Sam? Fido? Alfie? Buttons? Tara? Charlie? One of the first decisions that you need to make as a dog owner is what to call your new best friend! Picking a name for your new pet can feel as pressured as choosing what to call your first born. Thankfully, we’ve got some tips to help you name your dog.
The importance of choosing the right name for your dog
With an endless number of different names to choose from, trying to find the perfect one for your new canine companion can seem a little overwhelming. There are lots of different things to consider – from how easy it is to say and shout your dog’s name to get their attention, to how unique it is. After all, calling out ‘Max’ or ‘Bella’ in a busy dog park could see a flood of four-legged friends heading your way!
The name you choose for your dog will be the name that they use for the rest of their life with you, so you need to make sure that everyone in your family is on board with it and prepared to use it consistently, so that your furry pal quickly learns to recognise and respond to it.
Can I rename my dog?
Some dogs already have names by the time you get them. If you are adopting an older dog, they may come to you already named by their previous owner or the shelter where they were staying. If you are purchasing a puppy, there’s also a chance that their breeder will have named them. The good news is that you don’t have to stick with a name that you don’t like. It’s generally easier to change a dog’s name when they are younger, but it can be done at any age.
If you are adopting a dog from a previously unkind home, giving them a new name can actually help them to disassociate themselves from their old owners and the situation that they experienced. Instead, your dog’s new name should mean only good things to them, and you can use it as a fresh start to make all new, happy memories with them.
Tips for naming your dog
There’s lots of advice out there about naming your dog, but we’ve selected some of the best to share with you, and help you find a name that’s the perfect fit for your furriest family member.
Choose a name that ends with a vowel
Say the letter ‘o’. Now say the letter ‘s’. You’ll notice that vowel sounds end much more abruptly than consonants do – something which makes them clearer and easier to say and crucially, easier for your doggo to distinguish from other sounds around them. Names that contain vowels also change tone when you say them, which is important since dogs distinguish frequency ranges at a much higher level than we do.
Opt for a short name with a maximum of two syllables
Long names are trickier to say, require your dog to concentrate for a few moments more to hear them and nearly always get shortened anyway – so you might as well pick a shorter name to begin with! Experiment with different shorter names, but most owners tend to find that names with two syllables are the easiest to roll off the tongue.
Don’t try and be too clever with your dog’s new name by calling them something that could be confused with one of the commands you’ll use to train them. You should also make sure you don’t call them a name that sounds too similar to any of your other family members. In either case, it can quickly become confusing for your dog to think they hear their name and to come to you, only to find that you weren’t calling them at all!
Take personality into account
A name is only going to suit your new dog if it fits with their personality and characteristics. If you have a doggo that is a breed well-known for being extremely active, you might want to consider names like ‘Zoomer’ or ‘Turbo’, while a quieter and more sedate breed might suit more laid-back names. You might like to name your furbaby after a TV or movie character with similar characteristics, such as Sonic, Thor or Hermione!
Use rewards and positive reinforcement to get them use to their new name
Getting your dog to recognise their name shouldn’t take too long if you use it consistently when you talk to them. If you say their name and they respond by looking at you or coming over to you, reward them with a treat. This will reinforce the behaviour and teach your furbaby that you are talking to them when you say their name!