When Humphrey was a wee puppy-training pup, making the race to open the back door for puppy toilet emergencies required cat-like reflexes. Not only was he puppy training, but we were working through food sensitivities that meant poor Humphrey needed to go urgently and often, and had little control for sounding a warning. Whilst at home, skeleton keys for the old doors of our reno-in-progress were often left dangling for emergency openings, and Humphrey he took to jingling the skeleton keys to call for door service. A the reno progressed and Humphrey matured, we graduated into a make-shift set of doggy doorbells to replace the keys, consisting of a few simple bells sewn to a strip of binding material looped over the doorhandle. Both Oli and Humphrey happily rang for door service, but the bells were annoying - jingling whenever you opened the door (dogs or no dogs) and often getting in the way of doors closing and, as a result, were a kind of crushed. It was time for an upgrade!
My doorbells were made using a recycled/upcycled strap from a damaged satchel. It looks absolutely fantastic, suits our home, and saved buying webbing and fittings; however, these materials are relatively inexpensive and can be bought in most craftstores if you don't have a strap/belt for use or want to customise your doorbells to your decor. If you are using a strap, remove any shoulder padding and adjust length to size before starting your project. If you are starting from scratch, adapt this DIY as needed to finish your ends for hanging - you can use a simple loop of the strap to hang the top; however, I prefer the flatter hang of sewing through a metal loop. Attach bells using one or both ringing styles:
- Ringing style one: Securely sew bells to the length of your strap, spacing evenly. This old-fashioned jingle-bell look is optional; however, it adds to the ringing but also the style of your finished piece.
- Ringing style two: Thread several bells onto the binder loop. Attach the bell loop to the bottom of your strap, using a hook (as shown) or you can attach the ring direct through a loop sewn in the bottom of your strapping.
Done! It really is that simple. You can buy various styles of pre-fab doggy doorbells (although they are not readily available where we live); however, this DIY was incredibly easy and almost free! With upcycling, the total cost of supplies for my doorbells almost nothing - just an inexpensive binder ring, a bells, and coordinating thread. Less than a dollar's worth of supplies used, excluding hanging hooks. My bells were created on a long strap for added safety and security, so that the dogs couldn't nudge the bells off the hook and steal them, but could easily ring with their noses. For hanging, I recommend using a releasable wall hook at least until you have trained your dogs to the bells and are comfortable making things a little more permanent. Depending on your dog, you may need to start near the doorknob (sooooo annoying...don't stop there!) and incrementally relocate but it's worth the effort. Our dogs were naturals, but there are training sites and videos on-line if you need them.