The purpose of the Name Game is to teach your dog its name. Begin by saying the dog’s name, and if they turn to look at you or give any form of response/acknowledgment for the name, give Affirmation (“Good Bella”) and Reward. When rewarding for this command, toss the treat reward next to the dog so they immediately get rewarded.
- Begin training in a calm, quiet environment with no distractions.
a. At least ten times per day, say the dog’s name (from 2 to 6 feet away), and as soon as the dog looks at you, feed the dog a high-value treat and praise the dog. Do not ask the dog to sit or do anything else before giving the dog the treat. The reward is for looking at you after you say the dog’s name.
- Gradually add in distractions once the dog is 90-95% successful at step one.
a. Minor indoor distractions: people or pets are nearby but not interacting with the dog.
b. Big distractions indoors: examples include someone else playing with the dog when the dog is focused/watching something outdoors. c. No distractions outdoors: examples include practicing in a quiet yard or on a walk but without people/dog distractions.
d. Minor distractions outdoors: examples include traffic, occasional people, etc.
e. Big distractions outdoors: examples include busy streets, crowds of people, other dogs (at a safe distance if your dog is aggressive toward dogs), bikes, skateboards, etc.