Congratulations! You’ve just adopted a cuddly bundle of fur and now you’re faced with naming your new best friend. Choosing a name for your puppy is so much fun, but with so many choices it can be a challenge to find the perfect one. We have compiled a list of all the top tips for naming your dog, to make the process easier for you.
1- Simple is Best
Sure, “Mister Wags-a-lot from Woofington Manor” is super cute and funny, but your pup won’t be able to understand it. If he doesn’t recognize his name, he won’t come when you call, and training is going to be a battle.
Then, to reinforce just how important this point is, imagine yourself shouting that name 20 times at the dog park to call your dog to you!
2- Size Matters
Dogs respond best to shorter names; ideally no more than two syllables.
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There is a wealth of research into exactly which sounds dogs hear best and why. The most common belief is that hard consonants (like D, K, or P) sound a lot like the noise made by dog-training clickers and so catch and hold a dog's attention better than other softer sounds.
Some experts say it's best to have a dog name that ends in a vowel and most especially a long “e” sound. These words are easier for a dog to distinguish from other words we say because when we say a word like “Daisy” our tone changes on the second syllable, compared to words without. Try it, you’ll notice it straight away.
3- Avoid Command Words
Choosing a name for your dog that rhymes with common commands can be very confusing for your pet.
Getting your dog named “May” to stay, might be a bit of a challenge and trying to tell your dog “Beau” not to do something (no) is going to lead to frustration for you both.
4- Suitable for Public Use
You should never name your dog anything inappropriate or rude. It might seem funny, but it is disrespectful to your dog and don’t forget, you will have to introduce “Princess Poopypants” or “Farter” to the vet and to everyone you meet…. forever!
5- Breed Heritage
Is your dog a Weimaraner? Then perhaps look for a German name to honor their genetic roots. A Welsh name would suit a sweet Corgi perfectly. There are so many great dog names in different languages and giving your pup a name that highlights the origin of their breed is an awesome way to ensure their individualism.
6- Physical Characteristics
The size, shape, and color of your dog can help you to choose an appropriate name. There are far too many Great Danes called “Tiny” and Chihuahuas named “Goliath” in the world already – don’t add more!
7- Be Unique
Your dog wants to stand out from the pack, so take your time to choose a name that is special and different. Besides, calling out “Max” at the dog park might result in you being charged down by 7 dogs!
8- Your Dog's Temperament and Personality
Try to pick a name that suits your dog's behavior.
Are they happy, energetic, cuddly, or mischievous? A name that embodies their spirit will always be the perfect match. “Loki” is the perfect name for a mischievous Lab, for example.
9- Breed Reputation
As undeserved as many of the bad reputations might be, calling your muscly Rottweiler “Killer” is not going to convince your neighbors he is a friendly cuddle bear.
10- No Twinning
You might think it is adorable to have 2 dogs called “Molly” and “Polly”, but you are setting yourself up for trouble.
Give your dogs names that are different enough so each one knows when you are speaking to them. Following this, if your husband is “Dan”, don’t name your dog “Stan”. Life is hard enough without this confusion!
11- Your Pup Will Grow!
Naming the tiny bundle of fur that fits in your palm “Fluffball” may suit when your dog is a puppy, but that’s not going to be a good fit once he grows up.
It is a good idea to think ahead and decide if the name that fits him as a puppy will still be appropriate when he is a bigger dog.
12- Look at your Interests
Are you a music lover, an avid outdoorsman or a gamer? Looking at the things you love is a great way to find an awesome name for your pet. There are some great dog names in books and movies too.
13- Ask your Dog’s Opinion
This might seem strange but pick your favorite couple of names and see which one he responds to best. Remember to always reward your dog with affection when he responds to his name to help him learn it quicker.
14- Your Opinion Matters Too
You are going to be using your dog's name every day for at least a decade, so make sure to choose something you truly love.
15- Avoid Changing an Adult Dog's Name
If you’ve rescued an adult dog from a shelter that already has a name, try to accept the name he is used to.
If you absolutely hate the name, change it to something that sounds similar, for example, “Marley” can become “Charlie”. This way you get a name you like without making it harder for your dog.
Finding the name that’s just right for your dog can be tough, but rest assured, if you follow these tried-and-tested tips no matter what name you choose you’re sure to love it as much as you love your canine companion!
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I’m Shelley, a content creator and copywriter from Wicklow in the Irish countryside. I am a big animal lover, so writing about dogs is a dream come true! I’m the crazy lady who will stop you in the street while you’re out walking your dog to give it cuddles. I adore all dogs, but I would have to say the big slobbery ones are my favorite.