coaching for dog owners

Helping humans be their best for their dogs

Picturephoto credit: Cato on the driveway via photopin (license)

This tip comes from a visit I had the other day with a friend of mine and the dog was hanging out with us.  The topic of dog names is not uncommon or often overlooked.  What is overlooked is how to make best usage of them and how to avoid the common mistakes.  An easy solution is a quick fun dog name game.


I kept hearing that Brady Bunch line in my head as my friend was repeatedly saying their dog’s name over and over again trying to get their attention (yes, I just dated myself with that TV reference).  I won’t say the dog’s name here to protect the canine’s identity (not the human’s) but over and over and over again the human was saying the very distracted dog’s name.  The dog obviously wasn’t interested in what the owner wanted, along with the strong possibility the dog didn’t even understand what their name means and how they should respond when they hear it.

I looked at my friend with that look he is very familiar with.

“OK, what am I doing wrong” he said in a not so excited tone and sighed.

I sighed as well and broke it down for him.


​In my article that you can read HERE, I go into far more detail on a dog’s name and what it really means and how you can use it.  For now though here is a quick tip that can improve your dog’s response to their name.

Go back to the basics, cut up some hotdogs or vienna sausages into teeny pieces to start and throw them in a tupperware or similar container.  Usually once you reach for that stuff the dog is at your heels in anticipation of receiving some of those goodies so put the container on the counter and forget about it for awhile.

When you get a moment, swing by the container and pick up a few morsels.  If your dog is following you again, wait a few moments until they get distracted then you can begin.

As soon as your dog turns their head or looks away, say their name ONE time.  As soon as the dog looks at you extend your hand with a treat.  THAT’S IT.  Nothing more nothing less.  At this point no verbal praise is necessary.

Repeat this for up to 10 times then take a break.

Repeat this process as often as you like following the same incredibly simple formula.

Another helpful tip is to stop overusing your dog’s name.  When the dog hears their name something good should be immediately following it.  NEVER NEVER NEVER EVER use their name prior to giving them a correction.  That’s a rule. Don’t break it.

That’s it, just a super quick tip for those who notice their dog is resembling a defiant pubescent 14 year old teenager.

Is there MUCH more to a name? ABSOLUTELY, that’s why I wrote a full article on it and included a link above.


A clicker makes this game waaaaay more effective!!  I explain how to use a clicker HERE in a series I am doing that teach you everything you need to know.

Any tips or experiences you’d like to share?!?!  Please do!

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