Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tinkle bells

Nope - that's not a typo.  Not "jingle bells" - I really do mean tinkle bells!!

See the ribbon thingy hanging down from the doorknob?  I bought this ingenious little gizmo made by a company called Poochie Bells.  Got it over a year ago when I was frustratedly trying to housebreak Brutus.  The idea is that the dog goes and rings the bells when they need to go outside to potty.  He never got it.  In fact Brute was almost 18 months old by the time I could actually trust him not to have an accident!

It was my husband's idea to bring the tinkle bells back out this summer to see if we could train Carmen to use them.  I initially spent a few minutes with the bells and a clicker, easily teaching her to use her paw to bat the ribbon to make the bells ring.  She caught on to that really fast, but wasn't so sure I could get Carmen to make the connection that ringing the bells meant she needed to go outside.  

Let me just say that I completely underestimated her.  I set up a video camera the other day so that I could show you all how good Carmen is at ringing her bells.  In the 45 minutes or so that I recorded, she rang the bells no fewer than 6 times.  Here's a few of her best "notifications" (if you look close you can see some pretty snowflakes fluttering down outside as well).

Not only does she get the concept of ringing the bells, Carmen has since become quite the percussionist.  She rings them not only when she NEEDS to go outside, but also anytime there's something out there she feels like checking out!  I can't sit down for more than two minutes without hearing Carmen's rendition of "Carol of the bells".  And if I try to ignore her, she just gets more insistent, slapping at the bells until I can't take the ringing in my ears anymore!
But there is a WHOLE WORLD out there for me to explore!
So the good news is that Carmen is, and in fact has long been, housebroken.  She's thankfully been more-or-less accident-free since she was 6 months old.  Other than some slip-ups recently that were related to her heat cycle (she ended up with a bladder infection in the middle of it all, ugh), it's been quite some time since I had anything to clean up :)  I feel like putting up one of these signs!

The only bad news is that, in the long run, I feel that Carmen is the one training us.  We snap to attention whenever I hear those *@%# tinkle bells.  They can wake me up out of a dead sleep!  Even though Brutus never got the idea to ring the bells himself, he saunters over to the door when Carmen rings them - guess he figures that as long as she's doing the work, he might as well take advantage of the opportunity to go out (you can see this happen in the video).  Below is a still frame from the video, in case you couldn't see the live action footage.

Leave it to my little brindle brainiac to capitalize on what was supposed to be a training tool and turn it into a luxury.  After all, as a four-month old pup she figured out how to relocate her x-pen (see the "Carmentopia" post I did a few months ago), so what did I expect??  As we say on a regular basis around here, it's just a good thing Carmen doesn't have thumbs - she'd take over the world!!

You say that like it'd be a bad thing....


Anonymous said...

Lola had the same bells on the door. We finally had to take them down, because she too thought ringing the bell was fun. She rung it all the time. And when we took the bells down, she started ringing the door stop..funny girl.

Happy Holidays

Golden Samantha said...

We have heard about those bells, but since the wizards around here can't figure out the doggie door (except Ozzie, the cat), we decided not to go the route. Here Sammie can learn to compete in Obedience, but won't "learn" the doggie door. (After a good month's work with both Sammie and Avalon last summer, Mom sort of gave up on us... we know we can do it!) You are fabulous, Carmen! We don't think you are overdoing it at all heheh!
Hugs xoxoxo
Sammie and Avalon

Anonymous said...

Carmen's a smart dogger! Great photos and video...she looks so happy to be ringing the bells!

pam said...

I love how she looks around after ringing them like 'ok come on where's da peoples?'

Two French Bulldogs said...

Good job guys. Lily taught me to ring the jingle bells too. I learned after like 3 times. Like you I ring the bells when I have to pee pee, poop, lay in the sun, go for a stroll, a nice walk. Mom jumps up evry time its great. You are a smart little cookie!!
Not naughty, but nice,
Benny & Lily

Molly the Airedale said...

The video was too funny! Carmen rang the bells and turned around to see how fast her mom was coming! haha

Love ya lots,
Maggie and Mitch

Barbara said...

How funny! What smart dogs!!!

Brandon - The dog with a blog said...

That's awesome! I'v trained some of mine to bells before - but it always back fires on me - they ring it when they want to play outside... !
That last picture is soo cute, and I loved that movie!

Rudy's Raiser

Wilma said...

Way too cute!!!!

Unknown said...

Carmen is a genious! At bell ringing and human training, obviously! Loved da post!

Brutus, Ellie, Pippa and Otto said...

Carmen is one smart little girl!!

Pugs & Kisses,

Yoda, Brutus & Ellie

Sam said...

That's really funny - and what you're talking about happens to a lot of people who use the bells! It's like their way of saying "there's a squirrel out there, mom - and I want to go chase it!"

I got so lucky with Marge and the housetraining - although she used to have accidents daily, all of a sudden it just clicked and if she wants to go out, she just annoys me until no end with bopping me with her nose and/or barking.

Oreo said...

You are one smart girl WTG!!! I just have to bark once and my peeps let me out. She knows the type of my bark, so she knows I am not just barking for the fun of it!!


Wyatt said...

Of course...girls rule, boys drool!
Mom says we need one of those, cuz we scratched up the door :(


houndstooth said...

Ha ha ha! I have resisted trying the bells for just that reason. I fear that Morgan would ring the bells every time she thinks she needs to go look at that rabbit under the bayberry bush.

We used to laugh about the pack dynamics at our house. Hawk was the one who'd always bark and be insistant about getting us to let him out. When Treat wanted to go out, she'd go over to him and give him a look, and he'd get up and go to my husband and do his "time to go out" routine. The other hounds all looked to him for the same thing. Now that he's gone, Morgan seems to have taken over the job.

Yours Truly said...

Carmen is such a little doll!

Mollie Jo and Bobo said...

Carman you are one smart cookie!

Merry Woof Woof,
Mollie Jo, Bobo, Olivia

Dexter said...

I bought some of those a couple of years ago and started training Mango. Then I realized that he would just jingle jangle them whenever he felt the need to be on the otherside of the door or when he wanted me to go out and play.

Carmen is no fool. She already has you trained.

Mango Momma

Lucy-Fur, as typed by Dr. Liz said...

As I mentioned, Abby barks when she wants to go outside (otherwise, she's pretty quiet, unlike Fi, who must be barking at the Wee Folk or ghosts or something). Not when she needs to pee, but when she wants to go out. Sometimes she needs to pee, sometimes she needs to cool off (they are woolly right now), sometimes she just wants to spy on the neighbors.... We know who has who trained in THIS house! ;-)

-Dr. Liz (the dog are, no surprise here, on the front porch!)

Anita said...

We taught Basil to ring the bell (Dollar store xmas bell) for potty and made sure he rings it only for potty by bringing him back inside immediately after tinkling. Sometimes he'll ring it for attention when we're eating dinner and he wants to eat (some more) too, but we just ignore him. It took 3 days to teach. Guinness picked it up immediately (like on the day we brought him home from his foster home). But he rings it even to go outside to explore. I am going to take advantage of the winter to teach him it's only for potty. Although Im sure he knows that and is taking full frenchie advantage. Gawd they are smart.