How To Teach Name Recognition

It’s essential that every dog learn how to respond to his name. Name recognition helps build attention on to you and helps him to understand when you’re addressing him.

The goal is to teach Fido that whenever he hears someone call his name, his job is to turn around and look at that person. He is to do so upon hearing his name just once.

Step #1: Stand in front of Fido with him fairly close to you. Say his name and wait for him to look up at you. Mark (with a clicker or the verbal marker, “Yes”) and reward. If he does not look up at you a few seconds after you’ve said his name, prompt him with a little noise such as a whistle or a smooch of your lips.

Step #2: Stand off to the side of Fido and repeat the exercise.

Step #3: Stand behind Fido and repeat the exercise.

Step #4: Practice getting him to respond to his name from varying distances and with varying distractions. Remember to always set your dog up for success by increasing the difficulty of the exercise accordingly.

Training Tip #1: There are some things that one can easily do to ruin a dog’s name recognition. If you say Fido’s name repeatedly when he has not yet learned to respond, you are teaching him to ignore the sound of his name. He will learn to tune it out as background noise. Also, it’s important to remember to always connect your dog’s name with all things positive and pleasant. If every so often responding to his name signals a nail trimming, a bath, the end of a romp in the dog park, or some form of punishment, Fido will actually learn to walk the other way when he hears you calling.

Training Tip #2: Name recognition is an attention building exercise. It teaches Fido to give you his attention when you want it. However, it’s also good to encourage him to check-in with you even when you’re not asking for his attention. Simply do so by marking and rewarding occasional offered eye contact.

© Give Paw Dog Training LLC 2017