Trainer shares a super simple name game that will build a dog’s patience and improve overall training

Dog licking man's nose
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For every dog owner, having a well-behaved and attentive pet is a dream come true. One key aspect of achieving this is teaching your dog to be patient and responsive to their name. Patience is an essential skill that allows dogs to wait calmly and follow instructions, making training sessions and daily interactions much smoother. 

Whether you have a young and excitable pup on your hands, or you’re dealing with problem behaviors in an adult canine, such as learning how to stop a dog from jumping up, there is a super simple name game recommended by certified professional dog trainer and behavior consultant, Erika Gonzalez. 

The game which was shared on From Dusk Till Dog's Instagram can help dogs develop patience while improving that all important pup and owner relationship. Note, you’ll need a pocket full of the best dog treats to try this fun training game.

Watch Gonzalez practice the name game below...

How to Play the Name Game:

  1. Choose a quiet and distraction-free environment to begin the training.
  2. Say your dog's name once in a happy and clear tone, immediately followed by a treat. The treat serves as a reward for their attentiveness to their name.
  3. Wait for a brief moment before saying their name again and giving another treat. Gradually increase the duration between saying their name and rewarding them, encouraging them to wait patiently.
  4. Repeat this process, using their name sporadically, and always reward them for their patience and attentiveness.
  5. As your dog becomes more proficient with the game, you can introduce it in different situations and environments to reinforce their patience and responsiveness.

Three benefits of playing the name game:

According to Gonzalez, the head trainer at From Dusk Till Dog, the name game serves three crucial purposes: 

1) Helps your dog actually learn their name - Many dogs may recognize their name but not fully comprehend that it belongs to them and this could be one of the reasons why your dog's recall isn't reliable. The game reinforces their association with their name, ensuring they pay attention whenever it's called.

2) Helps teach your dog patience - Patience is vital in various scenarios, whether it's waiting for food, greeting guests politely, or taking turns during playtime. The name game helps dogs learn to wait calmly for their turn, making them more cooperative and well-mannered.

3) Helps create further positive associations with their name - By combining their name with a positive experience (getting a treat), dogs will develop positive associations with hearing their name. This makes it more likely that they'll respond eagerly and willingly when called.

This simple game is a valuable and straightforward exercise that any dog owner can incorporate into their training routine. By practicing this game regularly, dogs not only learn patience but also strengthen their bond with their owners.

Jessica Downey
Staff Writer

With over a year of writing for PetsRadar, Jessica is a seasoned pet writer. She joined the team after writing for the sister site, Fit&Well for a year. Growing up with a lively rescue lurcher kindled her love for animal behavior and care. Jessica holds a journalism degree from Cardiff University and has authored articles for renowned publications, including LiveScience, Runner's World, The Evening Express, and Tom's Guide. Throughout her career in journalism she has forged connections with experts in the field, like behaviorists, trainers, and vets. Through her writing, Jessica aims to empower pet owners with accurate information to enhance their furry companions' lives.