How to Teach a Puppy Their Name in 5 Easy Steps

Do you know how to teach a puppy their name?

A lot of people assume that puppies will learn their names if they use it enough.

But what if I told you that there is an easier way to do it?

Just keep on reading to find out how!

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How to teach a puppy their name?

Getting a puppy to learn its name is far easier than you imagine. You need three things – a bag full of delicious training treats, some free time, and a suitable name.

If you are still unsure about the name, here are some “unwritten” rules for naming a dog:

  • Dog names should be short and easy to remember.
  • Avoid naming your pets after people or celebrities because it might lead to embarrassing situations on the street.
  • Think about what commands you’re going to use during obedience training. Your puppy’s name shouldn’t sound close to any of them. For example, “Sid” and “Sit”, “Spot” and “Stop,” and so on.
  • Choose a name that you won’t be ashamed or embarrassed to say in public.  

When you’ve found the right name that clicks with your dog’s personality and temperament, it’s time to proceed.


#1 Pick the right time

Puppies might seem like their energy is endless, but they tire quire easily. Once a puppy is tired, it’s impossible to make Max participate in anything.

Similarly, if something interesting is happening in the house, the puppy won’t be paying attention to you.

So, the right time for teaching a puppy its name is when the little one is eager to play and there are no distractions in the house.

#2 Get the puppy’s attention  

Use a happy, excited voice to call your puppy’s name. Your goal is to attract your dog’s attention and make him look at you. But don’t use the name more than one because the little one will tune out the repetitive noise.

If you don’t manage to get your puppy’s attention, stop and wait a couple of minutes before trying again. You might also:

  • Make clapping noises with your hands.
  • Call the puppy’s name while running away because puppies love to chase things.
  • Get the puppy on a 10-foot leash. Allow Max to wander around and call the name when he is not looking. If Max doesn’t turn towards you, pull gently on the leash.

When your puppy turns, immediately mark the behavior by tossing a treat and verbally praising the little one.

#3 Start practicing

Repetition is the key to success when it comes to teaching a puppy his/her name:

  • Lose the attention of the puppy.
  • Then call his/her name again and wait for the little one to respond.
  • Mark the correct behavior and reward the puppy when it turns to look at you or comes to you.

Puppies have a short attention span, so don’t plan more than 3-5 minutes per session. Instead, you can have 3-4 sessions a day as long as you don’t overtire your pooch.

In addition to this, it’s a good idea to practice in different locations.

#4 Add distractions

Once your puppy reacts immediately when hearing his name, it’s time to move to the next level.

So, have somebody else in the room to distract the puppy. Then call the name and wait for your puppy to react.

It’s very likely that your puppy will ignore your call because what is happening is far more interesting than responding to you.

To overcome this obstacle, you can have the puppy on a leash and gently pull it towards when it fails to respond. Then call the name and offer a reward if the puppy responds.

However, since you want your puppy to abandon the interesting thing happening, you have to offer something more tempting that your usual treats if you want your puppy’s undivided attention.

Moreover, you might also throw some belly rubs in the mix or something else your puppy enjoys.

The goal is your puppy to associate his/her name with good things. In this way, he/she will know that leaving a toy or an interesting object is more rewarding than not paying you attention.

After that it’s a matter of practice and repetition until your dog automatically responds every time you call him/her.

#5 Don’t misuse the name

The training sessions aim at teaching your puppy that his/her name means good things are about to happen. To reinforce the response, you have to use the name frequently during the day, but only for positive things.

Never misuse your dog’s name or you furbaby might stop responding.

When something “bad” is going to happen like a bath or a trip to the vet, don’t call your puppy. Simply go and get him instead. 

In addition to this, never call your puppy’s name in an angry voice. It will scare him away and will ruin your progress so far.

Keep in mind that teaching a puppy his name is going to take time. So, don’t get angry with the little one if he doesn’t seem to get it or forgets it.  Keep trying with positive reinforcement and a lot of love and petting.

What do you thing about these step-by-step instructions on how to teach a puppy their name? How did you do it? Tell us your training method in the comment section.


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