Site This Search

Add This Page To Your Favorites

Teaching A Dog Its Name

Teaching a dog its name is, on the surface, a simple procedure. But even if your pet already knows his name, you should read this because there are things here you probably don't know.

For starters, remember that teaching a dog its name is nothing more than a way to get his attention. Most people use the name as so much more. It is their command for just about everything. And it changes depending on what your pet is currently doing.


For the best dog training information visit SitStayFetch


If he's chewing something, you yell "Fido!" which is like saying "stop that." If he's on the other side of the room you yell "Fido!" when what you really mean is "come here." And if he's barking you yell "Fido!", but what you mean here is "stop barking." We could go on but you understand. It doesn't matter how smart your pet is, he cannot read your mind.

Yell your child's name and he'll yell back "what?" Now that you've got his attention you need to tell him what you want. "Clean your room!" If he's trained he may even do it. :-)

Use your dog's name the same way, to get his attention and nothing more. The follow it up with what he should do.

By the way, if your dog ignores you, do not keep repeating his name. You'll only be training him to ignore you until his name is repeated several times.

Teaching Your Dog His Name

The first thing you want to do is put a few treats in your pocket, then take your dog to a quiet place with few distractions. When your dog looks away (and he will), say his name one time and one time only. When he looks, give him a treat and praise him. Go to another area and repeat this again, and again give him a treat and praise when looks back at you. Do this a total of 5 times.

If your dog doesn't look when you call his name, chances are he's distracted. Simply move somewhere else and try again.

Remember when you are teaching a dog his name, try to sound enthusiastic. And remember to reward immediately.

If, after several attempts, there is still no response, it's time to shift gears. Get his attention with any sound you can. Try clapping or whistling. Then when he responds, you say his name and give the rewards. This is a last resort strategy because the goal is to get him to respond to the name and not all the other noises.

But what if your dog doesn't respond to the other sounds as well? Honestly you need to get a hearing check-up. It is not uncommon for a dog owner to get the impression his pet is not smart enough to learn, only to find out he truly is deaf. Be especially concerned if your dog breed is prone to hearing problems. These problems are common in breeds like a Dalmatian.

One other thing you can try if your dog does not respond to his name yet his hearing is fine. Put one of the treats in your hand and close your fist. Let your dog see and smell it so he will understand that there is a treat in there. The take your hand away and wait. When he looks another direction, say his name and when he responds, reward him immediately.

Keep in mind that he may be ignoring you because he is distracted, and those distractions include not only sounds and sights but smells as well. Move to another area. Be patient and remember not to keep repeating his name.

You'll need to train yourself here and not just your dog. Teach yourself to only say his name once. This is harder than it seems because we as humans communicate verbally. We naturally repeat ourself until a response comes. Break yourself of this habit.

To teach your dog his name, repeat this lesson several times every day for a week, doing about 5 reps each lesson. Mix up the times and the locations, but always try to avoid distractions. We don't want to make it more difficult even if your dog is responding well.

And keep on mind all through the week not to use his name as an all-in-one command. When we train our dogs, every action we are training will have its own separate command.

Some final things to think about during this training. You need to learn what treat works best as a motivator. You need to give positive reinforcement so your dog understands that listening to you is good. Use both treats and praise together. And finally, don't spend all your time training. Play with your dog and have fun together.