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Poll: Do pets know their own names?
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Do pets really know their own names?
09-12-2012, 07:59 AM, (This post was last modified: 09-12-2012, 08:00 AM by Ram.)
#1
Ram Offline
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Do pets really know their own names?
Most dogs and cats and also many other mammal can be trained to react when you call their names. One simple example is when you call out to your dog or cat, they will come over or follow you. Many people assume the pet animals in fact know what their own names are. Do they?

Another theory is the pets only reacted because they are used to react to a certain sound - in this case the words you gave to them as names.

Do you believe the pets truly understand what their names are? or are they just following a sound pattern as order?
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09-13-2012, 02:04 AM,
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Nakhash Offline
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RE: Do pets really know their own names?
I know they've done studies to show that animals like cats and dogs have an understanding of vocabulary. It's probably a combination of how the words sound - rhythm, intonation, register - and cues they pick up from our body language. I know my cat always thinks I'm going out when she sees me changing clothes. Even though most of the time I'm either changing for bed or to hang around the house.
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09-14-2012, 12:56 AM,
#3
VJNatale Offline
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RE: Do pets really know their own names?
I think that Nakhash is right. I think the way that pet owners say the names of their pets has a lot to do with how the pet reacts. If you say the pets name harshly, they seem to back away and know that you are upset with them. If you say their name in a soft voice they seem to know that you are ok with them. If you say their name in a commanding voice, they seem to know that you want something from them. I think it has to do with the vibration of the voice.
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09-14-2012, 01:31 PM,
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Victor Leigh Offline
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RE: Do pets really know their own names?
I think dogs and cats react more to the tone than to the actual words. Definitely when I call Candy in a cross voice, she will come but keep her distance to make sure that I am not going to give her a spanking. Whereas when I call her in a sweet voice, she would come bounding to me without any reservation.
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09-15-2012, 12:17 PM,
#5
Msmonkeyfeet Offline
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RE: Do pets really know their own names?
I'd have to say that pets definitely know their own name, the intelligent ones anyway. Even if I were to call to my cat in a calm, sweet voice but saying any other word other than her name she'd flat out ignore me. I think it's a combination of tone and the name, otherwise I think our pets would come running to us every time we said a word that sounded the same as their name in a sweet tone.
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09-16-2012, 08:09 PM,
#6
themdno Offline
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RE: Do pets really know their own names?
My dogs know their names, I'm sure of it. In fact, I would go as far as to say that they know each other's names, as well. I talk to my animals a lot, and I try to communicate with them as best as possible. One thing I like to do, is tell them to find each other. I'll say Where's Buddy? And my other dog will run off through the house to find him.

I'm sure they have an understanding of words, but how they interpret them is what I'm not sure about. They may just make associations with the sounds and 'Wheres Buddy' just means go find the other dog. I don't know if they can distinguish between Buddy being the dog, and where meaning find him.
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09-17-2012, 02:06 AM,
#7
jenb128 Offline
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RE: Do pets really know their own names?
It's not just dogs and cats. Birds can learn their names, too! My bird not only responds to his own name, he also has "names" for my husband and I. He does a series of wing stretches whenever he sees me, and he imitates a human sneeze when he sees my husband (my husband has occasional sinus issues). He'll even do the sneeze thing when he sees my husband's car pull up in the driveway.

As far as my cat, he responds to his real name, as well as to a couple of his nicknames. I tend to use the nicknames more than his real name, lol.
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09-17-2012, 02:48 AM,
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dashboardc33 Offline
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RE: Do pets really know their own names?
I feel that pets do know their own names; at least dogs and cats. I am not sure on other pets as I am not sure how much their intelligence level is. When I call my parent's dogs- the name I say is the dog that comes. If I only call one of them, only one will come. If I call both, they both come. I really think they are smart enough to know their own names.
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09-17-2012, 02:58 AM,
#9
jenb128 Offline
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RE: Do pets really know their own names?
(09-17-2012, 02:48 AM)dashboardc33 Wrote: I feel that pets do know their own names; at least dogs and cats. I am not sure on other pets as I am not sure how much their intelligence level is. When I call my parent's dogs- the name I say is the dog that comes. If I only call one of them, only one will come. If I call both, they both come. I really think they are smart enough to know their own names.

As somebody who has lived with cats and birds, and has worked with cats, dogs, and birds, I can tell you that many birds (parrots, crows, jays, etc) are AT LEAST as smart as cats and dogs, if not smarter.
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09-17-2012, 06:37 PM, (This post was last modified: 09-17-2012, 06:45 PM by Sandra Piddock.)
#10
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RE: Do pets really know their own names?
(09-16-2012, 08:09 PM)themdno Wrote: My dogs know their names, I'm sure of it. In fact, I would go as far as to say that they know each other's names, as well. I talk to my animals a lot, and I try to communicate with them as best as possible. One thing I like to do, is tell them to find each other. I'll say Where's Buddy? And my other dog will run off through the house to find him.

I'm sure they have an understanding of words, but how they interpret them is what I'm not sure about. They may just make associations with the sounds and 'Wheres Buddy' just means go find the other dog. I don't know if they can distinguish between Buddy being the dog, and where meaning find him.

I agree with you there - my neighbour has two dogs, Bertie and Tikka, and we'll often say to Bertie 'Find Tikka' or vice versa, and the dog will do it, no matter who asks, or whatever the tone of voice.

Also, if we call one dog or the other, only the one who's called comes running. Bertie's quite greedy, while Tikka is a more delicate eater, and if he goes to her dish, and someone says, 'That's Tikka's,' he leaves it. However, if she's finished, he's allowed to tidy up what's left. The word then is, 'That's Bertie's,' and he tucks in. We say it in a neutral tone as well, so there are no clues in the voice.
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09-22-2012, 12:04 PM,
#11
JustJenne Offline
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RE: Do pets really know their own names?
I voted "yes" but, I think it depends on the individual pet. Some seem to have no response the their name whatsoever. Most of my cats Come running if I call their name in the back yard. I'm not sure if they "know" their name or have just learned a response to it. I think my cat Fluffy knows his name, he is very intelligent. My cat Layla on the other hand, I'm not so sure. She does't come when I call her but that could be on purpose lol.
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09-24-2012, 07:42 AM,
#12
nick87 Offline
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RE: Do pets really know their own names?
I think one of my dogs knows his name, the other one doesn't. He comes when we call his name, not the other dog's name, even if we say it in the same tone and looking right at him. The other one just comes whenever any name is called.
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10-10-2012, 01:27 AM,
#13
pafjlh Offline
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RE: Do pets really know their own names?
I firmly believe that a pet does know its given name after awhile. I have had dogs all of my life, and they have all known to come when their name is called. We have at times had more then one and once again they seem to know which one your talking to when you say their name. Funny, thing is the dogs we currently have will sometimes act like they don't know their name in order to get away with mischief, but we know better, and tell them as much.
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10-10-2012, 01:18 PM,
#14
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RE: Do pets really know their own names?
Dogs and cats don't know the English language. But like how a human would understand that he is the one being particularly called when a familiar sound is said to him over and over again (even when it's in a different language), that is how dogs and cats learn.

Some owner have even incorporated the clicker training into their cats training which is quite amazing.

Our dogs have learned their names... as to knowing it, they probably think that when that sound is said, they are expected to approach or take notice.
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10-10-2012, 05:04 PM,
#15
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RE: Do pets really know their own names?
I believe that dogs know their names. They can certainly learn the names of objects, so why not their own name? I know that when my sister's dog stays with me, Misha never comes when I call the other dog's name and vice versa.

I think dogs have a tremendous ability to differentiate words. Have you ever spoken out different family names to your dog mixed with non-familiar names and found that your dog reacts to the familiar ones? I also know that my dog knows when I say my nephew's name that it's time to get excited. She loves him. At the same time, her reaction to my brother's name is completely different. She is terrified of him for whatever reason. So, when she hears his name all she wants to do is run away.
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11-24-2012, 07:02 AM,
#16
Molly Offline
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RE: Do pets really know their own names?
Pets do indeed know their own names, especially dogs. I had a cat and I know she knew her name but often choose to ignore me when I called her. She decided when she would come home. I think someone in my neighborhood was feeding her, so perhaps that is why she would not come home when I called her for dinner. My dogs do indeed know their names as their ears will perk up, even when I whisper their names.
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11-30-2012, 02:01 PM,
#17
Victor Leigh Offline
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RE: Do pets really know their own names?
(10-10-2012, 01:18 PM)haopee Wrote: Dogs and cats don't know the English language. But like how a human would understand that he is the one being particularly called when a familiar sound is said to him over and over again (even when it's in a different language), that is how dogs and cats learn.

Some owner have even incorporated the clicker training into their cats training which is quite amazing.

Our dogs have learned their names... as to knowing it, they probably think that when that sound is said, they are expected to approach or take notice.

I am not too sure that cats and dogs don't understand human language. I remember there was a puppy I gave to a friend. After a week, my friend came to see me with an odd question. He said the puppy didn't respond to his words at all. It was then I realized that I had always spoken to my dogs in English whereas my friend only spoke Thai.
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12-01-2012, 05:20 PM,
#18
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RE: Do pets really know their own names?
I also firmly believe that they do. I also believe that they tend to have selective hearing at a certain point. When my Kaylee girl was a pup, I took her to Petsmart to start her training and eventually she started responding to commands pretty well. But once I started taking her fishing and camping and spending lot of time with her off leash, it was obvious that she was responding specifically to her name. There were too many incidents that could have been pretty intense if she hadn’t learned to focus on me when I called her name.
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12-01-2012, 10:53 PM,
#19
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RE: Do pets really know their own names?
(11-30-2012, 02:01 PM)Victor Leigh Wrote: I am not too sure that cats and dogs don't understand human language. I remember there was a puppy I gave to a friend. After a week, my friend came to see me with an odd question. He said the puppy didn't respond to his words at all. It was then I realized that I had always spoken to my dogs in English whereas my friend only spoke Thai.

This is no surprise. The puppy isn't familiar to these new intonations, words and sounds. They may pair certain words with human expressions such as mad, angry, good, love. If they're introduced to a new language, then they end up starting from scratch again. This is the reason why they aren't able to converse with us or comprehend everything (only some) we say. This is also the reason why dogs don't have their own instruction manual to learn tricks.
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12-05-2012, 10:25 PM,
#20
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RE: Do pets really know their own names?
My dogs know their names, and have an understanding of almost all the things we say to them. Food, bath, lead, walk, play, fetch, my children's names and wake them up. My dog always.. wakes my younger child in the mornings when we tell her too. She also cries when we mention our older son as she now lives in the university campus.
I bet they understand everything.. Oh she also knows her caretakers name.. When we go away on holidays we leave her with him.
They also know your moods and respond so well to you when you are happy, angry or sad.
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12-07-2012, 01:26 AM,
#21
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RE: Do pets really know their own names?
I'm honestly not sure about my cats and they are 13 and 14. But, I know our dog knows his name. We got him in May at 13 months. He was with a family for 10 months and a shelter for 3 months. The family called him Cujo. The shelter called him Miles. We named him Dorian. We thought we'd see what he'd answer to just a few weeks ago. He will still answer to the name Cujo. He looks at us like we're stupid if we call him Miles, but he will run happily to us when we call him Dorian. We won't ever call him Cujo again. He was abused by his former owners and he cowers when we use that name. It's really sad.
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12-11-2012, 07:29 AM,
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RE: Do pets really know their own names?
Our dog definately knows her name. I did an experiment one day and used the same intonation and called with other names, no go. She also knows commands in both Polish and English using different intonations for them and she follows them both.
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12-16-2012, 11:32 PM, (This post was last modified: 12-16-2012, 11:32 PM by SweetBeast.)
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RE: Do pets really know their own names?
(09-12-2012, 07:59 AM)Ram Wrote: Most dogs and cats and also many other mammal can be trained to react when you call their names. One simple example is when you call out to your dog or cat, they will come over or follow you. Many people assume the pet animals in fact know what their own names are. Do they?

Another theory is the pets only reacted because they are used to react to a certain sound - in this case the words you gave to them as names.

Do you believe the pets truly understand what their names are? or are they just following a sound pattern as order?

But doesn't a child do the same? After repeated usage of their name, they begin to respond to that, right?

It's an age old debate as there are many detractors that say Koko the gorilla is not really learning & responding to sign language as he is "just mocking" what he is taught, yet isn't that what babies & young children do ?

Just a thought.....
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01-02-2013, 03:09 PM,
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RE: Do pets really know their own names?
(09-16-2012, 08:09 PM)themdno Wrote: My dogs know their names, I'm sure of it. In fact, I would go as far as to say that they know each other's names, as well. I talk to my animals a lot, and I try to communicate with them as best as possible. One thing I like to do, is tell them to find each other. I'll say Where's Buddy? And my other dog will run off through the house to find him.

I'm sure they have an understanding of words, but how they interpret them is what I'm not sure about. They may just make associations with the sounds and 'Wheres Buddy' just means go find the other dog. I don't know if they can distinguish between Buddy being the dog, and where meaning find him.

We have two dogs, and I know they know each other's names. Our "Buddy" also knows the names of each family member, because when I tell him to go find so-and-so he will go to where they are. Some dogs do seem smarter than others, but it does also depend on the individual interaction with them.
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01-23-2013, 05:49 AM,
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RE: Do pets really know their own names?
I feel they know their names and also that they can sense things we don't, sometimes. So not only do they respond to their names being spoken, sometimes they respond when you look at them! Which I really enjoy. Generally I think animals are a lot smarter and more savvy and aware than most humans give them credit for.
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