Saturdays with Scamp: Advice Needed

Scamp maltipoo puppy
I woke Scamp up to take this picture…can you tell? 🙂

Scamp has made great strides in the past few weeks. He’s learning new tricks, waking up less often in the middle of the night, and hasn’t had an accident in the house in weeks. Thankfully he’s learned how to use the bells to ask to go outside. Unfortunately, he’s also learned to use the bells for any number of other things. He seems to be under the delusion that ringing the bells means “Pay attention to me” and I don’t know what to do about it. Watch below: (Note: He in no way has to go outside…he’s just upset that he can’t get to me.)

He does this all the time. If I’m in the kitchen and he wants to play, he rings the bells. If I go into another room and leave him behind, he rings the bells. If I’m doing anything but playing with him or paying attention to him, chances are he’ll ring the bells within minutes. Thankfully, he’ll also ring them when he has to go to the bathroom, but it’s difficult to figure out when he just wants attention and when he actually wants to go outside. I need some advice! How do I teach him that the bells are not his personal attention getting device? Help!


This is a sponsored post. Nutro provided me with products and promotional items and is compensating me for my time. As always, all opinions are my own.

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  1. If you have to leash him when he goes out that's a bit more of a problem. Otherwise I think I'd try shooing him out the door every time he rings the bells.

  2. StephenC – Thanks for the comment. We either take him out on a leash or tie him outside. When he rings the bells I've been sending him outside on his rope, but within seconds (if I'm not out there with him) he's crying pitifully and barking to come in. He's not big on being alone.

  3. I have my dogs ring the bells to use the potty. My female shepherd use to do the same thing. For the first few months, every time she rang the bell I would put her outside & say “Go potty.” It took persistence, but it worked. Now she only rings the bells when she has to go potty & for nothing else. Hope that helps.

  4. Cathy – that's encouraging, thanks!

  5. I have no advice about the bells as we don't use them, but I wanted to tell you that Scamp is so cute!!

  6. I agree. He rings the bells. He goes outside. End of story. Eventually he will learn that the bell is only used to go outside and not to get your attention for anything else.

  7. Send him outside every time he rings the bells and leave him out for at least 5 minutes. If he goes potty, treat time. If he doesn't, he comes back in with no big fuss…until he rings the bells again! Hahaha!! Like Cathy said, it's persistence. You've got to get him to know ringing the bells is only for potty time.

  8. My dogs ring a bell when they have to go out to potty also. Occasionally they will still ring the bell just because they want attention or want to go outside, but at this point, I know their behavior and can tell if they really need to go potty or not.

    Persistence is key, it can be trying at times, but make sure you take him out every time he hits the bell. It should only be for a few minutes and if he doesn't go, bring him right back inside. Make sure you really reward him when he does go potty after hitting the bell (whether it be with pets, praise or treats, or some combination of them all).

    When he is older and you have really become in tune to his behavior (and bodily movements!) you'll be able to tell if he really does have to go potty or just wants attention. Stay strong, it will all be worth it in the end!

  9. I love it when our pets train us. It's so cute – and intelligent!

  10. Megan, I have the best advice for you: ask your mother. She is the dog whisperer, as we all know.

    Good luck with this cutie!
    Mary Dobish

  11. First, I LOVE THE BELLS! I have two yorkies and Bodi (the one who we thought wasn't the brightest) learned to use the bells before my other one (Edge – the “smart” one). I did conclude that Edge tells Bodi when to ring it because Edge can be a jerk. ANYWAY – Bodi does the same thing – he has associated ringing the bell with potty time, but he has also associated it with go outside and play time. Needless to say the boy rings it within 5 mins of coming back inside. Giving him a carrot after he potties would probably help him learn that's what the bells are actually for.

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