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Dog Trick: Teach Your Dog to Learn Names

Difficulty: Moderate 

Dogs are a lot smarter than we give them credit for and can learn the names of all sorts of things. A border collie named Chaser currently holds the record for the largest dog vocabulary, having learned the names of over 1000 different toys and items. Dog's aren't limited to objects, they can learn the names of people and other pets as well. Wouldn't it be nice if your dog knew your kids' names? You can teach your dog the names of all his toys, the remote, or a place like his kennel or the living room.

Step 1: Have your dog touch your hand and click treat.

Step 2: Hold the object in your hand and say touch. Click treat when he touches the object not when he touches your hand.

Step 3: Call the object by its name (tug, squeaky, bunny, etc.) just as he touches it. Click and treat.

Step 4: Repeat 5 times.

Step 5: Hold the object and say its name and click and treat when he touches it.

Step 6: For teaching the names of people (Bob, Joe, Dad, Mom, etc.) and places (Bed, corner, kennel, etc.) use the training stick to introduce the person or place


I started out by waiting until Caspian looked at his toy, "Bobo." I clicked and treated. I did this several times until he was looking at it often. This got his attention and directed it toward Bobo. Then, I only started clicking and treating when he went toward the toy and touched it. Each time he touched it with his mouth (or paw, whichever you prefer), I would click and treat. Soon, he did it so often that I started saying "Bobo" whenever he touched it. Now, when I say, "Caspian, get Bobo" he'll go looking around the house to find his toy.


He's not getting it!
Don't tire your dog out. Five minutes at a time for a puppy and 7-10 minutes for an adult dog is a long training session. After that amount of time, their focus blurs. Even if your dog understands what you're trying to get him to do, he'll have a harder time remembering it later if he's tired.

Tip: "Teach your dog to round up your kids! Instead of going to get them yourself, you could combine this trick with "Speak" and tell your dog to "Go get Emma!" Once he finds her, he will bark once to let her know she's wanted."
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