The name game and name recognition that works

Updated: Jul 17, 2019

Does your dog really know their name?

Do they know their name in the house? In the house while there is a knock at the door? Outside on a walk? At the dog park? In the middle of the isle of the pet store?

Conditioning your dogs name with food is the simplest and most effective way to teach a dog their to recognize their name.


Say the name in a relaxed and light tone and pair it with a piece kibble (if your dog eats raw use a lower value treat. Each member of the household should repeat this over and over.

STEP TWO – repeat with higher value food and change your tone.

It is human nature when your dog is barking at the door or going to sniff the garbage bin to raise your voice in a stern tone. In order for your dog to have excellent name recognition and response time condition this tone and volume with higher value treats. Say their name and present the higher value food. Tip: If you have a timid dog you will start to increase the volume of saying their name gradually. Repeat over and over.

Do's and Don'ts for success.


Use the dogs name unless you can follow through with getting your dogs attention and rewarding with food. The 95% rule if you think that you dog is 95% likely to respond use their name. If the distraction is too high use another method to get your dogs attention.

Use it without a reward until it is conditioned successfully.

Use it to get your dogs attention and then punish or scold the dog.

Use when your dog is over threshold (barking, lunging or hyper vigilant)

Handfeeding puppy Harper


Use your dogs ultimate favourite food.

Ensure that your dog is readily and enthusiastically accepting the food.

Play the name game before walks, before vet or grooming visits.