How did your family decide on a name for your dog?
Did you all write down your favorites, put them in a hat, and draw one? Or did mom and dad take the lead on picking the name? It was most likely a grueling process where everyone was passionate about the name they chose! In the end, only one can win. But all was made well with ice cream sundaes on the back porch with the puppy begging for a bite!
But what if you’ve adopted a dog that already has a name? Is it ok to change your dog’s name?
We say yes! Dog’s don’t have the same connection to their name like us humans do. They won’t sulk, revolt or act disappointed to get a new name. It’s a matter of simply training them to respond to a different name, and they’ll be just fine.
There are millions of dogs adopted every year, and most of them get new names. A new name can particularly HELP a dog that has been abused. Often, a new name can help the dog recover and put the abuse behind them and help them acclimate to their new life.
If you are considering changing your dog’s name, these tips will help:
Train with positive reinforcements! Use treats, belly rubs and fetch to help your dog learn her new name. Make it a game where everyone is having fun!
Try transitioning gradually. If you’re unsure, try transitioning your dog to her new name gradually. If their old name is Abby, and you want to change it to Millie, consider calling her “MillieAbby” to get her used to it and gradually just call her Millie.
Stay happy and excited. Dogs respond to actions more than words. When changing your dog’s name, be sure to say the name and smile big! Try and set aside dedicated training time with little distractions so both you and the dog can focus.
Don’t change it over and over. Adopting a dog and changing their name is okay, but consistency is key. Pick a name and stick with it long term. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have nicknames for your dog. We have all said things like, “Here girl!” or “Come here buddy” to get our dog’s attention.
Adopting a dog from a shelter is extremely rewarding! Bringing a new life (and personality) into your home teaches responsibility and encourages all members of the family to play more and worry less. Consider adopting a dog! And don’t fret about giving the pup a new name to go along with it’s new family!