What Name Shall I Give My dog?

 From Martin Deeley

Although a name should only mean "I am talking to you," and give us the ability to attract our dog’s attention, a name we like and feel comfortable calling is good to have. Some owners have fun with names, I remember as a boy a man in our town called his dog “Guess.” People would come up and talk, and of course ask his dog’s name. You can imagine the amusement that followed.

Short names tend to be best, one or at most two syllable. One of my favorite names is Ben and that often becomes Benny. Not very creative I know but I like to keep it simple and have a name that comes easily to mind. Being a country fan, I have had a Garth, Reba, Dolly, Roper (after Rope the Wind) and one was named in honor of a friend in the army who works with helicopters – Chopper. It was whatever came to mind at the time and fitted the dog and his/her personality.

In choosing a name, try to avoid future problems and make life easy for you and your dog. Dogs seem to understand and learn more quickly with short words, hence a short name helps. The name should come easily to your lips and be a word you can shout – you will be shouting his name, believe me. If you have a sense of humor do pick a name that will not embarrass you. Use a normal name for him and keep the funny one for a nickname when you are sharing time alone or with good friends. He can have more than one name he responds to. As a boy, if my father called me “Martin,” it was OK; if he called me ‘Little one,” I knew it would be fun, and if he called me “Martin Deeley,” I knew I was in trouble. Names can occasionally impart a message, depending on where and how they are said. Dogs learn and know the difference also.

If you have a dog that has a particular character or appealed to you for a reason, then maybe there is a name that will fit. A pup I have with a Low Tail action became Lottie; one who was born with two dark fur patches on his forehead became Two Dot and now Twoo-dy. A busy one earned the nickname Busy Bee and became just Bee. Have fun thinking of a name.

Try to select a name that is not easily confused with a command. Examples are: Beau and No, Stay and Bray, Pitt and Sit.

Some names are very popular and it can cause confusion if you are in a park or place where there are dogs with the same name. Saying that I have found that in time the dog recognizes your voice and inflections and rarely makes a mistake if trained correctly.

Choose a name that will grow with your dog and will fit him throughout his life. If you rescue or take on an older dog there is no problem in changing his name. He will quickly learn to respond to it if used in the correct ways.


But whatever name you select make sure you can say it with a smile – it should reflect the relationship you have with your dog and be a special communication between you and him. A name should be enjoyed.



Martin Deeley