Sometimes people wonder if their dog really knows his name or if he is being selective in what he responds to. Often times people who adopt a new dog from a shelter are afraid to change the dog’s name for fear it will cause confusion. But dogs do adapt. When I think of all the nicknames and cutesy words I use to call my dog, it’s a wonder she knows which name actually is hers.
If you are not getting the response that you want when you call your dog’s name, considered the following:
• How are you calling him? Does your voice sound stern?
• How often do you call him? Has he tuned you out because you’re always calling him?
• How many times do you repeat his name? Has he learned to wait for the 7th time to respond?
• What happens when he does respond to you? Do you reprimand him for something?
• What if he doesn’t respond to you? Do you give up w/out follow through?
Make sure you don’t sound threatening to your new dog or puppy when you say his name. Some rescue dogs might do better w/a new name because they associate someone calling their old name with punishment.
Try playing a little game with your new dog by using a friendly voice when you call his name. When he turns to look at you, surprise him with a yummy treat, a squeaky toy or whatever he finds entertaining. You need to keep the association with your dog’s name positive if you want to get a good response from your dog.