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Literature | Baptize it well, name of a dog!



It seems trivial, but naming your pet is an art, between inspiration and educational goals. A small directory recently published, sweet first names, lists more than 3000 proposals, collected from shelters and veterinary clinics. Is the choice of an adequate name crucial? And how to instill it in our animal? Answers with a furry animal behavior specialist.

Bowie, Lavender, Spritz, Gougoune… the field of possibilities for naming your animal may be almost infinite, but inspiration may dry up. Emergency veterinarian Dominique Grohman and Charlène Reneault, founder of the site, which supports shelters, had the idea of ​​listing all the names of animals that have passed between their paws and bringing them together in a small guide, in collaboration with the SPCA Laurentides-Labelle. The goal ? Feeding ideas, portraying trends, or simply entertaining.

For shelters or breeders, it can be a valuable tool, as they are led to practice this designation ritual hundreds of times. Embellished with photographs to associate certain names with a truffle, the directory lists in alphabetical order more than 3000 names for dogs, cats and others, from the most extravagant (Pyroxenite, Stallone…) to the most common (Grisou, Léo…) . Common and very common names are respectively underlined and framed, just to give an accurate picture of their potential for originality; there is also a brief section on the duets (Hansel and Gretel) and the themed staves (a delightful find, that of the winds: Sirocco, Alizé, Mistral, etc.).

After this first milestone, part of the profits of which will be donated to shelters, the authors wish to continue to feed this compilation by encouraging animal owners to submit and justify the names they have chosen by writing to the authors.⁠1.

Avoid confusion

Choosing a name is not an innocent act, as the SPCA Laurentides-Labelle team reminds us in the preface: “For us, naming an animal comes down to honoring the being that it is. […] and constitutes the starting point of a budding relationship between a man and an animal. A starting point, but also a hyphen, since the name, if desired, can be found at the heart of an educational component, if only to teach an animal to respond to it. In this regard, the DD Isabelle Bazin, veterinarian specializing in behavioral medicine, has in her pockets, between two treats, some very sharp advice.

First, while there doesn’t seem to be any literature on ideal syllable counts, lengthy or excessively short nouns may make things difficult for learning. Above all, the veterinarian recommends avoiding choosing one that is too close to terms frequently used on a daily basis.

If we use a word spoken every day in all the sauces, it will become more difficult for the animal to make the right association and to come to us, it would have to be a somewhat distinctive name.

The DD Isabelle Bazin, veterinary specialist in behavioral medicine at the Daubigny center in Quebec

Another tip: try to avoid a name close to a command (sit, lie down, etc.), which can lead to some confusion; note how similar “Lassie” and “Assist” sound. “If the animal already knows its name and we want to show it a new command, we could simply choose a different word from the name,” suggests the specialist. For example, for a dog called Coucou, we could substitute the command “dodo” for “lying down”, and that would be it.

Finally, beware of the multiplication and abuse of nicknames which, although adorable, could create interference in the process.


The DD Isabelle Bazin, veterinary specialist in behavioral medicine, accompanied by the late Jiminy

Every dog ​​and every cat has the potential to learn its name. Adorable puppy or old sailor, it’s never too late or too early to teach – training can start as soon as the animal interacts with us. “Just say his name, let him look at us, and reward him right away with a treat, and then reinforce that association,” says Dr.D Bazin. To avoid forcing treats, we can draw from the daily portion of food, or keep a few on us to distribute them throughout the day. Two crucial points: exercise when the animal is available and in a calm environment, and avoid scolding it when pronouncing its name.

Rename Brutus?

What about adopted animals? Can they be disturbed by a name change? If the previous name is unknown and a temporary name has been given by a shelter, no problem: just start training from the beginning with the new name chosen by the adopters.


AT The Press, we are curious! What are the names of M’s current cats?me Bazin? Cléo and Charlotte, two very common names in Quebec, the guide tells us sweet first names.

But if the animal already responds to it, it’s not a bad idea to keep it. For those who really want to change it, it will be necessary to recreate an association. “It is possible to change it, it would then be necessary to pronounce the new name before saying the old one, then to reward the animal, which will allow over time to make the connection”, teaches us the specialist. Also, how long will it take? Difficult to estimate, because everything depends on the animal, the quality of the treats (does he like them a little or madly?) and the frequency of the exercises.

And do cats, often portrayed as experts in snobbery, recognize their name? Several recent studies show that this is indeed the case, even if they happen to ignore us superbly. According to Isabelle Bazin, teaching them how to react to it is not insurmountable, since the same method as that intended for dogs applies. But she insists on the quality of the reward, because while petting and attention can work in some cases, “the results come much faster and are much more consistent when you actually present a reward, like food, something that strengthens a cat the most. He could very well hear his name 5 to 30 times and decide to ignore us because for him attention is not something that rewards him enough for him to make the effort to come or watch.

sweet first names

sweet first names

The end of the mile

21 pages

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