How Do You Teach A Dog Its Name (Step By Step)

If you’ve got a new puppy or dog, one of the first things that they will have to learn is their name.

The chances are that before you have even brought your furry friend home, that you’ve got a cute name in mind for them. If you’re going to train your dog, then the first step is to teach them their name.

This is so you can call them, get them to run back to you, and so you can claim their attention, which is essential for training purposes. So, how do you even teach a dog its name, and what are the best ways to do this? Our guide is here for you to find out!

How Do You Teach A Dog Its Name (Step By Step)

How Do You Teach A Dog Its Name?

Teaching a dog its name is essential in the training journey, and in keeping your dog safe at all times.

If your dog can respond to its name, you can call them back when they run off, and ensure that they do not pose a risk to themselves or others. 

This can also lead to leash free walks and hikes, which is much easier for you, and will keep your dog much happier in the long run. To teach your dog its name, it will only take a few simple steps and you will have yourself a very obedient puppy in your home!

The best way to do this is to reward your dog every time they come to you when called, and do this consistently until they seem to know their name perfectly. 

Step One

The first step is to think about how you are going to go about training your dog.

The key with training a dog is consistency, as you have to keep at it, and you have to repeat commands over and over again, so you’ll need to set some time apart for this and ensure you can give your pup the time and attention that they need.

Training sessions should also be very short, but frequent.

Dogs do not have huge attention spans, so shorter training sessions are best as your dog will be able to focus for a short time and work really hard with your commands. 

Our recommendation is that you plan five minute training sessions with at least three to five times of calling its name through different parts of the day.

With practice and consistency over a few days, they will learn their name in no time. 

Step Two

The next step is to find the perfect place to start training your dog. This can be the living room, or the kitchen or anywhere with some space for you and your pup.

You could also try using a quiet outdoor space such as the backyard or garden. 

Try not to use a public space such as a park as there will be lots of distractions and noise, which could make it hard for your puppy to focus on you and learn its name.

Step Three

Once you have picked your place to train your dog, you can start calling its name. It’s best to do this in a positive, happy, clear and inviting voice. We also recommend that you do not call your dog’s name too many times as they will start to zone out and ignore the calls.

Instead, you will want to say something like ‘Max, come!’ or ‘Here, Max!’ and make a fuss of them. You will also want to use positive body language, and an inviting and encouraging tone so that your pup feels compelled to come straight to you. 

Step Four

When you are trying to teach your dog its name, you can also try running away from your pup, as dogs love to chase, and will want to run after you.

If you run away, you can start calling your pup’s name so that they run towards you, and start to learn their name.

You can also use a long leash to tether your dog, and leave them to wander and explore. Then, when your dog is not paying you attention, you can start to call their name again in an excited and encouraging voice.

Every time your dog comes to you, you’ll need to reward your dog with praise and treats.  

Step Five

When your dog comes to you once called, you’ll want to reward this positive behavior with a treat, along with some verbal praise and fuss to keep them excited and happy about the action.

You can offer treats, belly rubs, head pats, or whatever attention your dog loves the most! This will reinforce the response, and your dog’s good behavior. 

Step Six

As your dog starts responding to their name, you will want to keep practising so that you can reinforce that what your dog is doing is good.

To do this, you’ll need to make the training a little more challenging by adding in some distractions such as balls, toys and games.

Whilst your dog is chewing, grooming itself or playing, try calling their name again to see whether they respond and come to you. If they do, then reward appropriately. 

Step Seven

As your dog learns its name, it is important to phase out the treat giving.

Instead of offering treats every time they come to you, give them sporadically, and then give them attention and belly rubs instead. Then, the more you use their name, during playtime, walks, and feeding times they will grow accustomed to it and will know their name. 

How Long Does It Take For A Dog To Learn His Name?

Teaching your dog its name is actually really very simple, and you can start responding to its name within 2-3 days! With consistency, regular training, and lots of positivity, you can train your dog to know its name completely within about two weeks. 

Top Tips For Teaching A Dog Its Name

The best way to teach a dog its name, and the same goes for all kinds of training, is to be encouraging, positive, and optimistic.

You’ll also have to have a lot of patience, and be able to wait for your pup to grasp the concept of their name.

You will also want to avoid scolding your dog if they do not come to you straight away. This will create a negative response to the name calling. Instead, only remain positive and keep a light tone.  

Of course, the most important thing to remember is that you have to use positive reinforcement with lots of treats, and a welcoming, positive attitude and tone of voice.

This is the best way for your dog to learn their name in no time!


To summarize, teaching your pup its name is one of the first steps you will take on your dog’s training journey. The good news is that it is super easy to do, and will not take much time at all.

With a little bit of practice, effort and consistency, your pup will start to answer and respond to its name within about 2-3 days. Then, you can start working on recall and other tricks for your dog. 

Daniel Johnson