So you have chosen a name for your puppy but now comes the fun part, teaching him what it is. The objective here is to teach your little one that when his name is called he must immediately give you his full attention, that is, stop what he’s doing, turn his head and look directly at you.
As you go on to teach your puppy other commands you’ll have much more success if your puppy is focused on you while you are teaching him these commands, hence the importance of your puppy knowing his name and responding to it.
When you use his name, make sure it’s associated with good things. Don’t call his name and then proceed to tell him off because if you do that too often he’ll start to associate his name with getting into trouble and won’t respond. Easier said than done, especially if your puppy has been particularly naughty.
The Name Game
To begin the training, arm yourself with a few treats (Aussie Pooch Mobile Pooch Cookies and Liver Buds are ideal) and put your puppy on his lead, that way you have full control if he’s distracted by something and wanders off.
Call his name in a happy and light hearted voice puppies love to hear the sound of your voice and will naturally look towards you when they hear you speak.
As he looks towards you, give him a treat and praise him verbally with words such as good boy or yes.
Repeat this a few times every day until he consistently looks towards you every time you call his name.
Only use his name once. If he doesn’t respond, give a very gentle tug on his lead or tickle his leg so he turns to look at you.
Next, call him and hold the treat near to your face so he has to look at you, reward him with the treat and praise as he does so. Once your puppy does this consistently, swap the food for a toy. His reward for looking at you will then be to play with you for a couple of minutes.
The next progression is to introduce distractions, so try it with other people in the room, outside in the garden, in the driveway, when you are at a friend’s house and anywhere else you can think of. Don’t rush this stage and always make it easy for your puppy to succeed, he wants to please you, so make it easy for him to do so!
Soon your puppy will learn that wherever you are, whatever the distraction, if he hears his name he needs to look at you and wait for the next instruction.