Home / News & Insights / How to choose a name for your dog

How to choose a name for your dog

How to choose a name for your dog

Having a canine companion in the home may reduce boredom and loneliness for seniors, and it could even have a positive impact on their health.1 Adopting an older dog who needs a home could also be a rewarding experience for both you and your new four-legged family member too, so it pays to do your research into the type of dog suited to your home and lifestyle.

Once your new furry friend is home; however, it’s time to name it, and train them to recognise their new name. These tips and strategies will help you find the perfect fit for your pooch.

Tips & strategies

Opt for a shorter name

Choose a shorter name rather than a long one to make it easy for your dog to learn. 2 A shorter name will also be easier for you to call out, meaning names of one or two syllables are best.

If you have a longer name in mind, you could pick that as your pet’s “official” name and use a shortened, nickname version of it day-to-day. If you do this, make sure every household member is consistent with the nickname, so your dog doesn’t get confused.

If you have other pets in the house, make sure the new name isn’t too similar in sound to avoid confusion. Names that sound similar to commands like “sit” or “no” may also cause confusion, so it’s best to avoid these too.

Pick a name for the long term

You’ll be using your dog’s name for quite a number of years, so choose a name that will suit your puppy even when he or she grows into a senior dog. A name might sound cute now, but will you be comfortable calling out your dog's name in public in five years?

Name for personality and physical appearance

Consider your dog’s personality when you're choosing a name, and settle for a name that reflects best how they behave. Your dog’s physical appearance can also be used to inspire your choice of name. For example, see if the name Speedy or Racer is a good fit for a dog who’s always up for a run in the park.

Consider the breed and origin

Consider your dog’s breed and origin, and name your dog after their breed’s region. For example, Bonny for a West Highland Terrier or Kumi for an Akita.

Ask the household

If you’re stumped for ideas, ask other members of your household for names. Brainstorm a list together and you'll have a better chance of coming up with a name that best suits your dog.

Choose a human name

Keep in mind many human names can make great names for your dog too. Two-syllable human names with a bit of flair such as Bella, Ruby, Coco, Jessie, Charlie and Max, are easy names for your new dog.

Popular names for dogs

Find inspiration in the most popular dog names at the moment.

Popular names for female dogs:3

  • Ruby
  • Bella
  • Daisy
  • Coco
  • Poppy
  • Molly
  • Lucy.

Popular names for male dogs:3

  • Charlie
  • Max
  • Oscar
  • Buddy
  • Rex
  • Jack
  • Billy.
Did you know? The most popular dog name for pets insured with Australian Seniors Insurance Agency is Bella; followed by Charlie, Molly, Coco and Max.

Teaching your dog their new name

Give your dog time to learn his or her new name, and follow these strategies to help it happen fast.

Choose a quiet environment

Puppies are especially prone to distraction, so teach them in a nice and quiet environment. Face your dog and make sure he or she is watching you. Say their name and reward them with treats, pats, and cuddles when they respond to their name. If they’re easily distracted, try a small room with a closed door or their lead on.4

Assume a gentle, positive approach

Use a gentle, positive approach to teaching your dog his or her name name.4 Stop training when your dog starts getting tired. Around two minutes a day of training is realistic for puppies.4

Graduate to busy environments

Graduate your dog to busy, noisy places once he or she has learned their new name as you’ll want to make sure your it will respond to its new name in a loud environment.5

Use continuous, positive reinforcement

Use continuous reinforcement with treats, pats, and encouragement as your dog learns his or her name. 4 Avoid using your dog’s name if you’re angry or trying to discipline your dog, as they may then associate their name with negative behaviour.5

What to do when renaming senior dogs

If you’ve adopted a senior dog, take extra measures to help your dog settle in. Remember, he or she would have a previous name and the new name will be at first confusing. For example, talk to them softly, say their new name often, and pat them in a reassuring manner. This will help you dog adjust more quickly and get used to their new name.6

Picking the right name for your dog can take a bit of thought, so make sure you explore a shortlist of options to find the right one. Consider personality, physical appearance, and breed origin to find a nice fit. Once you’ve settled on a name, use positive reinforcement and rewards to help your dog learn it.

The next step after choosing a name for your new dog is to ensure they’re protected, both in the home and through pet insurance. Australian Seniors Insurance Agency has 20 years of experience providing Australian seniors with quality pet insurance that covers up to 80% of eligible vet bills.


  1. Pet Selection - Choosing a dog for a senior pet ownerVetwest
  2. Naming Your Puppy PetMD
  3. Full top hundred most popular dog names MadPaws
  4. Getting your dog used to its name zookie
  5. How Can You Teach a Dog Its Name Best Family Pets
  6. Adopting a senior pet Rockys K9 Rescue


* To a maximum of $12,000 a year (Pre-existing Conditions excluded).