The Art of Naming a Dog

naming my dog

Last week I came across an very interesting article from the New York Times, The Art of Naming a Dog.  I wanted to post about it earlier but lately things have been really crazy in the dog industry with new events coming up for spring and summer, so my apologies.

Anyway the article did a great job pointing out importance of naming your dog. I though this article was important because a good name is essential to successful communication between human and companion.  Here are a few noteworthy tips to consider when naming your pup:

1 ) Stick to name of one or two syllables which quickly catch a dogs attention

2 ) To help the puppy distinguish its name from ambient noise choose something with a sibilant consonant or blend like “s” “sh” or “zh”. OR even better something with a CRISP commanding consonant “a” “k” or a hard “c”

3 ) Choose a name with a hard consonant  that has a relatively sharp sound so the dog can respond too quickly. Sibilant sounds are more muddled for them

4 ) Make sure you don’t confuse the name with a command. Eliminate names like ‘Kit’ because it sounds much like “Sit” and name like “Bo or Beau” which obviously sounds like ‘No’. The Obamas obviously ignored this rule in naming their dog Bo.

5 ) Don’t go for anything trendy or overly witty. Pick something enduring, that you and the dog can live with.

6 ) Aviod letting the children decide on the name. Today’s generations tend to let the children name the family dog. Often times the dog gets stuck with a name that is too  long, clever, and far from practical. Pick a name that is practical and you can see yourself saying repeatedly. Repetition and practice is how the dog will better know his name.

7 ) Avoid human names unless it follows by the rules. Something like Christopher or Chris for short is not helpful as it doesn’t command the direct effect of communication between man and his best friend.

That being said, I truly believe in the concept of naming a dog and the consistency of saying that name. People ask me all the time  about the incredible friendly disposition my dog Jack has when he meets people and other dogs. Much of that I can say has been reflective of his name, Jack. When him and I meet new people in the community wether they are interested in meeting Jack, or me, or both of us, I always introduce Jack. I do this because I believe it gives Jack a chance to internalize that his presence is being recognized in the situation which I feel eased any anxiety he could ever have around new friends, while boosting his confidence and ability to feel comfortable around new groups of people or dogs. If the other party has a dog with them too, I always make sure to ask what his or her dogs name is and then I repeat that name. I do it in a very passive but soothing manner such as ” Well Hello Maddyyyyyy”. I try to always articulate the name in a direct tone and pronounce it cleary, letting the pup know Jack and I are very friendly too.

Ironically the name Jack fits all of the criteria from the Art of Naming a Dog article. It happens to be the 7th top name on the Top 100 Most Popular Dog Names list. Yippie!  Originally Jacks name was Flynn when he when I sprung him from the Escondido Humane Society at 3 months old . Intuitively I felt that Flynn was not a practical name I could hear myself scream and shouting, because come on we all know we are going to be shouting our dogs name to come here at the dog parks and beaches…. My younger brother Marc suggested the name Jack after I had trouble coming up with a name. The minute I heard it, I thought to myself “How appropriate!” It was such a great name and that’s when changed his name to Jack. He knows his name and its obvious he loves it very much by they was he wags his body when people say it.

One last suggestion I can make as far as naming your dog, I think a dog should just have one name, not two or nick names. In a dog with a household of multiple people I would recommend everyone call the dog by the same name especially in the beginning of  the adoption stage. For example, if you have a dog named Butterscotch, and call him Buddy for short – I totally understand, and that’s just fine. However – if you have a dog named Butterscotch, and you introduce him to others as his full name is can difficult for the dog understanding who is Butterscotch and who is Buddy? Dogs should have one name, nick names can be confusing and potentially mislead the dog on what his name is.. is it Buddy or Butterscotch?

According to Dogtime Magazine the top 100 most common dog names follow the rules and guidelines mentioned. Clearly these names not only sound good but have huge success on the dog. Click here to view the list Dogtime Magazine Top 100 Dog names. Good luck with naming your pup! 

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