Posted by: Linda Trunell | December 8, 2013

Does Your Dog Love His Name?

When you say your dog’s name does he look at you?  If he thinks the sound of his name means good stuff he should be happy to pay attention to it.  Just as dogs learn to associate a word with an item or an action, they will form an association with their name.  We know our name is who we are but to your dog it is probably just another word.  Just like any cue, his name can be “poisoned” by bad associations. If he often hears his name said in an angry, impatient or harsh way he could feel the same way about his name as he does “No!”.

Lacey & Max
So how do we teach a dog to love the sound of his name?
The first day of puppy or beginner class we introduce the dogs to the clicker so they learn that click means treat.  The first exercise we do is to say the dog’s name in a happy tone and click and treat for eye contact!  The goal is to teach them that their name means good stuff.

If you practice rewarding for eye contact at the sound of his name and then slowly increase the distractions when practicing, your dog will look at you whenever you say his name. Even if your dog is not a puppy you can do this to change the association he has with his name.

If your dog doesn’t respond to his name, it is difficult to get his attention to ask him to come or sit or anything else.  When you say your dog’s name and get that whiplash head turn, you know he has learned to love the sound of his name!

Here’s to being our dog’s best friend,
Linda


Responses

  1. Beautiful post Linda. Simba knows his name but we have so many endearing names for him and he responds to that too. 😆 Simba Chippie, Chippie, Baby, and Angel.

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    • It’s funny how we give nicknames to kids and dogs – they are special terms of endearment! Chippie is a cute one. I call Max Maxie or Puppy Boy. 🙂

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      • Awww, that is so sweet. 😀

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  2. Great post! Easy looks immediately at us when we say the word “easy” without talking about or to him :o)

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    • Haha – The phrase “Take it easy!” just popped in my head when I read that. I’m sure Easy knows his name means good stuff. 🙂

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  3. Hi Linda!!!! You know, we have a zillion names for Trev and he answers to them ALL!!!! It’s like that barklybarkleyvonschnauzer name on the Petsmart commercial, remember !!!! Giggles galore!!!! After rescuing our bear, we wanted him to know that whenever we said his name, that it was something super super special!!!! Oh of course, there are always treats close by too!!!! Giggles

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    • Trev is so adorable and he knows he is adored by you! I am sure just the sound of your voice tells him he’s in for something good no matter what you call him. 🙂

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  4. Never thought of a dogs name in this way. If you want a dog to like you and come to you you have to be nice.

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    • Having hot dogs helps, too! (Giggle)

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