Animals 'Naming Themselves'

catseye

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#1
Much like with children, I've always had a theory that animals 'choose' their own names.

I was recently reminded about an event at school...I'd arrived early, and, wandering the carpark was a lurcher-type dog (the school was rural and near fields/woods etc). I caught her and took her in to the school, where the Bursar looked after her until her owner was contacted and she was gratefully collected.

Now, the weird bit. As soon as I found the dog, I had the feeling her name was Poppy. I'd never met her before, or even seen her from a distance (I live a long way from where I then worked). She had a collar with the owner's phone number but (very sensibly) no dog's name. But, in my head, she was called Poppy.

We received a 'thank you' card from the owner, plus a box of Maltesers, to say thanks for finding her and taking her in. Signed from her owner and 'from Polly'.

So did she just look like a Poppy/Polly? Or did she somehow, in extremis, 'tell' me her name was Poppy/Polly? The two names are near enough, especially as heard yelled over a field by an inattentive dog, for me to claim it as practically the same thing...
 

EnolaGaia

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#2
Since lurchers are by definition a cross-breed rather than a pure breed, their appearance can vary. However, no lurcher type dog I've ever seen would recommend itself as a 'Poppy', which sounds more like a name for a small cutesy indoor pet.
 

Jacket_Potato

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#5
Maybe the dog almost telepathically told you? Sure i saw some programme on tv years ago where an animal communicator said animals have their own names (seperately from what we name them) and could telepathically tell her what they were, and they were just jumbles of letters you couldn't pronounce!
I thought my cat was a boy and she turned out to be female (Wild Thing i think i love you!) so i couldn't even pick up its gender let alone it's name, but she's a terrific hunter and we get on great as long as i do everything she wants (feed, let out, let in, leave alone, repeat)
 

catseye

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#13
Some of my pets have come with names (they've been rescued or adopted from elsewhere and I haven't wanted to confuse them by renaming) and I've looked at them and thought 'that's not your name'. But they don't seem to mind being called whatever, as long as they are fed. Just some animals LOOK like their names.
 

catseye

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#15
And I wonder how animals refer to each other? When my young dog thinks or dreams about the other dogs in her pack, (which she does, looking to the door when a dog is coming in, etc) does she think of them by the 'human' name? Or by some characteristic that she sees but we don't? 'The one with the big bark' and 'the one that growls when she eats'? She certainly knows their 'human' names, because if I say (for example) 'where's Tiggy?' she looks up and around and will give every sign of having seen said dog.
 

catseye

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#17
Our dog knows her own name but reacts to also "dog" and "bad dog". As we've never associated the phrase "bad dog" with being bad, she just thinks it's one of her names.
I had an extremely intelligent collie-cross (RIP Dylan), who could pick the word 'dog' out of a sentence and knew we were talking about him, so he would then listen in and action anything we said. So if I said 'I think the dog (ears would prick) might need some more food' he would walk to the kitchen and stand by the cupboard where his food was kept. I could say 'I need to buy more food' and he wouldn't react, because it didn't have the word 'dog' in it.
 

plastic wiganer

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#18
I had an extremely intelligent collie-cross (RIP Dylan), who could pick the word 'dog' out of a sentence and knew we were talking about him, so he would then listen in and action anything we said. So if I said 'I think the dog (ears would prick) might need some more food' he would walk to the kitchen and stand by the cupboard where his food was kept. I could say 'I need to buy more food' and he wouldn't react, because it didn't have the word 'dog' in it.
Our passed on border collie "max" was exactly the same. who knew who "the dog" was and would react accordingly. he would also react to "shit head" as my wife occasionally called him...
 

Ghost In The Machine

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#19
When a friend gets a new cat they write names on bits of paper and which ever the cat picks up first
is it;s name.
I let son 1 choose the middle name of Son 3.

He named him after one of Thomas the Tank Engine's friends, as he was obsessed with them at the time (James - must have been his favourite). Looking back, am so glad Son 1 was a few years pre Tellytubbies. Or Son 3's middle name might be Tinky Winky.
 

catseye

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#20
I let son 1 choose the middle name of Son 3.

He named him after one of Thomas the Tank Engine's friends, as he was obsessed with them at the time (James - must have been his favourite). Looking back, am so glad Son 1 was a few years pre Tellytubbies. Or Son 3's middle name might be Tinky Winky.
My mum named me after her favourite dog when she was growing up.

Thank God she preferred the Great Dane to the Alsation, or I'd be labouring under Tinkerbelle to this day...
 

escargot

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#25
I had an extremely intelligent collie-cross (RIP Dylan), who could pick the word 'dog' out of a sentence and knew we were talking about him, so he would then listen in and action anything we said. So if I said 'I think the dog (ears would prick) might need some more food' he would walk to the kitchen and stand by the cupboard where his food was kept. I could say 'I need to buy more food' and he wouldn't react, because it didn't have the word 'dog' in it.
*nods* Yup, we had a boxer/Staffie cross who knew every word, even from the other end of the house. We also kept a JRT cross, Kizzy, who'd arrived a tear later and was even better with words than Rocky.

Once Techy and I were upstairs looking on his computer and chatting, and Rocky was on his cushion on the little landing halfway up the stairs.
I said 'We'll have tea then walk the dogs for an hour, eh?' and Rocky was suddenly there with his 'walkie face' on. I'm sure he monitored every word we said from anywhere in the house.
 

escargot

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#26
We acquired Kizzy as a tiny pup when Rocky was about a year old, and introduced her by saying 'Who's this? It's Kizzy!'
(She was rugby ball-shaped and he rolled her over and over with his nose. She was soon the boss.) He knew her name.

He also knew family members' names. I'd say 'Where's (whoever)?' and he'd go looking for them.
 

catseye

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#28
We acquired Kizzy as a tiny pup when Rocky was about a year old, and introduced her by saying 'Who's this? It's Kizzy!'
(She was rugby ball-shaped and he rolled her over and over with his nose. She was soon the boss.) He knew her name.

He also knew family members' names. I'd say 'Where's (whoever)?' and he'd go looking for them.
The Patterdale also knows people's names. I might say 'XXXX is coming later' and she'll go and sit on the table and look out of the window. If I say 'not now' she gets down and sort of roams around, waiting. She's a clever little bugger, when she wants to be.
 

escargot

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#29
My sister had a lab that could recognise any words connected with food - and you never said "Dinner" anywhere near him or there would be a one-dog stampede. Even spelling food-related words would get his attention. The rest of the time he seemed to be stone deaf.
Mine were so up on words that we couldn't even mouth them to each other. Then they learned that when we covered our mouths and mumbled it must be something of canine interest so the ears'd go up!
 
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