Preparing for Your Puppy
You’ve actually picked a dog and the arrival date is near. Now comes one of the most important parts: preparing for your newest little bundle of joy. This is a tougher job than you’d imagine. But it’s also fun. The excitement of bringing home your new puppy is thrilling. Whether you’ve done this before or not, it’s important to review the materials you’ll need to own a dog. The basic things are obvious — leash, collar, ID tag, crate, food, and bowls for water and food. And don’t forget toys! However, you need to know about each of these before you go out and buy something and then find out it doesn’t work for you.
Naming Your Puppy Choosing your puppy’s name is fun. Your pup’s name will help define who he or she is — and how you and the rest of the world relate to the puppy. A serious name like Beazely or Mrs. Melinda will evoke a very different response than a more casual name like Fred or Muffin. If the puppy is for one particular member of the
family, it is most appropriate for that person to name him or her. That doesn’t mean that the pup should get saddled with a name no one else likes; it’s better to go back to the drawing board with name choices than to settle for something that makes any one in the family cringe any time they say it. While odd or complicated names are certainly, well, different, they are not the most practical for the canine species. Why? Because dogs, more than most animals, re- quire interaction. So before you name your dog Phidippides (the guy who ran the first marathon), or Bacchus (the God of wine) remember that your dog needs a name that will be simple to respond to, that has a sharp, clear sound, and that you will be comfortable saying over and over again. Something short — no more than three syllables — is generally a good idea.
A dog will actually be able to recognize a two-syllable name better than a sin- gle syllable. One of the reasons is that single-syllable names often sounds like other common words or requests from you that your dog will hear. So if you want to name your dog Sam, for example, consider calling him Sammie as a general rule.
Changing the Name of an Adopted Puppy Puppies and dogs from other families or situations already have a name. It may be a name you really dislike. If you know you won’t be able to live with the name, you will need to retrain the pup to his or her new name as soon as you bring the dog home with you. Remember, too, that dogs are not actors or rock stars. You cannot constantly change your dog’s name. Changing it once in a lifetime is probably enough. Constant name changes will lead to confusion and difficulties where train- ing and obedience are concerned, as well as a host of other problems. This doesn’t mean you can’t refer to your dog as Smoochie or Bun or Little One or Smarty Pants as time goes on and these terms of endearment present themselves to you. But just as you would address a child or spouse as Honey but also use their name, the same is true of your pup.
If you get your pup from a breeder, she may have a kennel name that she wants you to use as part of your dog’s formal name. The Beagle that won the 2008 Westminster Kennel Club dog show is officially named Champion K- Run’s Park Me In First, but to everyone he’s known simply as Uno. K-Run is the breeder’s kennel name, and Park Me In First was added for him specif- ically. But Uno was selected as his “call name” — the one people use on a daily basis. If your purebred pup has a long name, worry not. Simply keep it on his or her registration certificate and call your pup something more prac- tical.