Tips for Picking a Good Name for Your Dog

Naming a dog may be easier than naming a child, but still, you have to think about it wisely. Yes, it’s not like the dog is going to have to bear with it in school or in personal records, and you will not have worries like how would it sound if his peers are going to call him that way. But still, you need to give it some thought because it’s the name the dog would always hear and respond to for the rest of his life. More importantly, it’s you who is going to live with it every time you call your pet.

You may name your dog any random name if you want to, but do you know that some names are better than others in terms of gaining a dog’s attention and response? Here are some tips for picking a good name for your dog.

1. Choose a name with hard-sounding letters.

Hard consonants (like b, d, k, r, t, x) and hard vowels (like a, e, i, y) are easier for dogs to hear than soft letters. Dog experts say it is because hard consonants and vowels create sounds with more energy across sound frequencies, activating the dog’s audio receptors better than soft ones. So, Baxter and Dara would be more recognizable than Flynn and Shana.

2. Keep it one- to two-syllables short.

Limit your dog’s name to only one to two syllables; it will be easier for you and your dog. So if you want to name your dog Prince Barf Waggenstein, you should set a nickname your dog would remember, like Prince or Barf, because let’s face it – shortening that long name would be inevitable. And most probably, your dog will never be able to learn that Prince Barf Waggenstein is his full name, so why bother?

3. Reward your puppy when you are teaching him his new name.

For the puppy to easily remember their name, give them a treat whenever they react to you as you call them. While you are still teaching your dog Sam to respond to his name, give him a treat as soon as he recognizes it – this will surely help him remember that “Sam is my name. I am Sam. I will look at my owner whenever he says, ‘Sam.’”

4. Don’t pick a name that sounds like command cues.

Avoid dog names that sound like standard obedience cues like Sit, Stay, No, Come, Fetch or Down. For instance, “Joe” may sound like “No,” and “Ray” sounds like “Stay.” Choose a name that doesn’t rhyme or sound like any common command to avoid making your dog confused.

5. Choose a name that can work long term.

You may call your pet “Puppy” while it’s still young, but it might get awkward after three years. You might get tempted to name your cute little German shepherd “Baby” or “Tiny” but if he grows up and jumps on you forcefully whenever you go home, you might think it’s no longer appropriate. And also what if “Baby” the dog gives birth to a litter of puppies? Would it suit her name anymore? While some dog owners would find it amusing, it may not amuse you when your dog gets old.

6. Choose a name your family will also like.

Consider the opinions of your family members. You must all agree that your choice would suit your dog best. Since you would also need to call your dog from time to time, the pet must bear a name that is agreed upon by the family, or at least the majority.

7. Avoid naming your dog after a family member or a friend.

Naming a dog after a person close to you or someone you know can be offensive. Avoid doing this as much as possible. But if you want to, don’t do it without mentioning it to the person first, so that they might understand that if they would visit, they might hear their name but you could be referring to your pet. However, it would only confuse your dog if you would call your friend by his or her name a lot.

8. Avoid naming your dog offensive, embarrassing or scandalous names.

Yes, your dog won’t care if you would name him after an insult, derogatory term, curse word, ridiculous slang term, or scary word, but think of yourself. Imagine walking your dog on a park and you need to get his attention. Are you really going to call him “Poophead” or “Loser” with many people around? Can you really shout “Killer” or “Bomb” when chasing your dog, without sending anxiety or false alert to other people? Always choose a name you can say with ease in a crowd of people.

9. Avoid saying your dog’s name too much.

When a dog gets to hear his name too much on a day, he might end up disregarding and ignoring it. Dogs can be too familiar with their names to the point that calling them won’t spark any attention from them anymore. While training a puppy, you may always repeat his name, but in general, situations, don’t excessively mention it.

Dog name ideas

Here are some ideas on who or what to name your dog after:

1. Your dog’s appearance or personality

Is your dog brown? You may name him “Chestnut,” “Choco” or “Toffee.” Is your dog a Dalmatian? You may name him “Spot” or “Dottie.” Is your puppy a fast eater? You may name him “Dash.” However, this is a really common way of naming a puppy, but it can help you easily identify a dog especially if there is a litter of them. It’s easy to know who “Blackie” or “Butter” or “Coffee” is in a triplet of different colored dogs.

2. A back story

For instance, you found a stray puppy near a Kroger’s shop, you may name him “Kroger.” A puppy that is born while it was snowing can be named “Winter.” If your pet likes chewing on your kid’s sandals, you may get “Crocs” as a name.

3. A famous personality or historical figure

Some people like naming their dogs after real people. Your dog may or may not remind you of them, but it’s easier to copy someone’s name than think of something really unique. A litter of poodles can be named after Mozart, Bach or Chopin. A noisy puppy can be named after singers like Madonna, or Elvis or Bono. A frisky litter can be named after sports teams or players.

4. A theme

Another idea is to think of a theme and name your puppies after something you enjoy. Perhaps there’s a really great TV series, movies, plays or any other works of fiction you like. Name your puppies after the characters so it would make you feel like those characters are with you in your home. The choices are endless: you may name them after Greek or Roman gods and goddesses, Jesus, disciples, Mexican foods, American presidents, hurricanes and storms, or anything you can think of.

5. Your interests

Cheese lovers might consider “Feta,” “Gouda” or “Cheddar.” A science enthusiast may name his dogs after the elements from the periodic table or planets on our solar system. A fashionista may name her dog after famous brands, while a foodie can pick the names of his favorite foods. Whatever your interest may be, it can spark name suggestions if you would only consider them.