How To Teach Dogs Their Name

Using positive reinforcement training, you may educate your dog to respond to whatever name you’ve chosen for him—be it Shadow, Stella, or Spike—by associating the name with a pleasurable experience. Get your dog a few small, soft snacks that they can swallow and chew up fast. A clicker can also come in handy. Start in a private, peaceful space like your living room.


  • When your dog isn’t looking at you, pronounce the name in a jovial and upbeat manner. Give your dog a treat right away after you mark the moment your dog turns to face you with a clicker or a phrase to indicate that this is the appropriate response, such as “yes” or “good.” Continue doing this throughout the day, and eventually your new family member will start to spin around whenever he hears his name.
  • If you’re having difficulties getting your dog to respond, consider moving to a less busy or confined space. You may also try switching your dog’s treat to something more valuable to them, like little bits of cooked chicken or turkey meatballs, while always rewarding them with praise.
  • Once your dog consistently answers to his name, try increasing the challenge. Say his name as you move across the room. Alternately, call his name and hold off on offering the gift until he turns to face you rather than merely turning toward you. Try intermittent treats when you consistently get the attention you want, but always express vocal praise. Take the lessons outside and add some diversions.
  • The name game can be played at any moment. Even when your dog is hanging out with you while you watch television or prepare dinner, it is simple to accomplish. Call your dog’s name when you’re taking him on a stroll and you should get his attention.
  • Since consistency is crucial, you should reward this behavior repeatedly—first each time, then occasionally—until you have an instinctive, reliable response. In time, your dog will respond to his name when you praise and adore him, so you won’t need to offer him goodies.

How much time does a dog need to learn his name?

To quickly and easily teach your puppy their new name, use the advice provided below.

Your puppy will learn to respond to its name as one of the very first, if not THE very first, things you teach them.

Your puppy’s name can help you and your puppy start a conversation, get their attention when you need it, and make it easier for you to teach them obedience commands and get them to come to you when you call.

Puppies immediately pick up on their names (the majority do so within 1-3 days!) However, in general, you should regularly practice using their name. Using your puppy’s name to get their attention and rewarding them when they look at you is an excellent method to start teaching them their name.

You may reinforce a behavior, form a good habit, and help your puppy get adjusted to their new name by developing a positive association with them answering whenever you call their name.

Though nicknames are adorable, it’s best to stick to calling your dog by its own name during the first few days to prevent any misunderstandings.

Food rewards and the use of a food lure are fantastic ways to hasten name learning! They are not only great puppy motivators, but they also encourage and reward the desired actions.

When you call your puppy’s name for the first few times, they could initially just stare at you with interest. However, if you call their name and immediately treat them when they glance at you, you can demonstrate that this sound has a satisfying and tasty result.

Take your puppy to an area of your home where there are few to no distractions so they can practice. To ensure that your dog doesn’t get lost throughout this process, a harness and leash might be very useful. When your puppy is in front of you, call their name loudly to get their attention. Then, hold out a treat and direct that same piece of food up to your eyes (which will draw their eyes up to yours to establish eye contact). then add “It’s good when they glance at you and you give them a goodie in return. For a step-by-step guide on how to achieve this, view our video posted later in this article!

We advise the parents of our students to conduct training sessions similar to these while their children are eating, using a portion of that meal as fuel. Puppies enjoy working, especially for food. And you can hasten the process of teaching children their name while combining mental and physical exercise.

As they improve, you can begin including obedience commands in these training sessions to make sure they consistently answer when you call their name aloud. It may sound like this: “Puppy, please sit. then reward them with food for their attentiveness!

Advice: If your dog isn’t very food-motivated, consider substituting a higher-value reward or their preferred toy.

Every day, spend three to five minutes repeating this name practice. By keeping some of their food on you and using their name throughout the day whenever you want to get your puppy’s attention and rewarding them when they answer, you can break up practice sessions.

Shorter training sessions are preferable at first since pups’ attention spans are short and they are prone to fatigue and disengagement.

Sometimes new parents make the error of trying to teach their dog too much too soon. The same applies to finding out their name! If you see that your dog’s concentration is waning during the training, change things up and end with some playfulness. Always have fun when finishing a training session to keep your puppy engaged and anticipating the next one.

You can start training in different areas of your home and gradually introducing more distractions once your puppy starts to glance at you when you call their name.

Don’t keep saying your puppy’s name out loud. They won’t respond to it, it will lose its worth, and they’ll start to ignore you. (The same is true when giving spoken directives for obedience!)

This takes us to our final piece of advice: creating challenges. This calls for additional distractions and new venues in this instance.

Puppies’ innate curiosity is continually heightened by new situations because there are so many novel things for them to learn. It will be difficult to get your puppy’s full attention because of their natural curiosity and desire to explore.

Consistent practice sessions around your house (both inside and outside) can assist develop your puppy’s muscle memory in reacting to you when you call their name, which will help you and your dog have the best chance of success. To reduce distractions, start off in a quieter setting. As they become accustomed to it, gradually introduce more distractions and other environments.

Remember that it’s fairly typical for your puppy to not listen straight away when you expose them to a new environment. To get their attention back on you at this point, you might need to rely more on leash supervision and high-value food rewards. After they recover, you can ease up once again.

One of the queries we receive from puppy parents the most frequently is: “How can I train my puppy to respond to me whenever I call?

In the field of trainers, we refer to this “dependable memory And it all begins with your puppy thoroughly mastering their name!

The routines we teach puppy parents in our online puppy training school assist enhance your puppy’s listening abilities so you can be sure they will come to you even if you are in another room or when they are very distracted.

How can I teach my dog to recognize his name?

Say the dog’s name at least ten times a day (from a distance of two to six feet away), label the behavior with a marker word like “yes” or a clicker, and then reward the behavior with food or play while lavishing praise.

Why ignores my puppy when I call to him?

  • Recall training is crucial for all dog owners to ensure that their dog consistently responds to the call to come.
  • Distraction, confusion, or fear are a few causes of dogs not responding to their name when called.
  • Building a solid recall so that your dog will respond to the call when called requires gradual training and positive reinforcement.

Few things are more upsetting for owners than calling their dog and getting no response. Some puppies listen admirably at home, but how can you get them to leave the dog park? Ignore it.

Why Dogs Don’t Come When Called

Dogs, like young children, are prone to getting sidetracked when learning new things, therefore for those lessons to stick, they need to be taught in a variety of settings with different levels of distraction. Proofing is the term for this.

If your dog doesn’t respond when you call, they could not have applied the command universally. Your dog might actually believe that when you say “come” while seated on the couch, it simply means to come over to you in the living room.

Start in the least distracting area possible while teaching your dog a new command or cue, and then gradually move on to more interesting locations, like the park. To train your dog to “come,” for instance, start in one part of your home. Go to another room at this time. The backyard follows. the front yard follows. then, the neighborhood park. See where we’re going with this? Before you switch environments, your dog should respond to the call at least eight or nine times out of ten in each one. Making training into a game is another method for practicing at home.

Your Dog Doesn’t Want To Get In Trouble

Your dog may not be listening for another reason if they have previously came to you when they have been in difficulty. If you use a frustrated or angry tone, your dog will associate approaching you with being in trouble, even if they simply raced off to chase a squirrel or were occupied sniffing a corner of the yard.

Regardless of how angry you are with your dog, act otherwise. When they approach you, praise them in a humming, joyful tone. Your dog will be more likely to respond when you call the next time if you do this.

Using a different word and starting over will help children associate arriving when called positively if you’ve previously used “come with an angry tone.”

Your Dog Doesn’t Think It’s Worth It

When there is a highly fun dog to play with at the park, why on earth would your dog want to come back to you? Or perhaps a squirrel to yell at? You must distinguish yourself from the competition by making yourself more intriguing.

You will therefore need to learn what your dog is most passionate about. It may be a pricey treat for many pets. Others might enjoy getting to play with a toy. Give your dog plenty of anything they enjoy when they come to you. Try rewarding your dog exclusively for responding when called, such as with hot dogs or a specific toy. Celebrate and give your dog treats when they comply with the command!

Your Dog Thinks the Fun Is About To End

Naturally, there are times when you must leave the dog park or enter the house, so your dog is not given an option. They’re less likely to want to do it if you always instruct your dog to “come,” which means the fun stops.

Calling your dog, rewarding them, and then releasing them once more is a simple approach to avoid this. According to the Premack Principle, a principle put out by psychologist David Premack, low-probability behaviors will be reinforced by high-probability ones. Your dog will learn that coming to you results in a valuable reward and the opportunity to return to what they were doing in the first place. They will benefit from listening and exhibiting the low-probability behavior of responding when called. In due course, your dog might even begin to check in with you on their own to see if a reward is waiting.

Advice: If you decide to do this, think of a release command, such as “okay” or “go,” to let your dog know when they can go outside once more.

When To Stop Using Rewards

Every time you first begin instructing your dog in a new skill, you should be a “vending device They are rewarded each time they comply with your requests. You have a chance to develop into a “This means that your dog’s reward for executing the behavior is determined at random, like a slot machine. Once your dog has mastered listening to your commands each and every time, it’s okay to begin rewarding them at random.

Other Tips To Teach Your Dog To Come When Called

  • Say your dog’s name once and the command once while teaching them to come “Fido, hurry up! Avoid mentioning their name or “Come before your dog starts to ignore you and the order becomes meaningless.
  • To make things harder for your dog, start out with a six-foot leash and gradually advance to a long line. Additionally, you may securely give your dog more freedom thanks to this. Don’t reel your dog in with the leash if they ignore you. Instead, use it to move closer to your dog until they approach you. You don’t want to make them show up when you call; you want them to choose to.

Not to mention, no dog is perfect. Never leave your dog unattended in a place where they can be hit by a car, get lost in the woods, or encounter other difficulties.

The non-profit AKC, which was established in 1884, is the acknowledged authority on dog breeds, health, and training. The AKC is committed to improving dog sports and actively promotes responsible dog ownership.