How to Pick a Good Dog Name Finding a Unique Fun Name for Your Pet

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How to Pick a Good Dog Name Finding a Unique Fun Name for Your Pet

by Valerie Goettsch

Getting a new dog? Then you are probably trying to figure out a good name for him or her. While picking a good dog name is not as critical as naming a human baby, you?ll be saying that name thousands of times over the next decade-plus, so you?ll want to make sure his name is a good fit for both of you. Here are some tips to help you pick a name you?ll be happy with.

Keep it Short and Sweet
Short names of one or two syllables usually work best, and it?s wise to avoid names that could be confused with commands (such as ?no? and ?Noah.?). Dogs sometimes have difficulty distinguishing our words, and longer names are both harder for you to say and harder for your dog to comprehend. Also, we often use our dog?s name as part of a command, such as ?Leroy, let?s go,? so it helps to have a name that is easy to call out.

Personality Comes into Play
Try spending some time with your dog to get to know his or her personality and traits before you pick a name. Sometimes your dog?s behavior, personality, or appearance will suggest a name.

Popular vs Unique Name
The most popular dog names today include Sam, Max, Lady, Maggie, Buddy, Brandy, Lucy, Daisy, and Ginger. But maybe you want something more unique. Some people like to name their dog after a character from their favorite book, movie, or TV show, a historical figure, or mythological character (Hercules, for example). Others name their dog after their favorite song, food or drink (such as Cosmo), color, car, or sports team. Also popular is picking a name reflecting the dog breed?s origin, like Olga for a Russian Wolfhound, or Ming for a Shih Tzu, a breed originating in China.

There are endless possibilities. Remember that you will be calling your dog often, so pick a name that you can be happy with for the long term. You can find sources for good dog names online or in dog books from your library or bookstore.

Try Out Your Favorite Names
Once you?ve narrowed down the names to a few favorites, make a list and try them out one at a time. Say the name out loud. Does it sound pleasing? Silly? Is it easy to say? Try the name out on your dog. Does he or she suit it? It can be hard to come up with just the right name and you may go through several before you find the right one for your new four-legged pal. My friends got a new puppy and named her ?Annie.? It was a nice name, but they quickly realized it wasn?t a good fit for her. They renamed her ?Layla,? after the Eric Clapton song, and it suited her personality, and theirs, much better.

Teach Your Dog His Name
Use your dog?s name as frequently as possible and give him lots of positive reinforcement (yummy treats) when he responds. He?ll quickly learn his name.

Keep it Positive
Remember to always use your dog?s name in a positive way, never in anger or in conjunction with reprimand. Your dog should know that when you call his name good things happen. Your dog wants to please you. The sound of his name should invoke enthusiasm, never fear or the impression he did something bad.

Valerie Goettsch is webmaster of featuring articles and information on good dog names, dog beds, pet meds and more.

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