The dog-naming scene, says Dr. Cappiello, is a “complex” one because dogs aren’t entirely to blame.
Cats, he says, share genes with humans and other mammal species, and they’ve been bred to hunt, and so naturally they’re more likely to use the name of the place where they were born. For example, he says, some female cats that don’t breed often have names that sound suspiciously like “Polly.”
So how do humans deal? Dr. Cappiello says he believes the common denominator is that dog owners tend to try to show that their dogs have earned their dog names as the product of their own choices—not that of other people.
One possible reason for this “fear,” says Dr. Cappiello, is that “we’ve evolved to expect and reward good behavior,” or that good-behavior people are often regarded as special, and good-behavior people are given the right to name certain animals.
Does our DNA affect dog names?
This is a complicated question, Dr. Cappiello says, because the role of our chromosomes in the genetics of our pets can also have a direct impact on how we are seen by our pets.
For example, “the genes encoding cat-naming have been found in the genomes of both humans and animals, so cats have been called cats for a long time.” Dr. Cappiello also says that the genes influencing human naming are very similar and that our genes do have an impact on how we might decide whether names are appropriate for our pets!
“It’s a very tangled story, a complex one,” says Dr. Cappiello, a professor of psychology, who is also a scientist and blogger for the website “TheDogNamingSite.”
So it’s important to consider all of the variables as Dr. Cappiello explains that “we can’t be sure that your pet’s name is not going to conflict with the name of another dog,” if you happen to own a black lab, for example. “You should not assume that your pet has been named because they were born in a particular place or a particular place did not exist prior to that breed’s emergence.”
Another factor to consider is that if you own a male black lab, it’s possible that you’ll be asked to name your cat in his honor. “If it were one-of-a-kind
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