House Training 12 month old Yorkie

Posted by kcap11
Nov 16, 2007
Need help with house training a 12 month Yorshire Terrior.

Zoey is crate trained and has not had any accidents when in her crate.
We have taught Zoey to ring a bell (to go outside) that is attached to a gate that prevents her from going to other rooms in the house.

In most cases she rings the bell and does her business outside in the same area successfully. I need to note that sometimes she rings the bell to go out but does not appear to have to releive herself just wants to play.

The problem is that at least 2-3 times per week she does her business in front of the gate without ringing the bell. She does not seem to know that this is wrong. At times she will ring the bell and if we do not react quick enough she goes in front of the gate.

Not sure why she does not have the same control outside of the crate that she does in the crate haven proved that she has control and knows where to do her business outside.

The question becomes what can we do to encourage her to only do her business outside.
Posted by MartyEd
Dec 17, 2007
Hi there Kcap11,

Thank you for your email regarding your puppy who has been toileting inside recently. It sounds as though overall you have trained your dog brilliantly if she is ringing her bell the majority of the time. The currently problem you are having probably originally stemmed from a instance or two where she rung the bell, but no one was around to let her out! As a result she would have had no option but to toilet within the confinds of the gate. Be sure not to reprimand your puppy if you find she has toileted inside unless of course you manage to catch her in the act. Also if you are going to use a bell, be sure to be around often enough when she is within the confines of the cage to be able to let her out when she rings the bell. If you are out for longer periods of time you may either need to leave her outside or alternatively leave paper for her to toilet on inside so that she doesn't toilet over carpet or anything valuable inside!! When you find that she does toilet inside be sure to clean up her messes thoroughly with the help of a ammonia free pet odour neutraliser such that she does not toilet on the same spot again via it's smell.

You may even need to go back to basics with the ring a bell command such that she knows that ringing the bell means only to go outside to toilet and nothing else. It is not for play time and is not for anything else and you should not encourage it to be for anything else. For the next few monnths, go back to basics and be sure to reward her ever time she rings the bell and goes outside to toilet.

Remember, as per Sitstayfetch:

Show the dog how to pull or ring the bell by Target Training (based on Skinners 'skinner box' experiments for operant conditioning with rats). Target Training, in this scenario, is when you reward your dog as it progressively gets closer to the target (ringing the bell). Your dog will soon learn that ringing the bell will bring a positive reward.

For Target Training you should use a food treat and practice for about ten minutes a day using the following method:

Show your dog the bell and say "Bell", then ring it (this command will be handy later on) and then open the door and go outside. (Every time you can, ring the bell yourself before you open the door, for example when you go out to work or for a walk with your dog).

Go back to the door and the bell and stand with your dog. If it is possible to do so, restrict the area with the dog inside around the door and just watch your dog (if you have a pen or barricade or some sort this will be helpful with keeping the dog near your target).

Say "Bell" and when your dog sniffs the bell, or even accidentally moves it/touches it, treat him. Continue to watch your dog only treat him for focusing on the bell. If you are having limited success with getting your dog to voluntarily sniff the bell you may wish to smear a small amount of dog food on the bell! It is a good idea to try this technique before your dogs mealtime as your dog is likely to be more responsive to the food reward.

Fairly soon (and if your dog is hungry enough!) your dog will understand that if it is close enough to the bell it receives a reward.

At that point, only reward the dog for the more enthusiastic approaches to the bell, so that if your dog moves the bell or rings it then reward your dog. (Remember to continue to give the command "Bell" every time).

Having done that for a while begin to only reward the dog for properly ringing the bell. (This should be done over a few days practice).

Now you have taught your dog how to ring the bell. You can now start to train your dog so that it will gain the treat for ringing the bell, only once you have opened the door. So stand inside with your dog, but have someone on the outside of the door, ready to open the door and reward the dog when they hear the bell ring.

As soon as the bell rings, the other person shall open the door and encourage the dog outside with the treat. Practice this exercise for a further 10 minutes a day.

Whenever your dog is inside, and wants out, ignore it for scratching at the door and give the command "Bell". If you have been consistent with this, and done enough training, your dog should understand to ring the bell, at which point you can let your dog outside and praise him.

Make sure you have fully accomplished one part of this progression before you move on to the next part. You can use this method to train your dog to ring a bell when it wants to come inside as well.

Best of luck with your Yorkie and please let us know how you get on.

Kind regards,

Mark Edwards
Posted by samurai
Apr 25, 2008
hi ,
what a neat idea for going outside by ringing a bell. at what age did you start this? i have a 9 week old yorkie and want to do this with him.
from Samurai