Ace VonHaus

Changing an adopted dog's name?

Is it okay to change an adopted dog's name? And how does one do it?

Asked by Ace VonHaus on Sep 5th 2013 in Bringing Your Pet Home
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We recently adopted a new dog as well and did not like his old name, so decided to rename him. The best way we have found to rename a dog is to sit in a quiet area with the dog and say the new name. When he looks up and makes eye contact, treat reward. Every time you say the new name, let him make the eye contact and treat reward. Training sessions shouldn't be too long though so he doesn't get overwhelmed. This method only took our dog about three days to figure out his new name and comes eagerly whenever we say it, treat or no.

Skylar answered on 9/6/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Um .... the same way you teach a new puppy its name.

Member 1164981 answered on 9/7/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I ALWAYS change my rescued dog's name. I associate the shelter name with possible (although not always) bad memories and since we are starting a new chapter in our lives I give him/her a new name.
Then you just keep calling the dog his new name until he learns it I guess. My dog has four names at least now just because I call him different things (Kodiak, Kode, Baby, Sweetie).

Kodiak answered on 9/9/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


It is A-OK to change an adopted dog's name. Start calling him by the new name and he'll start to respond.

Member 930032 answered on 9/10/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Calvin's name was Snickers ugh.. when I rescued him. I kept saying names till he reacted. He picked Calvin. I foster dogs and usually/always change their names. I expect their new owners will find a name that they're comfortable with. As long as you love them I don't think they care, or if there's food involved. lol

Calvin answered on 9/10/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Especially with an adult dog it's not that difficult at all. We had a head start with Callie. He was Rusty in the shelter and it took us a week to finalize the adoption. But I asked the shelter workers to use his new name and I visited and walked him every day using Callie. By the time he came home he knew he was Callie.

Opheila answered on 9/11/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Loki (Taz)

I highly encourage it! A shelter dog isn't going to "know" for sure "ok... My name is Taz, I will only respond to Taz" I don't think shelters take time to teach the dog his name. Sometimes if the dog has had a previous home and was used to responding to a certain tone, it can seem hard to change the name.

My advice: don't mention the dog's shelter name, just use his new name, say it in a normal-happy tone, as soon as he looks at you, tell him good boy (or give him a click) and immediately give him a bit (tiny treat). Do this a few minutes several times a day, he will respond every time in no time!

By the way, great to see you adopted a dog... I just rescued my first shelter boy, Loki, a few months ago after the tragic loss of Otto. Loki is so so grateful for life!

Loki (Taz) answered on 9/23/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer