The Science and Steps Behind Choosing the Right Name for Your Pet

What’s in a name? The truth is EVERYTHING! Your name is your calling card, it’s the first little tidbit of information given when you meet someone, and it’s how you’re remembered. This is true for people as well as pets, names are important because you’re labeled with them for a lifetime! The wrong name, or a name that doesn’t fit you, can ride with you like a bad smell. How many dogs or cats have you been introduced to, and you immediately think “that’s a stupid name” or “Oh that poor baby”. Alternatively, sometimes you hear a name so unique, so perfect, or such a match to the animal that it becomes a wonderful part of who they are. The burden of picking a winner, when it comes to your pets names, is a critical and important choice that some take too lightly and others take  entirely too seriously.

So HOW do I get it right? That’s a great question. It’s not like I can ask my fur, feather, or scaly companion what they prefer. There are a lot of interesting theories on how to address the naming issue with your pets. Here are a few to consider…

The “Don’t Do’s”

  • Choose a name on a whim – 8 to 12 years of calling your pet a name that you hate is brutal. Test it out before you commit. “Come Here Flower Child” could become a dreadful chore for a large man to scream into the nighttime skies over more than a decade. Try out a few, say them out loud, make sure another responsible adult is listening so they can provide honest feedback.

  • Name your pet something you’ll regret – Curse words, trendy slang words, or something insulting may sound cute in the moment. But if you think down the road, you’ll realize that being out in public with “Poop-head” and “Butt Crack” might be embarrassing for you but it also casts a negative light on your animal friend.

  • Make it overly complicated or wordy – Keep it Simple Stupid. Yes, the Kiss Method is important in the naming rights game, as well. Calling your dog “Queen Alice IV, Master of all She Surveys” or “Woofly Von Barkenheimer” are awfully cute, but entirely too complicated for a pets brain to intake and remember. A simple “Queenie” or “Woofly” are simple enough, and unique enough, to make your fur buddy stand out.

  • Be a Copy Cat – If someone has a pet with a GREAT name, don’t plagiarize. If this is someone you’re close to, or that you’ll likely interact with at some point, you’ve made it strange and awkward because your animals have the exact same name. The same name, or same sounding names, can be confusing for the pet. If you name your first pet “Rover” and the second pet “Dover”, the “over” sound is going to confuse them both. Using the same hard letter to start the name will also blow their minds. Try calling for Charlie in a room full of Chuck’s,Chad’s, Chewbaca’s, or Cha-Cha’s the level of confusion for those poor babies would be devastating. It’s a novel and fun idea to name them all with the same sounding name, until it isn’t.

  • Use Common or Most Popular Pet Names – Bella, Bailey, Max, Molly, Buddy and Lucy are the current trendy names. See the paragraph above for reasons to avoid these names. In a play group of 6 Bella’s, how is your dog going to know you’re calling for her? And, after all, you’re much more clever than the “in trend”, aren’t you?

  • Use Human Names – Dave (after your best friend in 4th grade), or Uncle Frank (after your father’s brother) may seem smart at the moment, but again… being in public with PEOPLE that might have this same name could invite weird looks or interactions.

The “Right Things to Try” Possibilities

  • Make it personal to the Pet – Take a minute to look over and know your new buddy. What personality traits or unique things can you pick out that would suit a strong name? Does your cat have multi-colored fur on different parts of their body? Perhaps they are a Patches or Stripes. Are they from a breed with short legs? That could be a Shorty or Low-la. A lizard who seems to be smiling all the time could be Happy or Joy. If the same lizard is scary looking, you could go with Kruger or Nightmare.

  • Consider the Opposite – A giant dog named Smalls, or a tiny cat named Panther are both cute and amusing. Imagine a Chihuahua named Hulk, or a Mastiff named Tiny. It’s a fun twist on a naming convention. But, again, remember that your pet is stuck with the label you give them.

  • Landmarks, Memories, or Moments naming – Did you take a trip to North Dakota and have a memorable time? Then Bismark might be a usual and meaningful name for your pet. Did your Mom have a favorite flower in her garden? Rose, Blossom, or Daisy are all possibilities in remembrance of her. If you were married at Niagara Falls then Misty or Niagara are unique and fun choices. Let your mind go and try options… but TRY options, out loud, just to see how they work in the open air.

  • Historical, Celebrity, or Famous people names – Naming your parrot Eminem or Gershwin says something about your taste in music. Calling your snake Keaton will signal to the world who you think the best Batman will always be. You could go retro and use a name like Bogart or Shatner to honor your favorites from the past. Calling your German Shepherd Patton shows your interest in WWII history. The options are limitless and very singular if you go this route.

  • Eat, Drink and be namely – There are not a lot of animals with the name Ritz but if you snack on those tasty crackers every day that name might be a match name for your pet. Can you envision Rose’ or Merlot for wine drinkers? How about Cheddar, Stilton, or Brie if you are a cray-cray about cheese? Again, you are in the unlimited category if you choose to use food and drink based names.

  • Support your BrandKellogg, Sketcher, Sonic, Target, Macy, Pepsi, Hilton, or Apple puts a stamp on the pet that says “my owner is a brand loyalist”. Using a product based name is also very singular in the pet naming world. It’s a fun way to separate your best friend from the rest of the pack, and it’s sure to be an attention grabber.

  • Stick with one or two syllables – Your dog or cat only hear and respond to the first few sounds. Using a complicated, multi syllable name will only tend to confuse them. Chances are you will shorten the name, unless you are scolding… then like a parent, you’ll use their full name (how much did you hate that when you were growing up?). Say the following and see if you can tell the difference in making recognition easier with the shorter version.  Maddy vs. Madeline, Cassy vs. Cassiopeia, Theo vs. Theodosia. You, more than likely, are going to end up using the shorter version as a “nickname” and only use the formal to impress friends, right?

  • Avoid the negative – If you name your dog Nolan, they are going to confuse that with NO and you’ve created confusion for the animal. Are you calling them or are they doing something wrong. Remember the K.I.S.S. rules. Even if your dog is a plump puppy, Doughnut is not a good name… all they will hear is the hard D, so picking their name from DON’T becomes difficult.

Once you choose a name, stick with it. How would you have reacted if your parents changed your name from William, to Alonzo when you were nine? The transition would have been difficult… and you are a lot further up the intelligence scale than your average house pet. Choose a name, vet it to be sure you like it, consider all the possible nickname variations your family might use, test those… then do a couple day trial run on the name. Also, we all want to name your animal something unique and cool like “Hans Christian Anderson Cooper”… but the reality is that pet is going to be called Cooper, Coop, Andy or Chris. It’s okay to make up your elaborate and cute name… but be honest with yourself and know that you’re not going to use that whopper of a name every day.

A name is a lifetime choice. We are sure your parents took more than a few minutes to choose your name. If it wasn’t a friend, relative, or someone close to them, do you know how they chose your name? Would you have picked a different name for yourself? Your pet deserves the same consideration. So take your time to search for a monumental moniker for your monkey, a special Sir name for your snake, something perfect for your parrot, dandy for your dog, wholesome for your horse, or crafty for your cat. Everyone will be glad you did!

What’s in a name?? We think we’ve proven it’s a bunch of Scarlet Letters put together in a tag that your pet, AND YOU, will carry for the remainder of their lives. Choose wisely, Grasshopper!

That’s all we have today from #FreddieSez Central. We hope everyone made it out of the 4th of July weekend with happy and healthy pets in place. With Labor Day only a stones throw away, we suggest you use lessons learned from the past weekend to prepare for the final summer blowout. In addition, don’t forget that summer brings the fleas but, if they get into your home, they are the gift that keeps on giving… your pet’s and you fits. Use fleas, tick and heartworm protection all year round to keep your fur kids safe and happy!

That’s all the news that is news from the Furry Hemingway for today. Feel free to peruse our library of Dog Blogs at our web home, it’s a ton of interesting topics and help materials for all of Freddie’s Friends. From all of us at Freddie Central we hope you have a happy, safe, and Pet Friendly week ahead! #FreddieSez

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