Should You Use Pee Pads with Your Dog?

Learn whether you should use pee pads and how you can teach your dog to ring a bell to go out. Yes, really.

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA
5-minute read
Episode #81

Practice Ringing the Bell Whenever You Take Your Dog Out

Hang the bell by your door and practice having Zippy ring it whenever you take him out to pee and poop. After half a dozen reps or so, don’t give a cue. Instead, wait with Zippy and give him time to think--half a minute isn’t too long. Count it off inside your head to keep yourself from jumping the gun. If Zippy rings the bell spontaneously, great--take him outside to pee. If not, give him your target cue or encourage him to ring the bell, and continue practicing that way for another few outings.

Sooner or later, Zippy will ring the bell on his own when he needs to go out and you’re otherwise occupied. Reward him with a toilet break and congratulate both of you.

What to Do If Your Dog Rings the Bell at Random Times

Some smartypants dogs will ring the bell when they don’t need to pee or poop. Look, they love to go outside, so you can’t blame them for trying. On the other hand, you also can’t take them for a long leisurely stroll eight times a day. To avoid this problem, always bring your dog out on leash in response to a bell ring, even if you have a fenced yard, and limit the outing to a pee and poop break; then bring him indoors. You could also ask yourself whether Zippy is a little bit bored or underexercised. If so, you know what to do!

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Image courtesy of Shutterstock


About the Author

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

Jolanta holds professional certifications in both training and behavior counseling and belongs to the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She also volunteered with Pet Help Partners, a program of the Humane Society of the United States that works to prevent pet relinquishment. Her approach is generally behaviorist (Pavlovian, Skinnerian and post-Skinnerian learning theory) with a big helping of ethology (animal behavior as observed in non-experimental settings).