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Difference Between a Dog Doorbell and a Simple Bell
When pet owners say they have a dog doorbell, it usually means they’ve installed a commercially-available electronic ringer that lets them know when their dog wants to go outside. Some of these are activated when a dog pushes a button or another type of control while others rely on a pressure pad that’s located underneath a mat.
When a dog walks over one of these, they’ll trip the ringer and trigger a noise. This stands in sharp contrast to simple bells, which are literally just pieces of metal hung on a string that a dog could knock with their paw or nose to make noise.
In some cases, dogs don’t like the sound of an electronic bell but they might be more receptive to a simple one. For others, the reverse is true.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of simple bells is the fact that they don’t require an outside source of energy. There’s no battery or charge, either.
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Do Dog Doorbells Work?
Dog doorbells work well to let you know when your dog wants to go outside. A properly trained dog can ring the bell whenever it’s time to go potty, which can substantially reduce the amount of time your dog spends waiting around to be taken out.
Pet owners who’ve dealt with animals who have an accident if they’re not taken out fast enough have been among those most likely to praise how well dog doorbells work. You’ll probably appreciate them if you have a larger home and find it hard to figure out when your dog is standing next to the door.
While some dogs will be more receptive to the idea than others, the fact remains that pretty much any dog can be trained to use either style of bell. It comes down more to user preference and what kind of sounds your dog can tolerate.
Electronic vs Manual Bells
An electronic dog doorbell might be the easiest to train a dog to use. The button can normally be positioned somewhat away from the ringer, so your dog won’t have to hear as loud a noise whenever he or she pushes it.
On the other hand, you’ll want to consider a manual bell even if you’re totally sold on the technology. It takes no power, so it’ll work even if the electric company is having some issues.
Manual bells are normally just a jingle bell on a string, so there’s less to go wrong. It’s also easier to replace if it were to ever start to come apart.
Either solution shouldn’t pose a choking hazard if they’re hung properly, but you’ll want to keep an eye on your dog to make sure they don’t try to swallow a bell!
Properly training your dog as soon as you introduce them to the concept of a doggy doorbell will help to prevent them from snacking on it.
DIY or Buy a Dog Doorbell?
Dog doorbells have come down in price enough that anyone who wants one can normally afford one. They’re not much more expensive than nearly any other pet accessory.
That being said, if you have some jingle bells around a DIY project would essentially cost you nothing. These will certainly have a better aesthetic than an electronic dog doorbell control as well.
Some pet owners have made really amazing DIY mounts for bells so that their dogs could have easy access to the simple bell they ring whenever they want to go out. Others have found ways to fit a dog doorbell control onto their walls in a way that makes it just as easy for their dogs to get to it.
Maintenance is one other thing to keep in mind when buying an electronic dog doorbell. A simple bell won’t need any batteries in the future, but you’ll probably have to change them out in an electronic model.
Some types of simple bells might be too small for some dogs to ring, however.
How Do You Train a Dog with Bells?
Bell training a puppy who is old enough to go outside regularly shouldn’t take more than a week or two, though reinforcing bell usage may take somewhat longer. Professional dog trainers have suggested using a simple ten-step system:
- Establish an eating routine, so your dog will want to go potty at the same time regularly
- Let your dog out after meals or long drinks, to help him or her get used to the idea
- Hang a bell near the door you’ve been taking your dog out through – make sure it’s low enough for your dog to ring
- Hold treats out near the bell at first, especially if your dog doesn’t like the sound
- Change out the bell if your dog doesn’t care for it
- Smear a little food or other reward on the bell to teach your dog to ring it
- Tap your fingers on the door without touching it and show your dog that’s the way outside
- Take your puppy’s paw to the bell if he or she doesn’t get the idea
- Be consistent with training, but skip it in bathroom emergencies
- Expand the bells throughout your home if desired
Depending on how your dog takes to this training regimen, you may find that you need to first hold the bell and teach your dog to touch it or another similar object, which can later be positioned on the bell. Once your dog gets used to it, take away the treats and other signals so your dog will get used to the idea of just ringing a bell.
The same goes for training a dog to use a doorbell. Put a little card or sticky note on the button and teach your dog to touch it whenever he or she wants to go out.
As soon as your dog gets the idea, you can take it away and just give your dog the button.