Congratulations on bringing your new furbaby home! Before you get down to cuddling with your dog and smooshing their sweet face, it’s time to think of a name for your newest family member. Is it going to be something human-sounding like Chester, posh like Jewel, punny like Barkley, or totally crazy like Hufflepuff or Deputy Dawg? What’s in a name you ask? It’s going to be their identity for life, it’s what’s going to grab their attention and let them know that you’re trying to communicate with them, and it’s what’s going to set them apart from their fellow canine friends. So, here are some tips on choosing the perfect name for your dog.
8 Ways to Choose a Great Name for Your Dog
Stick to Two Syllables
Dogs are capable of understanding up to 250 words and gestures but shorter words are better at grabbing their attention. So while Mister Wigglebottom may sound like an adorable name it’s probably better to stick to something that has two syllables at the most. Besides, you’re probably going to end up shortening long names anyway so why not pick something brief. A good way to test-drive a name is by saying it out loud over and over. If you’re still comfortable after you’ve said it ten times, shortlist it for your pup!
Choose a Name that Ends With a Vowel Sound
This may sound absurd but the change in tone when you end a name with a vowel sound helps grab a dog’s attention easily. It’s because they can differentiate between frequencies at a much higher level than us. So names like Rossi, Ella, Luna, Taco, Bailey (you get the point) are all great while names like Maximilian, Baxter, Boeing, etc. may not have the same impact. Again, the best thing you can do is try out a couple of names for size and see which ones your dog responds better to.
Remember That it’s Important for Training
Let’s face it – your dog doesn’t really know what a name is. As you start training them, they start to “recognize” their name because they learn that something always happens after they hear that particular word. Basically, to them, it’s more of a cue than an identifier. So pick a short, easy name that will make training fun and get them to respond to you faster. A good way to make them recognize their name is with treats. Sit next to them, repeat their name, and give them a treat. Keep doing this over and over and eventually, they will start responding to it on their own. It’s all about conditioning.
Don’t Pick a Name that Sounds Like a Command
While we’re on the subject of training, don’t choose a name that sounds similar to a command that you’re trying to teach them. For example, Clown sounds an awful lot like Down, Ray like Stay, Ketch like Fetch, and Moe like No. Not only will it get extremely confusing for your doggo but you will end up having a hard time training them as well. So keep this point in mind when picking a name for your dog.
Don’t Pick a Name that’s Similar to Those of Others in the House
Along the same lines as the previous point, you want your dog to get used to their name and be 100 percent sure when you’re calling them. So, if you have more than one pet or other humans in the house, make sure their names don’t sound similar. For example, don’t go with Marley if there’s a Charlie, Lilly if there’s a Milli, or Eddy if you already have a Freddie.
Stay Away From Funny Names
Okay, Poopyhead sounds hilarious but is it still going to be funny two years down the line? Do you really want to yell out “Mary Puppins” at a dog park? What would your vet think if you called to make an appointment for Darth Vader? Okay, he’d probably think you’re cool for that one but you get my point. Choose a name that you know you will love for years to come and that you wouldn’t mind using in a public setting. What seems funny today will not always stay funny…
Think of Their Personality
Take a couple of days to get to know your dog before you name them. You may come across a funny trait or figure out something they love to do (or hate) that could help you choose the perfect name for them. Think along the lines of Frisky for a naughty dog, Echo for a talkative one, Zippy for a runner, Aqua for a dog who loves water, etc. It could also be fun to do the opposite of what people expect – like naming a Great Dane Tiny!
Once you Pick a Name, Stick to it
The more changes you make, the more you’re going to confuse your doggo. While it’s okay to change a name once or twice, do it quickly before your furbaby gets used to their old name. If you do change it, make sure you spend enough time reinforcing the new name. That means, more treats and pats!
Lastly, and this goes without saying – pick a name that you genuinely love. After all, you’re going to be using it for your new best friend for a long, long time. What are some of your favorite names for doggos? Tell us in the comments!