Choosing what to name your new pup can be a difficult task. Is he more of a Buddy or a Max? You look name after name and finally settle on what you think is the perfect one.
Then you call your pup over, nothing. No respond. Not even a glance.
So, what’s the point of choosing the perfect name if your pup does not even realize that it is his? Once you find the right name for your pup, it is time that you train him to respond to it.
Training him so form the basis of his relationship with you and provides an essential foundation to all other training. Using his name positively and consistently can help him understand when you want him and when you expect him to do something.
9 Easy Steps to Teach Your Puppy Its Name
Here are steps on how to train your pup to respond to his name:
1. Get His Attention
Start the process at home without any distractions from other people or animals. Just you, your pup, and a bag of treats.
Don’t do it if your pup is tired, distracted or overly excited.
Say your pup’s name just once using a happy, enthusiastic voice. If he does not give you attention at all, then try again. This time with a sharp clap or a kissing noise to get his attention.
2. Mark and Reward
As soon as he looks at you or gives you any attention, mark the act immediately with a “Yes!” or “Good”.
Then give him a reward with lots of praise. This should encourage your pup to look at you when calling.
3. Try Again
After your first success, let your pup turn his attention away from you.
Then call his name once more. If he looks at you, mark it again and give lots of praise and his treat.
If he does not give you attention, just clap your hands again or do a kissing noise to get his attention.
4. Do The Chasing Game
If you have an energetic pup that’s easily distracted, then you will have to do the chasing game to get his attention.
Dogs love chasing things, so when you start running, he should chase after you. While running, call his name with an energetic voice. If he does not chase after you, try showing him treats before running.
After calling your pup’s name a few times, let him catch you. Give him his treats and praise him.
Eventually, try to increase the chase, then completely stop running and just call for his name.
Repeat the above steps for at least 5 – 10 times over a couple of minutes.
If you try to do it more than this, then your pup will get bored and the training will lose its effectiveness.
Repeat the steps 1 – 4 times every couple of hours for a few days. Your pup will soon learn that his name means fun, praises and treats and will readily turn to you when you say his name.
6. Move The Location
When your pup readily comes to you when calling his name, it is time to mix up the places where you train him.
But make sure that you choose places with minimal distractions since dogs have a short attention span. You can practice in various rooms then repeat the above steps.
7. Increase The Time Interval and Distractions
Now, you should increase the difficulty.
You can do this by increasing the time interval when your puppy gives you attention before offering his reward. Start calling his name and when he gives you attention, mark the action but wait for a few seconds before giving his treat.
Also, you can start adding in some distractions. Have a child playing in the room or give him his favorite toy. When fully distracted, call his name.
If he looks at you, give him treat. If not, then you will need to up your game.
This is the time when you can put him on a leash, so he does not wander off. You can also give more rewards, for instance, a liver of a strip of chicken to get his full attention.
Remember, you are trying to make him think that giving you his attention gives him jackpot and more rewarding than his toy or another person.
8. Moving Outside
Now that your pup looks at you when calling his name even with all the distractions you give him, it is time to try it outside.
Start somewhere he’s been before or somewhere quiet. Go back to the simple exercises to get his attention and earning a treat. Then, gradually increase the difficulty.
9. Remove The Treats
Now, it is time to remove the rewards.
Your puppy has been conditioned to associate his name with praise and treats.
Start by offering him less treat. Then, try calling him without using a treat as a lure. Finally, when he looks at you when calling his name, you can praise him instead of treats.