What's In a Name?
An old Florida Highway Patrol buddy of mine, Danny Herring, got the chance to become one of the first Canine Troopers, in large part because he was an awesome and very successful drug interdiction trooper. In those days the dogs were all donated pets, and he was teamed with a large Rottweiler. Both did extremely well during the canine academy but the FHP had a problem -- the dog's real name was "Lucifer" and they couldn't very well put that on the side of a patrol car.
So they shortened the male dog's real name to "Luci" and Luci and Danny performed very well in the real world. So well that after one particularly huge drug seizure the newspaper ran a front-page story with a large picture of Luci sitting in front of kilos of marijuana with all of his genitalia on display with the caption, "Luci Seizes Marijuana Haul"... which then caused a bit more confusion for everyone, except Luci.
Our dogs don't care about the names we give them, but humans love to put certain labels on their dogs. And sometimes this becomes the story we attach to them, and the energy or mind-set that we exhibit when we are around them, or when humans make excuses for their dogs' (or the owners') behavior. Can you imagine the potential headlines? "Lucifer Captures Drug Runners, Acts as a Warning to Others"... well, duh! Or, better yet, "I don't know why Fluffy just bit you -- he never does that."
All dogs bite, all dogs can be dangerous with the wrong owners, and all dogs are wonderful creatures that are an important step in our histories both persoanlly and as a civilization. But the name is the energy we attach to our dogs, not the other way around. "Koa" is Hawaiian for Warrior, or Brave. He can be both, and neither. Just as you don't read emotions into dog behavior, don't read energy into our dogs' names. That is merely the personality we attached to them and is HUMAN, not dog. Your dog doesn't "know" your name. He or she only knows what kind of a leader you are, and are not.
Until next time, enjoy your dogs for what they really are -- our friends, our companions, and our best buddies. And please show them they have have no limitations on how canine they can be!