Say My Name, Say My Name
Just like a newborn baby, many pet owners agonize over the perfect name for their pup. Whether you want something cute, cool, quirky or crazy … naming our dog is a lesson in creativity. So when pup just looks at you like your nuts, well, that can drive you nuts! Of course, learning the name has some real training consequences as well. It’s also a big step in training for recalls (coming when called). So what do you do when pup thinks his name is “No, please don’t do that!?!?!”
The first step is to try to avoid a ridiculously long name. Warning: I’m going to let my geek flag fly a little here, but I’m proud of it! You may love Daenerys Targaryen from “Game of Thrones,” but it’s going to be really hard for your poor dog to catch on quick to that one. In a case like that, a little nickname like “Dany” will work. That way you can show off for your GOT friends, but you don’t have to say that tongue twister every time you call your dog. You get the picture!
The next step is to take a handful of soft treats and break them into itty bitty pieces. While you’re hanging out around the house, just say your dog’s name randomly. Doesn’t matter if you’re watching TV, reading, cleaning or playing solitaire … just say his or her name. If your dog glances your way, toss one of the treat pieces and say “Good (your dog’s name)!” If you have to add a few kissy noises, or clap your hands or whistle that’s okay too. As long as the name is said when the treat is tossed, he or she will get the right idea.
When name-training, ALWAYS say your dog’s name in a happy, excited and positive tone of voice. For a solid week, reward and praise lots and lots whenever your dog responds to his or her name (even if it’s just by looking at you). Now if you say your dog’s name and he or she comes trotting over to you … that gets BIG rewards with lots of hugs and praise!
You’ll find that your pup is going to want to come to you and that’s a good start for when you start to teach the “come” command. We’ll chat more about that one next week!
The Animal Defense League of Texas has a certified dog trainer on staff and offers low-cost dog training and free puppy classes. For more information please click here.
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