Dogs can bring many wonderful benefits to their owners’ lives. Not only can they be loving, dedicated and whimsical companions, dogs can also help to reduce their owner’s blood pressure and anxiety levels and increase their physical activity levels. It is no wonder, then, that so many individuals choose to bring a dog into their life. Even when an individual has chosen to bring a dog into their life, they don’t normally jump at the first dog they see. Choosing the right canine companion for one’s lifestyle and family is a careful and time-consuming process. It may take days, weeks or even months to find the right dog, which can make it all the more satisfying and exciting when one finally does make that important connection. Then, an individual is faced with a new challenge: choosing the right dog names.

Choosing the Right Name

Some individuals may not find it difficult at all to name their dog–a certain name just easily comes to mind and seems to fit perfectly. Others take their time to try and find the best name–and for good reason, as it will be the name they use daily for many years. To address this point, an Internet search will turn up dozens of articles that give advice on how to pick the best dog name for the individual dog. However, while some suggestions are universal, others contradict each other and leave the owner wondering which suggestion is right.

Alexandra Horowitz, a cognitive scientist at Columbia University’s Barnard College, confirms that there is no actual science regarding dog-naming, it’s more a matter of common sense. Owners would do well to pick a name they don’t mind repeating many times in a single day and over many years, and make sure that it isn’t a name that can be confused with the names of people or other pets in the household.

While there may be no actual science to dog-naming, research has shown that most dogs respond to short, rising sounds rather than long, falling sounds. One-syllable names can be difficult to say with a rising inflection, which doesn’t necessarily make them poor choices–just more likely to be confused with other short words the dog’s owner may say.

Joe Orsino Jr., the owner of Mr. O’s–The Dog Training Place, says that a dog’s name is actually a vital factor in the training process. Owners need their dogs to focus on their name so that they respond to it appropriately when called. Furthermore, a name that has more meaning for the owner will usually yield a better response from the dog because of the emotion and inflection added.

Naming Trends in Western Pennsylvania

In Somerset, Cambria, and other Western Pennsylvanian counties, some of the most popular female dog names are Bella, Molly, Lucy, Sadie, Daisy, Maggie and Chloe, according to a 2015 analysis of dog license information. Bella, which means “beautiful” in Italian, seems to be an especially popular dog name in families that have young daughters. Some of the most popular male dog names are Buddy, Max, Bailey, Bear, Harley, Charlie, Rocky, Toby, Duke and Buster.

There are also plenty of uncommon dog names, like Orbit or Ruby, named perhaps for something the owner is passionate about or even how they found their dog. There are even some dog names that come from cartoons–like Mr. Pickles–for the whimsical dog owner who enjoys the more light-hearted name. Regardless of the name an owner chooses for their dog, the most important thing is that it is one the dog is willing to respond to, time and again.