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Miztiki

How to teach your dog his name

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You've named your dog, but does he really know what his name is? If you called him by any other name would he respond just as well?

 

Teaching a dog his name is very helpful in so many ways! It gets the dog's attention prior to giving a command. It helps a lot in multi-dog households. It can even save your dog's life someday.

 

Teaching a dog his name is easy and fun! Gather up your rewards (treats/toys) and begin in the house when there are no distractions.

 

Say your dog's name in an upbeat, happy tone of voice. If he so much as twitches an ear in your direction then tell him what a GOOD BOY he is, give him a little loving and toss him a treat or play a quick game with him. Make a bit of a fuss about it.

 

Say his name again a minute or so later and again praise him and make a fuss over him and give him a little treat or other reward as soon as he directs his attention toward you.

 

Do this several times throughout the day for several days. It shouldn't take long at all for him to immediately direct his attention to you as soon as you say his name. (He will probably come to you as well.)

 

During this teaching phase don't ask him to do anything else, just focus on teaching him his name. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do any training exercises with him during this time, it just means to do the two separate from each other.

 

If you have two or more dogs in your household then you'll want to help them learn to differentiate their name from the others (after they've each learned their own name). This is pretty easy too.

 

Sit down or stand somewhere inside when it's nice and quiet (I sat on a chair in a narrow hall) and, with both dogs at the ready, call one of your dogs to you by name. If they both come forward simply send the wrong dog back while encouraging the one you called to come towards you. Give a little treat or otherwise reward and praise your dog, then send him back by the other dog.

 

What I mean by sending the other dog back is discouraging him from approaching you. I would simply have the wrong dog take a step or two back while at the same time encouraging the right dog to come forward. It sounded like this for me:

 

Boyden, come here. Fynne, get back. Boyden, it's ok, come here (treat/good Boy). Fynne, no, get back.

 

Then I'd send Boyden back so that they were both a few steps away, and repeat it with the other dog.

 

Do this several times per session, maybe a couple times a day or so. They are likely to be a bit confused at first but if you keep it simple then they will soon catch on. Be consistent and keep it completely positive.

 

Once your dog knows his name then you will likely find that training becomes a little bit easier because his name will be a way to immediately get his attention, and it helps the dog to focus on you.

 

There are many other situations where you can practice name differentiation:

 

When letting your dogs outside or back in, when feeding, when crating, when throwing a ball or frisbee, when letting in or out of the car, etc.

 

NEVER ASSOCIATE YOUR DOG'S NAME WITH "BAD" THINGS.

 

This is extremely important. If you are angry with your dog then call him something else, but not his name. He should never associate his name with BAD things. If you need to have your dog do something he really hates, such as take a bath, then do not call him by name to the tub. Go get him and bring him but don't use his name. You don't want your dog to associate his name with BAD things. One of the main reasons for teaching your dog his name is to instantly get his attention. You won't be so successful in that if he associates his name with negative things. Make a conscious effort to remember that and you will be rewarded with a dog who instantly focuses his attention on you when you say his name!

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