SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

December 14, 2012

What's in a dog's name, anyway?

Q: What’s in a name? A dog’s name? I am thinking of getting a dog, but I’m more confused by what to call the dog than what kind of dog to get. A dog is a dog is a dog, right? The name doesn’t matter. I could just call the dog Fido or Spot, or any of those stereotypical dog names and be done with it.

A: A rose is a rose by any other name. But a dog becomes known and identified by its name. Of course it makes a difference. In thinking of the name first, however, you’re putting the cart before the horse — or the leash before the dog. You should be doing your research as to what breed or mixed breed suits you. Should you adopt from a shelter or a rescue organization? Bring home a brand-new puppy? These are questions only you can answer.

OK, let’s grapple with the naming ceremony. Dog Lady believes that once you set eyes on your dog, you will know his/her name. It doesn’t hurt to do a little thinking beforehand about what statement you want to make through your dog’s name. Some dog trainers advise a name of two syllables for a dog because canines respond well to simple differentiations in tone. Dog Lady, the contrarian, believes a dog will learn to react eagerly to its name (“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” might be a little excessive) especially if food is involved whenever you call the name in the beginning.

Eventually, you will become protective. Recently, Dog Lady ran into a man with two poodles named Jake and Andrew. Obviously, the man gave his dogs serious human names and was careful to clarify it was “Andrew,” not “Andy.” To other dog keepers, their animal’s name is whimsical, or a joke. “Bob Barker” comes to mind or “Diogee” (get it, D-O-G).

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