Information, Symptoms, Treatments and Resources

Does Your Dog Know His Name?

Does your dog really know his own name?  Does he understand that when a human makes that funny sound, it means he is supposed to pay attention to that human?  Puppies certainly don't understand the concept of "name" and some older dogs really don't either. 

If your dog escapes and runs crazily down the street, does he even flick an ear in your direction as you follow him while screaming his name?  Do you find yourself repeating his name over and over again until he finally looks at you with a puzzled look on his face?  Here is a simple exercise that will help you communicate better with your dog.  Before a dog can succeed in any kind of obedience training, he must recognize his own name and understand it means he must give his attention to whoever says it.

Do this exercise with your dog on a leash.  He may be either sitting, laying down or standing.  Have a supply of several small treats in your pocket or one hand.  Hold the treat closely to your face and call his name.  The moment he looks at you, give him the treat and praise him.  Timing is everything.  You want to reward the behavior you're asking for the instant he does it.

If you can't initially get his attention, use the treat as a lure to get him to look at your face.  Show him the treat and move it up by your face.  Call the dog's name.  Give him the treat.  If he won't look up, touch him firmly somewhere on his body to get his attention while you call his name.

Set him up for the next repetition by walking him in a small circle to distract him from the treats he now knows you have.  Hold the treat by your face and call his name.  Feed the treat immediately when he looks at you and heap on the praise.

Any training exercise that uses treats as a reward should be done when the dog is hungry, so don't try this one immediately after feeding a meal.  Use treats that your dog really, really likes even if you have to cook up some bacon or chicken. 

Woof!  :-)

About this page