asked to do.
Your Dachshund will find it easier to learn how to ring the bell if you consistently reward either their nose or paw touching it.
By choosing one over the other, you’re more likely to be able to successfully teach your Dachshund to ring a bell.
Allowing both nose and paw touches may confuse your Dachshund, particularly in the early stages of training.
If you wanted to, you could split these options into two different behaviours, with different commands, so that your Dachshund can differentiate between each one.
But it’s best to master one or the other first!
How Long Will It Take To Teach My Dachshund To Ring A Bell?
In general, it takes 2-4 weeks for a Dachshund to learn how to ring a bell to go outside to potty.
However, this timescale will vary between each individual Dachshund and owner. It’ll also depend on the age of your Dachshund, how often you train and practice this skill, and how consistent you are with your training.
Some Dachshunds will learn how to ring a bell in less than 2 weeks and some will take take longer to pick up new behaviours and commands.
There will also be some Dachshunds that just won’t take to using a bell at all. They may get confused or be scared by it, so don’t force it on them if they don’t want to.
Most importantly, you should always go at a pace that suits your own Dachshund and not try to compete against others.
How Do You Teach A Dachshund To Ring A Bell? To Go Outside?
It’s actually not as complex as you may have thought to teach your Dachshund to ring a bell.
Dachshunds are very intelligent dogs, so they’re able to quickly pick up new behaviours if you’re consistent in teaching them.
Here’s a step by step guide of how to teach your Dachshund to ring a bell to go outside:
1. Introduce The Bell
To start with, you can simply place the bell on the floor and let your Dachshund investigate it in their own time.
Allowing them to sniff at and look all around the bell, will make them feel more comfortable with it.
When they go near the bell, be sure to praise and reward them.
2. Sound The Bell
The sound of the ringing bell may be strange to your Dachshund at first, but they should quickly get used to it.
Once they’re comfortable with the sight and smell of the bell, you can ring it yourself and reward them for reacting calmly to the sound.
Be sure not to startle your Dachshund with the sound though, as this could make them wary of the bell.
If they come over to the bell to investigate it, make sure you praise and reward them for doing so.
3. Choose High Value Treats
Training treats need to be something that really motivates your Dachshund.
They should be large enough for them to get a good taste of them, but not too big so they really have to chew them. A good rule for Dachshunds is to use treats around the size of your little finger nail.
You will need to try out different treats until you find out what your Dachshund really enjoys.
4. Hold the bell in your hand
First, you need to ask your Dachshund to ‘Sit!’ in front of you.
Then hold the bell in your hand and encourage your Dachshund to sniff it. Your Dachshund may think it’s a toy at first so don’t let them take it from you.
When your Dachshund puts their nose on the bell, reward and praise them.
Keep repeating this over and over again.
5. Put the bell on the floor
Next, put the bell on the floor near to your Dachshund. Then put your finger on it and say ‘Ring!’.
Your Dachshund will likely move their nose over to where your finger is. When they do that, give them a treat and praise.
Keep repeating this over and over.
If your Dachshund is a bit unsure, smear some doggy-friendly peanut butter (must be Xylitol free) on the bell to encourage them to touch it.
6. Reward your Dachshund for touching the bell
When your Dachshund first starts to touch the bell, give them a reward and go crazy with praise. But make sure you get the timing right!
You need to be able to pinpoint the exact moment that your Dachshund touches the bell and reward them for it.
If you’re not fast enough, you may accidentally be rewarding the wrong thing which can confuse your Dachshund.
Keep using the command word ‘Ring!’ so they associate that with the actual act of pressing and sounding the bell.
7. Use A Clicker Or Mark
To help you with your timing and consistency, you may wish to use a ‘clicker’ or a ‘mark word.’ Both of these do the same thing as each other.
The clicker is a plastic device that makes a distinctive click sound when it’s pressed. A mark word can be anything you choose, such as ‘Yes!’ or ‘Good!’ so long as it’s consistent.
You then either click, or say your mark word, as soon as you see your Dachshund touching the bell or thinking about doing it.
They’ll soon begin to associate the click or mark word with receiving a tasty reward.
This is the basics of positive reinforcement training, which is the kindest and most effective way to train your Dachshund.
8. Increase the distance
Next you need to move the bell a few metres away from your Dachshund. Then point at the bell and use your command word ‘Ring!’ again.
As soon as your Dachshund runs over and puts their nose on the bell, be sure to praise and reward them.
Once they start to get the hang of things, try moving the bell to different positions on the floor at varying distances.
And again, keep repeating this stage over and over.
9. Practice Regularly
Be sure to practice this training on a regular basis to ensure your Dachshund really understands it.
If possible, you should aim to train your Dachshund on a daily basis. This makes certain that they’ve learnt the behaviour successfully.
Do the basic bell training for 1-2 weeks before moving onto the next stage.
10. Move the bell near the door
Every time you go to take your Dachshund outside, point at the bell and say the command word ‘Ring!’ BEFORE you open the door.
If your Dachshund rings the bell, praise and treat them before going outside.
If they don’t ring the bell, go back a stage and continue on with basic bell training.
Alternatively, you can ring the bell yourself before opening the door and going outside.
Over time, your Dachshund should start to associate the noise of the bell with going outside to potty.
If you do this consistently every time you take them outside, your Dachshund should soon start following your lead.
Your Dachshund should then start ringing the bell on their own when they want to go outside to potty.
11. Break It Down
If it looks like your Dachshund is struggling with the training process, you should simplify it.
By making it easier, you’re reducing the chance of your Dachshund becoming frustrated. Instead, you’re actually making it more likely for them to learn successfully.
If they’re really struggling to actually ring the bell, but are touching the bell itself, you could reward that to begin with.
Once they’ve got the hang of that, you can tighten it up so they’re only rewarded when the bell makes a sound too.
12. Be Consistent
As is the case with teaching your Dachshund any new behaviour, you need to be consistent.
So, set the criteria out that you want your Dachshund to achieve, I.e. Touch the bell so it rings, using their paw.
If this is your set criteria, be sure to consistently reward your Dachshund for successfully doing this behaviour until it becomes natural to them.
13. Keep Sessions Short
Dachshunds learn best if they’re trained little and often. You’ll get much better results if you keep your Dachshund’s bell training sessions short.
This keeps their attention and focus on what they’re learning. It stops them getting tired, bored or frustrated, which is when things start to go downhill.
You’ll be surprised how many short training sessions you can squeeze into your day.
Whilst you’re waiting for the kettle to boil or whilst the TV ads are on are both great opportunities for spontaneous mini training sessions.
14. Keep Things Fun
Make sure that you always keep your Dachshund’s training sessions fun for them!
They’re much more likely to learn successfully if they’re feeling happy than if they’re getting frustrated and confused.
Equally, if you can feel yourself losing patience with your Dachshund, you should take a break and come back to it another time.
15. Finish On A High
Always make sure you finish your Dachshund’s training session on a positive note. This makes them feel good and keeps them wanting to come back for more training.
Even if they only do one or two really good examples of ringing the bell, you can still end a session there and reward them greatly.
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