This video is about Name Game, it is an exercise that I teach my own puppies and one that we teach both pet and competition students at TNT. It is also a way to “charge” the clicker or YES word in the beginning when a dog does not know what marker training is. What this game does is teach your dog that when responding to his name something good follows i.e. a treat.

Having a recall on our dogs is very important and should be a priority skill to teach your dog or puppy once you get them, or if you have an older dog, it is never too late to teach old dog new tricks. With Sparks, I played the name game as seen on this video for about a week. And I would always have treats in my pockets so whenever I would say his name, he started to become conditioned to coming to me and I would mark and reward. I did this in the house and outside as well, all the time. In turn, it produced a puppy that is very responsive to his name and coming when called, even into adulthood. With Sparks as with all my dogs to this day, I continue to give them random reinforcement for coming when called or name response.

The name game is also a great attention getter for my competition obedience training. If during heeling, for instance, my dog looks away and I simply say their name, they look back with eyes bright and ears up, as their name means something positive to them and the response rate is high. Way too many handlers nag their dogs by using the dog’s name, it becomes a negative and the dog then starts to perform avoidance behaviour. If that is happening to you I highly suggest you start teaching this game, and if you have a clean slate, i.e. new puppy, it is one of the first skills I start to teach, to fill their name with purpose, meaning and excitement!

Happy Training

Janice Gunn