Friday, August 24, 2012

What is in a name?

The dog previously mentioned as Thunder Chicken has a real name.  At least she would have if I'd filled out the papers, but we don't plan to breed her, so I didn't.  Dear Husband and I fell into what I believe is our M.O. on dog names when we named our wonderful Teddy years ago.  We name the dog based on their characteristics, whether looks or personality.  We got Teddy when she was barely 6 week sold, just weaning, and still had much of her flattish little 'milk nose.' She looked like a little Steiff bear toy, so became Teddy the Bear, or Teddy. It seemed to confuse people that a female could be named Teddy.  She seemed not to care, so neither did we!
We use the dog-name convention that the 'household name' should be not more than 2 syllables and the emphatic version should be one syllable. So Teddy the Bear was 'Teddy' with the emphatic version being 'TED!!' 

For this more recent creature, it took a bit longer to develop her name.  For several weeks she had no name as we got to know her and size-up her personality. We watched this crazy beast and she seemed like a cross between the cartoon characters Baby Huey and Wiley Coyote from Road Runner fame. She was clumsy -- always a little bigger than she could manage, like her nervous system was slow to catch up.  She also did this weird pattern formation that skipped a step in logic -- not that we expect our dogs to be logical, but Teddy was strangely so. 

Baby Huey was appropriate but not a great name for a female dog.  We settled on "Violet's Wiley Coyote'  as Violet was her mother's name. That gave us the household name of YOTIE and the emphatic name of YO!! which was used often and loudly during her first few years.  Always good when a dog reacts immediately and appropriately to the emphatic name.
Here's an example of evolving Yotie logic:  We used the treat reward system when she was being housebroken. She responded well. Small cookie for urinating in the back yard. She learned to hold it for the 'regular' schedule or go to the door to go out in between.  This soon evolved into going to the door, walking out onto the patio, doing a small loop, coming back in and expecting a cookie. No soap, no cookie. She then cut out the unproductive middle step. My dog the efficiency expert! She went to the back door with the expectant look. As soon as one of us got up to let her out, she made a beeline for the cookie jar and sat next to it. Hell no, Dog! We are training you, not the other way around!

She is now 6 years old and starting to mellow out, thank goodness. She is a good companion, but still shows these odd dog-logic patterns on occasion. She has certainly earned her name, many times over!

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