What’s in a Name?


Some puppies and dogs come to us with names.  For many of us, part of the joy in getting a new puppy is the fun we have with choosing the best name.

Many respected breeders have a kennel name and a theme for each litter of puppies, which can add to the naming challenge.  New owners will spend a little while getting to know their new pup before finalizing a name and then registering the puppy.

Some older puppies and dogs that are being rehomed have names that may not truly fit their personalities.  New families may feel that a fresh start should include a fresh name.  Changing a dog’s name is not as difficult as you might think; just approach the name change as you would if you were naming a new pup for the first time.  Use treats to reinforce attention every time you say the dog’s name.

When it comes to choosing your dog’s call name, here are some things to consider:

  • The way it sounds when you say the name. Is it clear and easy to understand?  Can everyone in the family say it clearly?
  • Make it unique. If your human son is named Freddy, a dog named Teddy might not be a great idea because they rhyme.
  • Think about your dog’s future. If you plan to do agility, a dog named Eve may be easily confused when you tell her to “weave” (as in weave poles – however you can always give the weave poles a different command).
  • Confusion with basic command words. A dog named Ray may be easily confused when teaching using the command “Stay.”
  • Lots of folks prefer multi-syllable names that can be shortened to one syllable. This is helpful when doing competition obedience, where the dog’s name may be used prior to the command.  (Example:  Tyler / Ty)
  • Personality traits. If your puppy is mouthy and uppity, naming him Feisty may subconsciously fuel that side of his personality.  What we say and what think often comes true!  It might be better to name this pup something soft and sweet, such as Fluffy!

If you’re not currently in the process of naming your new family member, save this article for the future.  If you want your current dog to be more attentive when you do say his name, remember that attention is a two-way street.  If you expect attention you need to give attention.  Attending classes is a great way to work on attention and responsiveness around distractions.

Multiple Dogs

What is in a (dog’s) name?? A whole pack of things to think about!