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Changing Your Dog's Name

Updated on April 26, 2013

Have you ever thought that you couldn't change a dog's name? I have seen people look for a dog to add to their family, find the one they fall in love with, but decide to not get the dog, all because they didn't like the dog's name. A name can be changed; so don’t shy away if the personality fits.

If you want to change the name, then go for it! First, remember that changing a dog's name isn't like changing a person’s. You don't have to go through tons of paperwork, get approvals, and then contact every single person or company to notify them of the name change. Changing a dog's name is, actually, relatively easy.

After many years of working with rescued dogs, I can assure you that it is more than possible to accomplish this goal. Many of the adult dogs that I have worked with were given names at some point in their life. I didn't know the names, so I chose one, and they did just fine. There are many reasons that you may want to change what you call your beloved pet. The name could be vulgar, one that you are already using, one that has personal memories tied to it, or you may just not like it.

Dog With No Name

Sometimes a dog has a name, but doesn't even respond to it, so you are able to choose what you want from the first day. For instance, many dogs in the local shelters are given names by the volunteers or shelter staff, so, in most cases, they haven't had the name for very long. Some of the dogs may have been owner surrenders, but many have no known history. This can, also, apply to those found in free ads, sold by breeders, strays, etc. These are the easy dogs when it comes to choosing a name, because you can begin calling him whatever you want when you adopt him.

This is My Name

Others can be a little harder, but not impossible. These are the dogs that have been with the same person for a period of time and become accustomed to their name. In that case, you may have to put the name you want with the name they have. Let’s say that you had a dog named Lady that was your best friend for years. Sadly, she passed away, and you can’t imagine ever using that name again. One day you find the perfect female dog, but her name is, also, Lady. Due to personal reasons, you would rather call her Hannah. I wanted to choose a name that sounded nothing like the original, because, often, the names we like do not sound anything like the names already chosen. For the first few days, you will need to talk to the dog by saying, "Hey, Lady Hannah". In doing this, you are attaching the names together, so the dog knows that you are talking to her, and she will begin to recognize Hannah, as well. Once she is responding to Lady Hannah, then you will start to periodically drop off the Lady. At times when you call her to you, you will attempt just calling for Hannah. If she doesn’t respond, repeat your request with “Lady Hannah”. As she approaches you, you may respond with something along the line of, “good girl, Hannah”. You are programming her mind to recognize Hannah as her new name. When she starts responding to Hannah, then you don't have to continue using Lady. You can drop it all together.

Name for Seniors

Another option for a name that you just don't want, but the dog is older, such as a senior, would be to choose a name that sounds similar. Let's use Lady again and, say, the dog you are adopting is an 8yr old female that has been "Lady" her entire life. You could go with a name like Katie. It has the same ending sound, so it's much easier to change. Try to find a name that sounds as close to the original name as possible. The more similar the sound, the easier it is for the dog to begin responding.


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    • profile image

      Shay 4 years ago

      in this site you will see so many good names, try iy

    • EMKruger profile image

      EMKruger 4 years ago

      Glad you enjoyed it! I got the idea for the article from hearing, and, even talking to some people, that honestly thought that they couldn't change a name. I thought others might benefit from these tips. :)

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      This was interesting EM. I'm sure there are people that find themselves in at least one of the situations you mentioned and you've give some good tips.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.