How To Teach Your Puppy His Name

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I’m assuming you already named your puppy. If not check out the article I wrote about how I named my dogs: Naming Your Dog.

If you’ve already named your puppy then it’s time to learn how to teach your puppy his name.

One of the most important things you can teach your dog is his name. It can save his life…literally. How you might ask?

Well, what if your dog was chasing a ball into the street? What if a car was coming?

How to teach your puppy his name
How to teach your puppy his name

If your dog knows the meaning of his name he will respond and come to you when called even while in the middle of playing.

Of course, as I mentioned in my last article, How To Handle Your Puppy’s First Night At Home, training your puppy will require consistency and patience.

How To Teach Your Puppy His Name

Puppy Charlie hears his name.
Did someone same Charlie?

From the Guide Dogs of America Handbook:

Teaching your puppy its name is important.

  1. Use it every time you talk to him and with every command (except NO and STAY) .
  2. Never associate the dog’s name with something negative.
  3. Never scold the puppy after he comes to you, even if it has taken a while to respond.
  4. Please do not change the puppy’s name or call him by a nickname.

That’s it! Short and simple. However, it is much easier said than done.

Golden puppy, Bear learning his name.
Golden puppy, Bear learning his name.

My Experiences With Stetson And Linus

A few pitfalls I can warn you about are:

Not using the puppy’s name with NO and STAY – This is difficult to do when you try to use their name with every other command. Try to be consistent. I still will occasionally use Linus and Stetson’s names with the NO or STAY command.

Also, you might be wondering why can’t we use our puppy’s name with the STAY command? The main reason we don’t associate our dog’s name with the STAY command is that the puppy’s name should be synonymous with the COME command.

When I say my puppy’s name he should COME to me. That is quite the contradiction from STAY.

It is also very difficult to avoid using your dog’s name with something negative. My biggest problem is when Linus or Stetson does something wrong I’ll say their name in a very negative voice. Sometimes I catch myself…sometimes I don’t.

Scolding your puppy when he comes to you…another bad habit that can be difficult to break. Why wouldn’t you want to scold your puppy after he comes to you?

Let’s say he just chewed up your new shoes and you say “Stetson Come” He comes to you as you commanded (made the correct choice). Then you scold him! Do you think he’s going to come to you next time? No! You should praise him when he comes to you.

The only time you should scold your puppy is when you catch him in the act of doing something wrong.

Not changing your name or calling your dog by a nickname is more of a Guide Dog thing, but is also good for a young puppy. It can be confusing for a young puppy if you’re calling him by several different names.

I tried hard with Linus, but my sister, my roommate, and my ex-girlfriend each had a nickname for him. I constantly told them not to use nicknames. Here are a few they used: Linie, Linikins, Linoceros, and Puppy Chow.

I’ve been very strict with Stetson and people are usually more understanding since he’s training to be a guide dog.

Teaching our puppy his name
Here comes Charlie! Teaching this puppy his name.

The Name Game

The first game we always play at our Guide Dog training class is the Name Game. How does it work?

  1. Take your dog to the park and keep him on leash (it works a little better if you have a longer leash may be about 10 feet).
  2. Give him about 5 feet to wander away.
  3. When he’s not looking call his name with an excited voice and make sure he comes to you (if he doesn’t come reel him in with his leash).
  4. When he gets to you give him tons of praise!
  5. Repeat the exercise over and over again until your puppy is consistently returning to you when you call his name.

QUICK TIP: This might be the only time you’ll catch me recommending using a flexi-leash. When working on recalls we will use either a 10-30 foot long line or sometimes we’ll use a flexi-leash. We ONLY use our flexi-leash when training our pups.

***Whenever you’re trying to get your puppy’s attention you have to be the most exciting thing in the world…more exciting than the birds, smells, other dogs, joggers…you get the picture…

Try playing the Name Game with your puppy. Be consistent and patient. Stick to the rules outlined above and your puppy will soon be consistently coming to you when you say his name.

Have you played the Name Game before? Does your puppy know his name? Do you have any other suggestions for reinforcing a puppy’s name?

Now that your puppy knows his name you might try teaching him something more advanced like “Go To Your Bed”

How do you teach your puppy to come when calling his name. Many years ago when we were raising Stetson to be a Guide Dog we learned some simple tricks to easily teach our puppy his name. One of our favorite games to play with our puppy is the “name game” which will quickly teach your pup his name. #puppysname #puppyname #puppynamegame #puppycome #teachpuppyname
How do you teach your puppy to come when calling his name?

Top Picks For Our Puppies

    We Like: Calmeroos Puppy Toy w/ Heartbeat and Heat Packs - Perfect for new puppies. Helps ease anxiety in their new home.
    We Like: Mighty Paw Naturals Bully Sticks - All of our puppies love to bite, nip, and chew. We love using Bully Sticks to help divert these unwanted behaviors.
    We Like: Crazy Dog Train-Me Treats - We use these as our high-value treats for our guide dog puppies.
    We Like: The Farmer's Dog - A couple months ago we started feeding Raven fresh dog food and she loves it! Get 50% off your first order of The Farmer's Dog.

Check out more of our favorites on our New Puppy Checklist.

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  1. Ok, so I have a puppy that I got about 2 weeks ago. He is about 7 weeks old. Im in the middle of house breaking him. My problem is that when I go to bed, I have his little bed on my bed because thats were he likes to sleep. But the problem is… he will jump down and poop on the puppy pad at night, and then come to the edge of my bed and cry until i wake up and help him back up because he is to small to jump up. But he WILL NOT jump down to pee on the puppy pad. He will instead pee on my bed. Most of the time he will do it many times through the night, which makes it were I have to wash my sheets every day. Any suggestions on what I can do. Like how to train him not to do that.

  2. Hey!
    I have a “little vampire” as well, and he has a little problem with- you guessed it. Socks. Have any ideas on how to decrease his appetite for socks?

  3. Hii, i have two male chipit puppies which are only 3 months old, and they never seem to agree on the same thing. They are always going after each other and fighting over d same thing. I don’t know what to do, how can i make the cordial with each other?

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