Choose a name that you like.
You will be using it all the time, so you should enjoy the sound of it.
Pick a one or two syllable name. Longer names can be difficult for your dog to understand.
Try out the new name for a few days and see how your dog responds.
Male Dog Names
Female Dog Names
Dog Names by Color
Dog Names by Size
When humans hear the names Lassie, Rover and Fido, they immediately know that refer to dogs. For dog’s themselves, their name is, perhaps, the single most important word that they will ever learn. Think of it this way, a dog lives in a sea of human sounds and, with only the language ability of a human 2-year old, it has to decide which words are directed at it and which are not. Thus if you say to another family member “Why don’t you come here and sit down beside me,” how does the dog know whether the words “come”, “sit” and “down” were meant as commands for him? Obviously, if you were looking directly into the dog’s eyes and had his full attention the “sit” or “down” would clearly be directed at him and he should know that you mean for him to respond. In the absence of that sort of body language, however, the dog’s name becomes the key to his understanding. In effect, a dog’s name becomes a signal which tells him that the next sounds that come out of his master’s mouth are supposed to have some impact on the his life. Thus a dog’s name linguistically translates into something like “This next message is for you.”
- Use a name that sounds like a command. It would be confusing to teach “Fletch” to fetch or to train “Shae” to stay !
- Don’t name your dog something that others may find offensive or embarrassing. This includes potential racial or cultural slurs, general insults, crass slang terms, and anything that has a curse word in it. Do you really want to call out to your dog “Poophead”? What will your vet’s office call your dog if you name him “Fartface?”
- Pick a complicated name like Sir Fluffy Von Wagglestein unless you use a simplified call name like “Sir” or “Fluffy.”
- Change an adult dog’s name unless absolutely necessary. If you must change the name, choose one that sounds similar. “Bailey” can be changed to “Hailey” or “Kaylee,” and “Charlie” can easily become “Harley” or “Farley.”
THE NAME GAME! SOCIALIZE YOUR PUPPY TO HER NEW NAME: For this exercise you will need two people. Both people need to sit on the floor facing each other six or eight feet apart. Have a long leash on your puppy. One person has the loop end of the leash and the other person has the puppy. Hold the puppy so he faces the person with the loop. Have the person with the loop call the puppy’s name. Person Two may need to push the puppy towards Person One. Person One reels the puppy in with the leash. When your puppy gets to Person One, praise and give a treat. Make sure to only use your puppy’s name and praise. Give a treat every time. Repeat this exer- cise at least ten times per session. The lesson we can teach the puppy is “when I hear my name and come running, I get a cookie.” You will need to repeat the practice session at least four times a week. Children can also assist in this exercise with the parent’s immediate supervision.
After your puppy appears to recognize her name, you can try a different exercise. Take your puppy outside on the long leash. Wait until your puppy becomes interested in a scent or is wandering around. Call her name (only her name) and motivate by patting your legs and repeating her name. Reel her in if necessary. Praise and give a treat for returning to you. Repeat this exercise ten times each session.
While you are raising your puppy, you can use her name to divert her from improper behaviors and redirect her to you. If you find your puppy starting to chew on a plant or leg of a chair, call her name in a cheery, positive tone and she will leave the object behind and eagerly trot over to you. Praise and give her a treat.
Don’t worry – your puppy won’t learn to chew things for a treat. Her attention span is so short she will only remember her name and the treat. This diversion/redirection will only work if you keep your puppy’s name positive! (Remember, reprimand will not teach her a lesson at this age. The desire for discovery will override any “social lesson.”)