Probably Not “Bingo”Published November 1, 2007
What’s your dog’s name? According to the annual “most popular dog names” listing, it’s probably Max, Lucky, Buddy or Lucy. As a dog trainer I’ve worked with my share of Maxes and Buddies. I did some informal research (I took a quick glimpse through my old client files), and based on the frequency of appearances I’d wager that your dog could also be named Murphy, Molly, Coco, Cooper, Cody, Chloe, or Casey. Am I right? The “c” and “m” names seem to be resonating with people right now for some reason. I also meet a variety of uniquely named pups. Some of my favorites? Mavis, Baxter, Angus, Emmett, Elijah, Boris, Fisher and the oddly perfect Bob. Naming a dog is tricky business. You don’t want to pick a name that will be a self-fulfilling prophecy, like “Barky.” (Yes, I worked with a “Barky”, and yes, he lived up to his name. Maybe I should name my next dog “Lottery Winner”?) I picked the name “Zeke” before I ever set eyes on my dog – I just liked it and was determined to make it work no matter what breed of dog I ended up with. Luckily, it fits him. “Zeke” sounds like a tough-guy name, and he’s definitely a wanna-be badass. Bossy, clever to a fault, hammy, sort of ugly … yup, my Boston Terrier is definitely a “Zeke.” Guess I’m lucky that I didn’t end up with a fluffy little purse dog! My rescue boxer came with his name; Sumner. Sure we could’ve changed it, and I’m not exactly sure why we didn’t, but it works for him. Although he looks kinda scary, he’s the sweetheart in our household, and his soft-sounding name feels right for a dog that wants nothing more than to be close to his favorite people. “I’m ready for a cuddle now, thank you.” Here’s the rub I’ve discovered about dog names: many of us rarely use them! My former client “Cashew” was rechristened “Cash”, “Nut-Nut” “C-Money” and every variety of edible nut imaginable. “Stanley” became “Stankers”. My guys rarely hear their formal names unless we’re experiencing a moment of “park-induced deafness-syndrome” … much like children, use of their full names usually means that Momma ain’t happy. Our dogs’ nicknames are inspired by their physical attributes, so Zeke is known as “Phat-Phat” (because he’s fat and phat), “The Round” (because he has a round head), “Roundie McRound” (because McAnything sounds funny) and “Pink Belly Boy” (because his hairless belly is really, really pink). Sumner’s main nickname is “The Lips” because his flews are enormous. We also call him “The Prince” for his regal demeanor. He sits in our yard with his head held high, surveying his kingdom and looking very important. That said, he also falls under the “Phat” umbrella. I’m eager to hear some of your naming stories … does your dog have an unusual name that wouldn’t appear on a top-10 list? What about the attendant nicknames? Can you beat “Roundie McRound”?
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