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Ask a dog owner about naming his or her pet, and you are likely to get a fun explanation.  “I named her Trixie because that was the name of my dad’s dog.” 

“She is cute as a button so I named her Buttons.” 

“My German shepherd is a big, cool dude. Duke seemed a perfect fit.” 

“I brought my pup home, he ignored his bed and curled up on a pair of jeans I had tossed on the floor. He became Levi.” 

“Our new black Lab calmed my hyperactive son. We named the dog Shanti, peace in Sanskrit.”

Naming your dog is important because you both are going to live with it for a long time.  

Choose a name that has meaning, feels right and you love. Your dog will sense that and love it, too. A good name can enhance responsiveness and improve the communication between the two of you.

Dogs have an easier time hearing hard consonants and long vowels, making names like Lucky, Benny and Gracie good. Dog training experts recommend 1 or 2 syllable names because they can be said quickly. 

They also suggest avoiding names that sound like commands or names of a family member. Kit could be mistaken for “sit” and Bo for “no.”  Frannie could be confusing to your dog when your daughter’s name is Annie.

Select a name you like to say and are not embarrassed to shout across a dog park. One owner thought “Ding-Bat” fit his goofy golden’s personality but was reluctant to call her that in public because it would be humiliating for the dog.

You can go on line and search for popular dog names. What you will discover is that just like baby names, dog names trend. Frozen characters as dog names rose 900 percent a year after the film’s release. The same was true with Twilight, Star Wars and Game of Thrones. Nature themed names, such as Daisy and Panda are on the rise. Sports figures and entertainment stars guide name selection. A year after Derek Jeter retired from the Yankees, Jeeter jumped to the Top 10 on the dog name list. Taylor for Taylor Swift also ranks high.  

Owners often name their dogs after a favorite food or drink, such as Nachos, Snickers or Java. Many give their furry friends human names, often after a favorite relative or movie, TV or book character. Frequently the dog’s looks, personality or heritage inspire the name. My friend’s named their black standard poodle Chardonnay, the opposite of their dog’s color (and because they like wine.)

Currently on the American Kennel Club top 10 female dog names are:  Emma, Lucy, Sadie, Millie, Coco, Maggie, Molly, Lily, Daisy and Bailey. Rover.com lists Max, Charlie, Cooper, Buddy, Rocky, Bear, Jack, Milo, Duke and Tucker as most popular male names for 2019.

Rover.com  also shows Hera, Leela, Rita, Mitzi, Jewel, Claire and Chiquita for females and Vinnie, Patch, Boris, Tuck, Juju and Kovu at the bottom of their 1000 popular dog names.  

“What’s in a name?”  For a dog and the owner it is a label of love and bond for a long life together. 

Judy Hamontre is a volunteer with Ark-Valley Humane Society.