The Dog Questions You Send
and our humble response woof.
Q. Dear Digital Dog,
We have become the owners of a fine, male, around 22 months old, Golden
Retriever. We would like to change his name. Is this possible without
utter confusion to Glomer (his present name)? Thank you for the advice.
New Mom and Dad
Ans. ~ Hello Mom and Dad,
Glomer? Not only do I think you can change the name, I think you should! He will certainly thank you!
Seriously though, to a dog, it is FAR more stressful to change routine and life environment
than to change their name (at least in the experience of virtually
everyone I know.. and we change names all the time cause we do rescue and
usually have NO idea what the dog's former name was). It's not
particularly stressful and can actually prove to be helpful since you
can't be sure that the dog had only good associations with his name.
Essentially a dog seems to recognize their name as an introduction to
something about to happen.. if their experience is that when they hear
their name good stuff happens... they will typically run to the person
saying it. If their experience is inconsistent or bad, they will feel
anxious or tense and avoid the person saying the name.
Most people can relate to that as we often only heard our mother use our middle name or full form of our name when response was mandatory! This didn't guarantee enthusiasm on our parts though!
So name your boy
as you will and then BE SURE to make things fun and wonderful and happy
whenever you use his name (so unlike your kids, his enthusiasm will always be there when he hears his full name).
Please let digital dog know if this advice helped!
Do you have a question for Digital Dog? While we can't guarantee that our advice will work 100% of the time for 100% of the dogs and their people, we do find that the approaches offered have been helpful to us in most situations. Write us at DigitalDog@DigitalDog.com.