As previously stated, as long as you approach the renaming of your dog thoughtfully and deliberately, there aren’t many drawbacks. It should be a simple process that includes notifying friends and relatives as well as replacing tags or personalized goods like collars and dog beds with your dog’s name.
It’s never too late to rename your dog, but the period of time it takes for the new term to “depending on the dog, from a few training sessions to a few weeks; the process will move more quickly if you refrain from using the name carelessly or associating it with anything negative. Your dog will learn her new name, but unlike humans, dogs don’t interpret identification the same way. And while name changes frequently may be perplexing, the majority of owners regularly refer to their dogs by a variety of nicknames, and the dog somehow “understands it and answers each one. Use your dog’s new name affectionately and consistently, and she will quickly come to know it as her own.
Have you ever given your dog a new name? Please share your story in the comments section. Looking for the ideal canine name? Our blog post on the 10 Most Popular Dog Names contains some fantastic dog names.
Can I alter the name of my adopted dog?
The dog you adopt will already have a name, unless you’re adopting a very young puppy. But what if you adore the dog you acquired but simply dislike the name they were given? Can the name of a dog be changed?
For each dog that walks through the door, the majority of city shelters have a list of dog names that they cycle. I am aware of this little-known truth because I formerly researched dog names for Dog Fancy and because I rescue, transport, and foster homeless dogs.
Surprisingly, names are common throughout the nation: Max, Oreo, Jack, Princess, Precious, Coco, Star, Milo, Blackie, Shorty, Buddy, Puppy, Lucky, Sasha, Rocky, Champ, Diamond, Queenie, King, Blue, and Lady, to name a few. In a time when people name their dogs things like Ziggy Starpug, Heisenberg, and Miss Bedelia Bragadocious, these are fairly neutral and basic names.
Many of the dogs in Miami, where I work for a Schnauzer rescue, have Latino names, including Puka (really, I saved a Puka and later saw additional Pukas there), Negra, Tito, Lulu, Linda, and Chico.
You may be quite certain that a dog you have rescued does not recognize or respond to the name the shelter gave it if the animal is a stray. A dog’s name can be changed while being adopted so that the new name appears on their adoption paperwork. Your dog probably had a name before they became homeless, but since that name is gone, you’ll have to give them a new one. This is a good idea because their previous name can be associated with unpleasant memories for them.
If the dog is a “owner surrender,” its owner has likely given the shelter their name and personally brought the dog to the shelter. My Schnauzer, Zoey, was a terrible abuse case and an owner surrender. I retained the name because I liked it, but in hindsight I should have altered it so that she wouldn’t tremble when I uttered it. People who shouldn’t own dogs frequently summon them to them for a beating. The dog now fears even the sound of their own name.
If the dog you adopt has been in foster care with a rescue group for some time, they might be familiar with the name the rescue gave them. You can alter the name of your dog if you don’t like it. You should feel comfortable about naming this dog, which you intend to keep for a very long time.
A young white Schnauzer that another rescuer had seen wandering aimlessly in the rain in a Miami parking lot was recently saved by me. Being a lover of Schnauzers, I took her right away and gave her the name Delilah. We looked for her owner, but no one came forward to claim her. With three dogs of my own, I made the decision to foster her until I was able to place her, which I was able to accomplish after about two weeks. The new owner wanted a name that began with a “D so that the dog wouldn’t become too confused, so they gave her the name Dior.
Due to noisy neighbors who complained about the dog, the home didn’t work out, so I took the dog back and resumed calling her Delilah. Now known as Dior Delilah, or DD, she was desired by my parents. She replies to each of the three names. She occasionally reacts to the nickname “Devil Dog,” which is fortunate for her because it describes how adorable she is. Dogs are incredibly adaptive, and the tone of your voice has a big impact on whether or not they come when you call.
Despite what you may have read, you can give your dog whatever name you like, even if it’s a long or complicated one, as you’ll probably shorten it and give them a nickname nonetheless. Years ago, I might have suggested picking a name with one or two syllables and a sharp sound, like Jake, Roxy, or Pepper. However, I’m now convinced that it doesn’t matter because most people will come up with a short “pet name for their dog. Jaz and Jazzy are common nicknames for my rescued Poodle Jasmine (who received that name from her previous owners).
I would advise choosing a name (or nickname) for your new puppy that is respectable, adorable, or generally wholesome. Your dog will only suffer if you call your Pit Bull “Killer” or your Pointer “Stupid (I actually met a Pointer named Stupid). Although a Chihuahua named Killer will make people smile, ironic names can be cute.
Simply begin calling your dog by that name when you’re beginning over, and reward them for coming to you by patting your legs and giving them food. They should be able to comprehend that they are now known as “Charlie” in no more than a few days.
You can give your dog a new name if they already know one that starts with the initial letter or sound if they already have a name that they are familiar with. They will adapt to the new name more easily if you give them a name that sounds similar. Treats are also beneficial.
Shakespeare must be quoted in some way for me to end this post: What’s a name worth? By any other name, what we call a rose would still smell as good. Whatever name you give your dog, he will remain his charming self. Romeo comes to mind.
Is a dog’s name change cruel?
Many people second-guess whether to change a rescue dog’s name after they adopt her. A new name is a major thing from a human perspective! However, unlike humans, dogs are not constrained by the idea of identity. Your dog doesn’t think to herself, “I am Rover,” and she doesn’t feel an emotional connection to her name; instead, she interprets it as a cue to pay attention. Thus, pretty much any name will do!
Why renaming isn’t a big deal
Sometimes when new people arrive at the shelter, the staff is already familiar with their names. But the majority of the time they don’t. The staff will give the dog a name that appears appropriate if the latter is the case. However, because most rescues are short on both time and finances, dogs frequently don’t pick up their “shelter names,” especially if they don’t stay there for very long. This indicates that changing her name (again) won’t be a big deal when you bring your rescue pooch home.
In rare circumstances, such as if your dog has previously been abused, changing its name can even be advantageous. According to Shelby Semel, Head Trainer at Animal Haven Shelter, “it would make sense to modify it if a dog hears her name and cowers or flees. This indicates that the word itself has a negative meaning, and it is more difficult to change an existing association than to forge a new, positive one.
A note about nicknames
We all do it—we give our dogs way too many nicknames to count. Roves turns into Roves, who turns into Ro-Ro, who turns into Rosie, who turns into Flower, and so on. A dog will eventually pick up on responding to any titles that are given to her. So don’t worry if you’re considering altering her name! It’s far simpler than you may imagine.
Making the switch
However, there are a few strategies to ease the shift. Do not forget that your new rescue dog has already experienced a lot of upheaval in her life; the last thing you want to do is add to her confusion. Think over these suggestions before renaming her:
- Choose a new name and make sure it’s “the one” (see below). If after a few months you decide you no longer like the name, you don’t want to have to go through the name change procedure once more.
- Use her new name as much as you can.
- For the first several weeks, try to refrain from using phrases of endearment like “sweetie” or “good dog.” The key is repetition!
- Reward your dog whenever she reacts to her new name, whether it’s with goodies, play, praise, etc. Pay attention to that cue word and make sure she knows she did the proper thing.
Your dog will gladly react when you say her name with enough time and repetition!” A whole new name for a new life is acceptable, according to Shelby. “Pick a name that suits your new rescue and makes you happy, and have fun with it. You two both merit it!
Choosing the right name
Contrary to popular belief, your dog’s new name doesn’t have to be the same as her previous one. Any name can be taught to a dog with enough positive reinforcement. But before choosing a new pseudonym, there are a few things to consider. For instance, you should choose a sentence that is simple to speak. Even though Fluffy McFurrington III is adorable, it won’t be easy to say if you need to quickly summon your dog back to you. Pick something a little more succinct. Trainers advise using names that are one or two syllables long.
Shakespeare, in paraphrase, “Any other name for the dog would still be as endearing. In other words, don’t place too much pressure on yourself because your dog’s personality won’t be determined by her new name. That said, the term you decide on will unavoidably alter how other people perceive her. For instance, it might not be a good idea to use a name like Killer. You don’t want to scare everyone at the dog park into thinking your dog is a jerk; chances are, he’s a love. She’ll sense their anxiety and might even exhibit negative behaviors as a result.
Don’t forget to consider it phonetically. Don’t name your dog Wren if your son is named Ben because canines have trouble telling apart similar sounds. She will find it challenging to learn her new name, and repeated use of the same sound in your home will only cause confusion in the future. It’s also recommended to avoid names like Mo or Bo, as they sound too much like “no. Every time you call your dog, she might believe she is being reprimanded!
When you adopt a dog, there are numerous considerations to make. Change her name as soon as possible, then put your important time and effort into training, working out, and getting to know your new family member.
After a year, can you alter a dog’s name?
Amber Burckhalter, a certified dog trainer, adds that a name change can benefit animals, particularly if they have experienced trauma. Their ability to adapt to a new and different existence is aided by regular usage of a new name.
“If a dog was rescued, abused, and given that name, it would be a good idea to replace it, according to Burckhalter, owner of the K-9 Coach canine boarding and training facility in Smyrna, Georgia. “You don’t want people to associate you with anything bad. It should have new owners, a new name, and a new existence.
Here are some pointers to assist you and your pet adjust if you are thinking about changing your pet’s name, no matter the circumstance.
Remain upbeat; dogs react to your behavior, not to what you say. Payne advises speaking the new name enthusiastically and joyfully while making a transition, ideally when there aren’t many outside distractions. “Say “Good boy!” when he looks at you, Payne instructs. “You simply want him to identify your gaze with that term.
How can a dog be taught a new name?
A better technique could be to gradually introduce your dog to their new name if they are responding to their original name quickly and effortlessly. Try the “Name-change Name-game instead if that’s the case:
- Say your dog’s birth name in a joyful voice. Mark their gaze upon yours with a “Yes!” or a clicker, then give them a treat. Five times, please.
- Introduce their new name to the group. Using a slight pause in between the two words, say their old name after the new name. When your dog looks at you, mark that moment with a treat. Repeat a minimum of five times.
- Put their old name away now. When your dog looks at you, say their new name, mark it, and give them a treat. Repeat after me three times.
How much time does a dog need to learn a new name?
To quickly and easily teach your puppy their new name, use the advice provided below.
Your puppy will learn to respond to its name as one of the very first, if not THE very first, things you teach them.
Your puppy’s name can help you and your puppy start a conversation, get their attention when you need it, and make it easier for you to teach them obedience commands and get them to come to you when you call.
Puppies immediately pick up on their names (the majority do so within 1-3 days!) However, in general, you should regularly practice using their name. Using your puppy’s name to get their attention and rewarding them when they look at you is an excellent method to start teaching them their name.
You may reinforce a behavior, form a good habit, and help your puppy get adjusted to their new name by developing a positive association with them answering whenever you call their name.
Though nicknames are adorable, it’s best to stick to calling your dog by its own name during the first few days to prevent any misunderstandings.
Food rewards and the use of a food lure are fantastic ways to hasten name learning! They are not only great puppy motivators, but they also encourage and reward the desired actions.
When you call your puppy’s name for the first few times, they could initially just stare at you with interest. However, if you call their name and immediately treat them when they glance at you, you can demonstrate that this sound has a satisfying and tasty result.
Take your puppy to an area of your home where there are few to no distractions so they can practice. To ensure that your dog doesn’t get lost throughout this process, a harness and leash might be very useful. When your puppy is in front of you, call their name loudly to get their attention. Then, hold out a treat and direct that same piece of food up to your eyes (which will draw their eyes up to yours to establish eye contact). then add “It’s good when they glance at you and you give them a goodie in return. For a step-by-step guide on how to achieve this, view our video posted later in this article!
We advise the parents of our students to conduct training sessions similar to these while their children are eating, using a portion of that meal as fuel. Puppies enjoy working, especially for food. And you can hasten the process of teaching children their name while combining mental and physical exercise.
As they improve, you can begin including obedience commands in these training sessions to make sure they consistently answer when you call their name aloud. It may sound like this: “Puppy, please sit. then reward them with food for their attentiveness!
Advice: If your dog isn’t very food-motivated, consider substituting a higher-value reward or their preferred toy.
Every day, spend three to five minutes repeating this name practice. By keeping some of their food on you and using their name throughout the day whenever you want to get your puppy’s attention and rewarding them when they answer, you can break up practice sessions.
Shorter training sessions are preferable at first since pups’ attention spans are short and they are prone to fatigue and disengagement.
Sometimes new parents make the error of trying to teach their dog too much too soon. The same applies to finding out their name! If you see that your dog’s concentration is waning during the training, change things up and end with some playfulness. Always have fun when finishing a training session to keep your puppy engaged and anticipating the next one.
You can start training in different areas of your home and gradually introducing more distractions once your puppy starts to glance at you when you call their name.
Don’t keep saying your puppy’s name out loud. They won’t respond to it, it will lose its worth, and they’ll start to ignore you. (The same is true when giving spoken directives for obedience!)
This takes us to our final piece of advice: creating challenges. This calls for additional distractions and new venues in this instance.
Puppies’ innate curiosity is continually heightened by new situations because there are so many novel things for them to learn. It will be difficult to get your puppy’s full attention because of their natural curiosity and desire to explore.
Consistent practice sessions around your house (both inside and outside) can assist develop your puppy’s muscle memory in reacting to you when you call their name, which will help you and your dog have the best chance of success. To reduce distractions, start off in a quieter setting. As they become accustomed to it, gradually introduce more distractions and other environments.
Remember that it’s fairly typical for your puppy to not listen straight away when you expose them to a new environment. To get their attention back on you at this point, you might need to rely more on leash supervision and high-value food rewards. After they recover, you can ease up once again.
One of the queries we receive from puppy parents the most frequently is: “How can I train my puppy to respond to me whenever I call?
In the field of trainers, we refer to this “dependable memory And it all begins with your puppy thoroughly mastering their name!
The routines we teach puppy parents in our online puppy training school assist enhance your puppy’s listening abilities so you can be sure they will come to you even if you are in another room or when they are very distracted.