Let’s Play the Name Game!

“Rover?” Instant attention. That’s the purpose of the Name Game — to capture your dog’s attention by calling his name.

In this video, Hillary tells you how to play the Name Game with your dog. The volunteers and staff at Meridian Canine Rescue play this game in order to teach new skills to our dogs, engage their brains, and increase their adoptability. And the game works just as well at home with your own pup.

  • Use a positive, happy tone. Your dog is much more likely to respond if it sounds like something good is about to happen.
  • Call his name just once. You probably don’t want your dog to learn that he only has to respond if you call his name 6 times, right? So just use the name once.
  • Mark and reward. When he looks at you, capture that behavior with a click or another marker word (for example, Yes!), then offer a high value reward.

As Hillary explains, the Name Game is a great foundation for more training. Once your dog understands this cue, you can use it to work on other skills like recall.

Parent tip: This is an easy game for your kids to practice at home. You can maximize the activity time by having them practice with a family member first.

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