After much contemplation and soul searching, you’ve decided it’s time to adopt. After researching the various humane societies in your area online, you’ve determined you want to adopt your pup from a high-kill shelter. You won’t just be saving their life; they’ll forever change yours.When adopting a dog, it’s tempting to change their name. However, all dogs have memories just like humans do. Find out if you should give your new pet the same name they had before adoption or choose something new! Click To Tweet
RENAMING A DOG AFTER ADOPTION
Good v. Bad Dog Names
You probably noticed in your search for your doggie companion that a lot of the names shelters seem to come up with are a little, well…a little silly. Names like ‘Cookie’ and ‘Shamrock’ seem like a cop-out.
It certainly can’t be easy getting unnamed new dogs and cats into the shelter every day, but does that mean volunteers should name a Doberman mix Goofy? It just doesn’t work.
Some shelter dogs have great names, like the Shih Tzu Poodle mix Wookie; the name just fits him. Unfortunately, not all dogs can land those fun and fitting namesakes. When you adopt your hairy baby, you might not like the name that comes along with them.
What Does a Name Mean to Your Dog?
Names are very personal, and no one gets to choose their own; they’re given to us, weird spellings and all. Understanding this, we apply how we feel about names to how our pooch must think about his name, too; just because he has a black spot over one eye, does that really mean he should forever be Bullseye?
The question to ponder here is how fair is it really to change your adopted pup’s name? Imagine if your parents had called you Alice for the first three years of your life, decided they didn’t like it, then started calling you Emma? That would make for some strange happenings.
You’ve been conditioned to answer to your name, so has your dog. The six-year-old mutt you’re adopting might have been surrendered to the shelter, and the name he has might be the name he has had since he was a puppy.
Some people will argue that changing the dog’s name is unfair to the dog, but according to dog trainer Amber Burkhalter, changing your adopted pup’s name could be a good thing.
How Do You Teach a Dog a New Name
Dogs don’t understand words; they read your commands through your tone of voice and body language. If they have associated a negative connotation with their given name and flinch when it’s called, changing your new family member’s name will provide him with the fresh start he deserves.
To make the name change a smooth transition for the four-legged kiddo, Petfinder suggests you say the new name while feeding the pup treats. This will positively reinforce the name while teaching your dog to come to you when his name is called.
Another way to change his name is by using his current and new name together. For example, if the pup’s name is Cookie and you want to name him Rip, call him ‘CookieRip’ for a couple of weeks. After a couple of weeks, drop the ‘Cookie’ and just call him Rip.
Don’t worry. This won’t confuse your new dog. Because the former Cookie has already heard and responded to Rip, he will understand that Rip is associated with himself.
Ultimately, renaming your adopted dog is up to you. If you do rename him, make it extra special with a sweet new pet ID tag ceremony; it’ll be the christening of your new family!