Unlimited Access. Try it Today! Your First 10 Days Always $0.99

Pets

Lifestyle Pets

Ask the Pet Expert | Renaming a dog

I am getting ready to adopt my first dog from a shelter, but I don't like his name. What's the best way to teach him a new one and get him used to it?

Changing a dog's name is perfectly acceptable and is a relatively easy thing to do when done correctly. Oftentimes, finding a name that rhymes or begins with the same sound will make the process a little easier and faster, but it's not a necessity.

First, decide on the name and make sure everyone within your household agrees. It can become very confusing for the dog if different people call him by a different name. Once you've settled on the name, it's time to start with classical conditioning: associating his new name with something special, such as tasty treats and lots of attention.

Get the entire family involved by having each member take turns calling him by his new name and giving him the tasty treat once he comes — and remember to praise, praise, praise!  Practice these training sessions several times throughout the day, but keep it to five minutes or less and always keep it fun. 

Be careful to never use your dog's name when you're upset. We want your new family member to associate his name with good things, not punishment or unhappiness. 

Lastly, be persistent! It may take a little while but with patience, your new family member will be happily bouncing your way whenever he hears his new name.  

This week's expert is Christine Lando, training specialist with the Baltimore Humane Society. Send your questions to sun.unleashed@gmail.com.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Ask the Pet Expert | Q&A collection
    Ask the Pet Expert | Q&A collection

      Our furry friends are sweet and adorable, but sometimes they develop habits we'd like them to quit, or they have health issues that perplex us. Here's a collection of questions and answers on a variety of pet-related topics. If you have a question that you'd like answered by a veterinarian or...

  • Adoptable pets at Baltimore-area shelters
    Adoptable pets at Baltimore-area shelters

    Here's a collection of a few of the dogs, cats and other critters in the Baltimore area who need homes. Be sure to check with the shelter before you go to verify that the animal you want is still there.

  • Collared - Baltimore Sun readers' pets
    Collared - Baltimore Sun readers' pets

    Read about local pets, or share your own story. We're interested in cats and dogs, but also hamsters, hedgehogs, turtles, horses, chickens -- the whole pet gamut. For more information, email pets@baltsun.com and be sure to put "Collared" in the subject line.

  • Ask the Pet Expert | Collapsed trachea
    Ask the Pet Expert | Collapsed trachea

    I have a 14-year-old female West Highland terrier. She was recently diagnosed with a collapsed trachea.  She is eating and drinking fine. She has this horrible seal-like cough upon rising from a supine position and when she overexerts herself. My vet has been trying to treat her with Prednisone,...

  • The Owl Bar to auction off historic fixtures
    The Owl Bar to auction off historic fixtures

    Historic fixtures from the Owl Bar, including bar stools and six wooden banquettes that the restaurant's operators say date back to 1903, will be put up for auction on May 31.  A portion of the proceeds from the auction of the fixtures and other donated items will benefit the Baltimore Animal Rescue...

  • March for the Animals is postponed
    March for the Animals is postponed

    Update: The Maryland SPCA says, "To assure the comfort and safety of everyone planning to attend today's March for the Animals, we have decided to postpone the March. We want to be sure that all attendees are able to participate without concern. We are disappointed, surely, but know we will all...

  • ALIVE Rescue unleashes dogs saved from St. Anne puppy mill
    ALIVE Rescue unleashes dogs saved from St. Anne puppy mill

    Look out, world. ALIVE Rescue has unleashed six of the approximately 80 dogs that were confiscated in a raid on a puppy mill last week in St. Anne, Ill.

  • Taking your pet on vacation? Which U.S. cities have the most dog parks
    Taking your pet on vacation? Which U.S. cities have the most dog parks

    More proof it's good to be a dog: The number of off-leash dog parks is growing faster than any other type of park in American cities, a recent Trust for Public Land report says.

Comments
Loading

55°