Wednesday, 9 November 2011

What's in a Name?

All of my animals have lots of nicknames as I am sure most other people also do with their animals.  The most commonly used nicknames in our home are as follows:

Desi (cat) - Princess, Snotty Girl
Fred (cat) - Frederick, Handsome Boy, Monster Cat
Riley - RyRy, Riles, Monkey, Buddy
Stella - Stella Bella, Little Miss, Missy Bean, Bean

Yes, I did just write Bean.  It developed from her little mexican jumping bean thing she does to Riley.  She bounces up at his face and graps jowls or tries to stuff whatever she is carrying in his mouth so that he will tug with her.  He is remarkably tolerant of this behaviour but eventually tells her enough which shuts her down for at least a few minutes.  Anyway "Bean" has stuck as a nickname for her. 

Why are nicknames important?  They are mostly terms of affection but they also serve the purpose of being good ways to communicate with our pets when we expect a more casual response from them.   Okay, really that does not apply to the cats because they will do what they want whenever they want.   However, with the dogs I would rarely use a nickname when asking for an obedience behaviour but I would use them around the house all the time when just rambling on to my pet or asking them for a living type behaviour (ie. want to go outside Monkey, Bean quit bugging Ry etc.).    We all want the "whiplash" head turn when we call our dog's name so the theory is that the more they hear a word the more that word loses meaning.  That theory doesn't apply when the word has a strong history of reinforcement but I am realistic to know that a name gets thrown out a lot in our daily language without meaning to the dog.  I know that I still use her name in lots of circumstances where perhaps I shouldn't and  I understand that there are lots of other steps to having a great recall but it is a little something to consider. 

It's also a good excuse to give our animals wacky names :o).  For the record Stella's CKC registered name is Varazs Kedvesem Final Dance and Riley is just Riley.

Pic from September that shows a bit of the "bean" action

1 comment:

  1. Love the Missy Bean, Bean - many V's jump with all 4's at the same time, like a Mexican Jumping Bean (or so one imagines a MJB to jump) so that's appropriate! I have lots of terms of endearment for our V's, many rhyming, others not but it's fun.