Congratulations! After searching long and hard at the shelters, through the newspaper and even enlisting friends and family in your search, you've found the right dog! So what's next? Giving him/her a proper name of course!

So you think to yourself, just any old name won't do. It's got to be unique, something different! Well, allow me to give you a few dog naming categories that will hopefully help you to come up with some really novel names for your four legged friend.

First though, when coming up with a name keep in mind a few things to watch out for.

1. Stay away from names that might be potentiallyembarrassing to both you AND your dog. The name "Stinky" might be cute at first, but once the joke gets old, think of how you'll feel a year from now when you have to call "Stinky" home at night. Embarrassing names could also apply to negative words that might rhyme with your dogs name.

2. There's been a tendency in recent years to give dogs human names. Though there's nothing wrong with this, be kind to your pooch and name him after someone you like. Also, if want to name him after someone you know, better check with that person first to see if it's alright. I'm not sure how much your human friend Max will like hearing, "Get off the couch Max!" or worse "We took Max to get fixed today.”

3. If possible, keep the name to one or two syllables. Dogs not only learn it quicker, but it makes them easier to train as well.

On with the names!

In this article I've listed just 3 of the many dog name categories that might help you to think a bit outside the box when coming up with great puppy names. They are,

Unique Dog Names: Have you ever considered naming your dog after something that you eat or drink? I'm serious. Allow me to give you just a few examples that will hopefully get your creative juices flowing….

Bon Bon: I can see this as a good name for a small black dog.
Caviar: For a dog with expensive tastes. Maybe a good Poodle name?
Jalapeno: A good name for a dog with a sometimes fiery disposition.
Crouton: Another good name for a small breed. Maybe a Chihuahua?
Latte: Possibly a good name for a black dog.
Kahlua: I can see this name on a brown dog.

As strange as it sounds, many more food and drink related dog names can be as close as your refrigerator, pantry or liquor cabinet!

Cool Dog Names: The dictionary defines the word "cool" as something that's fashionable, or hip. To me, when it comes to dog names, a name that's "cool" is a name that one doesn't normally hear. One that is creative enough to be memorable. And that perhaps matches that particular dogs appearance or disposition.

Here's just a few names from my site that I put into the "cool" dog name category for starters...

Aspen, Azure, Capri, Charisma, Denali, Java, Mahala, Maui, Mignon, Nirvana, Pirouette, Rio, Sahara, Sierra, Taboo, Tiara

Funny Dog Names: By funny, I'm referring to cute dog names that will match it's physical appearance. Here's just a few ideas…

Espresso: For an energetic black dog.
Kisses: For a small affectionate pup.
Brutus: For a BIG dog.
Putt-Putt: For a dog with short legs.

Here's some additional ideas…

Big Dog Names: Barbarian, Big Foot, Butkus, Chewbacca, Genghis, Godzilla, Hummer, Terminator, T-Rex, Tsunami

Small Dog Names: Doodle, Gumball, Kewpie, Laptop, Nibbles, Widget

For additional funny ideas, think opposites! Peanut for a BIG dog, Moose for a small dog.

If you spent as much time as you did when finding the perfect dog, why not spend a little extra time in finding the perfect name? Your dog will thank you for it!