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What’s In a Pet’s Name?

What’s In a Pet’s Name?

Naming or Renaming to Shape Behavior

Do you want to know your pet better? Contact me, Kara @ Pet’s Eye View, for an appointment at (949) 282-3506 or Want to learn the basics of animal communication? Attend my September and October courses at Awakenings in Laguna Hills.

I love Shakespeare, but the quote from Romeo and Juliet, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” does not apply to either people or pets. Naming is serious business. If you’re metaphysical at all, you realize that the names Jesus and Mary, Athena and Apollo, or even Shiva have taken on, over the centuries, a shared meaning or sense of character traits in the collective mind. We should therefore be careful what monikers we give our furry friends.

According to, 28% of pet owners give their dogs human names. Seven of the 20 most popular names for dogs are also among the top 100 most popular names for babies born in 2016.  As an animal communicator, I am thrilled with this trend. Human names tend to have more pliability than words like, “Killer,” “Zeus,” and “Braveheart.”

Never pick a name for your pet that will create a behavior problem. For peace under your roof, you will want to name your pet something that will match the best of their personality with their job in your home. Sometimes that means taking a naturally dominant animal and giving it a more noble name than it deserves. Alternatively, for a timid animal, a strong name imbues more powerful energy.

I had a client with a Yorkshire Terrier named Cujo, named after the rabid dog in the Stephen King horror novel. When he was a tiny snarling puppy, it was humorous, but now Cujo was causing trouble. Not only did Cujo need a job change and obedience work, he needed a new name. The dog quickly learned “Joe,” and mellowed out considerably!

Another example is personal to me. Our family recently adopted a two-year-old Russian Blue mix. She was joining a household with three dogs who all have defined roles. Our son wanted to name her “Mist.” With her shimmery coat, this fit her looks. However, I cautioned my son if she seemed to embody “Mist” as not just mystical fog, but one who also seemed to evaporate in the presence of dogs, we would rethink.

I advised my clients to avoid names like King and Queen, but I wanted my cat to lord it over three dogs. At home, our new cat acted more scared of the dogs daily. We tried Selene, the Roman goddess of the moon. She is now best friends with one dog, and keeps the others in line. Mission accomplished.

Need help with pet naming? I can help you narrow your choices and ask your pet what they like from your suggestions. I often help people choose animals by assessing temperament via picture. If you have a pet with a problem name, do not be afraid to change it. Keeping it similar sounding, but a changed meaning works very well.

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