Name Change - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 01:26 AM Thread Starter
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Name Change

I am about to become an owner of a two year old, girl. I can't wait! Everything about her is fantastic, but there is ONE thing that really gets under my skin. It's something that I will have to look over if I absolutely must and that is her name. Her name is something that her previous owners called her as a bit of a joke and it's just awful. Do you all think it is possible for me to re-train her into calling her a different name? If so, any tips on how to go about it?
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 01:30 AM
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I've never tried to reteach a dog it's new name, but I'm sure it can be done, just as you would normally teach it to 'recall'. You might decide on a new name that rhymes with or sounds similar to the original name.
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 01:41 AM
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I changed a miniature pincher that I adopted. I can't even remember what her original name was. But I renamed her Noel; It took a little bit for her to learn her new name but no different that a new puppy would. Just call her new name make other encouraging noises and pat your leg.

And congratulations on your new girl

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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 01:48 AM
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Dogs tend to learn new names very quickly. I've rescued and fostered a number of stray dogs and they all learned the names I gave them right away, in just a few days or a week.


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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 01:55 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you guys so much! That is actually really uplifting.
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 02:05 AM
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We took in an english mastiff girl with i'm not kidding you......althazena as her name.we decided then and there after the guy told us and we stopped laughing that we would call her zen.pick out strong sounds of the original name and it makes it easier.
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 02:17 AM
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It's not so much what you say, as much as how you say it?

I'm not big on re-naming dogs after they get some age on them, but then again, I can see the necessity of doing it on occassion.

My female GP was origionally named "baby girl". I knew that she would soon become a one hundred lb "baby" and it just didn't seem to fit, so I changed her name to "sissy girl" which was more fitting since I also have a brother of hers, and she will always be his sister.

I have some dogs that are never called anything but their name, and I have others that have a whole list of pet names they go by. My black lab knows he has multiple names.

Lastly, on the rare occassion, (and I mean really rare) I get to name a dog, I always wait a little bit, to pick out just the right name, one that fits their personality just a little bit.

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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 02:43 AM
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People do it all the time. It shouldn't be any different than teaching a puppy it's name - say the name and then give her a treat. It won't be long before she's responding to the name in anticipation of a treat, and then you can wait for her to turn her head and look at you before giving her the treat. You can mark it, either verbally ("yes!") or with a clicker when she looks at you when you say her name.

When she's responding reliably and immediately, move to rewarding her on a random basis.

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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 03:02 AM
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Do what Cassidy has suggested with the treats, it worked well for a rescue I had.
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 07:58 AM
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You can absolutely change the dog's name, it is done every day with shelter dogs and strays who's histories are unknown. The tips noted above are excellent suggestions: use the new name frequently, always in a positive light. Reward her every time she looks at you after hearing the new name, and try to have everyone avoid using her old name for anything (if possible).

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