Congratulations on getting a new dog!
Now comes the fun part of picking the best name, for your new furry best friend.
Names are important.
When I chat with the people around my neighborhood, one of the first things that they ask, is the name of my dog. My Siberian Husky, Shania, is the main focus of attention and crowd-pleaser, so most people in our daily travels know her name but not mine.
Names are used during introductions, and they color what others think of our dog. A dog named Killer, will invite a very different type of reaction, than a dog named SweetiePie.
Therefore, take your time in naming your dog. Observe his energy level, most loved activities, and wait until his true personality comes through. When it does, you will know what is the right name for him.
Where Do the Best Dog Names Come From?
When looking for dog names, there are several places to get good ideas -
- Fictional characters – We can find some great names from our favorite movies, books, or games. Pick the best fictional hero or villain, depending on the personality and/or look of our dog.
- Famous people – Another interesting set of names are from famous and inspirational people, or historical figures. We can pick rulers such as Alexander the Great, Charlemagne, or Napoleon Bonaparte. We can pick innovators such as Edison or daVinci. We can pick poets, writers, musicians, movie stars, or sports heroes.
- Country of dog breed – Different dog breeds emerge from different locations. We can select a favorite name or word from our dog’s country of origin.
- Stars and heavenly bodies – Finally, a great source of dog names come from stars and other heavenly bodies. For example, if our dog loves to hunt, we may name him Rigel, which is the brightest star in The Hunter constellation.
Popular Dog Names
To help you on your way, here are the most popular 5 male and female dog names. There are a variety of lists, but these names appear at the top of almost all of them.
Most popular male dog names -
Most popular female dog names -
How to Pick the Best Dog Name
Other things to keep in mind while looking for the best dog name -
1. Short and simple.
Pick a short and simple name that is easy to say. Likely, you will spend a lot of time with your furry best friend in the coming years. You will be saying his name a lot, in a variety of situations. Sometimes, you may even need to get his attention quickly, before he runs off after birds and squirrels.
If we look at show dogs, they usually have 2 names – a show name and an every-day name. The show name is long, unique, and indicates pedigree. The every-day name is much shorter, and easy to say.
If we want to pick a longer name for our dog, find one that still sounds cool, and is easy to say when it is shortened.
2. Try to pick a name with 2 syllables.
According to the experts, it is best to pick a dog name with 2 syllables.
Most dog training commands are only one syllable, e.g. Sit, Stand, Down, Shake, Come. In this way, a dog can easily differentiate between his name and a command.
In addition, consider picking a name that starts with a hard/stop consonant. Dogs recognize hard consonants more easily. Therefore, we can grab our dog’s attention faster with a name that starts with a stop consonant.
3. Pick a name that is unique.
Try to pick a dog name that is unique and not similar to the names of family members, close relatives, or close friends. If our dog has a name that is identical, or similar to somebody else in the family, he may get confused and think that we are calling him, when the common name is used.
If a dog keeps getting ignored when he thinks his name is being called, he will no longer respond to that name.
4. Name choosing should be a fun family affair.
It is best, when the whole family gets involved in choosing the name of our family dog. In this way, everyone feels invested in the dog, and will be more willing to accept him into the pack.
In addition, this ensures that everyone will consistently call the dog by his chosen name. Consistency is very important when communicating with our dog. If we are not consistent with how we use his name, there will be confusion as to what we mean, and what we want. It is the same way with people and language. When I say ‘dog’, you understand what I am referring to, because we all use it consistently to mean the same thing.
5. Use the primary dog name in a positive context.
Only use our dog’s primary name in a positive context. In this way, he will learn to associate his name with rewards and positive outcomes.
Some people use their dog’s name while scolding or punishing him. If a dog consistently gets punished when his name is called, he will start to associate ‘his name’ with something negative. Once this occurs, he may run away or hide when he hears his name, in anticipation of the coming punishment.
If we want to use names in both a positive and negative context, then it is important to establish both a good dog name and a bad dog name.
The good dog name (primary name), should only be associated with rewards and positive experiences.
Best Dog Names
Do not be in too much of a hurry to name your dog. Spend some time bonding with him, and wait until you start seeing all the different aspects of his personality –
- His good side,
- His goofy side,
- His quirks,
- His fears,
- His motivations,
- His most loved activities, and
- His most hated activities.
Once we observe all this and start to understand our new furry friend, the best dog name will also become clear to us.
Picking a good name for your dog can be a lot of fun. Here, we consider how to pick a good dog name. We also examine why it may be useful for a dog to have multiple names, including a bad and neutral dog name.
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