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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone have suggestions for bell training a maltese puppy to signal when she needs to go out?

Thea is 7 months old and is mostly housebroken. Unless we leave her unattended for a long time she will not do her business in the house. When we take her out, she usually goes very quickly and we reward her with treats and praise.

We are trying to help help signal to us when she thinks she needs to go out. We have set up a bell and she knows how to ring it. At first she was scared of it, but a few treats after ringing she got the hang of it. No we get her to ring it every time we take her out.

She just doesn't seem to connect the bell to going outside, no matter how much we do it.

Any suggestions? I am hoping it just takes more time.

Here is a random picture of Thea when she was little younger.


Premium Member
Paulann & Abella
1,222 Posts
馃挄馃挄Love that picture! Thea is so amazingly adorable. 馃挄馃挄

Abella is bell trained and I did all that you are doing. (y)
In summary:
Every time before taking her out tell her to ring the bell (which you said Thea already does). With Abella my word is "outside" - then she rings the bell and is taken outside. Once outside I say "Hurry Up" - which is her command for go potty/poop. Once complete I use tiny treats and praise.
Every time she rings the bell take her outside. Have patience, be consistent, she will catch on! If you have additional questions please ask and I can go into more detail. Please post an update/progress report.
~ Paulann & Abella

Premium Member
Paulann & Abella
1,222 Posts
This is from the AKC website on Bell training your dog.

Step 1
The first step is to hold the bell close to your puppy鈥檚 nose. Once the puppy touches the bell, say 鈥測es!鈥 and give the puppy a treat. If needed, you can encourage the puppy to touch the bell by holding a treat behind it or dabbing some peanut butter on the bell. Repeat until your puppy readily touches the bell with his nose, always giving lots of praise and a treat. When he confidently touches the bell as soon as you present it, add a word such as 鈥渢ouch鈥 or 鈥渂ell.鈥 Start to hold the bell a little farther away, so the puppy has to make a few steps to touch it.

Step 2
Once your puppy has learned to touch the bell on cue, hang the bell from the doorknob on the door where you would like for your puppy to go out. Encourage your puppy to touch the bell, and as soon as he does, say 鈥測es!鈥 and treat. Repeat until your puppy readily touches the bell when you give him the cue. Reward him and give him very enthusiastic praise!

Step 3
Step three is teaching your puppy to ring the bell at the right time. Approach the door with your puppy, point to the bell, and say your cue, 鈥渢ouch鈥 or 鈥渂ell.鈥 The moment he touches the bell, say 鈥測es!,鈥 open the door, and take him outside. With repetition, your puppy will learn that when he touches the bell, you will open the door.

If your puppy begins to ring the bell just to go outside to play, you need to teach him that ringing the bell is only about potty time. When he rings the bell, clip on his leash, and take him to the place where you want him to eliminate. Give him a few minutes, and if he does his business, praise and give him a treat. If he does not, take him right back inside.
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