Picture it… You just brought home your new dog/puppy and you couldn’t be happier. You’re in love and can’t wait to experience the cuteness everyday! There’s so many new smells and sights for your new dog and you know you’ll want to start teaching tricks ASAP. But what if your dog doesn’t know it’s name yet?
I recently took in a 10 month old Pit Bull mix who needed a new home(read all about him here). I knew there was work to do since he wasn’t a puppy anymore and had already had a previous name. He only had his previous name for a short amount of time since he was in a shelter before his last owner. Once I decided on his name, Cane, it was time to start teaching him. (I am sharing this technique because it worked wonders for me and my dog. I am in no way a professional trainer, I just enjoy sharing how I taught my dogs what they know.) Here’s how I did it↓
• Go to any store that sells pet supplies and pick out some training treats. Trust me, they will come in handy! If you can’t find training treats then make sure to get some that are small since you’ll most likely be using a lot of them at a time.
• Bring your dog to a place where he/she is comfortable and not easily distracted. This can be inside or outside as long as when you are outside, you keep a leash on if there isn’t a fence.
• Let your dog sniff around and make sure you have your treats ready because the next step is very important.
• When he/she looks away, say their name. Say it once and wait a little bit, and as soon as the dog looks at you, give a treat and reward. If you say their name and they don’t immediately look at you, give it a minute and say the name again. Remember, your dog doesn’t know their name yet so you saying it the first couple times may not get their attention as fast as you think.
• Repeat this, at most, twice a day. All dogs can be trained but, like kids, they get bored and want to move on pretty quickly the younger they are.
The most important thing to remember when teaching a dog it’s name is to give a reward the moment they look at you after you say their name. After training a couple times, your dog will start to associate that word with you and treats. Give it a little time and when your dog starts to get better at responding to his/her name, stop using treats and reward with “good job” and a nice belly rub.
Cane took about 2-3 days to learn his name and I still reward a little bit after he responds quickly when I say it. Good luck to all you new dog owners and happy training!