Tips for Naming your Dog

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When you become a pet parent, you soon realize that your dog has become another member of your family, rather than just a pet. This means that as a pet parent you may want to put in close to the amount of consideration for naming your new dog, that you would for a newborn baby.

This of course means that the name you choose for your dog is particularly important. Your dog’s name is not just important to you, but to your dog as well. A good dog name can enhance their responsiveness and improve communications between you.

Below we have listed several things that you may want to keep in mind when you are naming your dog, as well as possible starting points for inspiration.

 A shorter name might be a better choice.  When deciding on a dog name, it may be best to choose a name with just one or two syllables. Words with just one or two syllables are easiest to say and short enough that they can easily get your dog’s attention. Since short names are quick and simple to say, this makes them easier for dogs to hear.

Your dog’s name becomes a signal to them. Your dog’s name is an important signal to use when you want to communicate.  When a dog hears their name, it is a signal that whatever words are coming next, they are meant for them to listen to. This being the case, you should use your dog’s name often and when doing so, use it in a positive context. You may want to do this so they do not start to associate their name with punishment or something negative.

Before selecting a name for your dog, make a list. It may be the case that you have several possible ideas for dog names, and you are having trouble picking just one. A way to sort through this is by writing down a list of possible names that you are considering. Read through the names and say them out loud. This will give you an idea of how each one of the names sounds out loud before you select one. If a name is long, or awkward to say then cross it off the list. You do not want to be stuck with a dog’s name that you will not be comfortable saying multiple times each day.

Potentially give your dog a unique name. If you live in a heavily dog populated area, then it is most likely best that you do not choose a very common dog name. The reason for this is so there is no confusion caused if your dog hears someone else calling their name while on a walk or at a dog park.

Instead, you may want to go for a name that is a little more unique. Choosing a name such as “Queen” or “Hobbes” or other unique names may be a good way to make sure your dog does not become confused in public settings. 

There are many different sources of inspiration for dog names. Dog names can come from many different sources. Generally, at least 20% of dogs have human names such as “Dan” or “Lucy”. This does not mean that all dogs must be given human names. Dog owners have begun to take inspiration from many different sources.

For instance, names based on nature have recently begun to become popular. Examples include “Maple” and “Ginger”. There has also recently been a rise in dogs named after certain foods such as “Peanut” and “Cupcake”.

Sometimes dog names can reflect certain personality traits of their pet parent. This could be the pet parents’ favorite hobby, heritage, or even a favorite celebrity. Dog’s names are truly not limited to any one type, but they should be something that the owner will be comfortable saying for years to come.

If you are stuck thinking of a good name, consider basing your dog’s name off their breed. If you have a French bulldog for example, perhaps you can give them a French name such as “Andre” or “Adele”. There are no limits to what you can name your dog after if the name is important to you as the pet parent.

Avoid names that sound like important training phrases. Your dog’s name is a particularly important part of their training. Hearing their name gets their attention and tells them what words coming next are for them. When choosing a name for your dog, you may want to avoid names that sound similar to a training phrase. Some examples include “Joe” which sounds like “no” or “Pit” which sounds like “sit”. Names such as these might confuse your dog as they are being trained.

Make sure that you are comfortable saying their name in public. When choosing a dog’s name, you may want to select something that you would be comfortable saying in public. You will be taking your dog on walks around your neighborhood, or at dog parks where others will hear your dog’s name. This may be embarrassing if your dog has a funny-sounding name that would be better kept private. You may want to remember that you will be using your dog’s name a lot, so many people will hear it being said throughout the day.

You can use your dog’s personality as inspiration for a name. You do not necessarily need to have a dog name picked out before you adopt your dog. Though it is better to choose a name sooner rather than later, you can wait a few days to observe your dog’s personality. Watching your dogs for the first few days after you adopt them might give you some inspiration for a name that is very personal and fitting for them. If they are fast, perhaps you may call them “Lightning”, if they enjoy barking then maybe “Chatter” and if they are a sweet loving dog then you could potentially go with “Candy”.

At the end of the day, when choosing a dog’s name, you must realize that the name is both important to your dog and you as the pet parent. Their name will be a large means of communication between you two, and so you should take the time to genuinely think their name through before making a final choice.

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