The Power of Offered Attention and the Name Game

February 3, 2024

When it comes to training, two foundational games can transform your dog into an attentive and responsive partner – Offered Attention and the Name Game. These essential skills go beyond simple commands, fostering a strong connection between you and your furry friend. Let’s delve into the significance of these games and how they can shape a well-behaved and attentive dog.


Offered Attention: Building a Natural Connection


In the realm of dog training, offered attention is a gem. It’s the difference between a dog responding to a command and instinctively focusing on you without prompting. To instill this skill, follow these steps:


  • Set the Stage: Find a quiet space and arm yourself with a handful of treats.
  • Initiate the Game: Place a treat on the floor and let your dog enjoy it. The moment your dog looks at you, say “yes,” pause briefly, and reward with another treat.
  • Consistency is Key: Repeat the game, place treats on the floor or feed your dog off to the side, and always acknowledge with a “yes” and a treat when they offer attention.
  • Progress Gradually: As your dog becomes adept at the game, increase the duration of eye contact before saying “yes.” This reinforces longer periods of attention.


Here’s a video showing me working on offered attention with Rise.



Name Game: The Key to Responsive Recall


Mastering the name game is crucial for effective communication with your dog. When your dog associates their name with positive outcomes, it becomes a powerful tool for gaining attention. Follow these steps:


  • Build Association: Treat your dog whenever you say their name, creating a positive link between their name and pleasant experiences. Timing is crucial, even if they aren’t looking at you.
  • Strategic Timing: Practice the name game after offered attention, ensuring your dog is already attentive. Reward them to establish a positive connection even if they are not looking.
  • Limit Name Usage: Reserve your dog’s name for moments when you need their attention. Keep treats handy to reward them each time you say their name.
  • Reinforcement: Check responsiveness by occasionally saying your dog’s name when they’re occupied. If they respond, reward them to reinforce the association.


Check out this video of me playing the Name Game with Rise.



These two essential games are the first ones taught in both Puppy Socialization and Basic Manners at Golden Paws.  Once the dog has mastered offered attention and the name game, training will be much easier!


Investing time in training your dog with the Offered Attention and Name Game will result in a companion who is attentive and responsive to your cues. These foundational skills lay the groundwork for effective communication and create a bond built on trust and positive reinforcement. As you embark on this training journey, remember that patience and consistency are key to unlocking the full potential of your dog’s attention and responsiveness.

Looking for a more well-behaved dog?

If you’re seeking improved behavior from your dog, we’re here to help! Our comprehensive training programs are designed to enhance your dog’s behavior and manners. With our expert trainers, proven positive reinforcement methods, and small class sizes, you’ll see positive changes in your dog’s behavior in no time. Get started on the path to a better-behaved dog today! We can’t wait to see you in class!


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