It is very important that your dog knows his or her name. He or she must know that when you say their name they need to look at you immediately for information on what to do next. If your dog doesn’t respond when you say his name, it only stands to reason that he is unlikely to follow any commands that follow! Hence, the “Name Game” is a crucial step on the way to having a well behaved and responsive pet.

To start training, you will need your clicker, some very yummy treats and you will need to find a quiet place to work. Say your dog’s name ONCE. As soon as he looks at you, click and give him a treat. If he doesn’t look at you right away, DO NOT repeat his name but “chirp” or say something else to get his attention until he does look – then click and give him a treat right away. Repeat this ten to fifteen times and gradually your dog will start to look at you right away when you say his name.

Eventually, most dogs will start to stare at you while waiting for the next treat. When this happens, drop their treat on the floor to break eye contact – then you can repeat the “Name Game”. As your dog learns to respond consistently, practice the “Name Game” in increasingly distracting situations. Your goal is for your dog to respond by making immediate and consistent eye contact with you whenever you say his or her name, regardless of the surroundings – a so called “whip lash” response. Once you and your dog have perfected the “Name Game” you will be ready to move on to the next chapter of Cricket’s Corner – “Recall” – coming soon.

Watch video below as Tara and 8 wk old Hudson demonstrate “The Name Game”