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Are Short Names Better?


Guest KTPrime
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Guest KTPrime

Hi all, this is something I've read about before but was wondering about your experiences with it. When I got my pup, I renamed him Optimus (his track name was Demon ... not appropriate for my big sweet boy!) He learned his name really quickly and I've never had a problem with him responding to it. But, I've often read in dog literature that it's better to give your dog a two-syllable name, as anything longer might confuse them.

 

I already have a name in mind for my next grey (it will be a while until I can get a second, but I can't wait!), but it also has three syllables. What do you think about the name issue? Am I putting my dog at a training disadvantage by giving him a longer name?

 

~KT

 

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Guest newgreymama

I don't think it really matters to the dog, they will eventually learn their name even if it's 10 syllables. In my personal experience though, having a short two syllable name is nice for training so that I don't have to stumble over a ton of sounds to get to the command. Everyone is different though, that is just my personal opinion--to others, it might not matter. :)

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I think it's easier for a dog to discern his name if it's not just one syllable, but they will eventually learn it no matter way. A lot of times with multi-syllable names I think they mostly pick up on just the last syllable, it's just that with a single syllable name it's easy to mistake it for another similar sounding word. Actually, as a slightly amusing sidebar, I can't tell you how many people I've passed on walks that thought I was saying hi to them when really I was calling Skye. Hey, I'm not know for my friendliness and warmth toward strangers so I figure this can't be a bad thing although I have to wonder what they think when I look at them in surprise when they say hi back. :lol

 

Anyway, I really don't think it matters. With a name longer than 2 syllables, I'd probably end up shortening it to a nickname of some sort. My dogs respond to all kinds of stuff - Zuri responds to Z, Z-man, and Zuri, Violet to Violet and Violetta, and Skye to Skye and Skye-bird. :P

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Guest zombrie

I don't think it really matters to the dog, they will eventually learn their name even if it's 10 syllables. In my personal experience though, having a short two syllable name is nice for training so that I don't have to stumble over a ton of sounds to get to the command. Everyone is different though, that is just my personal opinion--to others, it might not matter. :)

Agreed. I've always preferred 2 syllable names because it's just easier for me. I kept Minerva's name because she already knew it when she came off the track. In fact, she responds best to her entire racing name, Miss Minerva.

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My dogs have always had one or two syllable names and they have always learned them with no difficulty. I've never given a name of three syllables or more, even when I was a little kid naming the family dog. Which isn't to say I would never do it, I've just never had a dog who wanted a long name. :)

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Lisa B.

My beautiful Summer - to her forever home May 1, 2010 Summer

Certified therapy dog team with St. John Ambulance

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Guest Wasserbuffel

Mine certainly responds better to a single syllable name. Her call name was Cassidy at the track. The Cassidy she was named after told me once that they were sure the dog was deaf, because she never responded to her name. She learned Jayne within a few days and responds beautifully to it.

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In theory it is best to keep the name short, 1-2 syllables. I don't think they have a harder time learning longer names, and it's not exactly a disadvantage to training except that you have a longer word to get out before the command. That's a problem in a situation where speed is important... agility and maybe obedience at times. My biggest concern is that I'd my dog is about to run into the street I want to get the name out as quickly as possible, so a short name is better.

 

Both my dogs have short, distinct names that are easy (to me) to get out in a hurry.

Kristie and the Apex Agility Greyhounds: Kili (ATChC AgMCh Lakilanni Where Eagles Fly RN IP MSCDC MTRDC ExS Bronze ExJ Bronze ) and Kenna (Lakilanni Kiss The Sky RN MADC MJDC AGDC AGEx AGExJ). Waiting at the Bridge: Retired racer Summit (Bbf Dropout) May 5, 2005-Jan 30, 2019

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My father used to be a bird hunter--his rule was one syllable names, but not because longer ones confuse the dog. It's because you sound pretty ridiculous trying to train a hunting dog hollering "Supercalefragelisticexpealidocious!" over and over when you're training a puppy in the field.

 

Our dogs were Sam, Jeb, Matt, and Bo. After he gave up hunting, he really branched out with Josh, Davey, and Lily! There was also an Abby in there, but she was way too timid for hunting so he figured it didn't matter.

 

The reasoning has kind of stuck with me. Long names are best saved for cats, who won't listen to you anyway! But it truly doesn't matter. If you like a longer name, go for it!


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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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I always wind up calling mine by a one syllable nickname regardless of what their real name is. My Pyr's name is Diego. When he was a puppy, the last part of his name sounded too much like Echo's name, and it confused her. We started calling him Big Head because his head is huge. He responds to Diego, but we mostly just call him Big.

 

We have a dog in the race kennel named Zarola. She'll respond to it okay, but comes flying when you drop the first syllable and just call her Rola. Some of them really do prefer certain names over others!

| Rachel | Dewty, Trigger, and Charlotte | Missing Dazzle, Echo, and Julio |

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My Valentino responded to his whole name better than the shortened version I would call him, Vally. He just preferred his whole name. Avoid names that sound alike. All of mine have their racing names and my new boy just arrived and he is having a hard time. His name is Do Bee and we have a Bebe. You can see where that would cause confusion. I have a Joey and Jilly and that causes confusion some times too.

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I like the 1 or 2 syllables for a name, another thing that I've heard is to stay away from some that sounds like a command like NO or Down. Choose something that sounds like a happy voice, like things ending in Y or A

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I always wind up calling mine by a one syllable nickname regardless of what their real name is.

All of my dogs have had one or two syllable names...Harley, Girl, Bella, Buck, Rex, Buddy, Poodle, Barkley. I too, always use one syllable nicknames.

Buddy is "Bub" or "Bud"

Barkley is "Bark" or "Spark" (shortened version of his other nickname "Sparkle"

Poodle...poor poor Poodle is "Poo"

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Guest Clawsandpaws

My dogs name is Sir Dudley Winston Charles, I call him Dud when I try to get his attention quick, but like a kid, he will ALWAYS respond when I use his full name!

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i like 2 syllable names for recall- willie, charlie, velcro,felix, annie....easy to say nice and loud when you call them . emily(my frist grey) was fine w/ what ever you named her- she was kinda special :) she came when em was out of my mouth, so for her it didn't matter . but my favorite name, which i am yet to use is NUNZIO- waiting to see the response to that mouthful. so, pick a name which is easy to say- practice it and see if you end up w/ something you don't really want- like. i considered tucker- well, tucker became you little f_cker, thus felix is what we called that little devil.

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Guest borzoix4

Lets see... We have Tessa-a-rose, Lind-sey, Ben-ja-min, Sa-phir-a, Zu-bin ( Called Scoo-bee-doo), Bam Bams, and uh Kring-les son.... uhhhhhhhh doesn't matter- they know when talking to them. Also frankly- I think people under estimate what dogs understand as my dogs 'speak' and understand full sentences- even as babies... :)

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Bu if short for Sambuca. He won't answer to it because I have never called him Sambuca. But he does answer to "you're lucky you're cute", "don't be a #@$@", "you're a pain in the rear" and many other things. They know when they are being spoken to.

I do shorten everything down to one syllable. I often call Sailor, Sail.

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We have Ben and Brooke and they both know when we are talking to them. Of course they also get called pet names like sweetie, Brookie, Buddy, Baby Girl, My beautiful girl, my handsome boy, etc. etc. but they still know who we are talking to...they seem to anyway.

Jan with precious pups Emmy (Stormin J Flag) and Simon (Nitro Si). Missing my angels: Bailey Buffetbobleclair 11/11/98-17/12/09; Ben Task Rapid Wave 5/5/02-2/11/15; Brooke Glo's Destroyer 7/09/06-21/06/16 and Katie Crazykatiebug 12/11/06 -21/08/21. My blog about grief The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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Guest grey_dreams

Two or three syllable names are probably easiest for both you and the pet. But I talk a lot of babbling and made-up language to my babies, calling them names with many syllables, and they always understand everything :heart

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Segugio reliably responded to his name. :angelwings

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs. :heartThank you, campers. Current enrollees:  Punkin. AnnIE Oooh M

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:paw Upon reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

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Guest kkaiser104

Teddi responds beautifully to Teddi or "Ted" (which is what we use for obedience, just because it's shorter and easier for ME). He never responded to his call name, Beretta, and still doesn't. I might as well call him someone else's name.

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A friend had told me about this two-syllable dog name theory before we got our guy.

I'm sure it depends on the individual dog, but Boo will respond to just 'Boo' most of the time... when he isn't doing something more interesting. But if we call "Boo radLEYYY!" he ALWAYS pays attention. I think there might actually be something to that theory.

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Bri and Mike with Boo Radley (Williejohnwalker), Bubba (Carlos Danger), and the feline friends foes, Loois and Amir

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