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Your puppy or new adult dog does not enter your home knowing his new name.

The word that you keep tossing out to him will become familiar eventually. But you can speed up the process by playing a fun and easy game to help your dog associate his name as a positive sound.

To play the “Name Game,” first get a handful of small soft treats that your dog can quickly and easily chew and swallow. You can play this game with the dog on a leash or off-leash in an enclosed area, like the kitchen. Do not practice off-leash in such a large area (like a fenced yard) that your dog can drift off and become distracted; better to keep the pup on leash.

Wait until your dog is not looking at you and then say your dog’s name in a very bright and happy tone. As soon as your dog turns to look at you, mark this with a word to let the dog know this is good, like “yes” or “good,” and then immediately give your dog a treat. Soon your new family member will whirl around every time he hears his new name.

You can play the Name Game any time. It is easy to do when you are watching television or cooking dinner and your dog is hanging out with you.

And remember, never combine your dog’s name with negative verbiage, which can change the positive association with his name to a negative reaction.

Many dogs do not like the sound of their own name because owners often combine their dogs’ names with verbal corrections.

They constantly hear: “Rover, no!” “Rover, down!” “Rover, quiet!” The list goes on and on.

Your dog should love the sound of their name and associate it with only positive things. This will also aid you in calling your dog to come to you as most owners combine their dog’s name with the command “come.”

Even better, reduce the negative verbal corrections and instead reward when your dog is doing the right thing!
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