Being a dog parent comes with many responsibilities, one of which is teaching your pet companion his name. This should be a priority, because it enables you to get his attention before giving a command. To successfully teach your dog his name, make the learning process pleasant and rewarding. With consistent training over a two-week period, your dog can start responding to his name within as little as two days.
Choosing a Name
Throughout your dog's life, you'll have to repeat his name many times. Give him an easy-to-say, likeable name, rather than a difficult or awkward name that might trigger questions and strange looks. A short, sharp-sounding, two-syllable name, such as Muffin, Sammie or Boomer, is easier for your pet companion to recognize than a one-syllable name. Ideally, avoid names that have more than three syllables.
The age at which you start teaching your dog his name can greatly influence the success of the training. If you have a puppy who's younger than 6 weeks, his hearing and eyesight are limited. For optimal results, wait until he's 12 weeks old, because this is when eyesight and hearing are fully developed. If you have an older dog from a shelter who previously had another name, start teaching him his new name the moment you bring him home.
To properly teach your dog his name, take him to a quiet area of the house that's free of distractions. When he looks at you, say his name and give him a dog treat. As an option, use a clicker before giving the treat. Do this for five to 10 minutes daily, and within days, you'll be able to say his name and get his attention as he looks at you in anticipation of a treat. Continue using your dog's name throughout the day, and always use it in a pleasant context.
Once your pet companion consistently listens to his name, gradually extend the duration before giving the treat. You ultimately want him to focus on you for about 15 seconds. Then move the training to a busier area with more distractions, and eventually, move the training outdoors. Also, gradually reduce the treats and only give them periodically. Your goal is to get your dog's attention by calling his name regardless of what's going on around him.
- The Complete Idiot's Guide to Positive Dog Training; Pamela Dennison
- Puppy Parenting; Jan Greye and Gail Jesse Smith
- Dog-Friendly Dog Training; Andrea Arden
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.