The arrival of a new pet is an incredibly exciting event, particularly for young children. But one problem will always occur – what to name them?

Pet names are an integral part of our relationship with our furry friends, as they are the key to our communication with them. They are the beginning of the very special bond you are going to form with them, and they are a window through which you can relate to your pet. Whether you give it a majestic name, a fun and quirky name, or a human’s name, it is going to be attached to your pet for their entire lives, and therefore it’s really important that you give them a name you all enjoy.

We can often underestimate how hard it can sometimes be to name our pets – especially when everyone in the family has different opinions, and no name seems to stick no matter how hard you try. It can get frustrating, and the unprepared can sometimes end up lumping their little one with a dull and boring name, just to end all the hassle.

But it doesn’t need to be like that. Here’s a guide to choosing the perfect name for your newest family addition – completely stress and frustration free.

Name your pet as early as possible

We know it may not be easy to just find a name for your new pet, however the earlier that you manage to find a name the better. Their name is the point of communication and connection between you and your pet, and it is how it will learn to listen to commands. Ultimately, you should try and get their name figured out within the first two weeks, as this gives them an opportunity to get used to the name early on.

Get the family involved

There’s nothing better than getting everyone involved in the naming of your new pet. Each person will bring something new to the table, and it’s incredibly exciting for children to be able to name something; you will find that they will form a closer connection to a pet they feel like they singularly named.

Get the family together, and have everybody submit their two favourite names. From these submissions, make a list of the most appropriate ones (names like Captain Underpants may be better left for comic books) and have the family vote for their favourite.

Make it short, sweet, and easy to call out

If you are naming a hamster or fish, you don’t need to stress about this too much, as they aren’t exactly going to come running to their name. But other pets, dogs in particular, are best suited to shorter names of one or two syllables which can be easily called. In fact, trainers agree that dogs respond best to names that are a maximum of two syllables, and that training them is much easier with these names too.

Also try to remember, often pets with long names will over time adopt nicknames. This may lead to confusion, as your pet may only start responding to its nickname and not it’s full name. To prevent this confusion, stick to shorter names!

It shouldn’t rhyme with a family member’s name

Your pet’s name shouldn’t rhyme with anyone else in your families name – pet or human. This is only bound to cause confusion for the animal, and you will find them responding every time you call the other name out. This is particularly tricky if it sounds like a young child’s or other pet’s name, as both of them won’t be 100% sure who you’re calling.

Names shouldn’t sound like a command

You are going to communicate with your pet mostly through commands, like sit, stay and no. It’s important to have a name that doesn’t sound like a command, or your pet might think it’s being summoned or scolded when you call its name, and this can be incredibly confusing. For example, a name such as “Bo” is way too similar to no, and is bound to send your dog into a frenzy of confusion every time you try to call him/her.

Try it out for a few weeks

Sometimes names will instantly stick to your pet, as they somehow just seem exactly right. Other times, it can take a bit longer. The important thing is to try and stick it out for a bit, as they will never get used to a name if it’s being consistently chopped and changed. Try the name out for a couple of weeks and see how the pet responds to it, and how your family feel about saying the name. If it really hasn’t settled in a few weeks then you can change it – but more often than not something unexpected may have stuck by then.

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Liz Walden

Liz has a passion for all things cat and dog, and was one of the first in Australia to bring Pet Insurance to the market. She has headed up Petsecure marketing for the past 10 years, and is committed to promoting and supporting the amazing work done by rescue groups around Australia, and those who work to promote a better life for all animals