A Life with Dogs

Chapter 8. Choosing a name for your Dog

Chapter 8. Choosing a name for your Dog

Chapter 7s 'New Puppy Woohoo' was excitement PLUS, as you prepared to bring home your new Puppy! 

Those lazy, hazy days of puppydom were knocking at your door. So many things to do and think about.

Choosing your puppies name will be one of them. And let's not forget, you might be bringing home a rescue dog; a once injured or old faithful that may, or may not already have a name. 

If you're choosing to give everyone a fresh start in this circumstance, then this is for you too.

Our family was a little weird when it came to names for our pets (two-legged ones included). As long as your name (or nick-name) ended in an ee (sounds like 'e'), you were IN!

Gaylie, Sammie, Dudley, Mollie, Gemmie, Ralphie... Harvey, Wilfie, Riley, Maxie, Harley... Some of the many names shared among the hooman's, dogs, horses, cats and geese throughout the years. 

I am to this day, still unsure how this all began, but it became a pre-requisite when choosing a name, and has never lost its place.

So, how will you choose a name for your dog?

Before you get a dog, you can't quite imagine what living with one might be like; afterward, you can't imagine living any other way. - Caroline Knapp

Choosing a name for your new Puppy is a big task. After all, your dog is stuck with this name (and you’re stuck with saying it) for the next 10 – 16 years... Maybe more! 

There are some important considerations to make when you choose a name for your new Puppy, all of which we discuss below.

Avoid Popular Dog and Human Names
If you have a popular name, you know how confusing it can be when 12 people answer to the same name. 

Now, imagine what it must be like for a dog to try and explain to the veterinarian that it’s Fydoh, not Fido. 


If you plan to take your dog anywhere other pets are present, such as a dog park, doggy day care, or boarding, it is best to avoid the names that made the American Kennel Club’s top names for dogs.

This year, these include Bella, Stella, Max, Puppy, and Bear. (Note* I am fairly certain in predicting this list might be different in the year to come, so hang in there 🙄). I happen to know both a Bella and a Max - neither of which seem too perturbed that anyone else has their name...

As a puppy (actually for the first ten years), my Ralphie Cocker had 100% selective hearing, therefore it wouldn't have mattered what his name was... he was completely oblivious! 

Avoid Trends

It might be cute to name your pet after the current trends at the time, but in 10 years it may be embarrassing to explain why you thought it was a good idea to name your pet “Kardashian.” 

I say each to their own, so don't let anyone tell you different.

Take Time to Let Puppy's Personality Develop
One common method for naming a new dog is to spend a few days getting to know your new pet. 

After all, what happens if you choose to name your dog “Petunia” but she’s definitely more of a “Rocket?” 

Just as names have a special meaning for humans, the intention behind the naming process can be important when picking a moniker for your new best friend.

Consider Heritage Names
A common trend among dog owners is to choose a name that pays tribute to the dog’s heritage. 

For instance, if bringing home a German Shepherd, a strong Germanic name may be suitable such as Heinz or Heidi.

Owners of Shiba Inus may find names such as Bonsai or Saki to be appropriate.

If going this route, just make sure that the name doesn’t have an embarrassing meaning, or a similar sounding word that could get you into trouble if a native speaker hears you! 

Avoid Names that Sound like Other Words
Although dogs are extremely intelligent, it is important not to give them too much credit in the complexity of their vocabulary.

Avoid naming your dog a word that sounds like another command you may commonly say.

For instance, if your dog’s name is “Snow,” she may constantly think you are saying “no” when you are simply trying to get her attention.

Stick to One or Two Syllables
When choosing a name for your new puppy, it is best to stick to a name that is easy to say. 

If you ever need to get your dog’s attention quickly, chances are your pet will have already torn apart your favourite shoe by the time you can say, “Snuffaluffagus, stop!”

Choose a Name Everyone can Agree On
This step is perhaps most important. 

If you are dead-set on calling your dog Princess while your spouse prefers Killer, your dog may have a major identity crisis. 

Choose a name that everyone in the family is happy to call your dog in order to avoid your pup having hurt feelings when someone simply does not want to say his or her name. 

Overall, the steps to choosing a name for your new Puppy are simple:  Avoid trendy and popular names; let your pup’s personality and heritage be a guiding factor; don’t choose a name that will confuse your pet; and make sure everyone in the family agrees. 

 So you've chosen a name for your puppy and hopefully, everyone agrees. Next we'll look at ways to teach your dog its name.

Chapter Nine – Coming Soon

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