Naming dogs and puppies date all the way back to the ancient Greeks and it is one of the most important step in dog ownership. But do dogs recognize that their name as their identity or do they simply know to respond when a certain sound is made?
“Animal behavior studies have found that dog’s brains behave in much the similar way our brains do when someone says our name. Dogs are capable of recognizing their names, and discerning it from other sounds.”
Ancient Greeks named their dogs with short, yet strong and powerful names. Names were typically associated with ideas of speed, power, and beauty. Today experts claim you should stick to dog names that are only one or two syllables, just like the Ancient Greeks did. It makes it easy to say and call your dog and it’s much easier for your dog to learn as well.
Training your pup to learn their name is one of the easiest things you can train your dog to do. In fact, most dogs will begin to learn their name within the first few days to weeks of bringing them home. You can begin to teach them their name in short, five to ten-minute training sessions.
Put your puppy on a leash so they cannot run off and keep them close to you. Have plenty of treats on hand so you can reward them for a job well done. First, say your dog’s name, have them make eye contact with you by holding a treat to your nose, and when they look at you when you say their name, say “yes!” and proceed to give them their treat. Repeat this process for the next five minutes or so.
After this, you then want to introduce some phrases your dog will likely not understand. Begin to insert your dog’s name into those phrases in the same tone as the other words so the dog can begin to learn to respond to the actual name and not just your tone of voice. When you say their name, have them look at you, provide their treat, and say “yes!”
Once you have mastered this part of training with your pup, you want to begin to increase distance. You will continue to do the same training as above, but gradually increase the distance between you and your dog. You should keep your dog on a leash, but give them enough room where they can move around and become distracted by the things around them.
When they are distracted, say their name, and as soon as they come to you or acknowledge you, say “yes!” and give them a treat. After a few days to a few weeks of this training process, your dog will learn his name and know when you say that name, it means to come to you.