There are a lot of interesting questions that most dog owners have. How do dogs know their names when we call them? This is probably the most interesting one of them all. Do dogs understand English, or do they really know their name? The situation is a bit different, and below we will take a deep look into all of this. For some of you, the answer is simple. For others, it will be confusing, and some will even believe the opposite.
Do Dogs Know Their Names When We Call Them?
Deduction And Positive Reinforcement
As always, we like to start with the simplest answer possible. How do dogs know their names when we call them? Dogs cannot understand us. Dogs don’t know what their name means or that this is their name, but they must come when you call them. They simply deduce that the sound you make means something and that they should come to you.
You will call your puppy by his name from the beginning. While training him, you will use treats (positive reinforcement). Eventually, a puppy will realise that when he comes to you, he will get a reward. Now, a puppy will link the reward to the sound you make. Every name is different, meaning you will make a different sound when you call the dog or when you are telling him something else.
Add the fact that most dog owners will clap their hands or do something similar, and a dog can link this to you calling him. In general, a dog understands a sound you make and other cues more than a name.
Try to call your dog by his name. He will come. Next time, try to call him, but change his name slightly. If his name is Rex, try calling him Tex. You will see that he will still come to you. This is because he cannot distinguish the name you are calling properly.
All of this means that if you change his name, he will need a long time to adjust. Therefore, changing the dog’s name is never a good thing to do, and there are a lot of issues in that scenario.
One more note…
It is important to add that you need to be the alpha if you want your dog to come to you when you call him. In other terms, you need to have a bigger role than he does in the pack. If he refuses to come, it probably means that he doesn’t see you as an alpha, which is a mistake.
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Dogs Can Learn Many Words As Well
A lot of dogs can learn a lot of words. But this is not something we can generalize. Other dogs are unable to learn many words.They can learn just a couple of them. The intelligence of a dog doesn’t have a crucial role here. We believe that training and positive reinforcement, paired with your effort, play a huge role.
The best example is when you enter the room. You can say “hello” to your dog. He will probably react, and you can see him being happy. But the key element here is to know that your dog doesn’t actually know what “hello” means. If you say hello and walk out of the room, he will do nothing. If you say hello and he sees you carrying a leash, it means that you want to walk him. Your dog will become happy, and he will want to be next to you.
All of this means that dogs will look at verbal clues and use them to deduce what you want to say. They are unable to understand the English language, and they obviously cannot speak
Teach Your Dog His Name
Now you probably want to know how you can teach your dog his name so he will come every single time when you call him. It is actually easynt to know how you can teach your dog his name so he will come every single time when you call him. It is actually easy. Start when your dog is a puppy. This is much more effective. Call out his name while he is on a leash and show him a treat. When he comes to you, give him a treat. Repeat this as many times as possible.
You will want to remove the leash after a week or two and try again. Always give him a treat. Then, train him while walking him on a leash. Try different things and explore different situations.
Teach a Dog Its Name. Complete Step By Step Guide
The first thing you will need to know is that this trick will require a lot of time and effort. You will have to practice at least 10 times per day. If you want to practice, even more, it is better. DIY & how to: teach a dog its name starts with a simple step and moves to more complicated ones.
- Allow your pet to be 2-6 feet away from you. Don’t do anything until he looks at you. As soon as he does, you will use a clicker to click or you can say yes. Now you will give him a treat. You can also praise him and reward him in other ways.
- You will have to repeat the step from above 10 times per day. You will want to do this in an area where there are no distractions. A dog park is the worst place where you can try to teach your pet this trick.
- If a dog doesn’t look at you or he wants to do something else, you can throw him a treat or dog food. He will eat it and he will look for you. He will basically look for more. Then you can click with the clicker or say yes. Now you will throw him another piece of food.
- Now when your pet is looking at you after he eats the treat or food you can start telling his name. Do this before your pet turns around. Always reward him.
- If you want to make things a bit more interesting, you can. You will place a treat on the floor. When he eats it, you will say his name and move backward. He will come to you and you will reward him again. Now use another treat to repeat the process. Repeat this as many times as you want.
Additional Things You Need To Know
There are a couple of things you need to know here. The main thing you have to do is to not reward him when he does something else. For example, you will not reward him if he sits or does anything similar. The goal is to help him link his name with the treat. As such, you will give him a treat and praise only when he does what he should do.
Most of the time you can notice when a dog starts looking at you all the time. He is looking for a treat and praise. Maybe he is looking for attention as well. This means that the training is working and you are on the right path. You should continue performing the steps above.
You will also want to gradually allow some distractions during the training. What this means is that you will start in your backyard and try to teach him. Then you will move close to your home and as the last step, you will do this in a dog park. This basically reinforces the training and makes sure that a dog will obey you when there are some distractions present. On the contrary, if you start at a dog park and you want to make the training successful, you are in serious trouble. It will never work.
Things You Must Never Do While Training Your Pet
Now that you know all the things you can and should do in order to complete the training in no time, you have to know a few things that must not be done! These are serious and common mistakes that will make the whole training problematic for lack of a better word.
- Don’t use his name multiple times. If your dog is Rex, you will want to say Rex only once. If you say RexRexRex he will associate this with the training. It means that he will believe this is his name.
- If your pet is not paying attention to you, don’t shout the name. You will want to move to another location, somewhere there are no other pets or anything that can distract him. Continue training there.
- When your dog responds, the worst thing you can do is delay the treatment. You must give it to him as soon as you can. Mark his success as soon as you can.
- Do not use commands like sit and stand with the dog’s name. Eventually, a dog will believe that the full command is his name plus the actual command so they will stop obeying you properly.
- Don’t try to change his name. Odds are high that a dog knows his name already and you trying to change it will never work or it will make the whole process far more complicated. Yes, this even refers to owners who don’t like the name of their dog.
- Don’t use his name and a negative command like ‘’quiet’’ or ‘’go away’’ while training your pet. Your dog will link his name with something bad which is not a thing you want.
The Final Word
How do dogs know their names when we call them and they come? They don’t know what you are saying. They only know that the sound you make and the verbal clues you make will give them something positive. Usually, that’s a treat. That’s why they will come to you. But a dog will come to you only if he thinks you have a bigger role in the pack than he does!