Naming a dog is always a very complicated affair.
Everybody in the family wants to name the dog after their favorite hero, villain, or whatever else.
According to experts, the best dog names should contain 2 syllables so that the dog can more easily distinguish it from commands which usually only contains 1 syllable, e.g. Sit, Stay, Jump, Shake.
In addition, a dog’s name should contain hard consonants because dogs recognize hard/stop consonants more easily.
Therefore, what should you name your dog?
Both my dogs have several names which helps with the hero-villain naming dilemma. In particular they each have a good dog name and a bad dog name.
The good dog name is used during attention exercises and recall, and the bad dog name is used when they perform undesired behaviors.
Why have a good dog name and a bad dog name?
The main reason is to avoid confusion – for your dog.
Experts recommend that you do not use any names at all when disciplining your dog for undesired behaviors. Just say “No” or “Ack-Ack” rather than “Lassie No”. This is because you do not want your dog to associate his name with the undesired behavior or with the correction.
If you use your dog’s name to praise, issue commands, and correct him, it will get very confusing, very quickly.
Does his name mean “come to you”, “don’t do this”, or “do this”?
Being humans, however, it is our tendency to attach names when speaking to our dogs. We really want to say “Lassie No” rather than just “No”.
When I want to praise him or do recalls I use his good dog name, and when he is naughty, I use his bad dog name.
Consistency is key in communication with your dog.
Uniqueness of names is also important. For example, you do not want to use the names of other people in the household, or names of friends that frequently come up in conversation.
I often talk about my dogs, so they also have a neutral name.
In this way, my dogs do not think I am giving them commands or correcting them when I am in conversation with other people about them. What you use as a neutral name is less important – it just has to be different from his good and bad dog names.
Uniqueness is also the reason why many people do not use the word “No” with their dogs.
It is not because they are afraid they will hurt their dog’s feelings but rather because “No” occurs regularly in normal conversation. As a result, your dog may get confused, and think you are disagreeing with his current behavior, when actually you are just in conversation with another human.
My Shiba has many names because he is such a Character! Being a Shiba however, his most common name is Butros!