What’s In A Name?

Dogs have names just like people. We give our dogs’ their names to distinguish them from other dogs and often to suggest personality traits we see in our dogs. To a dog, however, a name is a command. It means “Hey you look at me and pay attention.” If we want our dog to move toward us, we say “Jake come.” If we want him to put his belly on the ground and be still, we say “Jake down.” Teaching our dogs their names and them using them properly is important because it lets our dogs know we are speaking to them and expect their attention. Watching our dogs when we say their names lets us know if they are paying attention or not. If you say your dog’s name your dog should turn to look at you or at least perk his/her ears in your direction. This lets you know that they are paying attention and you can continue with a command. If your dog completely ignores you when you say his/he name don’t bother with a follow-up command because you can be assured that they will ignore that too. All to say that most commands are actually 2 commands with one following directly after the other. The first is the dog’s name (hey you pay attention to me) followed by a second which means “now that I have your attention please comply with the next command.”