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Is it OK to Rename a Dog?

If you have adopted or rescued a dog, you might be wondering if it’s okay to give them a new name as they adjust to your home. 

In some cases, you might not even know their name and you will need to pick a new one for them. 

There are even some situations where renaming a dog might be necessary and even good for them. 

Is it OK to Rename a Dog?

Renaming a dog can be done at any age. You can also give them a classic name or a unique name. The good thing is that dogs don’t really care what you call them. However, renaming a dog takes some time and there are proper ways to do it to ensure an easy transition. 

You might be wondering how you can rename a dog easily and successfully. 

We will discuss the best practices and give you some tips on how to do it for an easy transition. 

Keep in mind you might need some patience and give the dog extra time to adjust to their new name. 

How Can I Rename My Dog?

If you have decided to rename your dog, there are steps and processes you need to follow for the best success for you and the dog. 

You can follow these steps whether you know their old name or not. 

Take Your Time and Show Patience

You don’t have to name your dog right away. 

If your puppy already has a name when you got it or you are getting a rescue dog with a name, you might need to take a few days to make sure their new name fits them.

You can also spend some time observing their personality and quirks to help you pick out a name. 

Knowing their personality and the way they interact with you and others might help you choose a name that’s better suited for them.

You will need to pick out a name relatively son, but there is no rush in picking one if you aren’t sure what to call him or her. 

Just make sure you stay away from calling them their old name though as this can be confusing for them. 

Just called them “Hey boy” or “Hey girl” rather than a specific name. 

The first few days will also be spent with the dog getting to know you and your body language. 

Seeing how they interact with you is important when it comes to picking out a name. 

Make sure you have treats on hand and use an upbeat and positive voice when choosing her new name and using it for training. 

Use a Reward System

Your dog will only learn their new name if they are given rewards and praise when they respond to it. 

This will ensure they learn their name quickly and always know when to come running to you when you have called their name. 

The best way to do this is to give her or him treats as soon as they respond to their name. 

Make sure to call their name whenever you want their attention and then give them a treat when they respond to it. 

This will let them know that they are doing the right thing and that you expect a response when you say their name. 

Even if she doesn’t respond at the beginning, give her treats every time she hears the word so that she associates the world with good and meaningful things. 

You always want your dog to associate their name with good things, so they are willing to run up to you and come see you when you call for them. 

Consider Combining the Old Dog Name with the New One

If you have an older dog and you want to change its name to something else, you might want to consider combining her old name with the new one at the beginning. 

For example, if her name is Sadie and you want to change it to Socks, you can call her Sadie Socks for a few weeks and give her a treat every time she responds to it. 

Once she gets used to the name, you can start to call her just Socks.

This is an effective way to teach an older dog a new name because they still have their old name for a while during the re-training process. 

When Should I Rename My Dog?

In some cases, there are times when renaming a dog is necessary and even beneficial to their mental health. 

In these cases, you will want to make sure you pick a new name to ensure the well-being of the dog. 

Giving them a new name will also ensure that you bond better with them and that they learn to trust you because you will be using their new name. 

Below are the top few reasons for when you might choose to rename a dog rather than trying to stick with their old one:

You Are Adopting a Shelter Dog

Almost all shelter dogs come with a name. 

However, many of the names are picked by shelter staff members to make the dog more marketable or seem cuter. 

These names rarely mean anything to the dog, and they usually aren’t aware that it’s their name since they weren’t given much time or training in the shelter. 

Changing his or her name, in this case, is usually of little to no consequence because she doesn’t know her name anyway.

However, if she was an owner surrender then the case might be a little different. 

Owner surrender dogs know their names and they might be comforted by their name at the beginning since they are confused about their new surroundings. 

You might want to keep her name in this case, so she has a sense of comfort and security while being a new member of your home. 

If you see that she reacts to her name positively, you might want to consider keeping her name for an extended amount of time. 

After a few months or even a year, you can change it. 

Of course, if you like the rescue name, you can keep it. 

There is no right or wrong when it comes to renaming dogs. 

Your Dog Was Removed from An Abusive Home

Dogs that come from abusive homes may respond to their names in fear or other negative ways.

If you see that your dog is responding to their name negatively, you might want to consider changing it so they can have some comfort. 

Giving her a new name will also give her a new chance and a new life in your home.

It will also make her feel safe and welcome

Your Dog Has Started Ignoring Their Name

Naming a dog gives them a sense of safety because it gives them a command to come to you when they might run out of the house or into an area where they shouldn’t be.

Calling the dog’s name also gets their attention so that they will follow the command that follows. 

If your dog is no longer responding to their name, it can be frustrating and dangerous.

You want your dog to follow commands for her safety and well-being so that you know she will listen to you when it’s important. 

What Are Some Issues That Come with Renaming a Dog?

Usually, renaming your dog can be an easy and quick process if you follow proper guidelines and make sure you are giving her rewards and treats as she learns her new name. 

There are always some issues to be on the lookout for though when renaming a dog of any age or in any situation. 

You will also need to inform everyone in the house so there is no confusion. 

Everyone will need to start the renaming process on the same day to make sure the dog has an easy transition. 

You will also need to update any toys or collars that have their name on them. 

The renaming process will go easier if you only use the name in a positive way and if you don’t overuse the name. 

Only use it when you are giving commands and want the dog to come to you or follow another command. 

Keep in mind that if your dog has nicknames, these might need to be changed too. 

Often, dogs will respond to their name and any nicknames that are closely related to the name that you have given them over the years. 

Final Thoughts

Renaming your dog is much easier than you think as long as you use positive reinforcement and treats. 

You might also want to consider informing everyone in the family of the name change and making sure everyone agrees with it and is willing to make the change. 

If you are getting a rescue dog from a shelter or a dog from an abusive home, changing their name can also be best for their well-being and mental health as it will give them a fresh start.