Sunset Goldens

Quality Golden Retrievers Bred For Health, Temperament, And Ability


General Puppy training and also ringing the bell for potty training Post 40 old blog

Posted on May 29, 2015 at 10:50 AM


Bell Ringing and General Puppy training tips

trisha: Posted on Tuesday, April 09, 2013 11:54 AM

The following blog is instructions that I sent home with a dog that came for training. She was a Golden, butnot my breeding. I don't typically take dogs from other kennels, but it was a great experience! If you read this and find things you have questions regarding your own dog let me know! The following information deals mainly with POTTY TRAINING (ringing bells to go outside), EYE CONTACT (attention to the owner), SOCIALIZATION, GOODGROOMING HABITS, and LOOSE LEASH WALKING.


Thank you so much for allowing me to work with your pup for the past few weeks. She was fantastic! I saythat in that she is a wonderful combination of Golden Retriever,adolescent, and infant... as nearly all golden pups are :)

This past week we worked on several things. The rest of the email is meant as a guideline for you to continue what I started with her. If you have any questions please feel free to ask! I am also forwarding this email to _________ as I imagine you will continue to work with her from here on out.


This is a rule for all of my dogs until they have earned my trust. ESPECIALLY when they are young! You need to know where she is at all times. If she cannot be watched, or you do not know what she is doing, she needs to be in a crate, on leash attached to a family member, or let outside to play.

In the case of you potty training her, you are breaking a bad habit. She learned since birth that the house was the place to potty. I have broken that cycle for almost 3weeks. For her to be successful you need to continue being very diligent in this area. Set her up for success.


If she wants a treat, her food, to play- ANYTHING, she must do something for you. Ask for a sit, or some eye contact, or a down... It will both build your bond with her and teach/engage her mind.


When you are teaching something new,it is excellent to reward often. Once she understands what she needsto do you can only reward when it is done exactly as you want. When a behavior is perfect, then stop rewarding with food as often (but always reward with something... play, toy, etc).


Above all, have expectations that reflect the amount of effort that you put in training your dog,situations that you've asked your dog to work in, and the age of your dog.



Gracie understands the bell. She understands it lets her out every time she rings it. She also knows that if it isn't loud enough she must ring again. She has been offering this behavior on her own for almost 2 full days now. Thatis an excellent sign! Whether she is ringing to go potty or she wants out to play I really don't care. I have still only had 1 accident with her and 0 since she started ringing the bell (see rule#1).

How do you show her that a bell ringing also opens a door at your house? Remember that last time she was at home she was allowed to have accidents. That is why it is so important that she be supervised all the time right now!

Start with 1 door/the main one she will be going in and out of.

Attach bells

Have AWESOME TREATS READY!!! (my treats included STEAK, CHEESE, HOTDOGS and HAM)

Stand a few feet away from the door and look at the bells, not the dog. She is excellent at this and within a few seconds should ring the bell with her nose. (I donot treat ring for feet since I don't want her to jump OR for her tail/body hitting it by accident)

ONCE SHE RINGS IT HAVE A PARTY! While I was training, she would ring and I'd mark the behavior with a “yes” and we'd go out and play fetch, give belly rubs,and get lots of wonderful treats. The first few days she is home DO THIS EXERCISE OFTEN! If you can, do it every time she switches an activity. By this I mean that if she is laying quietly and then gets up to sniff... go to the door and let her ring. If shehas been your shadow and suddenly gets very distracted and starts to sniff... to the door and let her ring. If you or the family are playing with her and then stop... go to the door and let her ring. After she eats or drinks or wakes up from a nap... go to the door. Make sense? I know it is repetitive, but it is so important for making sure she understands that YOUR house is not where she potties.

MAKE AS MANY GOOD THINGS HAPPEN OUTSIDE AS YOU CAN (for now:) I do not feed or water my puppies in my house. Bladders are small. I'd much rather they walk outside. Drink water/eat and then when they feel the urge the green bathroom is already near their feet.

LIMIT HER AREA until she proves she is ready for more space. Obviously this depends some on the layout of your house, BUT HELP HER BE SUCCESSFUL! Close bedroom doors and block off areas with extra rooms. This will not only help her in finding the door, but it will also keep her in the minds of your family members because she will be nearer to where they are hanging out.

If you are diligent with this for the next few days she WILL offer the ringing on her own. SHE GETS AMAZING THINGS WHEN SHE DOES IT and she will continue to remember that as you show her the same rewards.


I started with eye contact because I think its the most important thing you will ever teach your dog. Ifthe dog cannot find your eyes, it cannot possibly be listening to you. I do not expect her to do anything unless we have made eye contact. Would you ask your kids to do something with headphones blaring? It's the same thing. Make sure you have her attention before you ask for her to work. I will show you some things to do with her when you pick her up.


Eye contact is a big one for me on this. When training for Loose Leash Walking GIVE YOUR DOG 100% ofyour attention. If you can't, don't expect her not to pull :)

START WITH NO DISTRACTIONS FOR YOU AND THE DOG. No cell phones. No small kids, etc.

Every time she looks at you(EVERY TIME!!!) she gets a treat. In order for you to see it, you need to be constantly looking at her. Again this doesn't go on forever. But it does need to happen until she understands that by your side good things happen. If you constantly reward her for being by you she has no reason to want to be any where else. This is an excellent way for her to learn to be in tune with you whichreally is the goal.

Have realistic expectations! If you aren't paying attention to her, don't expect her to pay attention to you. She is a puppy :) She will not have different habits until she is consistently taught new habits and then they are positively reinforced (treat/praise)


Getting her to like this since she was not handled in this way as a puppy is a matter of you spending time with her. I will tell you I clipped both front paws yesterday with no fight, no restraint... just a happy puppy sitting on my lap. She has been pretty good about putting meds inand cleaning her ears.


I really like to call these the same thing. You can approach this one of 2 ways. #1 is the goal... to give her a bed/mat that she knows is hers and when you send her there she stays put and is quiet and calm. #2 EXPECT HER TO RELAX AND QUIETLY ENTERTAIN HERSELF IN A CERTAIN AREA. At my house, I asked her to stay in the living room. It is where the majority of our family spends the majority of their time. I started by leashing her. This is helping for a couple reasons. First, she doesn't know“stay” yet, so she only has about a 6 foot area that she can roam. Second, that fits in great to RULE #1... if she is on leash she is not sniffing and pottying in your house :)

While I'm asking her to stay in this area I am also giving her something to do/think about.

Have a few good options and rotate them. Some examples of good options (which I'm sending home with you) Kong stuffed with goodies she likes. Tasty bone.Chew toys.

This IS NOT the time to play andrough house with her. You want to give her things that allow her to self entertain, but be focused on what you choose, not what shechooses.

Everything in this email up to this point is super important for the first few days/weeks she is home. I can't tell you enough that if you spend time and effort for the next 4-6 months training your dog that it will not only change your experience with her, but the relationship that she has with your family. You WILL get exactly what you put into it with this dog. She is smart and willing and WANTS to please! More importantly,she'd sacrifice her body for a good piece of steak :) That translates into a very trainable dog if you're willing to show her. I truly believe that she wants to make you happy. In fact, I think it makes her day!

As time passes, you will get to be less strict with the above list. Some of that is because you will train and she will continue to learn. Some of it is because she is also going to get older. Please remember to have age appropriate expectations. Allow her to do her puppy frolic around the house when she first enters. After a minute or two she will settle down. Ifshe doesn't that is when you ask her to “her spot” to settle down and enjoy a bone. OR it is also a wonderful opportunity to work on training... let her naturally burn her energy working for you.

Even though she is an older pup,continue taking her out to meet new dogs and see new things. She hasbeen everywhere with me these past few weeks. She loves and does well in the car now. She jumps in and out of my van. She has been to pet stores, construction sites, training classes, and a dog show. Those are varying ranges of stimulation for her, but she tackled the mall. The more you do that with her, the better adult dog you willhave. The pet stores were relatively quiet so I asked her for sits and downs and to be relatively close on leash. The dog show had hundreds of dogs running about and lots of noise/people... There I asked her to remain by me and praised her for eye contact and when she offered a sit or down. I was extremely happy when she relaxed on her own.


Start your training in your home or back yard or somewhere she feels completely safe. When she can perform the task PERFECTLY then it is reasonable to take her to a new location and ask for the same behavior. If she can't, find a placewith less distractions and work your way back until she can do all her commands out and about. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR DOG. She will tell you when she is ready to move on to something more difficult.

I'm sure I've not covered everything,but please feel free to ask questions.

Thank you so much for sharing Gracie with my family!


That was the end of my email and certainly this is not how I started all of these excercises. IF YOU'D LIKE TO KNOW HOW I STARTED TRAINING FOR ANYTHING LISTED HERE, SEND ME AN EMAIL AND I WILL ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS DIRECTLY.




Categories: Puppy Training, Puppies, Dog Training

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