Breaking News

Naming your pup

Naming your pup

This article is not to tell you what to name your dog, but instead how to set the meaning of that name to your dog.

When we name a dog the dog makes a connection with that word, usually through Pre Mack. Now that doesn’t always mean the puppy has developed a positive association with the name either, in fact many people call their dogs name when the dog is doing something the owner doesn’t like.

An example is that your pup is starting to toilet in the house and you yell “insert dogs name” – “no!”, or perhaps your walking along at the park and your dog starts to head toward a dog and you call your dog “insert dogs names” and when your dog doesn’t come you say your dogs name again and this time with a deep, aggressive, frightening or intimidating tone.

It is obvious that after some time when your dog hears you call his name, he may think that he is in trouble, so if you start training with “insert your dogs name” – “sit” etc, you can damage all commands linked with a name that has a bad feeling.

When I designed the Behaviour Interrupter program it was really only about slapping a name on the program, because I was simply using Pre Mack reward to make the click click sound appealing or rewarding to my dog. So when it comes time to name our dogs, I use exactly the same method.

Name > dog looks at me > yes > reward – Repeat many times!

When a dog comes to stay with us for Board and Train or Board and Rehab, we teach the recall cue using the dogs name. Why? Because untrained owners will call their dogs name on the spur of the moment and I am not training dogs for perfect handlers, I am trained their dogs for the real world and I know their owners will yell their dogs name, so I set the meaning of their name to come when they hear it. Not so complicated is it?

Now to add some detail to make sure you get this right.

  1. When you are going to start these training sessions, don’t allow your pup to see you with food or toys, start with your pup not particularly interested in anything.
  2. Have a long line on your pup and harness so your pup cannot run off and make you chase it.
  3. Don’t leave starting the session for so long that your pup becomes distracted by anything else.
  4. You should start this when your pup is conditioned to the clicker or “yes” mark.
  5. When it is time to give your pup a treat, move away from your pup at the time so puppy chases you to eat.

Session 1

Puppy comes out of Ex pen and goes to toilet, after toileting your pup starts to walk toward a place in the yard, call out the pups name in a cheerful voice “Venom” and mark “YES” right after it, no matter what response you got. This is called layering.

Puppy turns to you after you have marked YES or clicked and you move backwards rapidly with pup chasing after you. When puppy gets to you give a food reward.

Allow puppy to lose interest in you again and repeat as above. You want to run this session for about 5 – 7 repetitions and end with puppy looking for more.

Session 2

In session 2, it is mostly the same as session 1 with a very big difference. Everything runs the same except we will not give the name cue followed by an instant YES.

This time we will give the name cue and stall, stall means do nothing, freeze and be quiet.

When the puppy responds to his or her name, then we will mark YES and move backwards and feed puppy. Now you will see that this program gives some responsibility to the dog to respond in a certain way to UNSTALL you back into reward mode.

We are now teaching the puppy the work ethic of “I do something – I get something”.

You need to learn this “concept” and learn to apply it across the board to your dogs learning, if you don’t it is hard to effectively engage your dog in a training system without a reward in your hand.

Run each session from here with various levels of input from your pup, sometimes it goes like

{Insert pups name} – YES – Backwards – REWARD

{Insert pups name} – pup looks at you – pup runs toward you – YES – Backwards – REWARD

{Insert pups name} – pup runs toward you – YES – Backwards – REWARD

It is really helpful if you video some of these sessions, and share them with us to get feedback.