Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What's in a name? Treats of course! Here are some training tips on how to teach your dog its name!

From my experience, most dogs tend to pick up on their name after a while. But if you want to speed the process along, have a thick dog, or want to change the name of a dog you adopted from a shelter (sometimes starting a new life calls for a new name!), teaching a dog its name is an easy thing to do.

What you need:
- yummy treats
- a name that you want your dog to respond to by giving you its attention
- a dog

The training.
step 1: Say your dog’s name, then immediately put a treat in their mouth.
step 2: repeat step 1 over and over (maybe ten to fifteen-ish times?) per session.
step 3: have a few sessions over the next few days or as long as it takes for your dog to consistently give you their attention when you say their name
step 4: after a while, try some sessions where you say your dog’s name, and then wait for them to give you their attention (chances are it will be quick), then reward with a treat. Move to a new location (just a step away is fine) and repeat.

What’s going on.
Your dog is learning to associate its name with a treat at first. Name = treat. Treats get their attention because they’re yummy and desirable. Then they’re learning that when you say their name and they react by giving you their attention, they get a treat. Eventually you can phase out the treats and the name, itself, will just get their attention.  Though, I still like to reinforce the behavior every now and then, just to make sure.

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