Does the title of this article remind you of that popular disco hit from the late ‘70s? Ditto. I’m not here to talk about the song, though. Instead, I’m here to share this cool technique that my sister and I used to train our pet Chihuahuas.

It all began one day after Christmas, when we were taking down decorations. I’ll admit it, I am one of those corny Christmas folks who love wearing holiday sweatshirts – you should see my collection. I also even wear a bell necklace during the season! That day, I hung my bell necklace on the handle of our back door so it wouldn’t get in the way and keep ringing as I packed the ornaments. My Chihuahua, Burrito, needed to head outside, so I opened the back door and “rang the bell” in the process.

photoThe bell stayed on the handle for the following week. There were too many holiday goings-on and too much decluttering and organizing to do that I didn’t even remember it was there. As it was hanging there one morning, Burrito stood up on his hind legs and “rang the bell”, telling me that he had to go outside. A light bulb went on in my head at that moment. Burrito had discovered another means of communicating!

Two years later, I gave my sister and her husband their own Chihuahua puppy. They were having trouble toilet training Speck (he was the tiniest thing ever!), so I told them about the bell method. My sister made sure that Speck heard the bell whenever she would take him out for a walk or to go potty. She also had him hit it and praised him when he did. Soon enough, he was “ringing the bell”!

Now, little Speck uses the bell as his signal to my sister or brother-in-law whenever he wants to go outside, even if it’s just to have a look around. We all know who the boss is in that house!

So if you’re looking for a different way to communicate with your four-legged family member, you might want to try teaching them how to “ring your bell”!

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