What’s in a (pet) name?

Choosing a name for your pet can be fun but it’s important to end up with one you’re happy with as you’ll be using it for a long while – and you don’t want to get your pet used to a name you may decide to change later because you go off it. This could be confusing all round.

Live with it for a little while
Every pet has its own character, behaviour and markings. Unlike a baby, where it’s either a boy or a girl you can potentially name before birth, an animal needs to be seen first to get a few clues. Spend time with them and watch how they move and they interact with you. All these antics will help to make your decision easier, even if it takes longer than you first thought.

What do you see?
You may decide on a name that reflects its look, behaviour or colouring such as Scruff, Loopy or Rusty. If it’s a pedigree with a long, formal show name, you may come up with something that links to that as a single word.
Be inventive
Try to avoid clichéd or predictable names like Rex, Fido or Tiddles. Human names can really suit an animal’s character – for example, Roger, Sam, Jasmine, or Colin – we know of a fabulous Whippet called Basil!

Say it out loud
You’re going to have to call this name out in the garden or the local park so practice speaking it. Make it easy to pronounce and don’t choose anything that could embarrass you to say. Make it short and sweet with no more than three syllables.

Get your pet used to it
Once you decide on a name, don’t use it too much around your pet initially. You don’t want your pet to mistake it as a common word. To get your pet to respond to the name, offer praise, attention and even treats if your pet looks in your direction when you say it. Then, gradually increase the amount of times you use it. Don’t yell your pet’s name in temper when it does something wrong, your pet may start associating his or her name with you being angry. Just saying “no” is fine.

Get the name right and owning your pet will be even more enjoyable for you, your friends and your family.

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