3 Top Tips on How to Teach a Puppy its Name


­­­Already got a nice, endearing name for her but have no idea how to teach your puppy its name?

Don’t worry about it…a lot of new owners find themselves in a similar position in their journey to how to train a puppy. Yeah, believe me. It took us some time to get Buck to respond to his name.

So that’s why we’re here…to help you avoid the pitfalls we encountered!

But first, why is teaching a puppy her name so important.


Well, there would be times you need to get her attention, right? This is particularly true for training your new puppy. When your puppy learns her name, it’s always much easier to keep her focus on training.

Plus, it’s important you have her respond immediately in urgent situations – say when she’s in danger for whatever reason on a walk. And of course, it’s crucial that you get this over with before you get into basic command training, etc.

And ultimately, it’s also a matter of convenience. If your puppy eventually learns to promptly respond to her name, the stuff of dreams like walking without a leash suddenly becomes entirely possible.

But teaching a puppy its name isn’t a task that’s accomplished in a matter of hours. Or even days. It takes a lot of consistent, patient training, with loads of positive reinforcement.

1. How to Teach a Puppy its Name 101 – Choose the Name Wisely

While this seems really trivial a point, a lot of new owners struggle because they’ve chosen a name not particularly suitable for dogs.Not because the name itself doesn’t quite fit.


The name you choose for your puppy should be one that she can pick up on easily too. That’s the main reason you’re doing this, aren’t you. So give more weight to that rather than how cool or unique the name is.

Here are some ideal characteristics to look for in a new puppy name:

  • It should be short and distinct. Your pup should be able to pick out her name immediately from your speech. And the shorter the name, the quicker your dog will be able to register it. Try to shortlist only names with one or two syllables, with sharp or prominent sounds like Sammy, Coco, Buddy, Fido, etc.
  • It shouldn’t be easily confused with common words. For instance, don’t use names that rhyme or sound a lot like the names of other people in the family. Or common words like yes (Jess), No (Mo), stay (Shay), etc. Your puppy will get easily confused in such cases. Dogs just react to the sound without thinking too much.
  • It should be repeatable.  Choosing a long, unfamiliar name might get in the way of you and others in the house repeating it as often as possible so your pup learns it quickly.

2. Using the Right Training Techniques

Now picking out a nice, the easily recognizable name is one thing. Getting your puppy to learn it quickly is a whole different beast. And while you may have already learned of some common training exercises, it helps to get creative here.

Here are some additional tips to make your training more effective so can teach your puppy its name quicker:

    1. Playing games: incorporate fun exercises in your training, like calling out your pup’s name as she chases you around.
    2. Don’t overuse the name: you know how when you hear something over and over again over a period of time, you begin to stop noticing it? It’s like your mind tunes out the sound. It’s the same with your puppy. Call her once or twice – not repeatedly – and reward her when she responds.
    3. Make sure your puppy doesn’t lose the thread: Once your puppy picks up on her name, see that she responds to it every time. Using a leash in this situation can be helpful, as you can pull her gently to yourself when she’s unresponsive. This way she knows that every time you say the name, she is to come to you.
    4. Don’t be negative: if you use the name whilst showing anger or frustration, your puppy will make a note of that. She might even start fearing the name if it goes on for too long.
    5. Avoid nicknames: using nicknames when your puppy hasn’t even begun recognizing its name properly is a bad idea. You’ll only confuse her.

Consistency, Consistency, Consistency…and Patience!

It’s ok if it’s taking some time for you to teach your puppy its name. Remember, all dogs are different, and so might naturally learn at different rates.

In fact, there are different learning rates among breeds, too. The point being, stay calm and patient and avoid negative emotions while training lest it reverses any progress.

Your puppy might even take a step back after making good strides in training. Don’t be discouraged. It’s more important to be regular and consistent until the end.

We hope you found these tips for teaching your dog its name useful. We also have a HUGE how to train a puppy guide you’ll want to checkout. If you have some other tips or suggestions of your own, do mention them in the comments section below!

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