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    Friday, August 23, 2013

    Service Dog Names

    Fine, I give up!

    For over a month now, I have been training my rescue as a service dog. Everywhere I go, people ask me her name. But I haven't picked one for her yet. When folks hear that she has no name, they look at me oddly, and think that I don't care for her enough to name her, or some other nonsense. But the reason she doesn't have a name yet is the exact opposite. The name I pick will be with us both for the rest of her life. It is an important thing to consider, just like naming a child, and I will be saying it a lot throughout the coming years. Not too big of a problem until you get to the part about my personal preferences, and basic training tips.

    Dog name advice from the professionals:
    * A dog's name should be two syllables,
    * A dog's name should have at least two "sharp" sounds, such as K,P,T,B, and so forth.
    The above rules are suggested for naming as they provide a name that is easy for the dog to recognize, learn, and hear/respond to on the first call.

    My personal preferences:
    A name must represent who the dog is, and give a feel for her personality and temperament.
    A name must feel good rolling off of my tongue. I must enjoy saying it.
    A name will hopefully be relatively simple to spell and remember, for ease at vet's appointments and the like.
    I would like for her name to be from a language other than English.
    Her name will not be ridiculously cutesy like baby, princess, baroness, or anything ending in y, ie, or sounding like it does.
    I would like for her name to mean something like helper, assistant, friend, mindful, support, service, attendant, ally, boon, gift, blessing, relief, loveable, sympathetic, perseverance, kindness, moxie, efficiency, competence, patience, hero, prowess, adroit, wisdom, or similar.

    Of course, the REAL problem behind naming her is her personality. As is sadly rather common for most rescues, she has some PTSD of her own from being abused before she was dumped outside of town by her previous owners. This has led to no small amount of difficulty when discovering who she really is under the fear that she regularly expresses. This isn't to say that she isn't intelligent, sweet, and affectionate, she very much is all of those things, and training is moving along rather rapidly because of it. But she was so badly mistreated before I took her in, that she ducked all the way to the floor at any rapid arm movement closer than 20 feet away from her, was so terrified of water that she just vibrated during her baths, and regularly shied away from any swinging rope, large person, men, and even some household items. She was even afraid to vocalize in any way! I've been working with her on these things, and many of the issues have improved greatly, to the point that you almost can't tell they were ever a problem. That said, other new things are revealing themselves, as the bigger issues are resolved. We're working on all of these things as we go along, and while she has learned many of the things necessary to pass the *test, I still sometimes worry that she will never quite overcome her fears and let me see who she really is under all the emotional baggage. But I digress.

    I need a name for my dog, and I'd love to have your help. XD

    * There are no official/legal government service dog registration organizations, training requirements/schools, or sanctioned tests. I have chosen to have her pass a test known as "public access" test, as well as have her capable of passing the AKCCGC test before I present her as a fully trained service dog in public.

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