It takes a lot of preparation when you’re getting a new puppy. You need to give them food, shelter, training supplies, and choose a great name for them.
But when do puppies start learning their name? Should you teach them right away?
Find out when puppies learn their name, learn the signs that they know their name, and check out some experiments for puppy name recognition.
When Do Puppies Learn Their Name?
Puppies will learn their name pretty quickly, often within a few days of you bringing them home.
But the length of training depends on several factors, such as their age, intelligence, and how often you train them.
The Age of Your Puppy
Your puppy’s age may determine how quickly they will learn their name.
Puppies develop their sense of hearing at three weeks old. So if you have your puppy from birth, then this is a good age to start teaching them their name.
But if your puppy is older, it could take a while before they learn and respond to their name. It becomes even more complicated if they have come from a shelter or a previous owner where they had a different name.
Name your puppy the moment they become a part of your family. Choose one and stick to it so as not to confuse your puppy during training.
Be consistent with your training until they can fully recognize the sound of their name every time you use it.
The Commitment of Owners
Spend a lot of time with your puppy during their first few days and weeks with you so they pick up on their name more quickly.
No matter how brilliant your dog is, they won’t recognize their names without your dedication. Make sure you consistently use positive reinforcement when teaching them their name.
Incorporate name recognition tricks in other training sessions as well, such as when you’re training your puppy to sit and stay.
Your puppy will also learn their name through everyday moments, like when you talk to them when playing, sleeping, and watching TV.
So bond with your puppy as often as possible and use their name all the time.
Your Puppy’s Level of Intelligence
Some puppies are more easily trained than others because of their breed.
Border Collies, German Shepherds, Beagles, and Golden Retrievers are more intelligent and can recall command words easily.
Other dog breeds take longer to remember their name, so you may need extra patience when training them. These breeds include Bulldogs, Basset Hounds, and Afghan Hounds.
Signs That Your Puppy Knows Their Name
You can tell if your puppy finally knows their name in several ways. Here are some signs to look for when teaching your puppy their moniker.
Your Puppy Reacts Regardless of Your Body Language
Some dogs only respond to their name being called when you have a happy tone and overall body language.
That means your dog doesn’t know their name. Instead, they feel rewarded when getting that specific reaction from you.
Try calling your dog in a different tone of voice. If they look at you, it’s a good sign that they recognize their name.
Examine their body language when you are calling their name. If they seem “committed” and excited to react to you, then it means they are happy you are calling them.
They Respond Even If They’re Far Away
A dog’s sense of hearing is strong like their sense of smell. They should be able to hear your voice if you call them from another room.
Move to another room where your dog can hear you without you shouting. Make sure they can’t see you.
Call your puppy’s name. If they approach you right away, it means they know their name.
Make sure your puppy keeps this enthusiasm every time you call their name.
Your Puppy Comes When Called
No matter where you are, a puppy that knows their name will respond to their name being called. They should value the command more than the distractions in their surroundings.
You can teach this to your dog by starting in a distraction-free environment. Have them approach you when you call them.
Then, once they have mastered this, move to an environment where there are other people and distractions.
You can also move to the park to see if your puppy will come when you call them despite the trees, dogs, and stimulating smells.
Teach your puppy to come when called as early as two months. It will help them stay safe when you’re playing in dog parks or strolling leash-free.
How to Strengthen Your Puppy’s Name Recognition
These tips will serve as good practice and training for your pup who struggles with recognizing their name.
Use Food to Train Your Dog
Food rewards always make the training process more manageable. Apply this tip to any training that your dog receives, including the process of name recognition.
When you say your dog’s name, give them their favorite treat when they respond. Doing so will help them establish their name as a positive thing.
Every time your dog gets a delicious treat for responding, they will realize that a response to their name being called always leads to a good outcome.
Learn the best chew treats you can give your puppy as a reward.
To start, take your puppy to a quiet place. You can use a harness or a leash throughout the process.
Then, call their name. If they look at you, respond, and approach you, say “good,” and give them a treat.
Keep doing this until your dog no longer needs the treat to respond to their name.
Use Their Name in Every Situation
Repeat your puppy’s name in their daily routines.
For example, before dinner time, call your puppy’s name. Make sure they approach you immediately before you offer them food.
Do the same during playtime. Mention their name when playing fetch or tug-of-war.
You can also ask other people in your household to use their name.
Make sure to keep each training session or playtime short. Puppies’ energy comes in short bursts, so they might not find their name rewarding anymore after hours of training.
Make It More Challenging
The last tip for ensuring your puppy learns their name is to make the training session more challenging.
Take your dog to an area that is full of distractions. Puppies are naturally curious about other people, objects, and animals.
It will be harder for your puppy to focus on you when you call them. Some will not respond at all because other elements of their surroundings are more stimulating.
Consistent training sessions will help your dog feel rewarded when they hear their name. Make sure the treats, praises, and other forms of reward are more enjoyable than their environment.
Can a Puppy Learn a New Name?
Yes, puppies can learn a new name.
Dogs don’t understand their name as part of their identity, rather it is a command they have been taught to respond to.
After all, if our dogs can respond to all the numerous nicknames we use for them, they can be taught to respond to anything.
It may take longer to train them depending on how long they had their old name. But, like with any training, patience and consistency will win out.
The more you use their name, the faster they will respond to it and the faster they will forget about the old one.
Incorporate their new name in all training sessions and playtime. And make sure to praise them and offer treats throughout the training process.
Find out more about when puppies learn their name.
Can You Change Your Dog’s Name After A Few Years?
Yes, you can change your dog’s name after a few years.
The name “Bubbles” doesn’t sound great anymore now that your puppy has grown up. You can change it to “Bruno,” “Bailey,” or any name you want as long as you and your dog are willing to undergo some training.
Use the same positive reinforcement training you use for other commands. Call their name as often as possible, especially when training them to come.
Associating your dog’s new name with positive experiences is also essential. Offer lots of treats, verbal praises, and belly rubs whenever they respond to their new name.
At What Age Do Dogs Learn Their Name?
Depending on their breed, socialization, and training, dogs can learn their name from 3 weeks old.
Puppies enter the world without a sense of hearing. Their ears are the last sense organ to develop, so you can’t teach their name right away.
Dogs also learn their names through other signals, like your hand gestures, facial expressions, and body language.
Stay consistent when training your dog to learn their name.
Here’s more on the age when dogs learn their name.
Do Puppies Know When They’ve Done Something Wrong?
Puppies understand that they made a mistake based on your reaction to what they did.
For example, if you show anger after they spilled your drink, your puppy will understand that what they did was unacceptable.
But they will not understand the reason behind what is right and wrong. Your puppy may learn to stop peeing inside the room, but they won’t know why it’s terrible.
Positive reinforcement and continuous training are the secrets to making sure your dog knows what is right and wrong.
Do Puppies Know When Humans Are Sleeping?
Dogs know when humans are sleeping through their excellent senses.
They understand that you’re in slumber when they hear you snoring. In the same way, dogs know you’re sleeping when they notice that your eyes are shut.
Our furry friends are very intuitive since they can detect subtle behavioral changes. They can even smell your bodily changes.
Teach Your Dog Their Name
Dogs learn their names at different rates, depending on their age, intelligence level, and your level of commitment to training.
Ensure your dog responds to their name as early as possible with continuous positive reinforcement training. Verbal rewards and treats will be beneficial throughout the process.
Your puppy’s name isn’t the only thing you should prepare for when getting a new one. Consult our new puppy checklist so you can be fully prepared to be a new fur parent.