House training your pup is an important milestone. It helps greatly if your pooch can let you know when they need to get outside for a pee or a poop. Scratching and barking at the door is both destructive and annoying. A great way to get around this problem is to teach your pooch how to use doggy doorbells or ‘potty bells’ as they are sometimes called.
Potty bells come in many different forms. Some are very simple but others are more high-tech. You need to choose some bells that suit both your home and your pooch. To get you started, here is our guide to finding the best dog doorbells.
Best Dog Doorbell Buying Guide & FAQ
Things to Look for in a Doggie Doorbell
There are plenty of doggie doorbells to choose from so here’s what you should look out for when buying one:
- Is it safe? Safety has got to be your main priority. It is possible for your pooch to get their nails stuck in the hanging bells and this can lead to injury. The better-quality bells have no parts where nails can get stuck so it is always worth investing in a premium product. Inspect the bell carefully before you install it and keep checking it for signs of damage and wear.
- Is it durable? By their very nature, doggy doorbells will get a lot of bashing and they may even get chewed by some dogs. They need to be well-made and to be of a material that can stand up to some doggy attention. They also need to be able to withstand some exposure to water and dust.
- Is it easy for a dog to use? Some dogs find potty bells very easy to use and take to them straight away. Others take a little more time. The easier it is for your dog to make the bell work, the better and the easier it will make the training process. Think about your dog’s personality and whether they would be more likely to ring a hanging bell, a sprung bell or an electronic button. Some bells come with instructions for training whilst others come with a clicker that makes the training process easier. Some dogs are very “mouthy” and will naturally use their mouth and nose to touch the bell. Others prefer to use their paws (Boxers are a typical example) and may prefer the button style potty doorbell.
- Will you hear it? There is no point in training your dog to use a pet doorbell if you can’t hear it! Quiet, small homes are not a problem but if you live in a large noisy house, volume will be an important issue for you. Will you be able to hear hanging bells? Perhaps you need a digital product that allows you to turn up the volume when you need to.
- Is it flexible? Your requirements for the potty bell may change as your pup grows. Will you need to alter the height? Will you need to move it to a different door? Will you need to adjust the volume? Do you want to experiment with different placements? You may decide that flexibility is an important issue for you.
Different Types of Doggie Doorbells
Doggie doorbells can be very simple or very high-tech. It’s up to you to choose which style suits you and your home best. Here are the main three types.
- Bells hanging on a strap
The simplest type of pet doorbell consists of a strap with around six bells hanging off it. The strap needs to be made from a strong material such as nylon or leather and can usually be adjusted in length. It is the easiest type of doorbell to fit because all you have to do is hang it off a doorknob or a handle. There is no set up required and you don’t need any tools. It is very easy to move them to another door if you need to and they are not damaged by water or dust.
They can be used by any size of dog because they can be adjusted to practically reach the floor. The bells are often made out of copper but are plated and they give off a clear, loud ring that travels well throughout the house. They are strong enough to stand up to most dogs who love to chew and some come in a variety of patterns and colors. Some even have nameplates that can be engraved with your doggy’s name.
Many dogs naturally like to like to pull and tug on hanging things so they get the hang of using these very quickly. The downside is that they will make a noise every time a human opens and closes the door and that can get on some people’s nerves if the door is used a lot.
- Bell mounted on an arm
These devices consist of a bent piece of metal which acts as a simple spring. At the end of the spring is mounted a single bell. It is attached usually to a door frame or a wall surface near the door. When your pooch touches the bell, it springs up and down and carries on ringing for a while. This gives you plenty of time to hear the bell! The metal spring looks very attractive and is similar to traditional doorbells on historic houses. They can be placed at whatever height suits your pooch. The fixing is usually via a couple of screws which are often provided but you will need a screwdriver. For this reason, they are not as easy to move from one door to another.
- Digital push-button doorbells
An electric doorbell is the most high-tech solution to house-training your dog. They are supplied as a pack of components which you need to set up. Within the pack, you will have a doorbell button which is usually made from white plastic and which is water-resistant and dust resistant. It is larger than a human doorbell and works with very little pressure so your pooch can easily activate it with their nose or their paw. An additional doorbell button for humans may also be provided. The wireless doorbell may have batteries which will need to be replaced periodically. The button is fixed at whatever height you like using either adhesive tape or screws which are usually provided.
The receiver is the component that makes the noise when the button is pressed. It can be placed anywhere in your home and most of them can be up to 1,000 feet away from the doorbell but remember that walls and floors can get in the way of the signal. The receiver is plugged into a mains electricity socket so you can move it around the house with you if you wish. The more sophisticated doorbells have adjustable volumes and some even allow you to select a ringtone.
Training Your Pooch to Use a Dog Doorbell
All pups need to be trained to do their poops and pees outside. Failure to do this results in a very unpleasant situation for the owners. Some dogs get the hang of this much quicker than others and the training process can be hard work. Your pooch needs to find some way of letting you know that they need to go out into the yard or the garden and this can be done through yelping and barking and or by scratching at the door. Neither of these are ideal and some dogs find it hard to let their owners know what they need in this way. They simply stand by the door and by the time you find them there it may be too late!
If you can train your pooch to ring a puppy doorbell when they need to go out, it can be better for both of you. Here’s how you can do just that.
- Your first challenge is to teach your pup how to ring the bell. Hold it close to their nose and once they touch it say “yes!” in an encouraging and enthusiastic voice and give them a treat. You may need to draw them towards the bell at first by holding a treat behind it or by dabbing something really tasty on it. Peanut butter can work very well.
- You can consolidate the learning process by repeating this over and over again. Eventually, your dog will readily touch the bell but you must give plenty of praise and a treat. Some dogs take longer than others to get the hang of this so be patient. Once they can confidently touch the bell, start adding in a simple word such as “bell.” This is the cue word for them to ring the bell.
- Now you can hold the bell a little farther away from your pooch so they have to move towards it. Use the cue word to encourage them to touch it.
- Place the doorbell on or beside the door that your dog will use to get out of your house when they need a pee or poop. Encourage them to touch the bell using the cue word and when they do praise them enthusiastically and give them a treat.
- Now that your dog is familiar with the bell, they can start to learn to use it to control how you react. Walk towards the door with your pup, say the cue word and as soon as they touch the bell you need to open the door and take them outside at the same time as praising them. Eventually, they will learn that they can make you open the door by ringing the bell.
- You may need to discourage your pup from ringing the bell just to get you to go outside to play with them! They need to know that the bell is just for potty time. You can do this by clipping on their leash when they ring the bell and walking them to the spot in your yard where they eliminate. Stay with them for a while. If they don’t do their business at this time, just take them back inside. If they do poop or pee, give them praise and a treat.
- Training requires consistency and repetition. Make sure that everyone in the household is following the same method. Pups have a short attention span so several short training sessions are better than one long one.
Best Dog Doorbell FAQ:
Q: Can I use a dog doorbell outside?
A: The main use for doggie doorbells is for your dog to indicate that they need to go outside so most are used inside. However, some are advertised as a bell for a dog to ring outside too so that your pooch can signal that they need to come back into the house.
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All doggy doorbells need to be fairly resistant to water and dust because dog paws can get mucky so many of them will be suitable for outdoor use. Always check with the manufacturer if you are not sure.
Q: My dog is afraid of bells. Is it possible to train her?
A: Some dogs can develop a fear of certain objects and that can include bells. Other dogs feel the same way about vacuum cleaners or statues. This does not have to be a barrier to you using potty bells but you will have to tackle the phobia first. You can do this by gradually introducing the bells in a positive and encouraging way. It may take some time but they will eventually learn to accept them.
Q: My puppy is a chewer. Are dog doorbells safe for him?
A: Many pups like to chew. Some grow out of it and some do not. Many potty bells are advertised as being chew-resistant. They are made from strong materials such as nylon or leather. However, no material can stand up to a very determined and persistent chewer. You may need to use training methods and deterrents to discourage your pooch from chewing the bells.
Q: Do hanging bells hang low enough for small dog to reach?
A: It is vital that the doorbells are easy for your pooch to use and that includes them being at a height that makes them easy to operate. Hanging bells are attached to a door handle and if the door has a very high handle it is possible that they will be out of reach of smaller dogs. If this is the case, you may need to choose an alternative type of bell. However, many hanging doorbells are adjustable and reach almost to the floor on most doors.
Our Top Pick
The top pick of best dog doorbells is a hanging set of bells on a strong nylon strap that is available in a variety of colors. The loop will fit over most door handles and knobs and snaps into position.
Because the strap is 26 inches long it can be reached by even small breed dogs but the strap is also adjustable. The bells ring loud and clear.
- Extreme Fear and Anxiety in Dogs, Pet MD