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How to Get Your Dog to Pay Attention When You Say His Name

Note: I’ve partnered with Plato Pet Treats to bring you this post.

How often do you say your dog’s name only to have him completely ignore you?

Frustrating, right?

Makes you wonder sometimes if your dog even knows his own name.

That’s why I want to go over some basic ideas on how we can get our dogs to look at us when we say their names.

Does your dog already look at you every time you say his name? Share your tips in the comments to help the rest of us out.

I’m sharing my tips below.

Three simple goals to help your dog pay attention

Kuba trying out Hundur's Crunch

1. Use highly valued treats!

Hundur's Crunch treats

You want your dog to pay attention? Use a reward that’s TASTY and INTERESTING. Mix it up every now and then!

I recommend the new treats called Hundur’s Crunch from Plato Pet Treats because they’re made with real fish and dogs find them motivating.

I’m not saying you need to treat your dog every single time he does something right, but using highly valued rewards is oh so important if we want our dogs to pay attention.

Our friend Kuba (above) got to sample Hundur’s Crunch, and you can read his owner’s review and learn more below.

2. Our dogs’ names should equal something positive.

Such a simple concept, but easily forgotten.

Our dogs’ names should not be associated with corrections, punishments or doing something the dog doesn’t like (nail trims, anyone?).

You know, like when your dog’s barking along the fence, and you scream, “BUFORD! NO!”

Or when you happily call your dog – “Here, Ed!” – only to bless him with an ear cleaning or shoving a pill down his throat.

You get my point.

Use your dog’s name before giving him things he likes:

And of course, say his name when rewarding him for behaviors you want to reinforce.

Oh, he didn’t bark at the other dog?

“Good boy, Ace. Good boy.”

Ace with Plato Pet Treats

3. Randomly treat your dog when you say his name.

Yep, it’s that easy.

Use small, highly valued treats.

Simply say your dog’s name in a happy voice. “Ace!”

Then instantly give a treat when he looks at you.

If your dog seems to have a hard time looking at you (this is the case with Ace), you can even just wait for him to look and then say “Ace!” and give the treat. This will encourage him to randomly look at you more often.

Or, you can whistle or make a smooching noise to get him to look.

Just don’t be like, “Ace! … Ace! … Ace? … ACE?!”

Repeating their names just helps them learn to ignore us. And really, can you blame them? 🙂

A clicker can help

I’m not much of a clicker trainer (too cumbersome), but I’ve been using a clicker for this exercise and my dog loves it.

It works like this:

I’m ready to go with my treats and clicker.

I say my dog’s name in a happy voice. “Ace!”

He makes eye contact and I instantly click and treat.

Good boy!

If you don’t have a clicker, a treat and “good!” or “yes!” will do.

Why even bother with such a simple exercise?

I realize the above sounds kind of silly and basic.

It’s perfect for puppies and new dogs that need to learn their names, but otherwise, why bother?

Because it’s NOT so easy.

Sure, it’s easy to get your dog’s attention in the living room but how about in the backyard? How about in the driveway? How about when there’s a toy on the ground or a squirrel out back? Or other dogs barking?

How about when your dog is off leash and about to eat something that came out of a horse’s ass?

This is why it’s so important to practice simple exercises at home (without distractions) and then to slowly introduce distractions.

See how this can be helpful for ALL types of dogs, not just puppies or newbies?

More info on Hundur’s Crunch from Plato Pet Treats

Plato Pet Treats logo

I recommend all the goodies from Plato Pet Treats, but today we’re focusing on its new product called Hundur’s Crunch.

A few things to know about Plato Pet Treats:

Hundur’s Crunch treats from Plato are grain-free, single-protein treats that consist of multiple layers of fish skin from Icelandic fish. The treats provide natural sources of omega 3 and 6 and come in a three varieties – “Jerky Fingers,” “Jerky Rolls” and “Jerky Minis.”

Hundur's Crunch dog treats

I recommend the minis (above) for training purposes and the others for rewarding your dog just because!

A couple of my readers’ dogs got to sample Hundur’s Crunch

A big thank you to our “taste testers” who got to sample Hundur’s Crunch along with Ace for this post. Read what the dogs’ owners have to say below.

You have a chance to win a prize package of treats and goodies from Plato Pet Treats too. Just leave a comment below and you’re entered!

Some feedback from my readers:


“Madison is obsessed with these treats. I’ve noticed her coat is getting shinier! I love how long the jerky rolls take her to eat, because they are so crunchy!” – Alyx

Storm, Amy and Captain Jack

Such a focused crew!

Storm, Amy and Captain Jack with Hundur's Crunch

“Our dogs loved the treats even though we found them to be really stinky. Honestly, I don’t think I would buy these particular treats; however, I would try the other treats they have available. The smell is just too overwhelming. It hits you as soon as you open the bag and lingers.

“Thank you for the opportunity to let my mutts sample these treats, and I will be on the lookout for Plato’s other products in my local pet store.” – Jennifer

For those who don’t want to use fish flavored treats, I recommend Plato’s original chicken or duck treats. Order here.


Kuba with Hundur's Crunch

“Kuba has been enjoying the Plato fish jerky fingers for over two weeks now. They are our 3-in-1 treats: a healthy snack, an after-walk reward, and an Omega-3 supplement.

“He gets one in the evening and loves to crunch it. His coat look shinier too!” – Anna

Hundur's Crunch review

How do you get your dog to pay attention and focus?

Let me know in the comments!

(Beamer chowed down on some Hundur’s Crunch “dog treats” as well.)

Beamer Hundur's Crunch

Corrine Codner

Wednesday 7th of October 2015

I have a very very picky 8 yr old when it comes to treats, and i think this would help with cleaning her teeth,,,Thank You

terrii bollin

Wednesday 7th of October 2015

Kado listens when you call him name. There are some days that he will ignore you but for the most part he listens very well.

Stephanie Tran

Wednesday 7th of October 2015

My two muts just loooveeee treats!!


Wednesday 7th of October 2015

It is great to read the tips above. Once when I was having a bad day and the boys weren't listening, I got frustrated and blurted out "Cookie". To my amazement, they both came rushing back to me. Thankfully, I had some treats with me. Still makes me laugh when I remember it.


Tuesday 6th of October 2015

We're lucky with our puppy Murphy. He responds to his name really well. Treats helped with this and toilet training. Trying to keep him away from anything he considers edible not so much!