Naming Your Puppy

The expected arrival of a puppy in the house is a delightful event. Children, in particular, are happiest about the addition. The innocent and playful movements of a puppy are a pleasure to watch, and to take part in. But you can’t go on calling the new puppy “Puppy” forever.  Once the puppy has been brought home, s/he has to be named. The question remains, what name should you select? How do you settle on a name for the puppy?

Normally we do not attach too much importance on naming a puppy. But in reality, naming a dog is not always easy. This is because we forget that a dog’s response often depends on the name we have selected. The name should be picked out very carefully.

One thing we should remember is that the name we select for the puppy is the key to communicating with him. So the name should be such that it is meant to generate a quick response from the dog. If it rhymes too closely with another member of the house, with a frequently used word, or with a command, the dog could become confused and respond inappropriately or not at all. Many dog owners also strive to choose a name that matches with the dog’s individuality, along with demonstrating their inner feelings toward the puppy.

What’s in a Name?

Often people will typically select a “human” name for the dog, but this is not always appropriate. There is some concern in the pet training sector that the more people choose human names such as Charlie and Molly and Maxwell, the more people will tend toward anthropomorphizing their pets. Of course we have to respect our dogs and give them the dignity they deserve, but dogs are not people and cannot be expected to learn how to adjust to each social situation they find themselves in or avoid troublesome behaviors for fear of being punished, as humans do. 

That is not to say that dogs are not intelligent animals — they are. At the same time they have their limitations. Which is why, before selecting a name for the puppy, you should understand the importance of a name.

Dogs do not understand a name the way we understand it. This is because a dog takes in everything we say to him as a sound. He or she takes the sound as a command, and responds accordingly. Your puppy does not understand the meaning behind the name. With practice your puppy has learned to respond in a particular way to a particular sound.

Where There’s a Rhythm

If that is the case, then what is the use of spending so much time in selecting a name for the puppy? The name we select and the rhythm associated with it have to be such that the name demonstrates the affinity we have developed towards the puppy. As everyone knows, dogs respond most quickly to those who have developed an affinity with him. A puppy’s name can be the guiding factor for how the puppy responds to the call of its master.

Many dog trainers suggest giving dogs names that are more in keeping with their status, as well as names that are easily spoken (by humans) and learned (by dogs). Ideal names to give a dog a name are comprised of two syllables; some examples of this are Bella, Buddy, Cosmo, Lucky, Rocky.

Trainers say that dogs will learn and quickly respond to these types of short sounds, making training easier and long term control of the dog easier; even three syllable words can be confusing for some dogs. Longer names can be clumsy or confusing, or can be mispronounced by others who are involved in the dog’s life, making consistent obedience tricky.

The puppy has a much easier time of learning and responding if her name does not sound like a command that is being given. Similarly, the name should not sound like a joke. Dogs are sensitive and intuitive. They can distinguish and understand the mood of the person and the emotions within the speech, whether the words are coming from the master, from members of the family, or from an outsider.

In the end, the name will be with your puppy for its entire life. So choose wisely. And if you need a help with some names, here is a list of a few of our favorites.

Image: Dov Harrington / via Flickr