How to Teach a Dog its Name? Everything You Need to Know

Teaching a dog his name is an essential process. If your dog responds to his name, you can gain his attention for future training if he is newly added to the family. Besides, you can protect him from danger and have a more balanced household. Your obedient pup also can enjoy leash-free walks or hikes. Teach your pooch to respond to his name by calling him in a cheerful voice. Reward your dog when he comes to you upon hearing his name. Be consistent and patient, and your dog will learn his name quickly.

Keeping your canine under control at all times is a legal requirement. The basis of this is to teach your dog to respond to its name when called. Whether in an emergency, around other dogs, or with distractions, your dog must find it rewarding to respond to its name and seek your interaction.

This can be achieved using a variety of attention and focus exercises on teaching your dog that when they hear their name and look at you, there is a reward that will follow.

What Equipment is Required to Teach a Dog Its Name?

Steps for How to Teach a Dog its Name

Find a place to begin training

You can train in your house, in the kitchen or living room. A backyard or a quiet outdoor space with fewer distractions can also work well. Your dog can be on or off his leash to start.

You can also change your location gradually and practice in different rooms, so your pet doesn’t relate his name to the particular location alone.

Plan training sessions

Puppies have short attention spans. So, it is best to plan more regular, shorter training sessions. For example, plan five-minute training sessions with three to five “name calls” during different times of the day. Then, practice for a few days.

Call your dog’s name in a happy, clear voice

Use your dog’s name once per exercise (e.g., Scooby, Molly!). If you repeat the name repeatedly before the dog comes, he will tune the name out. Use the dog’s name with positive commands.

  • Consider running away from him while you call his name. Dogs love to chase things and are more likely to follow you.
  • Practice name recognition with the help of a name game. In the training area, keep your dog on a ten-foot leash. Give him five feet to roam. When he is not looking, call the dog with an excited voice. Make sure he comes to you. If he refuses to come, pull him gently towards you. When he gets to you, pet him and give him a treat. Repeat the exercise until your dog constantly returns to you when you call his name.
  • Do not use the dog’s name in conjunction with negative commands or words (no and stay). Do not scold the dog if he takes a while to come to you. 
  • Avoid nicknames that might baffle your dog, like “Come!” and “Stop!” These could sound funny, and they’ll only lead to distress.
  • Do not use your pet’s name at a stretch, say – MiloMiloMiloMilo, or he will get accustomed to that repetition. 
  • If you have adopted a dog and you want to change his name, patience is the key. Associate your dog’s new name with positive reinforcement, so that he gradually responds to the new name.

Reward your dog if he responds to his name

Say, “yes!”, “Good Boy” when he comes. Give your pet verbal praise and a treat. Overall, act very excited and pleased about your dog’s behavior. You can also give him a belly rub. The goal is to associate the dog’s obedience with a positive response from you.

Make training more challenging

After your dog has mastered initial training, train in different locations. Try to distract him by throwing a bouncing ball, then call his name. Practice while your dog is playing, grooming, chewing, sleeping, etc. Aim to have your puppy respond to you no matter where you are.

Stop giving treats gradually

Once your pet consistently responds to his name, slowly stop giving him treats (for name response). Instead, please give him a treat every other time he responds. Increase the time between treats until he no longer needs treats for responding to his name.

Use the dog’s name continually

Once you have accomplished the skill of training your pet his name, continue using the dog’s name as many times as possible. Say it when you walk, feed, bathe, or groom him. Also, say his name during positive moments.

Pro Tips – How to Teach a Dog its Name

Give them time

It is completely okay if your dog takes some time to learn his name as each dog learns at his own pace. However, being consistent in saying his name is the only key to teaching his name quickly. Over time, your pet will learn to understand that you want his attention when he hears his name.


  • Keep in mind that no dog will respond to his name all the time. Dogs are not machines and thus are possible to make errors. They might miss hearing you, or they might have a sad day and not be willing to listen.
  • Some dog breeds like hounds are harder to train than other breeds. Be extra patient.

Pick a name with one or two syllables

A dog’s name should produce a quick response. Dogs respond better to short sounds. For example, ideal dog names are Buddy, Bella, Scooby, or Lucky. Choose a name that you will not mind repeating endlessly. Allow your family members to contribute to the naming process. If you have kids, consider choosing a shorter name that they can call.

Avoid those names that rhyme with frequently used words

Do not select a name that rhymes with your family member’s name (e.g., Jim, name: Tim), an often-used word (No!, name: Bo), or command (Stay, name: Shay). The dog might be confused if the name sounds too close to another word. In addition, your dog doesn’t understand the meaning behind his name. Instead, he responds in a particular way to a specific sound.

Clickers can be helpful

Use a clicker to make the process go faster. Just say your dog’s name, click, and then immediately offer your dog a treat. After you do this over and over, the dog should start looking at you when you say their name. Then, at that precise moment, click and give them a treat.

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Final Words

Like any dog training, consistency is the only key to teaching your dog its name. Give your dog enough time to learn the most important trick that will be helpful for him in many situations. Do feel bad or stop the process whenever your dog doesn’t respond appropriately.

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