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How To Name Your Guide Dog Puppy

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Have you ever wondered how Guide Dogs of America names their puppies? I’ve probably talked about it before here on my website, but I just wanted to go through the process again. I always thought the guide dog organization named all of their puppies, but that is not the case.  I got the chance to name my first puppy and came up with the name “Stetson”.

Where did I come up with the name Stetson? One of my cousin’s friends was actually the guy who rode the horse in the stetson cologne commercials. We used to call him the “Stetson Man”. I remembered and decided that would be a good name for my first puppy in training. I think the new “Stetson Man” is Matthew McConaughy.

This is a picture of “Ace” chewing on a toy in my office at work. If you noticed his vest he’s a GDA puppy in training (I puppy sat him for 10 days this month). As you might have guessed “Ace” is from the “A” litter.

How To Name Your Guide Dog Puppy

There are a few rules you have to follow when naming your puppy for Guide Dogs of America.

Ace Chewing on Toy In My Office

  1. Guide Dogs of America assigns a letter to each litter. For instance, Stetson was from the “S” litter and his siblings were Salem, Stuart, Skylar, and Sukie.
  2. The name can’t be the same as a current Puppy In Training, current Guide Dog, or current Breeder.
  3. It also can’t be a funny type name. For instance, the manual says please no guide dogs by the name of “Popcorn”. Guide Dogs of America are usually pretty lenient. Before getting Stetson I submitted a list to Louise our puppy program manager, and she let me know what names were available/appropriate.

If you are having problems coming up with a name I’ve added a list of puppy names here on the Puppy In Training website. You can also get great ideas for puppy names by consulting your friends and family.

If you have any names you’d like to add to the list on this website please send me an email or leave me a comment in the comments area below.

Why Are We talking About Puppy Names?

So why are we talking about puppy names? As many of you know my original plan was to wait and see how Stetson did with his formal training before making a decision on when I’d raise another puppy.

Well…there’s been a change of plans. Yesterday our group leader gave me a call letting me know that a male yellow Labrador Retriever needed a puppy raiser. He’s from the “D” litter and I already knew that our friends Joe and Janet (they raised Buster and Trooper) were raising “Dexter” from this litter. I also found out just hours earlier that our other good friends Anne and Jim (they raised Hogan and Dustin) were going to raise “Dutch” from the same litter.

As I said earlier, I wanted to wait and see what happened to Stetson before raising another puppy. I was a little hesitant at first and needed to make sure I had a puppy sitter for a couple vacations I’ve already planned this summer. However, the opportunity to raise a “D” puppy with Joe & Janet and Anne & Jim was something I just couldn’t pass up.

Puppy Names

This is where I need your help. I have a few names I’m already considering for my little “D” puppy, but I wanted to consult with you, my blog readers. Here are a few names I like:

  • Denali
  • Derby
  • Dash
  • Dublin
  • Dodger

Nothing is set in stone yet. I really would like your opinion on puppy names that start with the letter “D”. Please add your favorite “D” name to the comment section below.

My plan is to submit my list of “D” names to Louise on Friday so please let me know as soon as possible your favorite “D” puppy name.

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  1. I think that one of puppies in new group starting with C should be “Chumpy” after recently deceased Australian Gold Medallist for Snowboarding in Winter Olympics.

  2. I think Dallas would make a good name for a boy dog and Devine or Daren would be cute for a girl dog.

  3. i love your advice, question i am going to pick up a recue dog , golden lab puppy about 1 year old. problem is he was named popeye, so i want to change his name to something like DJ OR ACE OR SARG, OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. how do i do that. just start calling him one of those names and soon he will catch on. thanks for your help

  4. @taynjosh great name! I’ll have to add it to my list of “D” puppy names. It reminds me of the movie Friday with Chris Tucker and Ice Cube.

  5. My dog’s name is “Brownie!” –She’s actually a tan dog, but I never changed her name because I figured that is what her previous owners called her and I didn’t want to confuse her.

  6. @Bonnie, my eighth grade teacher’s name was Dorcas. I don’t think I could name my dog after her, but I love all the names.

  7. I love those names like dodger, and derby my ideas are,
    boy dog Drake, Dalton, Dallon, Dakota, Delloy,

    Girl dog
    Dallas, Daisy, Dorcas, Dora,

  8. @Dede, I’m sure you won’t stunt her learning by waiting to give her a name. Many dogs and puppies are rescued from the shelter and given new names.

    However, it is important for your dog to know her name so once you decide on her name make sure you train her to respond to it.

  9. i am still having alot of trouble picking out my dogs name and she is just a pup so i really dont know her personality yet….what do i do?

  10. @Nicole, I really liked Dublin too. That name was definitely in the running. Derby is in for a Guide Dog evaluation, but he’ll be back home on May 1st just in time for the Kentucky Derby!

  11. Good choice! I liked Dublin but I really like Derby too. Watch the Kentucky Derby on May 2 this year! Thank you for posting this newsletter; I have really enjoyed it.

  12. I enjoy your newsltter on puppy raising. Lots of clever names…I like Deacon(because of service), Diego, and Dawn.

  13. @David, Thanks for all the name suggestions! I added them to my list of “D” puppy names.

    The name we went with was Derby. Everyone liked that name because my first puppy in training’s name was Stetson and they wanted to continue the hat theme. If Derby wasn’t available Dublin was the second name on my list.

    I hope everything is going well with you and your puppy in training Daly (my friend in college named his dog Daly too).

  14. Hi, my wife & I have a puppy in training at the moment here in Dublin, Ireland. He’s 8 months old and his name is Daly. A few other names to mention would be Dáire(DAHR-uh)Old Irish word meaning “oak grove,” “fruitful” or “fertile”, Devlin – Irish meaning “brave or fierce.” Dougal(DOO-gal) – Irish meaning “dwells by the dark stream” or “dark stranger, from the dark water. But for more fun names, I like Dodger, Doozer, Dexter & Dipsy. Anyway, that’s my 2 cent worth. Good Luck with it all and keep up the good work! Slán, David.

  15. Denali made the short list I submitted to the Guide Dogs of America puppy department. A couple other names that were mentioned to me over the past couple days were Diesel and Ditto.

    I called GDA the other day and won’t have final word on my puppy’s name until Thursday (tomorrow).

  16. @Dodger, I’m glad you enjoy reading my posts. I was just reading Drea’s blog (Dustin’s sister) and saw this post about Dustin and Duke. From the article it sounds like Duke is still in formal guide dog training so I guess I can check that puppy name off my list.

  17. I’m not sure, but, Duke may be taken. There was a Duke in Dustin’s litter. So depending on whether he is still in the program or not will make the difference. I enjoy reading your posts!

  18. How about DUD? or DUDD? DOOEY? DEX? Hehe , sorry for throwing out random names. Just wanted to pitch in some thoughts.

  19. Dexter for a boy (Dex), Daisy for a female.

    Also Daisuke like Daisuke Matsuzaka the baseball pitcher for the Boston Red Sox.

  20. So as for the dog names…..is your dog going to be a girl or a boy? I kinda like the name Derby for a boy and Dakota for a girl. Truthfully it’s not going to matter what you name him/her, he/she is going to be lovely anyways….I love your dogs!

  21. Colby,

    Jacob’s favorite names are Dexter and Dewy. I would choose Dublin or Dante.

    Good Luck!

    Suanne & Jacob

  22. My two cents may be too late…but I really enjoy Dublin. My Irish side is showing 🙂

  23. We were going over names one day while having lunch at Farmer’s Market in L.A. and after our second glass of wine, we came up with DUDE…
    And after “Sit Dude” and “Dude, Come”, and “BAD DUDE!!”, we were laughing hysterically.
    I don’t think GDA would approve, but, ya never know….

    Seriously, a strong 2 sylable name works best when you are issuing commands. That’s why we’ve had Boomer, Buster, Trooper and now Dexter.
    If your dog wanders away, what will bring him/her back? “Here Decartes!!”??”Come DAEDALUS!!”??? Don’t think so. Not that those aren’t great names. I wanted to name a dog Zampano, after a famous Italian Strongman, but Janet gave me the “Are you CRAZY??” look. These are WORKING dogs that need working names.

  24. Okay, as if you don’t have enough suggestions … I’ll throw in:

  25. Colby….

    Here are some more…

    Deacon – Greek for “servant”
    Daedalus – Latin for “cunning worker”
    Daisuke – Japanese for “great helper”
    D’Artanan – 3 Musketeers
    Darwin – “dear friend”


  26. Dublin is cool or Dartagion from the 3 musketeers.

    Dartagion is all about teamwork and helping. Then over the next few years you can get the other 3.

    How about Drakkar to continue the cologne theme?

  27. Well guy–you had a Stetson so now you could have a Derby.

    In any case, my hat’s off to you ;>)

  28. Since I’m Dodger the career changed dog, I vote for Dodger but my mom thinks Derby would be nice since your first pup was Stetson.

  29. Some of the verbal votes I’ve received are

    1 for Dante
    1 for Diablo – I’m not sure if Guide Dogs of America would accept this name.

    Another name I really like is Digger. However, I feel like I might be responsible if the puppy chronically digs holes in the yard.

  30. @Anonymous, he’s a male yellow Labrador Retriever. From what I’ve heard so far about the litter. There are 6 in the litter: 5 yellow, 1 black. There are 5 male puppies and 1 female.

    Here are the names I already know are taken for this litter:


  31. i like Dublin or Duke. i thought Darth would be cool/funny if it was a black lab, but might not fit as well with a yellow. Del Mar (Delmar – not sure how you would want to spell it) or Dexter also have a nice ring.

  32. I like the names you listed Colby. My favorite is Denali, then Dublin, then Dodger…

    Good luck!


  33. Hi Colby,

    It’s great that you’ve decided to raise another dog. I liked Denali from your name list, I hope that helps.

  34. Colb, my votes are Denali and Dublin. I like those a lot. Let me know what you decide on.

  35. @Rissa, what are your favorite names? I’m only going to submit a few names to the puppy department so a vote for your favorite name would be very helpful as well.

    Do you like Dieter because it reminds you of Mike Myers skit on SNL?

  36. @Anne, do you know what other names are in the litter besides Dutch, Dexter, and Dash?

    James and Tonka like the name “Descartes” after a book they read a while ago called “The River Why”. There was a guy in it that had a dog named Descartes that he could hear talking. A few other suggestions from James and Tonka: Donner; Domino; Doh!; Dog; Dexter.

  37. There is a Dash in this litter already. 🙂 I like all the names you have listed, so I am no help.

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