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Do Dogs Know Their Owners’ Names? (How To Find Out)

Do Dogs Know Their Owners' Name

Dogs can recognize their names.

And there’s no doubt about it.

But what about ours?

Do our furry pals also know our names? 

Continue reading to discover:

  • 5 easy steps to teach your dog your name.
  • Whether dogs know their owners’ names or not.
  • 5 ways to find out if your dog recognizes your name.
  • And many more…

Do dogs know their owners’ name?

Dogs know their owners’ name. They learn this by repetition and association. For example, if the dog always hears someone call their parents by their name, they’ll remember it. And soon enough, they’ll realize that the specific word goes with their human. Same as certain words to objects or actions.

How to find out if your dog knows your name

#1: Your dog reacts to your name

Okay. Let’s start with the easiest way.

First, watch your dog’s reaction whenever they hear your name.

How to do it?

You can either say your name in front of your pooch.


Have someone mention you or call you by your name while you’re all in the same room as your dog.

And then observe what Fido’s going to do next.

“What reactions should I watch out for?”

Usually, if a dog hears a familiar word or name, it may cause them to:

  • Bark.
  • Stop.
  • Become alert.
  • Perk up their ears.

It’s like they’re saying,

“Oh, I know that word. It belongs to my hooman!

Fun fact: Do you wonder how many words a dog can learn? According to experts, they can remember 165 to 250 words at most. Plus, Fidos can also count up to 4 or 5.

You may also wonder: Why does my dog bark when I talk?

#2: Your dog gets excited upon hearing your name

Aside from the subtle reactions that I mentioned above…

Dogs also get so hyped whenever they hear their humans’ names.

And this also happens even if their fur parents aren’t around.

So it only shows how that specific word (a parent’s name) holds a special place in their heart.

“How can I tell if my dog is excited?”

You can notice some of these signs:

  • Pacing.
  • Circling you.
  • Intense tail wagging.
  • Opening their mouth with their tongue out.

Apart from these, PetMD also says that excited dogs let out ‘happy barks.’

“What are those?

And what do they sound like?”

They’re high-pitched. 

And unlike the bark they do when angry, these are shorter.

Trivia: A study found that our dogs also know our faces and voices. To know this, experts showed dogs photos of their parents and strangers. And they also played recorded audio of those people at the same time.

Sometimes, the face and voice matched.

But there are also instances when they’re mismatched.

And the results?

The dogs stared at their parent’s photos longer when experts played a stranger’s voice.

“What does that mean?”

It suggests that the dogs know it’s not their parents’ voice.

They’re confused, and they know something’s not adding up.

#3: Your dog looks in your direction right away

Next, you may ask someone again to mention your name in front of your dog.

But this time, do it while there are people in the room.

Then see if your pooch looks in your direction immediately.

Well. Come to think of it.

It’s also our usual reaction when someone’s name gets mentioned in the room.

We tend to look at the person who gets called. And this is also observed in canines.

For example, if you say “ball,” your dog knows you’re talking about their toy.

So what will they do?

They’ll look in their ball’s direction and fetch it.

And the case is also the same for names.

#4: Your dog comes to you without asking them to

Your Dog Knows Your Name If They Come To You Without Asking Them To

Did your pooch do all the previous signs?

If so, have someone familiar with your dog say “Go to [your name]!” in front of them.


Watch if your pooch comes to you or not.

But make sure you’re in the same room as them. And that your dog can see you.

Note: This may or may not work because it’s already a command. But still, you’ll never know unless you try.


Don’t get disheartened if this doesn’t go as you expected.

It’s normal, and there are still ways to train your Fido to recognize your name.


We’ll get to this later, so hang on for a bit. 🙂

#5: Your dog can go to you when someone told them

Lastly, if the previous idea was successful…

You may also do it again.

But you must be in a different room –  away from your dog this time.

Note: Show your Fido where you are first before starting the test. So they know where to find you right away.

Then again, see if they come to you or not.

If they did, congratulations! 🙂

Your dog knows your name by heart. And you can even play hide and seek with them next time.

But if not, it’s also fine. That’s because…

Not all dogs can remember what their parent’s names are

This often happens when only the 2 of them live in the same house.

No one calls their fur parent by their name every day. So they don’t have much recall and association of the word. 

Our dogs may also know us as “Mom” or “Dad” and never by our names.


They’re simply not trained yet to recognize certain words.

But if you’re in a similar situation like that, you can still do something about it.

How to teach your dog your name

#1: Prepare for the training

Before teaching your dog, here are 6 things you need to do first.

Find a room with fewer or no distractions

Go somewhere enclosed and quiet. Also, avoid doing something else during the training.


Research shows that dogs obey more if their parents only pay attention to them.

So if they’re doing something else, Fidos are less likely to follow. 

Say, if they’re looking at their phone or watching TV.

Ask at least 2 people to help you

You can’t do this training alone. So ask your friends or family to help you for a few minutes.

But make sure your dog’s already familiar with them. 

This is so that the lesson will go smoothly.

Note: You can also start with 1 helper if 2 aren’t possible at the moment. However, this method works best if you’re at least 3 in the room. Why? I’ll discuss this shortly.

Ensure your dog recognizes their name

You’ll be asking your Fido to come to you. So they must know their name first.

Teach your dog the command “come”

If your pooch already knows this, ask them to come to you before starting.

But if they don’t know it yet…

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Get some treats as rewards.
  2. Go to the other end of the room (opposite your dog).
  3. Kneel or sit so you’re on the same eye level as your pooch.
  4. Say “[Your dog’s name], come” in an excited/gentle manner. (Whichever works for your Fido.)
  5. Give them a treat when they come.
  6. Repeat until they master it.

If you want to see how you’re supposed to do it, watch this short clip:

Prepare your dog’s favorite treats

Fidos love treats. And they also deserve these as rewards for obeying you. Along with praises and belly rubs.

Shorten your name if it’s more than 2 syllables

For your dog to remember your name fast, it must be catchy for them. So the shorter it is, the better.


It’s the same case with commands and Fido’s names.

Vets say that dogs respond better to a 2-syllable name.

This is because longer ones are confusing. On the other hand, 1-syllable names can be hard to remember. Especially for easily distracted dogs.

So if your name has more than 2 syllables, use a nickname instead.

You might also like: 66 Worst Dog Names Of All-Time (#13 Is Beyond Ridiculous)

#2: Ask someone to say, “Where’s [your name]?”

Now, if everything’s already set, do the next step.

Tell one of the people helping you to say, “Where’s [your name]?” in front of your dog.

And then…

#3: Say, “[Your dog’s name], come!”

If your dog goes to you, say your name again.

This is to confirm to your dog that it’s your name. Or that they should associate with you.

And then, give your pooch treats and say praises.

Note: Treats are only for their first phase of training. If your dog has mastered the command, slowly cut these down.

#4: Repeat until your dog understands it

Dogs learn by repetition.

And it’ll also take them time to connect the dots.

So repeat the steps as many as you can within 15 minutes. Then take a break after this.

Also, watch your dog’s reactions as you progress. 


As you go along…

You may notice that your dog will start looking in the same direction as you are. 

And that’s a good sign.

Your Fido has already started connecting the name to you. And they’ll soon master it after a few repetitions.

#5: Shake things up a bit 

Now, if your dog is still in the mood to train that same day…

Or if they already seem bored…

Do some changes to test them.

“What do you mean?”

You and the other people in the room can switch positions. Or have the other person say the command this time.

Also, ask your pooch to do some basic commands in between. For example, “sit,” “lie down,” or “wait.”

Now, you might ask:

“Why is this necessary?”

Over time, your dog might think they only need to go back and forth. Which is from you and the other person.

And that’s not what we want.

So by shaking things up a bit…

You’ll change the pattern. And they’ll realize that you’re not only asking them to come.

But you’re also telling them to focus on the name. And then associate it with you.