Dogs know their names right? Well that depends on who you ask and when. The average pet owner would say their dog knows their name in their house but does that same dog know their name when they're in the park? Most likely the answer to that one would be no. Names are a crucial component of a strong obedience foundation.
A name should mean something to a dog just like when say "Sit" and you expect your dog to have their bum on the ground. A dog's name should tell the dog to pay attention and actually look at the person speaking. This is a skill set that has to be taught.
I like to play "The Name Game" with my dogs. This can be taught to any dog of any age. This includes if you are changing a dog's name because you've recently adopted.
All you do to play is call your dog's name once "Rover". Then move around or make other noises until your dog looks at you. Once your dog is looking at you say "Yes" and reward with a treat. Then start the process all over again. The most important part is not repeat the dog's name when you're playing. Calling only one time will in the long run eliminate your need to repeatedly call your dog to get attention.
You can play The Name Game with a toy as well. Instead of rewarding with a treat pull out your dog's favourite toy and play tug or throw it for fetch.
Your dog is learning that their name means to pay attention to you and that there's a fun pay off for listening.
Try it out today!
If you'd like help with your overall obedience contact Where's Your Sit to participate in one of our group training classes or private lessons.
Little side story here at the end... Photo is of Remi our senior French Bulldog. She was adopted only a few years ago and came with a name the Rescue gave her. She's had at least 3 names. We chose to re-name her so she could have a fresh start. Playing the name game helped Remi learn that her name meant to look at us and that good things would happen as a result. She is able to run around off leash and easily come when called all because she's knows that she is in fact Remi.