Give Your Puppy A Name and Make It A Useful Training Tool



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Are you using your Puppy’s name in vain?


June 23, 2015 by TheDogTrainingLady Leave a Comment

Puppy’s Name one of the first things you teach your puppy is their name. Let me rephrase that, the sound of their name.

The problem comes when the name becomes a “catch-all” command.

You may have the smartest dog in the world, but I have yet to meet a mind reading dog. Buster! When you really mean, “come here”. Buster! When you really mean, “Stop that”. Buster! When you really mean, “stop barking”.

You need to treat your puppy’s name the same way you treat your child’s name. When you call your child they may look up from their tablet, but most likely Billy won’t even glance your way. He’ll response with a “what”, if your lucky, and you will have to offer further instructions.

The same goes for your puppy. Just saying his name won’t get you what you’re looking for. It is up to you to immediately follow with instructions. Buster, come. Buster, sit.

Your puppy may not pay attention at first but be patient. Don’t use your puppy’s name in vain. Don’t repeat his name. This teaches him that he doesn’t need to respond to you until he hears his name for the third time.

The important take away is:

  • Teach your puppy his or her name
  • Don’t repeat their name
  • Don’t use your puppy’s name in vain

Teaching your puppy their name.

1. Load your pocket or treat pouch with 20 or 30 treats.

2. Find a place where there are minimal distractions.

3. Wait for your puppy to look away, and then say his or her name only once.

4. When your puppy looks at you, immediately give a treat and your chosen praise word.

5. Move a couple of steps to a new location and wait for your puppy to look at something other than you.

6. Say your puppy’s name, when he looks at you, reward, and praise.

7. Repeat.

8. Keep training session short (no more than a few minutes each time)

If your puppy does not respond to you, be sure the distractions are not too much for him. Go to an area with fewer distractions. Just like kids, everything is going to get their attention.

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Things to remember:

Keep it fun
Have patience
Practice, Practice, Practice
Keep your session short
Don’t use your puppy’s name in vain (don’t make it a “catch-all” for all commands).
Say your puppy’s name only once

Have fun and play with your puppy, it’s not all about training. It’s about building a lasting and loving relationship.

Here is a quick video to show you how to teach your puppy his name to help you get started.

I would love to hear about your experiences and questions about training your puppy, or even an older dog. Please feel free to email me at

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You can also find Dog Training tips on my Pinterest board

Until Next Time,

Pawsitively Yours,

Suzanne Dean, ABCDT

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