If your dog does not respond to its name, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do about each of them.

So, why doesn’t my dog answer to its name? Common reasons why dogs do not respond to their names are hearing issues, learning that responding results in it being punished, not having learned its name yet or rewarding it when it does not respond to its name.

There are actually a number of possible reasons why your dog does not respond to its name it might be due to a combination of them. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main reason why it has been doing it and there is a number of things you can do about it.

Reasons why your dog doesn’t answer to its name

Below is a number of possible reasons why your dog might have been doing it and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.

Hearing issues

The cause could be that it has hearing issues. This would be more likely if your dog also does not respond to other sounds such as when you tap on its food bowl. It would also be more likely if it has stopped responding to its name and other sounds suddenly. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.

Negative reinforcement

It might be the case that it has learned not to respond to its name because doing so results in it being punished. If you often punish it, when you call it, your dog will learn not to come to you. Instead, it would help to train your dog to behave the way you want it to with the use of positive reinforcement training.

It hasn’t learned to respond to its name yet

If you have only recently got your dog, it might not have learned to respond to its name yet. This would be more likely if it has been behaving normally at other times. In this case, it would help to be patient and to say its name when you are rewarding it so that it learns that its name is a positive thing that it should respond to.

Encouraging the behavior

It might also be the case that it has learned not to respond to its name because you have been rewarding the behavior. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats and extra attention, when it does not respond to its name, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been behaving that way.

What else happened when it first started

If your dog did respond to its name in the past, it would help to consider what else happened when it stopped doing it. If it stopped doing it suddenly, it would make it more likely to be due to things such as getting punished for responding to its name or developing hearing issues.

What is different when your dog does respond to your name

If your dog does respond to its name sometimes, it would also help to consider what is different when it does respond to its name. For example, if it does respond to its name at home, it might be the case that it does not respond to its name outside because there are distractions.

What to do about your dog not answering to its name

Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.

Get help

If it seems like it has been doing it due to having hearing issues, the best option would be to take it to a vet. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog and to rule out the possibility of it being due to being ill or injured.

Avoid encouraging the behavior

As mentioned above, it might be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward it when it does respond to its name and to try to avoid giving it rewards when it does not.

Avoid punishing it

It would also help to avoid punishing it, especially when it does respond to its name. Instead, it would help to use positive reinforcement training to get it to behave the way you want.

Use positive reinforcement training

Positive reinforcement training is where you train your dog to behave the way you want it to by rewarding it when it shows signs of behaving that way. To use it to get it to respond to its name, you would give it a reward, such as a treat, whenever it does respond to its name or whenever it shows signs of responding to its name.

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Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.