How to pick the right name for your new puppy
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How to pick the right name for your new puppy

Dogs
Education & Training

If you are buying or adopting a puppy, one of the first things to do is decide upon their name! A pedigree pup may already have a formal kennel name given to them by their breeder, which will be reflected on their breed paperwork-but this will usually incorporate the breed line or identifier of the breeder in long form as well as an often long name for the specific pup too, and will not necessarily be what you want to call your dog at home.

Choosing your new pup’s name can be great fun, and many dog owners spend a lot of time deciding on the right name before they even bring the pup home. Picking the name is also quite a highly loaded endeavour, as your dog will usually have it for life-and changing your dog’s name later on can be challenging and lead to confusion.

Whether you have a very firm idea of what you want to call your new puppy in mind already, or are still trying to think up the perfect moniker, this article will share some tips, advice and considerations to bear in mind when it comes to choosing a name for your puppy. Read on to learn more.

Look to the dog first

Sometimes, you might have a firm idea of a name in mind but when you spend time with the pup it is designed for, it will become immediately apparent that it is not a good fit. There’s nothing wrong with picking an ironic or contrasting name-like “Fluffy” for a Rottweiler or “Fang” for a Chihuahua-as long as you think the name is a good fit, and suits the dog.

If you don’t think that the name makes a good connection, even if this is a case of your personal preference-keep looking, because the chances are that you will regret your choice later if you persist in trying to make a name that doesn’t feel right fit!

Be prepared to wait until you bring your puppy home if you’re not sure

If nothing immediately springs to mind or stands out as the right name or type of name for your new pup, it might simply be because you don’t know your pup well enough yet for a good name to become self-evident.

If you’re still drawing a blank and collection day is getting close, don’t worry about waiting until your pup has been with you for a few days, because this short period of time will tell you a lot about the pup, and allow you to begin to get a handle on their personality and core traits.

Choose the name and start using it as soon as possible

That said, a pup does need to be named in a timely manner, and you should choose and begin using the name as soon as possible. Getting your pup to recognise and respond to their name is integral to their management and training-the use of their name should get their attention, and cause them to look to you.

Make sure you have picked and begun using the name prior to commencing training-and remember that training should begin within a few days of bringing the pup home.

Decide upon your dog’s commands and avoid crossover

Naming a dog “sit” or “stay” would not only sound odd, but confuse your dog because these are also common commands. Think about the training commands that you will be using with your dog, and ensure that their name is not too similar to any of them.

If you do find as you go along that a certain command is too similar to your dog’s name and causes confusion, you will have to pick a new word for that command.

Keep it short

One or two syllables, or three at most, is as long as any dog’s day to day name should be. Dogs don’t speak English, and will not recognise a long, multi-syllable name or command-so in order to ensure that your pup learns and responds to their name, keep it simple, and keep it short.

Use clear, distinctive syllables

Your dog’s name should be clear and distinctive when you say it too, using plosives and consonants to define the tone and sound the name makes when you say it. The style and tone of voice you use can also affect how the name “translates” to your dog, so bear this in mind as well.

Think about other common words your dog may recognise

Calling your dog biscuit may be cute-but can you spot the potential problem there? Try to steer clear of words that you use for other things relating to your dog, or that your dog will soon learn to recognise, much in the same way as will when ensuring that the name is distinct from training commands.

Look for a response

You will have to work to get your dog used to their name and able to recognise it, and you can often speed up the process by using the name to call your dog to you for a treat or reward.

A pup should begin to recognise their name and show signs of knowing what you mean when you say it within a fairly short period of time-but if after a couple of weeks your pup doesn’t display any response when you use their name, you may not have communicated and taught it effectively, or you may have to pick an alternative.

Very common names-good or bad?

Names like Rex, Rover and Honey are very common dog names, because they tick all of the boxes in terms of what makes up an effective name for a dog to respond to. However, try to avoid picking a name that is already the name of another dog you see out and about, or that is in common use at the dog parks you use, to avoid confusing both dogs, and leading to problems!

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