Naming your pet. Do they choose or do you?

Naming your pet can be a tough job. When you bring a pet home, who names them? Is it you, do you decide with your family? Or is your pet really in control and they choose their own name, or their personality shines through and there are only certain names that fit?

naming your pet

I was raised to believe that children should spend more time outdoors and less time glued to the TV so I convinced my husband that we needed to get a puppy for our children to play with. First I wanted to be sure that we had all the pet accessories we’d need before we brought our new family member home, and that we could afford the dog we wanted to get and if we could cope and if it was the right time to bring a new four pawed family member into our lives. Then when we felt we were really ready, we become pet parents…

Our kids were understandably excited and demanded to know what the new puppy’s name was, despite the fact that we hadn’t even visited a pet store yet. They were highly confused when I told them that the new puppy was going to choose its own name and told all their friends that their mom was just like Dr. Doolittle. As adorable as their misunderstanding was, and as much as I wish I could really talk to animals, I had to tell them that I was nothing like Dr. Doolittle and explain.

As we were talking about our new puppy, my explanation uses dog themed questions but everything I told them can be used to find any pet’s name, no matter if it’s a bird, cat, dog, fish or reptile.

What do they look like?
Does the puppy have clear patterns in their fur? What color is the puppy and does it have a birthmark? Does the puppy have big/long ears, a long tail, big eyes or a funny nose? Using the answers to these questions you can choose a name that matches their appearance.

Consider personality
You might not be able to pick this up on the first day but the puppy might have a particular trait or an overall personality such as lazy, energetic or silly which will guide your name choice.

Look online
Try visiting baby name sites for inspiration. Think about the previous questions, then search for boy or girl names that mean one of those things. For example, if you get an energetic puppy you can search for names that mean energetic or playful!

Keep it simple
Even if you choose a long complicated name, make sure that it’s easy to shorten to one or two syllables. Most animals don’t recognize specific words but they do recognize sounds. This also means that you should avoid names that rhyme with or sound like ‘no’ because you don’t want them to start hating their own names!

Choose a happy name
Whatever you name your pet, they will probably live up or down to the name you’ve chosen. So, as cute and adorable as it may seem, naming them Mischief or Howler is only inviting headaches you could do without. Also, don’t choose a name you’re embarrassed to shout out at the park because your pooch might hear it in your voice and develop a complex.

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