Updated: Mar 15, 2018
Most of us have heard of Pavlov's dogs. Doesn't ring a bell? (gratuitous pun, sorry.) OK, here's a refresher:
During the 1890s, Russian physiologist, Ivan Pavlov was looking at salivation in dogs in response to being fed. Pavlov hypothesized that his dogs would make a connection between a stimulus (in this case, a bell that Pavlov rang before he fed his dogs) and an action (being fed), resulting in a new learned behavior (in this case, causing them to salivate). After a number of repeats of this procedure, he tried the bell on its own. As you might expect, the bell on its own now caused an increase in salivation.
Well, feeding dogs is easy. Why not put this into practical use?
This helpful tip can be used no matter what stage of housebreaking you are in with your pup. Hang a set of bells on your front door. Whenever you take your dog outside to do their business, the bell will ring and your dog will associate the stimulus (bell) with the action (doing their business), resulting in the most helpful of learned behaviors - they will eventually learn to ring the bells themselves when they need to "take action"!
I have seen this work on puppies and even aging fosters I've taken in. Happy housebreaking!
McLeod, S. A. (2013). Pavlov's dogs. Retrieved from: www.simplypsychology.org/pavlov.html