What’s In A Name?

Your Dog’s Name!

Be respectful of your dog’s name. Building value and attention into your dog’s name will increase your bond and open up a line of communication.

For training purposes, it helps if the name is short, your dog will be more responsive to a short sharp name.

When you bring a young puppy home, he will stay close, observing your every move, this is an ideal opportunity for a brief training session. Say his name in a bright happy and engaging voice tone, when he looks at you, reward. Your reward can be a pat on his chest, eye contact is a great reward, a play session with a favourite toy, a tasty food treat will be most welcome, or a verbal’ good boy’.

As a young puppy begins to develop and mature, he’ll want to find his own way and explore his environment. This is very reinforcing for a young dog, he will find it difficult to switch off his exploration and pay attention to you, should you say his name.

Training ‘attention’ by saying his name and rewarding compliance, will gain maximum benefits and control within your home. As you build on his reliability within your home,  you would then move this training outside to the safety of your back yard.

Repeat in various areas of your home,
 repeat by adding more distance between you and your puppy.
 Begin to add distractions, whether its kids playing, your cat etc, rewarding every small step.

Consider saying his name on your walk, with the environment always changing, this is an ideal opportunity for a brief training session.

Never say his name and scold him
Never say his name to bath him or clip his nails!

Changing a dogs’ name is not out of the question. I have successfully accomplished this with my rescue dog.

When purchasing a dog from a shelter, he may have been assigned a temporary name, ask if this is the case and decide whether you want to keep his name or make a change. Breeders tend to attach a lengthy name to their dogs, shorten the name or make a change.

A new name can represent a fresh start for your furry friend. Dogs live in the moment and can adapt extremely fast, given the right environment and consistent training.

We must understand the importance of a dog responding to his name with just one command. Dogs will turn on their ‘selective deafness’ when given repeated voice commands of their name.

When your dog offers attention when you say his name, be prepared to reinforce that attention with a reward. A pat is a reward, eye contact and a verbal ‘good boy’ is a reward, a game with a favourite toy is a reward, a tasty treat is a reward].

Attention defines your relationship.


written by Lee Hettiger 

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