Naming Puppies is almost as Difficult as Choosing Titles for Books

Hmm, what should his name be?

I’m not thinking about the call names. The new owners can call their puppies whatever they like, of course. I’m talking about the registered names. Just as my Pippa’s name was actually Sevenwoods Epiphany, or Dora was Anara Adornment, these puppies need registered names. AND the name has to start with P or at least have an important P in the name somewhere, because this is my P litter. For example, Ishmael is actually Anara Call Me Ishmael.

Alphabetical names are useful for keeping track of which puppy is which. For example, someone contacted me yesterday asking if I’d ever had a puppy with chronic allergies. I said yes, one of the E puppies developed (mild) allergies as a young adult and I placed her as a pet because of that and added that she’s thirteen now and was Dora’s niece and not related to my current dogs. And how do I remember all that? Because I know which litter was named with E and how long ago they were born and who their mother was and how they’re connected to my other dogs. I remember my puppies quite well, and the alphabetical names are one reason they’re easy to keep sorted out in my head.

So, P. That’s not the easiest letter of the alphabet, though I can think of worse. Registered names need to be polysyllabic and sound good with “Anara” in front of them. Multiple words are just fine, but single words can work if they’re long enough.

The puppies are starting to acquire personalities, though my first impressions may still turn out to be mistaken in some cases, plus this is complicated because two of the puppies clicked into a fear period this morning, which has to be discounted when thinking about their actual personalities.

The first fear period, incidentally, usually occurs (if it’s going to occur at all) around eight to ten weeks of age — just in time for first vaccinations and re-homing, which is not great. It’s nice to put off potentially traumatic experiences until the puppy comes out of the fear period, or else make those experiences as non-traumatic as possible. With Cavaliers, many don’t have a perceptible fear period, but others do. It’s easy to identify because suddenly puppies that have entered a fear period run to the back of the puppy room when the vacuum cleaner comes into sight. This morning, for the first time two puppy ran away from the vacuum cleaner, and the other two just picked up their heads for a second and then continued to sleep at the front of the room, so that was quite clear. My way of dealing with vacuum cleaner fear is to add a couple of adult dogs to the puppy room and then vacuum slowly in front of the gate so that the fearful puppies can see the adults be totally, one hundred percent unimpressed by vacuum cleaners. (I literally have to turn off the vacuum cleaner and nudge the adults to make them move out of the way.) (They also go to sleep when being blow-dried.)

Then later this morning, one of those suddenly-fearful puppies reacted fearfully to a neighbor shoveling gravel out of a bin. (Shovel through gravel = loud, weird noise). My way of dealing with that was to immediately get a lot of little treats and teach all the puppies to come to me when I call them, about twenty feet from the neighbor with the gravel. That rapidly persuaded the fearful puppy that there was nothing to be afraid of.

This is how you handle a puppy that has entered a fear period: provide good things and reduce the importance of the scary thing; don’t force the puppy to go nearer to the scary thing than he’s willing to go; let him set acceptable distance while you are cheerful and offer many nice distractions). Puppies will come out of a fear period in a couple of weeks, no harm done as long as you’re careful. Do try not to step on a puppy during the fear period, as that may make them leery of feet forever. That happened with my first Papillon.

But back to P names!

Puppy 1: Affectionate, sociable, happy, middle-of-the-road, fairly average Cavalier personality. (This is why I like Cavaliers, because normal puppies are like this.) Hasn’t hit the fear period (yet, at least). I’m thinking of naming this puppy Anara Afternoon in Paris. I like multiple-word names if I can think of a good one.

Puppy 2: Similar to 1, affectionate, sociable, perhaps more thoughtful, tends to explore a bit farther than 1, a touch bolder and more independent — but also currently in a fear period. He is a quiet puppy. When he is fearful, he is quiet. Because he sometimes strikes me as thoughtful — the kind who looks carefully at things and you can see the wheels in his tiny brain turning — I’m inclined to name him Anara Pericles. I like the name Pericles, and Greek names sound classy.

Puppy 3: All the pizzazz, personality plus, very very happy and sociable. Interestingly, this is the other one of the puppies who has hit an obvious fear period. When he is fearful, he tells you about it. Interesting how some puppies are talkers and some aren’t. Bbecause of all the zip, I’m going to name this puppy Anara Pandemonium. I suspect he will live up to it. I’m sure he would be a fantastic tricks dog and a great therapy dog.

Puppy 4: He’s toughened up a good bit and will stand up for himself rather than letting the bigger ones push him around, but he’s very into humans. He’s a kisser and a talker and he likes to be babied. At seven weeks and three days, he still likes to be fed by hand! Well, that’s a good way of encouraging the emotional bond to humans, so sure, that’s fine. He can learn to eat better out of a dish next week. Not a trace of a fear period (so far). I’m very attached to this little guy. I’m thinking of Anara Personable.

Other possibilities: Particular, Presentation, Phenomenal. Or perhaps Phineas or Perseus, though those are a little short. For a black puppy, I would have thought of Phantom of the Opera, a great name! But for a Blenheim puppy, I guess not. What do you all think of this set of names? Do you like any of these a lot better than the ones I’ve tentatively picked out of the universe of P words and names?

Anything else occur to anybody? I can’t fill out the CKCSC registration paperwork without names, so I need to decide soon and get the slooooow wheels of CKCSC registration turning. AKC is much faster. CKCSC can take a year or so to finally work through the registration process.

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17 thoughts on “Naming Puppies is almost as Difficult as Choosing Titles for Books”

  1. I love the way “Anara Pericles” and “Anara Pandemonium” sound. Less entranced by “Anara Afternoon in Paris,” possibly because of the A sounds close to each other. Inspired by the lovely Yuzuru Hanyu figure skating routine, what about “Anaya Parisian Walkways”?

    I would immediately start calling “Anara Personable” by “Percy”—handy call name right there!

  2. Mary Beth, I didn’t see that A doubled up until you pointed it out. You’re right. I was liking Paris, but I’m not crazy about the A-A thing. I haven’t seen the figure skating you mention, but I like figure skating and that “Parisian Walkways” might suit me. I’m going to google that right now and watch the performance!

  3. This has nothing whatever to do with puppy names—I’m sorry. But I just finished the Griffin Mage trilogy, which was gripping and enthralling, and I would like to know what happened to Jos’s goat and chickens. If you know. It’s a small point in the re-making of the worlds, I realize, but when it seems that Jos might move to the Delta, I wondered what had happened back at his mountain cabin. Thank you.

  4. Oh, funny! I liked “Anara Afternoon in Paris” the best due to the doubled A sounds.

  5. Boy #3 sounds just like his half brother! We still call him Gremlin sometimes; your knack for puppy names seems spot on : )

    I like the names you have picked out (especially Anara Phenomenal and Pericles) but if you’re looking for other options:
    Parisian Afternoon
    Philosophers Stone
    Percival/Parzival
    Pot Pie
    Pounce and Bounce
    Plumbob
    Persimmon
    Philodendron

  6. Anara Paladin..?
    I keep trying Peregrine but it doesn’t seem to flow properly. I like HTET HTET’s Periwinkle, though.

  7. So cute! Both the puppy picture and the names you’ve mentioned. For the small guy, Pavlos? Even if he’s not so small anymore? Because it’s funny to name a dog that and the internet tells me it also means small. It’s a little short though. I don’t know why my mind went to Greek names, but (again the internet) Pamphilos for friend for all?

  8. Dame Eleanor Hull — thank you! That’s a good question about a dropped thread. I’m sure Jos was attached enough to his critters to either go back up or send someone up to find them and bring them down the mountain. He’s a responsible person and I doubt he would have forgotten. Though goats are canny animals, and the goat may already have come down on its own.

  9. Wow, so many great suggestions! The person who will be taking Boy One home says she likes everything with Paris in the name and has suggested Parisian Le Petit Prince, which is a good one and I will probably go with that. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of Parisian. Interesting that some of you like the doubled A sound. I was thinking maybe Evening in Paris, and Camille’s Parisian Afternoon is a good one, but as the puppy owner’s suggestion is good, I don’t have to make that decision.

    I like Periwinkle Blue quite a bit and if one was a girl I’d do that for sure in honor of Peri in McKillip’s The Changeling Sea. The name sounds feminine to me because of that character. “Pamphilos” would be cute!

  10. I asked Google autocomplete and it suggested Particular Set of Skills, which would be perfect if cavaliers were hunting dogs, and Particular Proclivity for Pyrotechnics, which is too much of a muchness but does gesture towards “Proclivity for [something]” as a multi-word P name that I can’t think how to complete.

  11. Craig, that’s really funny! It never occurred to me to try out the autocomplete function! … … … actually, I’m tempted by Particular Proclivity for Pyrotechnics. That’s another name that would suit Boy Three!

  12. Thank you for the reply! I am relieved about the goat and chickens. I was afraid the whole valley had been destroyed when the wall was broken, and that you didn’t mention that since you try not to hurt animals. I would much rather think that the valley was protected enough that they made it through.

  13. If I’d thought about it, I would have added a line or two about those critters! I would almost always be inclined to contort events just a bit if at all plausible in order to avoid killing even chickens, much less goats.

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