Naming your pet is an important part of the bonding process. When we name our new companion, we’re demonstrating that we consider our pet as part of the family. The name should fit their personality and be one you love since you’ll be calling it for years to come.
Even pets love their own names – a recent study revealed that dogs show a higher preference for their own name as opposed to any other. All things considered, landing on the perfect pet’s name can be tricky. Here are some things to consider when naming your pet.
- Avoid long names. Aim for two syllables for less, your pet will have trouble recognizing anything longer. If you choose a long name, you will probably shorten it with a nickname later on anyway.
- Be wary of names that sound like commands. Calling a dog “Jay”, which sounds like “stay” just invites confusion.
- Choose a name that ends with a vowel. When you call a name with a vowel, it changes tone. Animals hear much higher frequency ranges than us, which means these names are an easy way to get their attention. Think Teddy or Leo.
Inspiration for pet names
Observe your pet’s personality and physical traits. You don’t have to name your pet straight away. Take time to discover your fur baby’s characteristics. Does your dog love the great outdoors? What about a nature-inspired dog name? Does your dog have a strong character? This could lead you to names like “Zippy” for a lively dog, or “Buddy” for a very friendly dog.
What books, movies or TV shows do you enjoy? Pop culture can be a great source of inspiration for pet names. Watched every Star Wars movie? “Chewie” could be an option! Alternatively, you could look at animals from books and movies. This might lead you to consider a name like Fawkes for pets of the feathered variety.
Think about names you have positive associations with. These could come from places you’ve visited, hobbies you enjoy or anything you’re passionate about. For example, art lovers may arrive at a name like “Pablo” or “Mona”.
Consider your pet's origins. Your pet's breed can make a great springboard for ideas. “Bonbon” could be a good fit for a French bulldog, or “Luka” for a Siberian husky.
Naming a pet as a family
Sometimes, naming your new pet isn’t a one-man job, and the whole family gets a say. Giving children a say in naming the pet can be a wonderful way for them to bond with the new family member and feel responsible for them. It’s also a great opportunity for everyone to get to know the new pet and feel like their input is valued. Of course, everyone’s opinion is different, and not everybody agrees all the time. Here are a few tips to decide on a name everyone is happy with!
Set ground rules
For example, if you don’t want any names based on food, such as “Marshmallow” or “Cookie”, make sure the rest of your family knows that. Encourage your child to choose a name that won’t outgrow the pet as he ages. For example, it might seem strange to have a full-grown dog named “Baby”.
Make a list of approved names
If you’re worried your child may get upset if their suggestion is rejected, create a list of acceptable names for everyone to choose from. This also stops your child from going too wild with their name choices, which can happen with too much flexibility. A selection of names can help steer the conversation in the right direction. Let everyone say which names they prefer, and hold a vote to make things fair. In the event of a tie, pull names out of a hat.
Hold family meetings
A weekly sit down and talk with your family is important to keep everyone on the same page. Some family’s land on a name in the first sitting, or you can hold several to allow for brainstorming sessions and finalizing ideas. Organized meetings will make your kids excited and let them know you’re listening to their ideas.
Compromise is key
If you’ve hit a dead-end and can’t reach a final decision, you’ll have to meet somewhere in the middle. You can choose the official name, while your child chooses a nickname. Or, you could let your kids make other choices like picking out their accessories and toys. If you have no strong preference for your pet’s name, let your child have the final say.
Using your pet’s name
After you’ve chosen the perfect name for your new pet, it’s time to test it out! As you practice calling your pet by its respective name, you may want to make some tweaks. You might find you prefer to shorten the name, such as Jaz instead of Jasmine.
Be sure to reward your pet each time they respond to their new moniker. This will create positive associations with their new name, and encourage them to respond to it when called. Saying their name before dinner, belly rubs, or treats will make them pay attention as there is a chance something good will happen! Soon enough, your pet's name will settle in just as they will into your home!