Esther

When you rescue a dog from a shelter, do you change its name?


Asked by Esther on Mar 29th 2010 in Adoption & Rescue
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Jet

You can, but you don't have to.


Jet answered on 3/30/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 3 Report this answer


Snickers

Yep.
Most don't have a name when they come in to the shelters as stray or abandoned, so they stick one on the dog even if it doesn't fit.

Snickers was "Bones", Pepper was "Merryweather" (yeah, like she's merry), and Pamela was "Pamela #2" (#2? really. like 99 from Get Smart?) Cricket had some girly name but I don't remember what it was.

My first rescue was "Lady", but I hated it. She used to go from window to window in my apartment softly woofing at things outside, so I began calling her by the sound - Woofie - it stuck!


Snickers answered on 3/30/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 3 Report this answer


C.J. (C-ATCH,TDI,CGC,RE,ChSN)

I didn't but you certainly can if you want to.


C.J. (C-ATCH,TDI,CGC,RE,ChSN) answered on 3/30/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Bridget aka Bad Pants, Ruby Ru

With Bridget we didn't. I know sometimes you do. But, with her she had this cute face and her eyes were so big and brown we thought the name was fitting.
But, recently I seen a gsd and his name was Lucky which he looked more like a Rocco or something. I almost saved him too, it's so sad to see them there. :( Bridget cringed when she smelled my clothing that day I swear she did, ugg....


Bridget aka Bad Pants, Ruby Ru answered on 3/30/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Gray Dawn Treader

It depends. If I like the name, I'd keep it. But I prefer uncommon names, so most likely I'd change names.
Treader's name at the shelter was Camden.


Gray Dawn Treader answered on 3/30/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Howard

I've adopted from the shelter before. It depends if I like the name or not. Every stray that comes to my house, I name it.


Howard answered on 3/30/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Dunkin

I have done both. one dog came with a name i hated. So i changed it. He got used to his name change and is still fine with it to this day 9 years later.


Dunkin answered on 3/30/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


King Jackal Jackson

There's no harm in changing their names and you may surprised by how quickly dogs will learn a new name. They'll learn even faster if you call them by the new name and subsequently reward them with a treat...and then repeat a few times!


King Jackal Jackson answered on 3/31/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 3 Report this answer


Radar

A lot of people change the names of the dogs or cats they adopt from a shelter or rescue. With our current pup, Radar, we didn't. That was the name he had at the humane society and we felt that it fit him, so we kept it.

But with the dog we had before Radar, we changed his name. So it really just depends on how you feel about it.


Radar answered on 4/25/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


Stella

Yep... a good way to get your dog to learn his new name. Get a hand full of yummy treats. Feed them one at a time, saying the pups new name in varying tones and volume as the food hits his mouth. Helps create a positive association with their name. Ultimately helps with recall too.


Stella "Blue" answered on 5/27/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


Nicky

It's a personal decision and you don't have to if you don't want to. Nicky's shelter name was "Whistle."


Nicky answered on 5/27/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Boomer

My Mom always wants to change the name but Dad says that the dog has enough new things to cope with he refuses to change the name .So far we are fine with four dogs with shelter names,


Boomer answered on 5/27/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Sheila

I was adopted from our local shelter where my human mom volunteered so I have a bit of insight on names. The names they give us at the shelter are never our real names. They change the names (on surrender dogs/cats) or give new names (in the case of strays/lost pets). So we really haven't had the name all that long.

As far as changing the name, I was named "Moose". Being an Aussie and such a little lady "Sheila" seemed to fit my personality better so my human family changed it. But after all, it's not so much the name as it is your wonderful human family that has a heart big enough to adopt you!


Sheila answered on 5/30/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 3 Report this answer


Guest

yes! change it to what you like. the dogs names in shelters are often "people names" which I personally do not prefer for my pets. Also, the shelters name the dogs so they can identify them, not really for the dog's purpose.


Member 739793 answered on 6/20/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Jack

When I rescue a dog, I like to strip away the bad memories and give it a new start. this ritual includes a new collar and a new name.


Jack answered on 6/23/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 3 Report this answer


Murphy

I did, the shelter got him on Columbus day and they named him Columbus so I definitely wasn't keeping that name, he's now Murphy! I guess it depends on whether you like the name or not.


Murphy answered on 6/23/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Penny

I absolutely always change a dog's name when they come home from the shelter. I love being able to choose names for my pets. I think it helps to give them a completely new identity and a new start in their great new home! Also, the shelters I adopt from don't keep dogs for that long, so I know it's not a name the dog has had for a long time. They won't miss their shelter name. Some of the dogs in the shelters just have the names recycled and used over and over. No need to keep a name someone just punched into the computer without much thought!


Penny answered on 6/23/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


Chloé

I always have, even my cats got new names.

Its kind of a start of a new life..... and Ive usually rescued dogs 2 years old or younger.

now, if were an older dog, like 8 or 10 years....then I think I would keep it if it was the name they had always had.


Chloé answered on 6/26/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Marty (AKA Marty-MAN)

Yes. I've noticed that most of our rescue pups had names that didn't really match their personality.


Marty (AKA Marty-MAN) answered on 6/27/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


Ava

Ava's name was Mei-Li at first. It's cute, but not really my style, and besides I had a whole list of names I thought of for when I adopted my first dog. It was a choice between Eve or Ava, and Ava got the most votes. ;D

Of course now I wish I had named her something more original. Everyone and their dog (quite literally) is named Ava. Haha! I didn't realize how common the name was until long after.


Ava answered on 7/19/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Belle

All the dogs i've gotten from shelters all had names or the shelter named them. I kept them the same. For a few reasons. They learned their name, and I wouldn't want to get the dogs confused. Two. I can't ever pick out a name for them. It takes me along time.


Belle answered on 8/4/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Hershey Bear

Adding my own two cents. If the animal doesn't know it's name and/or has a name given to it by the shelter, and it's not a name I think "fits", I'll change it. If the pet came from a home and already had a name, however, I'd think hard before deciding to change it or not. I adopted two 9 year old cats from a shelter, last year, and as both of them knew their names I didn't change them.


Hershey Bear answered on 8/18/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


Dakota

If the dog has a name he have had all his life, and its no bad name, i will not change it. What if somebody just wanted to change our names? If the pople at the shelter dont know his name, offcourse we shold give the dog a new beutiful name. I got a female that was 16 months, but never in my wildest drems would i change her names, thats her identity, who am i to give her a strange totally new name.


Dakota answered on 10/26/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Cayenne - RIP -

Well I've adopted quite a few dogs over the years, several from shelters. One didn't have a set name or had several depending on the person on duty. Another was simply Buddy but it fit him so well we are using both his real name (Bonnet Blue) and Buddy - I have also changed the name of some dogs - but I would greatly suggest sticking to a similar sound so the transition for the dog is smooth as he/she already has to adjust to a new environment. Yet, moving into a permanent home is a happy thing, one should hope, so a new yet similar sounding name would signal to the dog of good things. Dogs learn things they love faster; ' go out, car, biscuit, dinner' etc.. so a new name in a happy home makes perfect sense. For example I adopted a Great Pyr whose (stupid) name was Casper and I promptly named him Kaspar which is a Pyrenean name and means treasure. Oh, and he is very happy with his new name!


Cayenne - RIP - answered on 10/26/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Sandy

My people rescued me from a shelter. I was a stray there, and the shelter people made up a name for me. When I got to my forever home, my new people gave me a new name. I still know all my names, but I'll only answer to my new name. And only sometimes!


Sandy answered on 11/12/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Bó

I did. My dog was manhandled by the shelter workers because they were afraid of how big he was, so for me, a new environment--and a new life--called for a new name.


answered on 11/12/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Guest

When my mommy found me I had fallen from Heaven & landed on the side of the road a week before my new mommy's Bday so my mommy named me Angel.. Sometimes I am one & sometimes I'm not but my mommy loves me furever..♥


Member 1011589 answered on 11/12/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


April Mae

If the shelter simply gave the dog a temporary name, then I don't have a problem changing the dog's name if I don't like the shelter's name. If the shelter received the dog already named, then I don't think the name should be changed. Going to a shelter is stressful enough, a new name doesn't need to be added. We did not change April Mae's name as this is the name she had grown up knowing.


April Mae answered on 11/17/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Montana

We just adopted a rat terrier this past May. They thought she might've been around 7 months old at that time. And YES, we changed her name when we took her home. She's our baby now...she was a stray so she really didn't have a name. I think if the dog had a family and they took her to the shelter, I think you should keep it's name, but in our case since she was picked up, we gave her one with alot of love in it!


Montana answered on 11/17/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Brixie

I adopted my first dog on October 1, 2010. Her name was Aimee at the shelter and that was too common for me. Not to mention, I have family and friends with that name. So, I decided to call her Brixie. It is unique and seems to fit her well.

I believe with a new life should come a new name. But if you're comfortable with the shelter name, go with it. A name is really just that, a name.


Brixie answered on 11/17/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Blue

I adopted an older dog that seemed to know his name so we the name stayed, Boris. My second dog was named Rainbow Blue, so I dropped the Rainbow because it was just weird. I'm pretty sure I could have changed it because she would respond to anything. She learned to respond to Boris first.


Blue answered on 11/23/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Greco Heinz Marquardt

Absolutly! Change its name everytime! Here is why... you never know the past of your new dog and you do not know if your new dog associates its name with a good thing. If the dog recieved its new name at the pound you could choose to keep it but I would start fresh. Training a dog to love its new name is as simple as saying the name and giving a treat at the same time. If you do this for 5 minutes several times a day your dog will be loving its new name within a day or two, allowing you to start training off on a positive note!!! remember consistancy is KEY!!!


Greco Heinz Marquardt answered on 11/26/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


Jackson

Sometimes - Jackson came with the perfect name for him, however Skye started her life as Taylor and Willie as Ghost.


Jackson answered on 11/26/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Macho

My Shelter dogs name was Maltsho, which must have been bulgarian, because he is from the streets of Sofia. I did not want to change it completely, so we now call him Macho, which is very fitting.


Macho answered on 12/14/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Guest

Choosing a new name for your dog is a good bonding experience, it can be a little confusing if the dog has been used to the previous name for a long time, but everyone is right, it can be easily done. =)

I was told to help change a dogs name that is familiar with their old name is to incorporate the new name in with the old one. Example, old name is 'Fluffy', your new name for him is 'Snickers' call him 'Fluffy-Snickers' for a bit, accentuating on the name 'Snickers' and lots of praise and treats when he comes.

Montana's name was 'America' but we live in Canada, soooo.... =P


Member 999413 answered on 12/20/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Jackson Tan

My dog was Chester when I rescued him from a farm, but it was so dreadful I changed it to Jackson instead. It mightv'e suited a corgi, but not a rough and ready Australian Kelpie. He responds to his name name perfectly and seems to have forgotten his old one.


Jackson Tan answered on 2/19/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Nunu

We just adopted a puppy 3 weeks ago from a local shelter. His name was "Hatchi" but it didnt fit him, plus he never came when called. We spent at least a week before we thought of "scooby" my daughters were fond of the name and so is he. Every time I say Scooby Doooooooooo, lol he comes running. We love it.


Nunu answered on 3/11/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Billie Bob

Most of the names that shelter dogs have aren't really their names anyway. I like to name dogs to fit their personality. So, I would observe him/her for a few days (using the shelter name in the meantime - if you wish), then pick a name that is so fitting to their individuality. Dogs adjust very fast to new names - as at first, it's more your tone of voice and how you use it then it really is the name anyway. I mean, they DO learn the name, but at first it's more about the love then anything...


Billie Bob answered on 4/4/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


Guest

Dogs don't care what you call them, as long as you love them, feed them, give them a nice warm place to sleep, and take them for walks and car rides. You could call him dumb***t, and he will come a runnng, tail wagging, and kisses flying - IF HE FEELS LOVED.


Member 1029199 answered on 4/4/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Zuni

Yes! Our Lab/Hound mix was called "Dolly"- not our style. She is now "Zuni"- (like the S.W. Indian tribe). She knows her "new" name- is very happy to finally have her "forever" home.


Zuni answered on 5/3/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Augusta, CGC, RN

If you go down the list of names at any given shelter, you realize the poor people are often wracking their brains (and running out of good ideas) to come up with names just for listing purposes. . . . and the dog may never even hear the name while there.

I think there's no reason not to change the name to one you'll really enjoy calling your new friend rather than keep one you don't like or feel uncomfortable with. It will make the bonding easier for you psychologically.

Dogs aren't nearly as attached to their names as they are to the love and attention they receive and I think most people end up with half a dozen or so other nicknames they often address their dogs by . . . I think your dog knows by good associations and your body language exactly who you're talking to!


Augusta, CGC, RN answered on 5/29/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Shy

It depends on how old the dog is. My first dog was only 6 months old. So her's I changed. Plus I was NOT going to go around the neighborhood yelling for "Gigi". I named her Sam. Our 2nd one was 2 years old and her name was Shy. And she was a mess when we got her and I kinda liked the name. Plus I didn't want her to have to learn a new name when she was learning that she wouldn't get beat anytime a voice was raised.

So I would say it depends on the age and the demeanor of the dog.


Shy answered on 6/20/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Guest

I changed my 8 year old dog's name when I adopted her. She had so many owners she wasn't recognizing the most recent name. I gave her a new one and she learned it within the first 24 hours.


Member 1040956 answered on 7/14/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Mikhail (at Rainbow Bridge)

If you want to, you can, but i don't think it should be done immediately.
shelter life and then life in a new home would probably be stressful enough without the added confusion of learning to respond to a new name.

once the dog is settled in the new home(is really relaxed and confident of his place in the new home/family) then the shelter name may be changed gradually (the new name can be introduced as a nickname and gradually the shelter name can be eased out - gradual decreased usage and eventually can be dropped).


Mikhail (at Rainbow Bridge) answered on 8/6/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Sebastian

All 9 of us dogs are rescues of some kind, either strays, adopted from shelters or given up by their owners for whatever reason. All of them have been given new names when we figured their personalities out, their looks and some have been named after football players and TV characters. We have Andy, Otis, & Barney from Andy Griffith. Marino and Zack (Miami dolphins), Foxie, Jazzy, Woody, & Sebastian (formerly Shadow. How boring for a black standard poodle). Don't even get me started on the 6 cats!


Sebastian answered on 8/11/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Harlie

Yes. Shelters give simple names that dont fit most of the time. My puppies name was G.G. like really?! I immediatly renamed her Tawney just so the records wouldnt say GG. But her final name is Harlie.


Harlie answered on 8/25/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Bruno

Yes. Our rescue pup was named Warren but we changed his name to Bruno when we took him home. Warren was a sad, depressed 4 month old puppy. Bruno is now a feisty 9 month old.


Bruno answered on 8/25/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Lily Anne

Yes, if it the name doesn't fit. I agree with the fresh start idea. One of our rescues was a 10 month old collie/something mix and her name was Freedom, of all things. So fitting- name a dog Freedom and then drop her off at the shelter at 10 months when she outgrows her cuteness...Ugh! At that time this shelter was high kill. We renamed her Maggie and she lived until she was 16 and was a wonderful dog.


Lily Anne answered on 9/30/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Blinkey

It depends if it's gotten used to the name or not. If it hasn't then you could change if it you want.


Blinkey answered on 12/18/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Savannah Blue Belle

Well, I sure did since one of them was named Patsy Cline and another was named Bradley.

Now they are Dublin Rose and Samoa.


Savannah Blue Belle answered on 12/23/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Dixie

most of the time people just go with the name that it already has but if you want then i believe that most shelters allow you to change the name.


Dixie answered on 1/24/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Guest

You can,if you want to,but you don't have to.


Member 1088455 answered on 1/30/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Guest

Just change it, but your dog might have a little trouble responding. good luck with your new dog :) :D :P


Member 1080469 answered on 2/2/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Natcho

When I adopted my cat a couple years ago his name was Dustin, my mom liked it and it was an okay name. We couldn't think of a name for him and almost kept the name Dustin until we agreed on Spinner!


Natcho answered on 3/20/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Lucky

yes (: unless you like the name of the dog already.


Lucky answered on 5/6/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Hope

When we adopted Hope, her name was "Spice" She lived on the streets as a scrounger. She was dumped and hopelessly Lost. Her only meals were the ones she got out of trash cans and discarded trash on the sidewalks. The Shelter named her Spice. Spice...Really, as in the spice of life?
I adopted a hopelessly lost dog, and my husband said she now has "Hope" the name stuck. We've had her for almost 6 years. She is blind. People would describe her as bald, and ugly. However, she is a happy baby, that gets doted on. Her Daddy loves her as much as I do.
www.darkcornercockers.com


Hope answered on 5/22/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Cupcake

Absolutely! When I adopted my boy, he had the stupidest name that he didn't even answer to! I changed it the day I adopted him. When the dog gets a fresh start in life, they deserve a new name.


Cupcake answered on 8/1/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Colter

I feel that it all depends on the situation. If the dog comes in with I.D., or name tag the name should remain the same, especially if it is an older dog. Younger ones are more flexible.


Colter answered on 10/12/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer