Giving Your Pet the Perfect Name Feels Wonderful When Done Right

If the opportunity arises for a person to gain a pet, one of the first steps in bonding with that animal is to give it a name.

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Alternately, a person may have adopted a pet from a shelter or found a named stray whose owners may have lost interest in the animal and the old name just does not seem to suit the animal. While naming a pet is often the first step in owning a pet, that first step can go wrong. Most pet owners understand that a name should suit the animal's personality and role in the household; the trick is zeroing in on what specific aspects best fit that animal. This guide has been written in order to give pet owners some general guidelines and suggestions for naming a cat or dog as well as provide several examples of incidents where naming a pet can go wrong.

Choosing a Pet Name for a Dog

When it comes to naming a dog, you ought to consider some different elements. They include: 

  • Role within the family.
  • Coloration.

Whether through breed or prior training, dogs are predisposed to certain tasks. Some dogs are great at tracking things and are useful when hunting. Other dogs are attentive and big enough to be threatening, making them quite useful as guard dogs. Lastly, some dogs are just content to be part of a group and enjoy being lap dogs. Some sample names for these types of dogs include: Hunter and Chaser (for hunting dogs), Rosco or Xerxes (for security dogs) and Biscuit or Trinket (for small, friendly dogs).

As for coloration, sometimes a dog's coat is all that an owner needs to land on the perfect name; "Sandy" might suit a tan female, while "Cinder" suits a dog whose coat is a blend of blacks and smokey reds and "Rabbit" works for albinos. Some dogs may also have heterochromia, a condition where the eyes are different colors, and this might also inspire a name like "Two-Way" or "Chroma."

Choosing a Pet Name for a Cat

Much like when naming a dog, there are several different considerations to bear in mind when naming a cat.

  • Coloration
  • Personality
  • References

When it comes to coloration, the notes for naming a dog are just as valid for naming a cat; "Void" might well suit an all-black cat, while "Pearl" might suit an all-white one. Whether dealing with a cat or even a dog, a pet's personality can have a huge influence on discovering a good name. For one example of this approach to naming, cats known for regularly getting into trouble might resonate with names like "Danger" or "Ruckus."

References are another great approach to naming a pet. For example, a cat with a distinctive mask-like patterning around the eyes might be a good pick to name "Bandit." There are countless examples of feline entities in mythology, like Bastet and Sekhmet, that are suitable cat names. You can even combine a personality with a reference; a cat who is known for regularly escaping their carrier might be worthy of the name "Houdini."

Common Mistakes People Make When Naming Their Pet

Believe it or not, there are choices for pet name that have negative consequences.

  • Preemptively Naming the Pet. Some people are so focused on what the idea of having a pet is like that they already have a name in mind before they even interact with the animal. In the worst possible outcome of this mistake, the pet owner, especially if they are a child with their first pet, may lose interest or become angry and might take out those negative emotions on the pet.
  • Choosing a Common Word. One of the more important elements to naming a pet is using that name as a way of getting the pet's attention. If a pet owner chooses a name like "Chalk" for his dog, Chalk might react a certain way when his owner says words like "walk," "balk" or "chow" that the owner did not intend.
  • Picking a Soft Name. In this context, a soft name is one that lacks the hard sounds necessary to get the pet's attention.

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