June 8th, 2017 will mark Romeo's 8th birthday. Though many sources would consider 8 years to be a senior dog, I still consider him an adult in the prime of his life. He is in great health and very fit due in part to his very high quality diet and his great mix of physical and mental stimulation. And lots of snuggle time!  I always like to reminisce a bit when Romeo's birthday rolls around, so this year I thought I would explain how he got his name.

I spend a LOT of time working on names when I am about to bring home a new dog – probably way too much time. But it's fun – I have a blast coming up with ideas and considering the possibilities! My first rule is to ensure the name does not sound too much like something else I might say a lot. For example, I will not name a dog anything that sounds too much like “No” or “Come” or other things that people say to dogs often. Those who know my training philosophy know that I don't really use “no” with my dogs, but I do use “Go” as a release, and lots of other people do use “No”.  I don't want my dogs' names being mistaken for other things.

When we decided to bring home a Vizsla puppy, we were originally supposed to get a girl and had a name all picked out. That took quite a while, but we had plenty of time to plan. However, as it turned out, we ended up with a boy instead. The girl name will get saved for a future girl. We had not agreed upon a boy's name by the time we brought him home. It was on his second full day with us that I finally found a name we could agree upon. As much as I wanted to stick with a “J” name (since we had our Greyhound Jahzara at the time), we weren't able to find one that worked for us – except for one we both really liked that was too close to “Jahzara” to work. That name will get saved for a future dog as well.

So how did we decide on Romeo? At first, I had bypassed the name as being too well-known, even though I hadn't known any dogs personally with that name at the time. But knowing that Romeo was planned to be my demo/assistant/training dog who would eventually be going with me most places, I needed a name that people could pronounce. I also wanted something that fit him.

Vizlsas are known for being family dogs who love love love being with their family. There's a Hungarian saying that loosely translates as “If you own a Vizsla, it will live on your head.” By that, they mean, they don't just want to be near you – they really want to be right there with or on you and involved. Very true for Romeo – on my lap is his favorite napping spot, even at 47 pounds.

Romeo is without a doubt a lover-boy, very affectionate (overly so sometimes), and – as a youngster loved loved loved to meet and play with other dogs and meet new people. So that personality really seems to fit with the name. In his litter, his nickname was “Traveler” since he was the first one out of the whelping pen and roaming around. Romeo is Italian, meaning “Pilgrim to Rome”. Pilgrim to Rome seems fitting with a “traveler” so that also seemed to fit. All of these factors seemed to converge into a fitting name of Romeo. So there you have it. Eight years later, I still think it's very fitting for him.

I'd love to hear how you came up with the names for your dogs!