How to Get Your Dog To Listen… Every Time!

We all want our dog to listen to us but what do you do if he doesn’t?

Have you ever heard a familiar voice calling out your name on a crowded street and immediately started looking around to connect with who it was?

In both the human and dog world, our name is actually a signal that someone wants our attention. Too often dog owners struggle with training because their dog hasn’t yet learned what to do when he hears his name.

One of the very first (and most important!) things we can teach a new dog is what to do when we say their name.  This makes teaching everything else so much easier!

So, what do you do if your dog has selective hearing or only responds to his name sometimes?  The answer is super easy and you can turn things around in less than 10 minutes a day.

First, you have to teach him what to do when he hears his name just like you would any other command.


1. Start with your dog on a leash (so he can’t walk away and ignore you).

2. Say his name.

3. When he looks at you, PRAISE and reward with a piece of treat or some petting.

4. Repeat 10x.

5. Practice 3-4 times per day for a week in lots of different rooms & outside. 

Okay, so now your dog knows this game and is looking at you right away 9 times out of the 10, right?  

The next step is to add distractions to your practice.  Allow him off leash to roam, turn the TV on, have the kids run around, place food on the floor just out of his reach, try it at the pet store or park!  In short, make it a little harder each time you practice as long as you get a 90% success rate.  

If your dog is struggling to respond, lower the distractions a little and try again another time.

You should avoid overusing your dog’s name by saying it before every command or when he is already paying attention to you. And, of course, you don’t want to use it in anger.  Would you want to respond to your name if it meant you were going to get in trouble? I know I wouldn’t!

If you’ve called your dog’s name and he didn’t respond, go over to him and say it again him closer to him so that he can’t ignore you.  Or remove him from the distraction so that he can listen.

So, go, teach your dog to look at you when he hears his name!  You can do it and it will make life so much easier.

If you are struggling with getting your dog to listen to you and need more help, reach out to us at Best Paw Forward Dog Training based in Hatboro, Pa.

You can get in touch with us about Private Lessons or our Board and Train Programs by filling out our Contact Form.