View Full Version : How can you train a Cavalier pup to bark at the door?

24th August 2006, 11:31 PM
Wrigley is 14 weeks old and we have only had him 4 weeks. Already, he has been sitting at the back door when he needs to go out and do his business. A couple of times, he has had to do a pee on the door mat as I haven't seen him sitting there in time.

Does anyone know any training methods to make a pup indicate that he needs to go out, instead of just sitting at the door and patiently hoping someone will notice? I would like to train him to bark or whine but my husband mentioned that some dogs can be trained to press a little bell located at the door. I would also be interested in trying this if anyone knows where I could buy one.

Any suggestions are appreciated.


Sharon and Wrigley

25th August 2006, 12:16 AM
You need to train him to speak and then you can ask him to speak each time you see him waiting, as you get ready to open the door. Soon he will make the connection and bark to go out. Often they go thru a phase of doing whatever the cue is to go out just so they can go out and then come back in but that usually stops fairly soon.

Here's two explanations of how to train. Instead of using a clicker you could use small treats and praise but you need to make sure you praise and treat as soon as the dog does what is wanted in this sequence of steps (the way you train is by breaking the process down into steps). The Dee Ganley approach is probably easier and more appropriate to a young dog.

Clicker training: http://www.clickersolutions.com/articles/2001b/bell.htm

Dee Ganley approach using treats: http://www.uvhs.org/behavioral_docs/ringing_a_bell_to_go_outside.pdf#search=%22dog%20r ing%20bell%20housetraining%22

Your puppy is quite young however so make it fun and don;t expect him to remember all this -- repetition over time should help the process.

25th August 2006, 12:17 AM
We taught Sadie to ring a bell hanging from the door when she needs to go out. She learned really fast. I just bought some big jingle bells and hung them from some rope to the door knob.
Everytime Sadie went out, we first took her paw and made her ring the bell before we opened the door. It was only a day or two before she was doing this on her own.

Daisy's Mom
25th August 2006, 02:07 AM
Daisy (16 weeks -- we've had her about 6 weeks) has just started ringing the bell to go out -- yeahhh!!! We got one of those "hotel desk" type bells. She hits it with her little paw. It's soooo cute! Sometimes she misses it and kind of dances around it in a circle before she hits it.

She doesn't ring it every time. She uses about 50% scratching on the door and 50% ringing the bell at this point. We're hoping that she'll eventually only use the bell. We taught her by hitting the bell every time we take her out and she picked up the idea pretty quickly for a youngster! She seems to be a quick learner. We are so thrilled that she is now letting us know when she needs to go out. That's a huge milestone. Now if we can only get a handle on the biting....

25th August 2006, 02:11 AM
We also do the bells. Corgan uses them about 55% of the time. We used 3 jingle bells on ribbon, hanging on the door on a suction cup. We also be sure to praise when he does ring them by saying "good bells!" I think we need to start treating him for ringing, because he's using them less now.

Daisy's Mom
25th August 2006, 04:30 AM
I'm sorry, I just re-read your original post and you asked about where to get a bell. If you want one like ours, we got it at Office Depot and it cost about $5. I'm sure some place like Hobby Lobby or Michael's would have the "jingle bell" type, at least when they get their Christmas stuff in!

25th August 2006, 12:36 PM
You can also get those little brass bells from India at import stores like The Pier or Cost Plus in the US.

25th August 2006, 12:53 PM
We got our jingle bells from Michaels (a craft store).

25th August 2006, 01:06 PM
I am loving the bell idea, thank you all :D

25th August 2006, 02:10 PM
Thank you for your replies. I will get a bell this weekend and see what he thinks of it. I'm sure it will be like a new toy for him, at least in the beginning.

Ahhh yes - if we could get a grip on the biting too. I have two preschoolers, and whilst they love Wrigley, they are frightened of his needle like teeth. How long before they grow out of this stage?

Denise G.
25th August 2006, 02:52 PM
Since I got Mia at 7 months, she's pretty much past the biting/mouthing stage. However, I got Wrigley (Golden) at 8 weeks and he caught on pretty fast when I would quickly pull my hand away, say "No" or "Uh-Uh" and replace it with something he could chew on. At times, I would also pull my hand away and exaggerate an "Ouch!" sort of loudly. This would startle him a bit and seemed to discourage the mouthing.

More or less, I think it's something they just eventually grow out of--especially after they lose their baby teeth.

Hope this helps--

25th August 2006, 03:02 PM
Chester uses the bell too and it works great! It'll take a week or two for your baby to "get it" but once she does it'll work great!

Cathy Moon
25th August 2006, 05:33 PM
Ahhh yes - if we could get a grip on the biting too. I have two preschoolers, and whilst they love Wrigley, they are frightened of his needle like teeth. How long before they grow out of this stage?
I would limit the amount of time Wrigley spends in direct contact with the preschoolers, and work on the biting with Wrigley on his own. When I was in puppy training with my two cavs, I learned not to pull my hand away, but to sort of squeal 'oww', and to then stop playing with the pup and ignore him/her for a short while. This trains the pup that he/she is hurting me and I won't play if he/she does that. It may take awhile, but that's supposed to be how littermates teach each other.

5th September 2006, 06:48 PM
We bought a bell approx 2 weeks ago. Wrigley has just started to hit it with his paw (he looks so cute when he does it). Problem is that he associates the bell with getting a treat rather than going outside. He still just sits patiently on the mat and waits for someone to let him out. Each time he needs to go out, I tap the bell with his paw and open the door for him. The first time he tapped the bell himself, I gave him a treat. Now he taps the bell and makes the cutest little growling noises as if asking for a treat.


5th September 2006, 07:09 PM

Stop giving him treats for ringing it and instead take him outside on a lead and make him go potty THEN play a little bit. Going outside is usually enough of a treat in itself that you shouldn't have to give food treats. You want to associate the ringing of the bell with going outside NOT with food treats.

I never used treats when training Chester to use the bell and he was always very happy to go outside.

Good luck!

Molly's mom
5th September 2006, 08:39 PM
I bought one of those pet door bell things that you can find on Amazon.com so Molly could just step on it when she wanted to go out. Molly had no problem figuring out how to use it, in fact she decided that she liked going outside a bazillion times a day. The "ding dong" started to drive us crazy :yikes , so we ended up taking it away to save our sanity ;)