Ask The Hairy Dogfathers: A Dog By Any Other Name

Our “Hairy Dogfathers” are here to offer expert and practical advice. Dog trainers (and handsome hubbies) Kevin and André are here to answer your trying training questions and offer tried-and-tested techniques. This couple may have conflicting opinions when it comes to what tips to try, but there’s always one thing they agree on – a well-trained dog makes for a happy dog (and household!).

Dear Hairy Dogfathers,

We rescued the most adorable puppy! With his winning smile, his soft black fur, and his calm cuteness we were hooked. My husband and I had been talking about adding a second dog for some time. But now that he is here, we are stuck for a name. He has a name in rescue, but it didn’t really roll off the tongue, and we want to give him a fresh start with a new name. Please help!



Related: Newlywed Puppy Problems

André says:

Dear I can’t think of a name,

Congrats on the new puppy! Having multiple dogs can be a lot of fun, and integrating a second dog as a puppy should be “child’s play” (pun intended). Names can be easy and difficult at the same time. Sometimes they come to you naturally, other times it’s hard to agree on one with your partner. A name for a single dog can come from anywhere; some like famous people names and some like food names… pretty much anything goes. When it comes to naming your second dog there are a two basic ground rules. First, the names of your dogs can’t be similar, or they won’t be able to tell the difference when you call them. Remember to think of how you shorten their names (their nicknames), as we all tend to shorten medium or long names to one syllable. Second, they can’t clash. You don’t have to give them names that go together like Bonnie and Clyde or Burger and Fries, but they need to sounds reasonable together. The names should roll off your tongue so you don’t trip over the words while calling them frantically as they catch the scent of a rabbit in the park.

By following those two basic rules and using your personal taste, it’s hard to go wrong.

Best of luck!

Related: Top 10 Awwww-Inducing Cute Dog Names

Kevin says:

Dear I can’t think of a name,

Ohhhhh a puppy! Okay, I should be fine now, got it all out of my system. Picking the perfect name for your new family member is a big deal, and the fact you haven’t found a name yet, means that you are taking this seriously!

I have worked in rescue for 20 years, and often times, so many animals come through the door, and you have to get creative with names. You have to call them SOMETHING, so you just start naming names off the top of your head. Changing your rescue dog’s name is totally doable and a great idea to mark a fresh start.

Some people seem to have a list of dog names in their heads, or even have the name before the dog is even in the picture! I am always telling André that our next dog will be called Pistol, or our next dog will be called Fen, or Steppenwolf. But it never turns out that way. Names are powerful – to choose the right name, you have to get to know the dog.

One of the first things people will ask about your new dog is “What’s his name?” It will set the tone for how people react to him. A funny, happy name will make people relax and smile. A scary name will cause people to look at you sideways! So think carefully and a name will come once his personality starts to show. Keep us updated!

Hairy Dogfathers
Hairy Dogfathers

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