Can Dogs Respond To Two Names? [Full Guide For Owners]

Can Dogs Respond To Two Names?

Have you ever wondered whether a dog can learn two different names? It’s pretty much a fascinating thing to find out. So, let’s ascertain the truth here.

Can dogs respond to two names?

Generally, All dogs can learn and respond to two or more names. Teaching them multiple names can mentally stimulate and keep dogs obedient. However, Possible confusion and stress are major cones. Dogs can be trained to do so using the “Names combined” and “Training with positive reinforcement.”

Training a dog to react to two different names can have both upsides and downsides. So, you gotta understand all of them clearly to avoid some unexpected problems.

Can Dogs Learn Two Different Names?

Canines are smart creatures and there is doubt about that.

The average dog can memorize 165 different human words with proper and consistent training, while super-intelligent dogs like Border Collies can learn up to 250 different words.

Therefore, it is a pretty much piece of cake for your dog to learn two or multiple different names or at least multiple nicknames.

Suppose you adopted a dog from a shelter, and you don’t like its previous name. Then you might be thinking of changing his/her name.

That being said, they cannot get two or more different names all at once. This training should be done in a proper manner. (Of course, we gonna cover all of ’em within this article.

Think about this for a bit. Although a dog can understand words associated with English, French, Spanish, or any other language.

But can they speak those mentioned languages? NO…. right? They do learn the sounds associated with that commands and the actions we perform.

When you use this particular name over and over again combined with positive reinforcement and with a suitable approach, the dog will learn it pretty much quickly.

What Are The Benefits Of Having Two Names For Your Dog?

Although we don’t have solid advantages of naming a dog with two or multiple different names, the following can be considered adequately advantageous conditions.

  • If you don’t like to use its real name publicly, for example, on the dog park or on the road, when a stranger asks its name, you can tell its second name, and the dog will still respond to that name.
  • If you accidentally name him by a common name and feel guilty about that, you will receive good psychological healing by training the dog to respond to two names. In fact, by continuing to using the new name regularly, it will start to react to the second name instead of the first one.
  • If the dog is adopted from a shelter and you don’t like its name, you can consider renaming him with a new name.
  • Moreover, It was while using that name that he had trouble getting to such a dog shelter. If you’d teach him a new name while using the previous one, eventually, you can help him to eradicate his former life’s horrible memories by calling him an entirely new name. (Because the previous owners also used the same name)
  • It takes some sort of effort to teach a dog to respond to a second name. So, you can keep the dog mentally stimulated throughout the day by doing this regularly.
  • It is a way to increase obedience training in your dog.
  • If you desire to participate your dog in dog shows, having the ability to respond to multiple names is a solid talent and consideration to perform well in these shows.
Recommended Reading: Can Dogs Have More Than One Owner/Master?

What Are The Drawback Of Having Two Names For Your Dog?

Obviously, we have significant disadvantages by training your dog to respond to two different names.

Here are some of them.

  • The chances of confusion are very high. Even within the same breed, the level of intelligence varies from individual dog to dog.
  • What do you feel when someone calls you by your second name? It feels so strange, and there is no much difference when it comes to dogs. Perhaps, there might have some situations where the dog cannot understand which word to respond to.
  • Although the dog is well aware of both names, some circumstances where you have to call the dog without a second thought. For example, if the dog runs into the road, you should immediately call him by his name without sticking to decide which name to use. I mean, every millisecond counts in such a situation.
  • Because a dog can memorize a limited number of words or commands, it’s better to have one specific and unique word in order to have a well-trained dog.
  • The dog is more likely to get stressed and become apathetic to none of the words or commands by being falling to understand them if you follow the incorrect approaches. But, don’t regret it. This article contains everything you should know to train a dog to respond to two names.

Suggested Reading: What to do if a stray dog won’t leave your house?

How To Train Your Dog To Remember Two Names?

Here we find out how to teach a dog two different names with the help of different approaches.

You know what, even a puppy can respond to 2-3 nicknames with proper training and consistent.

However, you shouldn’t teach more than one nickname at a time so it won’t get confused.

In fact, the fact you wanna realize is that canines get used to tones of voice when you call him/her. It can clearly distinguish whether you are talking to him or someone in the household.

Here, we learn two different ways to accomplish that.

  1. Names Combined method.
  2. Training with positive reinforcement.

1. The names combined method.

This method is the easiest method to perform. So, consider following these steps.

  1. First, you need to get its attention. So, call him with his current name and grab his attention. Suppose your dog’s name is “JASPER,” and you prefer to use “MAX.”
  2. Now you should call him with his new name first and the previous name second. For example, “Max Jesper, come here,” or “Max Jesper, sit,” and if the dog looked at you, offer him a treat with a praising with nice words.
  3. Stay for a while, and look for an instant where you have its attention toward you. Then, just call him with a new name and don’t say the previous name. For example, “Max, hereee, look at meeeee.” If the dog looks at you, praise and encourage.
  4. If the dog becomes apathetic to the new name, start off with step 2 again.
  5. Do this over and over again. If you wanna rename its name, don’t use the first name again once the dog is completely responsive to the new name. However, if you wanna use both names, be sure to use both names equally.

The time it takes to consummate this task depends on your canine’s level of intelligence, your discipline, frequency, and praise.

2. Training with positive reinforcement.

To start this exercise, it’s better to choose a distraction-free area and have the dog leashed. Be ready with high-value treats. In fact, if you this method properly, your dog will definitely learn two different names without any doubt.

Then follow the steps below.

Notice: You shouldn’t say its previous name during this exercise.

  1. First, stand and sit in front of the dog. Make sure you are slightly above his/her eye level. Spell its new name and make eye contact, then treat. You gotta repeat this around 10 times. It doesn’t matter whether he is looking at you or somewhere else. Say the name and treats. But, it’s better if you can make eye contact.
  2. Now the dog is super enthusiastic as you have treated him many times in the raw. Probably, he is seeking more. So, you need to stay for a while until it looks away from you and spells its new name. If it looks at you, REWARD. It’s better to repeat this until the success rate becomes 80%-100% out of 10 trials. If it doesn’t look at you, repeat step 1.
  3. Once the dog can respond to its new name around a distraction-free environment, choose a place with some level of distractions and repeat steps 1 and 2. Start off in your house when family members are around and gradually increase the distractions. You can go to a dog park when you want a great distraction.
  4. Now, go to a distraction-free place. Now you gonna train him to respond to its new name at a greater distance. Stay a few feet away from the dog and say its new name (be careful not to use the first name). If it looks at you, praise him as you did previously.

Why are two-syllable names better for dogs?

In general, canines are more likely to get used to two-syllable names. The two-syllable names are easy for people to pronounce and pretty much straightforward for dogs to learn.

Here are some of the examples of two-syllable names for dogs.

  • Rocky
  • Titan.
  • Bella.
  • Lucky.
  • Buster.

Suggested Reading: When Is It Too Late To Change A Dog’s Name?

Why do show dogs have two names?

The dogs registered to a kennel club (KC, AKC, CKC) have been given a unique name to distinguish dogs from other dogs in the same breed.

According to general standards, the name of a dog that has registered to a kennel club usually consists of “The name of the kennel club + dog’s name.” In some cases, people add the name of the co-owners to the name of the breeder at the end of this nomenclature structure.

Besides this registered name, a registered dog can have appended titles to its name, and it can be either prefixes or suffixes, according to the nature of the title.

So, when it comes to titles, a dog can have multiple titles. The longer the title, the longer the name is. Here are a few of the titles,

  • Best Veteran
  • Best in Show
  • Champion of Federation
  • Therapy dog certifications
  • European Winner, and many more.

Show dogs have two names because they have their own names and a unique name given by their registered kennel club to distinguish them from other dogs in the same breed. This name usually consists of the registered kennel and the dog’s name. This can have titles that are appended to the dog’s name.

Dog Breeds Experts

Things To Be Aware Of.

Now you know if a dog can learn two or multiple different names with other related matters. However, there are some other essential things that you need to be aware of. So, let’s see what they are.

Patience is the key: Your dog isn’t intelligent as you are. So, it might take some time for a dog to respond to an entirely new name, especially for a senior or old dog. So, you need to be highly patient.

Where to use: Don’t use the new name when you wanna reprimand the dog. However, you are free to use that name while petting or playing. We’ve covered how to reinforce its behavior of responding whenever it looks at you after you say its new name.

Naming: You have to do some comprehensive research prior to choose a name. Just for a suggestion, I would like to say that canines tend to respond well to vowel sound names than consonants.

Correct Positive reinforcement: You gotta be mindful when praising the dog during the training phase. Canines are smart creatures, and they might do that by being food motivated. So, you are responsible for keeping him in the game.


Many people are curious to know if a dog can respond to two names due to various reasons. Frankly, dogs can do that. So, in this article, we’ve discussed that comprehensively with considering pros and cons and other related concerns. Hope you found this helpful. Have a nice day.

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