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  January 24, 2013
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Rehabbing Mistakes in Dog Training

Rehabbing Mistakes in Dog Training

Michael Ellis discuses some of the pit falls of "learned helplessness." In this short video, Michael will explain how some things can be fixed and how to do that by increasing the level of motivation. While other things can be improved, however, some can never be completely fixed.

January 24, 2013   |   5 Minutes, 3 Seconds

Leerburg Q&A
Ask your training question

Question: My 13 week old puppy rings a bell to go outside but sometimes he goes to the bathroom in the house. I don't understand why sometimes he rings the bell but not always. When should I expect him to be housebroken?

I have a 13 week puppy, mom was a golden doodle, dad was husky. He sleeps in a crate all night and has been better about being able to hold it from 10pm-7am, sometimes will bark between 2-4 to poop. I put him in his crate a couple of times a day just so he knows it's not a bad place to be. From the beginning we taught him to ring the bell to go out. Sometimes, like tonight he will ring the bell, I take him out, he goes poop. Sometimes he will poop or pee right in front of me, I yell "No! not in the house!" take him outside. When he goes outside I praise him. I don't understand why he rings the bell sometimes but mostly not. Also, when should I expect him to be house broken? I am with him all day and keep him right by my side. I still miss, as he will just pee with no warning and I take him out every hour.

Cindy's Response:

I don't know of any 13 week old puppy that is reliable enough to be considered house trained and unfortunately there is no magic age for this.  Some pups are pretty reliable by 6 months but most are older before they can be considered completely house trained.   We keep puppies confined or ON A LEASH with us at all times so they can't make mistakes.  I'm glad to hear you are taking him out hourly. 

I'm not a fan of the bell ringing, I prefer to put my pups on a schedule for feeding and going outside so I am training them to hold their bladder and bowels in a gradual way. The bell works for some,but  I don't use this method. Many times the puppies just associate the bell with going outside but not going to the bathroom. 

I would recommend the videos we offer Your Puppy 8 weeks to 8 months and Establishing Pack Structure with your Puppy. We also have a number of eBooks that may be helpful to you.  


Thank you so much for your quick reply, you made my day. I had some people tell me their puppies were trained at 10 weeks and I even read some say it when I was checking out house training online. I just wanted to make sure I was on the right course.  I kind of thought the little stinker was ringing the bell just to go outside.

I will for sure check out your tapes. I will take all the advice I can get, my first puppy.

For more questions on this topic, see our Q&A on House Training.

We get a number of Q&As every week, if you would like to read this week's Q&As, click here and check out the 'Recent Questions' section!

Have a question for Ed & Cindy? Try the Leerburg Q&A Search. If you can't find the answer to your question by using our search engine, you can email Cindy here at Leerburg at If you have your spam filter on, make sure you set it to receive our replies!!!

Customer Comments

On Leerburg's Chuckit! Glow Ball

I have bought several balls to use with the Chuckit! and found these to be the best. These are a bit heavier then most others and throw much better with the Chuckit! stick. Additionally, they are very tough. My 100 lb. GSD really gives these balls a workout and after about a year they still look like they were new. Thumbs up!

The Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers

2013 Schedule Now Available!

Read more for additional information and dates.

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