Name Game

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Name Game

Prerequisite – Clicker Basics, Strategic Treat Placement

Goal – teach your dog to respond appropriately to his name by turning and looking at you and doing so immediately upon hearing his name. Teach your dog to be enthusiastic upon hearing his name.

Caveat – Play Name Game with your dog every day.  As time goes on, play Name Game under increased distraction.



  1. Say your dog’s Name
  2. When your dog responds by looking at you; CLICK or say YES! and treat.
  3. If your dog doesn’t respond by looking at you, do not continue to repeat his name, do not nag.  Wait 7 to 10 seconds then try again.
  4. If your dog still doesn’t respond by looking at you, the level of distraction is too high.  End the training session and try again under reduced distraction.

Toss the treat so that the dog orients away from you, thus giving you the opportunity to play again.

Remember!  Your dog’s name means to look at you, not to come to you.  So if he looks at you from across the room or from across the yard he is a GOOD BOY!

Remember!  Pay your dog adequately for the job he did for you.

Remember!  Name Game should always be fun!

  • Train your dog to respond reliably to his name, it’s crucial.  
  • If you can’t get his attention, you can’t give him further instructions.
  • If you can’t get his attention, you can’t interrupt unwanted behaviors.
  • If you can’t get his attention, you can’t get him out of a potentially unsafe situation.
  • It’s that important!