I named my “country-dumped” dog Monster. (“Country dumped” is the term for when people drive their “beloved” pet out to the country and dump him there, assuming he will be fine because someone like me will take him in.) As a puppy, he was a mess of a dog. He bit hands and growled at everyone.
He got his name when I was trying to teach him the concept of “sit” because he was committed to jumping up on people. At least, he was when he wasn’t growling at them or trying to bite. After I felt he got the concept, I asked for a sit and he continued to bounce up and down in front of me like a pogo stick. So, I turned my back on him and stood very still, waiting for him to come around to my front. He waited back there for at least a minute and then he jumped up and nipped me on the butt. I turned around and told him he was a “monster,” and that unfortunate name stuck.
Why is it unfortunate? Because with intensive training and a behavior modification program, Monster stopped being a Monster. He learned to be polite and he never bit anyone again. I taught him to lick instead, so I will confess that he licks house guests inappropriately. Anyhow, the Monster-dog who is no longer a Monster got me to thinking about other unfortunate dog names I’ve heard about. Here are some of the highlights, or, well — lowlights — of dog names:
Someone gave their dog a decent name — Effie — but the dog produced a huge quantity of gas every day, so they nicknamed her “Fart.” They regretted this deeply on the night she escaped the house and the owners had to run through the neighborhood, yelling: “Here, Fart! Come here, Fart!!”
Comedians are soooo funny. Remember when Steve Martin named his dog Sh*thead in the movie, The Jerk? Yeah, that was pretty jerky, Steve! I recently heard about a dog named “Capone.” He got that name well before he started stealing eggs from the henhouse.
A dog trainer told me about a dog named Frank in her class. Nothing wrong with “Frank” for a dog’s name? Right? Well, maybe when the owner’s name is also Frank? They became known as FrankNFrank.
How about Chewy? You know what that dog excelled at. Same with Hoover and Kirby (cue vacuum sounds now). And what about Hoodlum? Or Jumpy?
How about a Frisbee named Captain Wallace Marvel, Fearless Freedom Fighter, Defender of Truth and Justice? His friends called him Wally.
There is a search dog named Hydin; her cue to find people is “go seek.”
And then there is the dog named — Dog. Or the one called Deeohgee (think about it for a second). Or the puppy named . . . Puppy. Or the dog named Cat.
A trainer once named her dog Guess, so that when people asked what her dog’s name was, she would reply: Guess.
There are two Boston Terriers out there named Cricket and Hopper, and a puppy named Miss Chunk. And there are two chocolate Labs named Barley and Hop. A Pug is named Booger and there is a Westie named Blizzard and another Westie named Flurry.
A friend near Seattle writes (bravely so): “Registered name on my Scottie in the 70s was Cannabis Sativa. My first choice was Brady McDawg — the AKC chose the second name, so her papers read ‘Cannabis Sativa,’ but we called her Dawg.”
I heard about a dog named Bob Thunder. Why? The owners were cheering for thunder and the dog responded to their cheering. But they didn’t want to name the dog “Thunder,” so they tacked on the “Bob” part of his name.
A trainer in Colorado says: “A friend of mine named his dog ‘I is.’ He’d yell out the back door: ‘Here I Is!’” Another trainer has a client named “Nama” so that his owners could say: “Nama Stay!”
Another trainer out of Colorado reports: “We used to call our dog “Hynamynah” because that’s what he answered one day when we asked him what his name was before we adopted him (he was a husky mix).” Huskies are well-known as talkers!
A trainer was assessing a dog and owner for pet therapy and asked the dog’s name. “Pants,” came the owner’s response. Next thing she knew, the dog jumped on the trainer and she heard the owner exclaim: “Pants, down!!” Pants did not pass the evaluation.
Then there was the dog named “Askim.” Whenever someone asked, “What’s your dog’s name?” the owner responded, “Ask him!” And another owner had the last name of Hanzel so naturally she named her dog Gretel.
A young girl named her Chug Stinky because she thought Ugly would be mean.
There is an adult dog out there named Valentino. His favorite activity? Humping, of course.
And then there are countless dogs out there who believe that their given names are: “No, Dammit!” or “Shut UP!”
There are some sweet things you could name your dog, such as the owner who named her dog “Patience” to remind her to be patient with her new pup. Another called his dog “Awesome,” so he couldn’t yell at his dog named Awesome!
I fostered nearly 400 dogs for non-profit rescues over a decade. I knew the naming well had run dry when I named a litter of cute puppies Whitey, Brownie and Blackie. Good thing there wasn’t a red puppy, because he would have been named “Reddie” for sure, because I wasn’t clever like my friend Susan who named her reddish Golden Retriever “Brick.”
And my all-time favorite misnamed dog? The dog named Fenton, but whom we can forgive if he mistakenly thinks his name is Jesus Christ.
Have you named your dog something silly or off the wall? Tell us about it in the comments section below! How is that working for you? How about for Hoodlum or Hoover or all of the Monster dogs out there?
About Annie Phenix: Positive-reinforcement dog trainer and author Annie Phenix never met a mountain she did not love. This explains why she lives in Durango, Colorado, where she’s surrounded by mountains, and why she is always smiling. She delights in the snowy season here, as do her five dogs, two horses, and six adorably cute donkeys.
Read more by Annie Phenix: