I have a 12 week old Goldendoodle. My 2 previous dogs were a breeze to bell train and caught on very quickly. So this is my first time with a puppy that seems oblivious. I do realize he is still young and I can't expect him to know better. My frustration lies in the fact that I don't necessarily feel like he is having "accidents" per se. It seems like he just doesn't think there is a difference in going inside vs. outside. He seems kind of dopey (in a sweet way) like either carpet or grass is fine, "it's all good".
We are home all day so we are able to watch him at all times. He is a very good pup and mostly lays under his favorite chair all day (except when we are playing or walking him.) We know that we need to take him potty any time his activity changes like when he wakes up or after playing. We take him out right after eating, and about every hour during the day unless he is sleeping. He has separation anxiety and crating him while we are home is a NIGHTMARE. He screams and cries and tries to bite the metal, screeches non-stop for up to 45 minutes solid without a break so we just don't use the crate unless we are gone at which time he is fine. He is also fine in the crate at night and he can hold his potty for 6 hours...not because I am cruel and won't let him out...he just doesn't wake up and cry to go.
The hard part is that he is not catching on to the bells. We have been using them for about 4 weeks and he has rung them a total of 5 times. Some times if he has to go potty he will bark at me, sometimes if he has to go potty he will come stand next to me and stare at me but many times he won't do anything at all, he will just walk over and potty on the floor even if I am standing in the same room. So the fact that he has rung the bell on occasion and that sometimes he does notify me by barking makes me think he knows that he should come get me to go out. So the fact that I am in the same room and he chooses to potty on the floor confuses me. And after he does so, he runs and hides under the chair. So I feel like he knows that he shouldn't.
I just don't know how to teach him to consistently scratch at the door, bark at me, ring a bell...I don't care how he does it. When I step out on to the porch for anything and shut the door and he is inside, he furiously scratches the door and rings the bell to be let out on the porch with me so he totally gets that if he scratches and rings the bell I will open the door. But that is because he wants to be with me. He doesn't seem to care about the potty issue.
I am focusing on the bell because I know that method. If he prefers to bark, that is fine, but I don't know how to get him trained to bark. Any time he notifies me that he has to go, not matter how he does it, I praise him like he just won the Nobel prize. I give him treats EVERY time he potties outside within 3 seconds of him finishing his business. In fact as soon as he is done he runs to me for his treat. When he potties inside I say "NO!" if I catch him in the act and then put him on our screen porch (he hates being separated from me as I mentioned with the crating while we are home). I know not to spank him, but I do make him stay on the porch and watch through the door as I clean it up. I feel like he needs a minor negative consequence to deter him from just pottying inside when he doesn't feel like barking or ringing the bell.
Any recommendations on how to help him are appreciated!