Your dog knows you. I mean, really knows you. But does your dog know your name, or are you just that special friend who gives the best pets, also has the food, and goes on all the walks? That’s kind of a mouthful. I mean, you want to go where everybody knows your name, right? That should include your dog, too.
Dogs are smart. They can learn lots and lots of words. Depending on breed and training, they can recognize anywhere from around a hundred to over a thousand, like famous border collie genius, Chaser. Your dog likely knows your name, especially if it’s used to hearing it associated with you. If you are often called by your name around your dog, there was likely a connection made between your name and you. It’s a sound associated with their favorite person, after all.
There are some things that will interfere with the learning process. If you live a life of pet names and nicknames, your dog might be confused or actually associate several of these sounds with you. Your name is honey babe baby love muffin in your dog’s eyes! Also, if you refer to yourself as mama or daddy (no judgement!) then your dog may very well think that’s your name.
If you want your dog to know your name and it doesn’t seem to have that knowledge already, focus on training your dog with, “go to _____” or, “come to ____” or even, “touch ____” prompts using your name. Have treats in your hands and/or a clicker depending on how you’re training them, and be sure to give them lots of praise when they follow your instructions. Repeat for a while each day, slowly spacing out the treat rewards and eventually eliminating them if you used them to train your dog.
What really matters is that, regardless of what word is used, your dog knows you and loves you. Anything else is impressive and may feel very validating, but your dog knows that you’re special even if they forget your name, birthday, or anniversary.