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Changing Fido's Name

March 15, 2021

Have you rece ntly adopted a new canine buddy? Congratulations! We’re always thrilled when pups get new homes. Of course, you may decide that you want your pooch to have a different name. Perhaps your new pet’s previous owner named him something silly, like Puddles or Mr. Fuzzybutt or Gooberdog. Or maybe his current name just doesn’t fit him or isn’t to your liking. A Washington DC vet offers some tips on changing your dog’s name below.


T  hink It Over

Generally, dogs aren’t going to be as attached to their names as we are. Fido isn’t going to wish that you had named him Spike or Spot, and he really won’t care if you do name him Gooberdog. However, if he’s had the same name all his life, you may want to stick with something that’s phonetically similar.


Timing

Most of the time, dogs can adjust to a new name within a few days. Pets also often learn different nicknames. In fact, many of our patients have several different nicknames! Make sure Fido learns his real name before you start affectionately calling him Pupper or something.


Treats

As you may have guessed, treats are going to be an integral part of the process here. Carry a small bag of doggy snacks around with you, and offer Fido one every time you call him by name. Use things that are small but also fairly high-value, like cut-up hot dogs; small pieces of cooked, boneless chicken; or deli meat.


Repetition

At first, give Fido a treat whenever you say his name, even if he doesn’t respond when you call him. You’ll also want to praise and pet him. The point is to make sure that your canine friend learns to associate his new name with good things.


Punishment

Dogs are great pets, but they aren’t perfect. Sooner or later, Fido will do something naughty. Don’t call your canine pal by name when you are reprimanding him. That may cause him to form a bad association with his new moniker. Of course, we also recommend avoiding punishment and/or negative reinforcements in general. Focus on rewarding your pooch for being good.


Resources

What if you know you want to change your dog’s name, but aren’t sure to what? Try a baby name website or a thesaurus!


Please reach out to us, your Washington DC veterinary clinic, anytime. We’re here to help! 

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