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Why Doesn’t My Dog Answer To His Name – Things To Consider!

All prospective canine parents have a dream – they call their doggo’s name, and it comes bounding to them out of nowhere. Then you get your puppy home, spend hours teaching your pet its name, and things don’t go down as you imagined. As you can imagine, it can be a little confusing leaving you wondering, why doesn’t my dog answer to his name?

Dogs may not answer to their name because of improper training, hearing issues, lack of incentive, inadequate bonding, or fear. Old age is also a factor in dogs not responding to their name.

The good news is we’ll be going through each reason behind your dog not responding to its name in detail, along with covering related FAQs. Oh, and there’s an entire section devoted to helpful tips for getting your pet to answer to its name too. 

Reasons Your Dog Doesn’t Answer To Their Name

Pet parents can get a little anxious when their lovable dog suddenly starts ignoring them. Before you start imagining the worst, you need to understand that many dog owners face the same concern. Plus, the sooner you figure out why your dog isn’t answering to its name, the sooner you can work on fixing the underlying cause. Here goes. 

Improper Training

All dogs – no matter their breed – can benefit from early training and socialization. Some forms of instruction can’t be overlooked, such as house training. 

When it comes to teaching your pet its name, it’s isn’t simply a matter of saying your dogs name over and over. When you’re trying to train your pup to know its name, the first order of business is to take it to a distraction-free zone – this will help your puppy concentrate better. 

One common mistake pet parents make while trying to make their puppy learn its name is forgetting to reinforce the training until they’re sure the puppy understands the process. Remember, training a young pet isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. The process takes time and patience. 

Hearing Issues

Another reason behind your pet’s sudden inability to respond to its name is hearing issues. Just like you, your canine undergoes many physiological changes as it matures.

And a common age-related concern in dogs is loss of hearing which occurs due to nerve degeneration. If your pet isn’t responding to other loud noises, startles easily, or barks excessively – you should have your dog checked by the vet.  

While the loss of hearing is more often experienced in aging dogs, it shouldn’t be overruled in younger pets. That’s because temporary hearing loss can also be brought on by factors such as ear-wax build-up and ear infections. Take your puppy to the vet asap if you notice your puppy isn’t reacting to other sounds. 

Lack Of Incentive

There’s a reason why treats play such a significant role when it comes to training canines. Dogs respond to positive reinforcement.

That means, when your puppy does what you want it to do, you need to reward its behavior to make sure your pet relates that action to a reward. That’s what will encourage your dog to repeat its performance. 

However, if you take the incentive (or doggy treat) out of the picture, there won’t be anything to remind your dog to repeat its action. If you forgot to treat your furbaby with a yummy reward after it responds to its name, it’s probably the culprit behind why your dog isn’t responding to its name. 

Inadequate Bonding

If you’re not spending enough time with your furball, chances are your relationship leaves something to be desired. Canines can be surprisingly intuitive and know exactly when they have your attention. 

Your puppy responds to the love and care your shower on it and then responds with twice as much affection. A lack of connection or bond with your pet can also be one reason why your dog doesn’t answer when you call out its name. 

The number one rule of bonding with your fluffball is spending time with it. Understandably, you won’t be spending every waking moment with your pets; people lead busy lives, after all. However, building a solid connection with your dog is easier than you think. Start by spending at least 30 minutes of quality time together – be it running in the park or playing a game of fetch. 


If you’ve just bought your little pet home and it hasn’t had the chance to acclimatize to its surroundings – it’s natural for your pup to feel anxious and afraid. As stated earlier, it takes time to draw your dog out of its shell and build a bond with it. 

On the other hand, if your canine is far from being a dog and has been living with you for quite some time, you may have unknowingly stoked its fear by being a little heavy-handed. That’s why your dog has taken to avoid you by not answering when you call.

You can try to settle this form of canine ghosting by showing your pet some extra TLC. Speak to your canine gently, pet it often, and let it know you’re not angry. 

How Long Will It Take For My Puppy To Learn His Name

With a bit of patience, love, and consistent training for at least two weeks, you’ll be able to see some results of training your puppy to understand its name. 

If your dog is new to the idea of training, as young furbabies generally are, it’ll take a while for your pet to get into the flow of things. That’s why it’s essential to start your pup’s training in a place free of distractions, like your backyard, for example. 

Once your puppy responds to its name and comes running to you when you’re in sight, train your pup to answer to its name and find you by hiding. That’ll ensure your training sessions come full circle. 

Do Old Dogs Stop Responding To Their Name

Old dogs can stop responding to their name, but it’s never without reason. One of the most plausible reasons why your senior canine isn’t answering to its name is because of loss of hearing. 

Canines may experience nerve degeneration as they age, and this can bring about hearing loss, but the good news is that this concern doesn’t have to affect your pet’s quality of life. Doggy hearing aids can go a long way in helping your pet overcome this problem. 

Can A Dog Forget Its Name

Dogs can forget their names for two reasons: confusion and age-related memory loss. 

If you lovingly call your pet by another name other than its own more than a few times, this can lead to confusion. For example, calling your pet ‘adorable pooch’ or ‘Fido’ (or anything else that takes your fancy) continuously can perplex your dog and force it to respond to the new title while disregarding its actual name. 

On the flip side, if your pet is aging, it’s prone to experiencing age-specific brain changes that affect its memory and comprehension. For instance, canine cognitive dysfunction can cause your dog to forget its name. 

However, the condition can be managed with proper treatment, and your pet can continue living its life with happiness and well-being.  

How Do I Get My Dog To Respond To His Name

How you get your pet to answer to its name mainly depends on why your pet isn’t responding in the first place. For example, if your pet isn’t answering to its name because you’ve forgotten to reward it, try going over the training process while rewarding your pet with a delicious treat every time your dog answers to its name.

Final Thoughts

Be it dealing with a pup or looking after a senior dog – here are some things to consider when you’re dealing with a pet that doesn’t answer to its name. 

It’s Never Okay To Be Angry At Your Dog

Canines are intelligent creatures and can pick up on the nuances of your tone. If you lose your patience when training your pet to answer to its name, take time out to calm yourself. Doing so will keep you from losing your temper and give your dog some respite from training. 

It’s never okay for you to be angry or show aggression to your dog. Not only is it counter-productive, but it can also lead to your pet fearing you. If you think training your dog is beyond your area of expertise, enroll it in a reputable obedience school and observe the professional do it for pointers. 

Take A Break From Training To Have Some Fun

Just like all work and no play can make us feel drained, regular training sessions can play havoc on your dog’s energy levels. To avoid canine training burnouts, take out the time to do something fun with your furball. Doing so will not only help your dog relax a little, but it will also go a long way in strengthening your bond with your pet. 

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