Carl Chicken Nugget. Yes, that is what my cousin has to yell from the back door when calling the family dog inside! That might be what happens if you let small children name your newly adopted pet too. Hence my first rule in pet naming: Unless you’re excited about a pet with a possibly very unusual name, you might want to limit kids involvement in the naming process, like by giving them a few suitable options and they get to vote on their favorite from your list. My second rule: Be creative! You don’t get many chances to have this much fun, and you can pick a name that will make you smile every time you call your pet for many years to come! So let’s take a peek at some useful tips on naming your new pet…

Photo credit: sadieshihtzu

The Fun

As pet parents, when naming your pets you can have just as much fun as human parents do naming their kids! Plus the process allows for more creativity since you don’t have worry about possible mean playground rhymes, or making relatives happy. If you’re leaning towards getting creative with your pet’s name, wait and get to know their furry little personality first. You may be inspired by your kitty’s cute quirk of eating ice cream out of your bowl when you’re not looking — Nom Nom — or the Rottie mix that you were going to call Turbo might turn out to be more of a Muffin.

Consider some of these goofy name suggestions:

  • Mr. Pants
  • Chew Barka
  • Muppet

The Formal

Say you’re leaning towards a more formal sounding name. Maybe you don’t want to go too far down the dog show name road — like Lafford Fly Me Too Farleysbane, yes, that’s a real dog’s name — but you still want it to have a ring to it. Try to imagine your pet’s name on custom letterpress stationary. Zippy just doesn’t cut it now, does it? You can follow more formal naming guidelines if you know where your pet came from,  include part that in their name — like in the case of an adopted pet, the shelter’s or rescue’s name. Or take your inspiration from your pet’s heritage, like a German name for your German Shepherd.

Consider these fancy pants names for your four-legged pal:

  • Roscoe’s Wrangler Banjo
  • Odin
  • Bentley

The Ol’ Changeroo

When you’re adopting a pet and they know and respond to their existing name, you may decide to choose a similar-sounding name, so your dog or kitty can recognize and respond to it more quickly. But pets can learn totally different names too! Positive reinforcement is a great way to train a pet to enjoy and understand their new name. Say their new name and offer them a treat. If they respond to their old name, you can say both names at first, like “Fluffy Odin!” Then in a week or so start gradually using their old name less and less, until the transition is complete.

Other things to consider when changing your adopted pet’s name:

  • Don’t choose names that sound like command words you use, such as Beau and No.
  • Smile when you call your pet’s name so they see you are happy and will be more likely to respond to you.
  • Try to select on a name that will grow with your pet. Baby Kitty Fluff might be adorable now when your little ball of fluff is a kitten, but if he hits 13 pounds it might not seem like such a good fit any more.
  • If you are going to be doing verbal recall training with your dog, choose a one-syllable unique-as-possible name so it is easy for you to call out at a distance.
  • You don’t have to change their name if you like the one they were given by the shelter or foster home you adopted them from. I kept my adopted dog’s name – Sir Lancelot – because it’s funny, unique, and he was already somewhat used to it. 

Pet Name Generators

Still not sure what to call your pet? Try using one of the pet name generators. You can input your pet’s last name and let the name generator start suggesting first names. Nigel Nosewhistler, anyone? 

Michelle Rebecca is an aspiring writer, blogger, and new fur mama to a 1-year-old boxer mix rescue. She has a passion for the Internet, and loves how it connects people across the globe. She loves that blogging gives her the opportunity to voice her thoughts and share advice with an unlimited audience.