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Lesson One-A: Changing a dog's name

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  • Lesson One-A: Changing a dog's name

    Charlene got me thinking about the ways you can change a rescue's name after they have been called something else for their entire lives.

    I've heard of people just dropping the old name and teaching the new name right off the bat, and I've also heard of people using the old name and new name in quick succession (i.e. Sweet Pea-Serena) and then eventually dropping off the old name. Does the new name or old name come first in that succession??
    Last edited by dolmod; 03-31-2010, 02:15 PM.
    Katie & Scarlett

  • #2
    We changed Charlotte's name when we got her. Her name used to be Princess and since we all know she isn't one, we knew it had to be changed. Just using treats and praise (she loves the game of fetch with a stuffie) we started using her new name instead and NEVER used the old name again, not even in desperation.
    She hasn't heard it ever again and responds perfectly to Charlotte, Char Char, Chardy, etc. She knows her name AND her nicknames...


    • #3
      Our first dog was a female named Brutus! We tried to find a name that rhymed and re-named her Canis. She responded to it. However, we soon nicknamed her Canny and she quickly learned to respond to that too. We decided it didn't matter and when we named our next rescue a totally different name from the one he came with, he learned it with no problem.


      • #4
        I just drop the old name and repeatedly sing-song the new name and when they look at me I mark / treat. By the end of the first few days they're responding to the new name.


        • #5
          When I changed Kali's name.(it was Jojo) I just treated it like I would a new puppy. I did use the name jojo for the first day or so (hadnt picked a new one yet) and she had no response to it whatsoever.

          really, a dog doesnt know its name as a name, but as a I figure regardless of past, teach it like other new cues.


          • #6
            I would think the old name would come first, since they have been called that and have been accustom to it for so long. But on special circumstances, such as be abused or have a negative response to their name. I would change it right away. They associate that name as a bad thing when called.
            Macon Kennel Club
            & Great Dane Club of the Mid-South


            • #7
              I have heard if you want to do it that way, you use the old name first, then after a time fade it out.

              Our class instructor teaches name recognition by using a high value treat. Say the name/treat, name/treat. Repeat often.

              Duke and Ivy


              • #8
                Carlie was Clarice. We gave her the name Clarice as her middle name, although we do not really use it. The kids could not remember Clarice, and Carlie responded to Carlie right away.
                Chris, Wife to Dave, and Mom three human teenagers.
                Also mom to Tori (11 yo Lab), , Ayla (2 yo brindle dane), Milo (2 yo boxer), Killian (4 week old iw pup who is still with his breeder and mommy) 3 kittens, 2 horses, multiple reptiles, 7 fainting goats, 25 chickens, and 2 pot bellied pigs, all of whom make life great!
                RIP CARLIE 2/09-2/11 & REILLY 10/4/08-11/20/12, best friends together forever now.



                • #9
                  I've never had an issue and I've had rescues most of my life.

                  It's never seemed to be hard for a dog to end up figuring out what their name is. My Lily was 3 years old when I found her half-beaten and infested with heartworms. She knows her name is Lily regardless of what she might have been called for the 3 horrible years of her life before us.

                  One of the big keys is to make sure you don't associate their name with a negative. It's impulse to yell their name when they are being naughty, but try anything other than their name - even Banana works (unless that's their name!). Their name always needs to be a positive, it'll make an immense difference in training.


                  • #10
                    Just don't choose the name Dollar.
                    Lori, Desi & Grimm
                    RIP my beloved Murray 5/17/07-09/13/12
                    Join Boise Danes ...!/
                    Proud to be a Boise State Bronco!


                    • #11
                      I understand that if you're using the two name approach then it is the old name first.

                      Deaglan originally carried the name Ammo. I used that name until a solid decision to his new name was made. Once made I never used Ammo (*gag*) again. He adjusted within the first day with the use of treats and positive reinforcement. No problem. Oh and he is 3 1/2 years old.

                      Kiizhik-LabXRotti (1999-2012) R.I.P. baby girl.
                      Gimaakwe-LabX (2004-
                      Deaglan-Dane (May 2008-Feb 26, 2016) RIP My Sweet Boy.
                      Jadzia-Dane (2010-
                      Gallagher-Irish Wolfhound (Dec 4, 2016-


                      • #12
                        Gracie, Was Carlie when I got her. I fully believe she hated that name and associated it with bad things.

                        From day 1 (after my husband and I decided to name her Gracie Lou, SO he could call her MOO) We called her Gracie Lou.

                        She responds and has from the start to Lou, Gracie, Gracie Lou, Miss Moo, Lou Bug, Luder-dooder (her auntie calls her that) and Stinky poo-poo. And she also knows, "No room for a Moo cow" when she tries to but her way up between my husband and I on the couch or bed.

                        I have always been told to use the old name first in the changing of names, but Gracie was special and needed a new name for a new start in life.

                        Boo, He came with that name, I dont think I could change it if I wanted to. It would take some real work. I think he probably got dumped cause someone was moving, and had a perfect life with a good name that HIS.
                        sigpicMom to
                        Gracie Lou (GD)
                        Boobah (Mixed)


                        • #13
                          My husband made me ok with changing Charlie's name. It was Walter. I thought it was mean to change it.

                          He said "Look, if I went to China and my name is Scott...but no one was calling me Scott ever...but yet every time they said the words "Chung Lee", they would be looking at me etc....VERY QUICKLY would I figure out that "Chung Lee" must be what they are calling me."

                          I laughed and agreed. So Chung Lee and I changed his name to charlie. lol


                          • #14
                            Kimba has always been Kimba since he didn't have a name before I put my deposit on him. If I ever rescue an adult Dane, I will definitely change the name if its too common or what I would find distasteful or boring. I don't see any issue with that. Every used boat I have ever bought (and I've owned boats since age 18), I've changed the name of. LOL, two boats ago, it came to me as "Lady P" - Who the heck is Lady P? I changed it to something I would like. I see no difference with a Dane when its now yours. Just my thoughts.


                            • #15
                              When I adoot a dog, I usually change their name. I just start fresh with the new name and the new life and they get used to the idea really fast. I only had one dog that resisted a name change, a 10 year old Borzoi named Sydney. I wanted him to answer to Spirit, but Syney was all he'd respond to and I finally gave up. My dane girl Tempest came to me at 14mos and I was her 6th home. She's had 4 names that I know of but she had no trouble with the new name and now she's Tempest for life. My designer sighthound was found starving in the desert, no one knows what he was named the first three years of his life. He was Duke at the shelter, but now he's Zephyr for life. He had some trouble learning his name, but that's a sight hound for you.