Potty Training with Science: Bell Training for Your Doodle

Use Pavlovian Theory to meet the challenge of potty training a dog that may be more intelligent than your average human.

Intelligent and Friendly

Goldendoodles have made a name for themselves for their intelligence and friendly demeanor. This lends itself to, hopefully, a very smooth time period of potty training after you bring your new puppy home. There are, of course, many ways a dog owner can approach this milestone, from crate training, tether training, or, a favorite among Goldendoodle owners, bell training.

Preparation

Using this method taken from the conditioning theory studied by Ivan Pavlov, you can train your Goldendoodle to communicate their needs to go to the bathroom without barking or scratching at your door. The three things you need to do this are 1. high value treats 2. a bell and 3. consistency. High value treats may include small liver meatballs, boiled and shredded chicken or turkey, or even chunks of grilled beef or fish such as salmon. There are several options of bells to choose from, such as a standard hook bell attached to the wall.  You can also use a hanging bell if you are unable to mount a bell on a wall.

Introduction

When you first bring your puppy home, you will want to establish the acceptable bathroom area quickly. Puppies cannot hold their need to potty for long during the first few weeks, you need to give them an opportunity to go outside every 30-45 minutes. To use the bell in training, walk your dog to the door, ring the bell with your hand, then walk outside to the designated bathroom area. Don’t engage in play with your puppy. Repeat your chosen bathroom word such as “potty”, “go”, “tinkle”, etc.

Once your puppy goes to the bathroom reward them with lots of verbal praise, pets, and one of the high value treats. Return inside without playing.  Repeat this process throughout the day. After a few days, you can urge your puppy to use their nose or paw to ring the bell. Again, immediately go outside and walk to the designated bathroom area. Use your bathroom word and reward with praise and a high value treat when they use the restroom. Refrain from punishing your puppy for accidents inside. Swatting, nose bops, etc. are not effective training methods. Goldendoodles naturally want to please; reward the behavior you desire.

Success

With some time and consistency, your puppy will mature and be able to go longer stretches between bathroom breaks and will begin to ring the bell on their own. They may explore this and try to use the bell as a desire to go outside and play. While potty training, do not reward your puppy with play time or a treat if they go outside without using the restroom. Be sure to respond to their bell ringing promptly so they learn the bell has an immediate action. Before long, your puppy will ring the bell on their own in order to go outside and bathroom quickly! You did it! This is the communication desired by training with this method.

Reward your puppy and enjoy the years ahead!

 

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