So, you’re expanding your family and welcoming a new dog into your home. Congratulations! Now that you’ve finally found the perfect pooch, it’s time to pick a name. Just like choosing a baby name, deciding what to call your dog is a big deal. It’s something you need to love and your entire family needs to agree on. In this post, John Woods — the senior editor at All Things Dogs — and I team up to share some essential tips that will make the process easier!
For some puppy parents, the process of naming their new furry family member is a cinch. But, for others, it can become a long and daunting task. While some factors are totally preference (should you choose a common human name or something cutesier?), there are certain guidelines you should consider:
1. Keep It Short and Snappy
One of the first things to consider when choosing your dog’s name is the length. Opt for a name that’s either one or two syllables. Short names are easier for you to say and they’re short enough to get your dog’s attention quickly. This comes in handy during training sessions and emergency situations (Like if you need to call out their name followed by the “come” or “leave it” command).
Here are a few examples of short and snappy names:
2. Avoid Names That Sound Like Common Commands
Stay clear of names that rhyme with common commands so your dog doesn’t get confused. For example, if you name your dog Beau, he may think you’re saying “no!” If you name your dog “Kit”, she may always think you’re telling her to sit. “Jay” may think you’re telling him to “stay.”
3. Think About Your Other Family Members
Consider the other kids and pets in your household. Just like you want to avoid names that rhyme with common commands, you’ll also want to stay clear of names that sound too similar to the other family members in the house. For example, if you have a daughter named Abby then your dog may get confused if you name her Gabby. Who knows who will come running when you call!
4. Consider Names With Hard Consonants
Animal behaviorists say, in general, dogs appear to respond better to names with hard, sharp-sounding consonants. For example, if you’re looking at names that start with the letter C, “Cali” or “Chloe” may be better than “Cindy”. Experts say these sounds stimulate receptors in your dog’s brain, pack more energy, and are more attention-grabbing.
5. Be Careful with Super Trendy Names
A lot of people find name inspo through their favorite movies, television shows, and book characters. And, sure, you may find a great name that way! But, make sure it’s not something too trendy where you’ll get sick of it after a few years.
Popular Dog Names
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), here are the top 100 girl dog names and top 100 boy dog names of 2019!
Top 100 Girl Dog Names
Top 100 Boy Dog Names
Now that we’ve covered 5 important tips for picking out a great dog name, and you’ve skimmed through the AKC’s list of most popular puppy names, let’s talk training!
When you first bring your pup home, you’ll want to say his/her name a lot!
- Start by taking your dog to a quiet area of your home.
- Looking at your dog, say his new name in a positive tone.
- As you do this, reward him with a treat and praise.
- Repeat this process several times.
- Keep training sessions short – just a few minutes.
- Scatter training sessions throughout the day.
After a few name training sessions, start calling your dog by his new name when he isn’t focused on you. Again, use an excited voice! If your pooch responds to the name, immediately give him a treat and praise. If your pup does not pay attention when you call his new name, you can try this step with his leash on. Just wait until he is looking away, call his name, and if he doesn’t respond then lightly tug his leash. Once he responds, give him a treat and praise!
Until you’re sure your dog knows his name, don’t combine it with any training commands. So, if you want to work on commands, simply use the label: sit, down, stay, etc. As he progresses, that’s when you can use his name as a precursor to getting his attention.
John is a full-time dog trainer and part-time writer. He is a member of the Dog Writers Association of America and the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. He also has two degrees and is a graduate in Animal Behavior and Welfare.