Teaching your new puppy his name is the very first thing you will be working on with your puppy. If he doesn’t know his name, he won’t have any idea who you’re talking to. You’ll need his name to get his attention a lot over the course of the next few months. Luckily, most puppies pick up very quickly on their name with a few easy steps.
First, if at all possible, select your puppy’s name before you ever bring him home. If you’re worried that you’ll select a name that doesn’t fit him once you have him, have a list of 4 or 5 names you really like and then within a day pick the one you feel fits best.
Now that you have your puppy’s name in order, use it A LOT! This is actually pretty easy to do. “Buddy, do you want dinner?” “How is Buddy doing?” “Buddy want to play?” You get the idea. Remember to put his name into just about every interaction you have for the first few weeks. If he is getting his dinner, his toys, belly rubs, etc. It’s likely that within a week you’ll notice him really start to take notice when you say the name and want to interact with you at the same time.
Some puppies are a little more stubborn. Another option that you can use, and it can be paired with the aforementioned advice, is to give him a tiny treat following the use of his name. You can carry a few small treats in your pocket with you, and they normally don’t have to be fancy treats at this point. Most puppies just like pretty basic treats, but remember to make them tiny. The idea is to just put a positive spin on it rather than fill him up.
Your puppy will pair his name up with a treat, so the name is really becoming more significant to him based on that reward. In the first day or two, go ahead and give a treat each time, but then over the next few days and weeks, back off the amount of treats you give. Space it out to every so often instead and fill in the no-treat times with lots of pets and praise instead. He doesn’t need the treats forever. It’s just for that beginning recognition.
Following these few tips will get your puppy running when he hears his name in no time.