Teaching Your Dog His Name

One of the first things a new dog owner does after falling in love with their new pet is picking out a name. Of course that name is not going to do either of you any good unless your new friend understands that “Venkat” or “Spot” whatever name you have chosen means that you are talking to him.

Names Have Power

When a dog hears his name, he should immediately stop what he is doing and look up to see who is calling him and then give the owner eye contact to acknowledge that he knows you are talking to him. A name is a very powerful thing and when a dog knows his name, it means you have the ability to get him to pay attention to you and come to you when you call him.

It also means that once he understands that name he has bonded to you and know that if he responds to his name he is going to get to do something fun with his new best friend.

Choosing a Name

When getting a dog to learn its own name, you don’t want to pick something complicated or hard to understand. You also don’t want it to be something that will be embarrassing to call out if you are yelling for him. It’s also a good idea to pick a two-syllable name because it is easier to call out in a sing-song fashion if you need to get you dog to hear you better over a distance or even across a noisy dog park! So be sure not to pick out some complicated or hard to pronounce name. Make it something easy for both you and your dog.

You may also not want to name your dog some everyday common name that every other dog may have. It could turn out a little strange if in the middle of the dog park you yell out, “Come Spot!” and 10 dogs show up at your feet.

Tone of Voice

It’s also important to call you dog’s name in a happy, high pitched sounding tone so he takes notice and wants to come to you. Never use your dog’s name to make him come to you for something unpleasant or he will just associate his name with bad things and may not always come to you. Just like the funny cartoon dog said to his friend, “Hi, my name’s Nonobaddog, what’s yours?”

You don’t want that cartoon dog to be how your pet sees his name. Instead, you want your pup to know that if he hears his name, then something good is about to happen. That way he will be sure to not only figure out what his name is faster and easier, he will also come to you more reliably and often.

Getting your new pet to understand his or her name is very important too for using in the case of danger. If your dog will always come when you call out his name then you can get his attention quickly if you need him to react immediately when second could mean the difference between an obedient dog and a dead dog. As morbid as that may sound, it’s serious business and an important fact.

Repetition is the Key

You will probably need to use your dog’s name many times a day for the first few days or so in order to ensure he knows that special word means you are talking to him.

So, call out your dog’s name and if he comes over to you, praise him and give him a treat. Do this several times over the course of the first few days of bringing your pet home and he should start to understand his name and look up when he hears it and come to you.

You can also make kissy sounds to get your dog’s attention and happily call out his name and wave a treat. He’s bound to run over to see what the tasty morsel is and when he does, praise him and use his name. Say the name first, then the praise, then the name. For instance, it should go something like, “Venkat! Good Boy, Venkat!”

Try these methods for a few minutes every day in both a quiet setting and a noisier one. You want to be sure your dog understands his name if he is engaged in doing something else like playing or some other engrossing activity. That way you know that he truly understands that unique word you are calling out is meant for him alone.

So, use these methods to teach your new friend his name and the two of you will be more bonded and have a happy friendship for years to come.


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