How do you choose your new dog’s name? It’s a tough question. One thing you’ll no doubt be thinking is, do you have to keep your dog’s rescue name. Well, no. Chances are, it won’t be their original name, rather it’ll be one assigned to them by the animal rescue so by changing it you wouldn’t be taking away their heritage, in fact, you could look at it as giving them a fresh start.
So the choice is yours. You could opt for something similar. Claire Foster told us that when her family adopted a dog originally named Doreen they shortened her name to ‘Dori’. Claire said the decision was prompted by the thought of calling the name ‘Doreen’ in the park when out for dog walks.
You could choose a name that’s on trend. Churchill Pet Insurance released a survey which said Rio, rather topically, was a popular choice. Perhaps this speaks to how many sports lovers there are in the country because alongside Rio many dog owners have chosen to name their dog after their favourite footballers.
Or you might prefer the more traditional route – Molly, Poppy, Alfie, Max and Charlie are the top 5 most popular dog names according to Direct Line Pet Insurance.
Pictured above are Charlie Brown & Peanut during their time in rescue
If your new dog is joining an existing pet member of the family, you could even look to pair their names – Bonnie & Clyde, Max & Paddy (true fact: this comedy duo, led in real life by Peter Kay and Paddy McGuinness, appeared on a list of popular pet names released by Direct Line Pet Insurance).
But whatever name you choose, dogsblog.com co-founder and former dog trainer Ryan O’Meara thinks there’s more to factor in when it comes to choosing a name.
Here’s his advice.
Similar to with children, if I had my way, I’d call every dog Jack. Girl dog, boy dog, all Jacks.
Your dog’s name is important. Believe it or not, it’s the single word (or, in their case, sound) they’ll hear more than any other.
I learned the power of ‘Jack’ when I was training a dog, funnily enough, called Jack. Say it out loud – ‘Jack’.
Robust, isn’t it?
Pictured above, a dog named Sausage who is currently looking for a new home
One syllable, so distinctive. So clear. Unmistakable. It just works. From a dog’s point of view, there can be no confusion when they hear that sound. That’s a noise that means something.
Now, we have a problem. If every dog in the world was called Jack how would each Jack know who was being called when they’re all at the dog park?
OK. So we can’t have a world full of dogs called Jack. But the central point of calling a dog by a clear, distinctive name remains.
One of our dogs came to us through rescue and he was called Milo. We changed his name to Danny. I don’t like dog names that end in ‘o’. My go-to stop word when I want to put an end to undesirable behaviour is ‘no’. I don’t like my dog’s name to sound like the word ‘no’. It creates mixed messages.
Pictured above, Danny who was once known as Milo
Your dog’s name should make them excited when they hear it. It should be clear and distinguishable from other words you use.
So names that sound similar to ‘sit, ‘stay’, ‘come’, ‘heel’ etc can be somewhat problematic.
Remember, your dog is hearing your voice create a sound. Their name is just one such sound. Getting them to association their name in much the same way as they would associate, say, the noise a fridge door makes when it opens or the noise they hear when their leash is being collected ready for a big walk is the name of the game.
To this end, what I do when I have a puppy (or an older dog who’s name we’re changing) is I ensure that their name is what they hear whenever anything good or exciting is happening.
Meal times – they hear their name.
Play times – they hear their name.
Going out for a walk – they hear their name.
Their name should have positive connections, never negative ones.
It’s sometimes tempting to call a dog’s name when they’re doing something we don’t want them to do. This is an error. Avoid doing it.
Look for a name that you’re happy with and will be clear and unmistakable when your dog hears it.
To this end, this might go toward explaining why we have a dog called Christopher. Not too many of those about, are there!