You may be waiting until the day you see your puppy to choose his name, when you look into those eyes, you’ll just know what to call him.
However, if you’re not so keen on placing all your eggs in one basket by hoping for the best, there are some top tips to help you choose the perfect name for your puppy.
Read on to find out more.
Make It Short and Snappy
Let’s be honest, whilst it’s helpful on paper for our pup to have a name, we really use their name to get their attention.
Whether we use their name after giving a dog treat or as a cue before asking them to do something or simply distract them from something they perhaps shouldn’t be doing, they need to recognize it instantly. For that reason, their name should be short and snappy.
It is far easier to get your pup’s attention shouting “Des!” as opposed to “Desdemona!”
Ask any trainer or owner who has been through those puppy years, and you’ll be reassured that a puppy is more likely to respond to a high-pitched tone, almost jovial. Just like dog training needs practice, so does a dog’s name.
Can you intonate them?
It’s slightly hard with one syllable names, but two or more syllables and you tend to intonate on the second or third syllable instinctively.
- Hen-ry (ree increases in pitch)
- O-li-ver (ver increases in pitch)
Intonation falsifies excitement, and the puppy will always be interested if he thinks something more interesting is going on.
Limit The Syllables
As we’ve mentioned, names should be short and snappy and easy to intonate. My Pet’s Name recommended it is better to stick to one or two syllables.
Your pup will be easily distracted, so if you can get his attention quickly, and follow with a command, you are setting him up to succeed.
By the time you’ve finished saying “Valentino,” pup has probably looked at you, picked up another scent and started to wander off!
Will you have more than one dog in the future?
It’s worth considering if you will be adding more dogs to your home when naming your pup.
If you intend on having two or three dogs, there will be occasions when you want to get all of their attention in quick succession.
Again, you’ll be better off with short names.
If your three pooches are running towards the road, “Rex, Max, Belle, Stop!” is more likely to avoid a potential disaster than “Alexandra, Elizabeth, Serenity, Stop!”
Not surprisingly there are certain names that make it to the list of popular puppy names.
They generally follow the rules we’ve mentioned above.
But be mindful of choosing a too popular a name. Whilst “Max” is one syllable, short, snappy and needs no explanation in the vet office, plenty of other owners may have thought the same.
You’re enjoying your morning in the dog park, you call “Max” to leave and suddenly have 8 other dogs bounding towards you. They too are called Max.
Never ask “Kit” to “Sit!”
Avoid names that sound similar to common commands.
You may be waiting for Kit to come back to you, peer around the tree and see him sat, patiently waiting for you. He thought you wanted him to “sit!”
Equally, Beau may always think you’re saying no to him! Recall will be impossible to train with Ray who thinks you always want him to stay!
Will It Stand The Test Of Time?
Choose a name that you will be comfortable with when checking your pup into the veterinarians or groomers.
Whilst it may have been endearing when he chewed through your shoes, “Jimmy Chew” will want to live that lapse in judgment down when he is a grumpy old 16-year-old in the vets.
Also, be mindful of naming your pup after family members.
Will it elicit an emotional response every time you hear or say it? Or even, will your family member be happy having a dog named after them?
You may already have some top puppy names in your list but consider how they measure up to our top tips.
Make their name short and snappy, so it’s easy to get their attention. Practice it and consider if you will be happy shouting it across the dog park and checking them into the vets or groomers for the foreseeable future. Limit the syllables and figure out how to intonate it.
Who knew there was such an art, and science to choosing a puppy name?
John Woods is a dog lover, enthusiast and author at All Things Dogs. He has studied animal behavior and welfare and is on a mission to educate 40M dog owners on how to care for dogs.