How weird is it if I rename my puppy?
October 29, 2021 1:36 PM   Subscribe

I finally brought home my adorable 8 week old mini goldendoodle puppy 4 weeks ago. I had been on a waitlist for over a year, and had a name picked out long before I met her, or even knew the gender. I love her name as a concept, others do too, but... I'm just not feeling it for her specifically. Is it weird if i rename her?

Now that I've had her for a month, is it weird if i rename her? I haven't even taught her her name yet because I've been kinda meh about it the whole time. She responds better to "look here" and me whistling or "here pup" than her actual name (She is only 12 weeks old, so its not like it's even close to reliable anyway).

I think I might have a new name I like better, but i'm still not sure if i want to commit to it either. I'm really annoyed at myself that I'm a month in and I'm still having trouble feeling passionate about any particular name!

I'd also feel like a bit of an idiot - I'd have to change the records with her breeder, at the vet, the trainer, the doggy daycare place, IG... and of course try and explain it to everyone I've ever mentioned her to. Or I could just keep her "paperwork" name and call her whatever the heck I want informally. She's a doodle, not a registered anything, so no worries there. And she'll never know the difference... but its going be weird if the vet and doggy daycare people are calling her a name she doesn't recognize!

My puppy's too young to be having an identity crisis already! Thoughts? Is it really that weird to rename your dog? Does it even really matter?

Puppy tax!
posted by cgg to Pets & Animals (22 answers total)
Absolutely rename her. Do you really want 10ish years of a dog that is called by a name you're meh on? A month isn't a long time, and this happens to human babies all the time, so....

The logistics also maybe are a little annoying but probably not a big deal in the long run
posted by pando11 at 1:43 PM on October 29, 2021 [10 favorites]

I'd skip changing the registered name and just make a correction whenever you use each service next.
posted by hollyholly at 1:49 PM on October 29, 2021 [11 favorites]

Thanks for the omgadorbzpuppytax. Most of my pets, and not a few friends & lovers, have multiple names from me. Start using the name you are thinking about; I find that saying it out loud will let you know if it feels right. I did this with my kittens when they were born; they had kitten names for about 6 weeks, then I started using names I'd been thinking about to see how it felt/fit.
Agree with changing names as you go along. Anyone who gives you grief about using another name is a poopoo head (this also applies with humans changing their names).
At this point my 16 year old cat has nearly a dozen names/titles/verbal worship phrases; we use a short official one at the vet and the rest of them all the time.
posted by winesong at 1:53 PM on October 29, 2021 [4 favorites]

not weird! My cat had like 3 different names (chronos is not fun to call a cat out loud!) before we settled on Jango, and for the last 5 years his name has pretty much been unofficially changed to "jim" ;)

Our cat is adopted and his adoption name was Davey and we didn't name him right away, so sometimes still like 14 years later some service will be like "booking a lab test for davey" and it's like, oh right.
posted by euphoria066 at 2:07 PM on October 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

Oh this is so so normal! My dog had multiple names before he even came to me because at the rescue they decided he didn't "seem like" the name they gave him—and then I changed it again. If she'd learned to respond to her name, I'd tell you the classic advice which is that it'll be an easier transition if you use the same or similar vowel sounds—but she's so young and it sounds like she isn't especially accustomed to it yet. Just start calling her something different, and tell the doggy daycare and the vet to do the same. This will not be the first name change they've encountered, guaranteed, and I very much doubt they'll react in a way that makes you feel dumb.
posted by babelfish at 2:13 PM on October 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

You can literally rename her any time (and when she's old, she can learn new tricks!)

It'd be a little disorienting for her if you changed it every three months, but you could actually change it every few years if you really felt inclined. She doesn't have the cultural stigma building up her identity: she'll associate the call name with you, and most things associated with you (including others of your species). Name away.

FYI, professional dog trainers suggest 2-3 syllables max, with complimentary or contrasting sound (to really identify/pronounce each syllable or balance the sound). Its why we see a lot of sport or protection dogs named, "flash," "whip," "jet," whatever. (Many traditional Indian or Spanish names are likely poorly suited to dogs)

These guys see in simple tones, somewhat similarly, it helps when our language or direction is somewhat paired down.

Name as you see fit, highly recommend seeking a backup "emergency recall," as well. Most effective if never changed.

Another method is waiting to get to know her, until her personality shows or develops. Within the interim, you could consider a person name, eg, "Penelope," whatevs- congrats!
posted by firstdaffodils at 2:22 PM on October 29, 2021 [2 favorites]

Not at all weird and super common. Browse through the social media of any shelter and if they do pupdates on the ones that have found forever families you’ll probably see a good percentage of them have been renamed. ( When we took in our last foster, the beau and I didn’t feel her name fit; when I asked the shelter manager if it was ok to call her by another name, we were told fosters do that often) Also, zomg what a cutie!
posted by jacy at 2:26 PM on October 29, 2021

It took me two years to name my cat and I ended up naming him the name he came with from the shelter. He went through many many many iterations including PurryMcPurrPurr. Just fyi.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 2:33 PM on October 29, 2021

Not weird at all and most dogs I know have a name and at least one nickname. I kept my dog's name because I couldn't think of anything I liked and he had a race record (greyhound), but almost only ever call him something else. His real name is for recall and introductions only.
posted by sepviva at 3:07 PM on October 29, 2021

Not weird at all. Our dogs have all been rescues, and didn't seem confused at all about getting a new name along with their new home, even as an adult. Your puppy (who is completely adorable) won't mind at all. I agree with updating the records at the vet and doggy daycare to avoid confusion.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:16 PM on October 29, 2021

So not weird, there are classic poems about the need for pets to have multiple names. (Eliot is talking about cats, but this applies equally to dogs.)

Do what feels right to you. That pup is adorable by any name!
posted by the primroses were over at 3:39 PM on October 29, 2021 [2 favorites]

As someone who used to work in veterinary client service, this would not cause me to bat an eye. Happens all the time.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:05 PM on October 29, 2021

Over a year? TOTALLY worth it. She's amazing. And yes, change it by all means.
(P.S. I came back to MF three times just to have another look at those copper curls and those button eyes.)
posted by kate4914 at 5:20 PM on October 29, 2021

Not weird. I'm a pretty firm believer that pets are usually supposed to name themselves... or, if you prefer, to tell you their name. ;)

If you don't want the hassle of changing the paperwork, don't. It's common in everything from dogs to horses, to have an "official" name, and then the name they go by. At the vets - and maybe the licensing office - just list the WHOLE name, possibly with quotes around the name you'll be using.
posted by stormyteal at 5:26 PM on October 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

I took so long to name a dog that for the first three years of their life their name was, "Pup pup". When he grew out of that, friends wanted me to call them "Dog dog". His official name was Yonder as in "Come Yonder, Pup pup"
posted by AugustWest at 5:39 PM on October 29, 2021 [2 favorites]

I had a law school classmate who changed his human child's name four times in her first three months. You're good.
posted by HotToddy at 6:06 PM on October 29, 2021 [2 favorites]

OMG, what an adorable pup!!!

Call her what you like. Don't worry about the official paperwork, but establish a name that resonates for the two of you.
posted by rpfields at 6:31 PM on October 29, 2021

Totally normal! If it makes you feel better, my mom has renamed all my pets. Even as an adult, while I’ve still owned them! So things could definitely be weirder.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:24 AM on October 30, 2021

If you couldn't rename a dog no rescue dogs would have names.

Dogs don't know what names are. You can call her whatever you want. For any dog their name is really a substitute for the command "look at me".

My current dog was around 2 when I got her. She then had a different name almost every day for a month or so until I settled on one. She's now been named Shakedown for 8+ years and it suits her much better than any other name I had for her (Mojo, Alice, Arrow...). The best part is there are no other Shakedowns at the dog park -- no confusion!
posted by dobbs at 5:45 AM on October 30, 2021

Totally normal, we re-named after 6 months and it was fine.

All dogs are "buddy" or "bud" anyway, unless you're calling them into the house or telling them to stop it :)
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 6:21 AM on October 30, 2021

Not weird. I have always renamed my pets. I think it's weirder to have a name picked out for an animal (or person) you haven't met yet. I couldn't pick my kids' names early, even when I was pregnant. I had to meet them first and get to know them!
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 8:08 AM on October 30, 2021

My neighbor coaxed a scared cat out of the sewer down the street and when we took her to the vet the first time he insisted on officially naming her "Sewer Cat," a name he liked but never did much for me. His roommate was allergic so she's ended up with me for the last 7 or so years. I eventually changed her name at the vet to "Sue," but should have changed it to something that fit her (or I liked) better. I mostly call her "Little One" or "The Best" or something like that, anyway, so it's not a huge deal, but don't hesitate to rename your pupper! It's not weird at all.
posted by mediareport at 8:40 AM on October 30, 2021

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