Dog Training Tip: Using a Dog’s Name

Humans use names as identifiers. Dogs, however, don’t understand a name as an identifier so much as they view it as another command. Because dogs see their names as commands, it is important we teach what is expected when we give a dog’s name.

A dog’s name is the command for “tune in,” meaning the dog is about to receive additional information. Get into the habit of giving another command after you say your dog’s name so he will begin to understand what is expected.

For example, say “Bandit, sit” or “Bandit, come.” If you use the name without a command afterward (meaning one day you say “Bandit” expecting your dog to sit and the next you say “Bandit” expecting your dog to come) your dog will be confused about your expectations of him. When this happens your dog will begin to ignore his name as he has no idea what it means.