Thursday, May 10, 2012

Should you change an adult dog's name?

When we recently adopted our new dog, he arrived with the name Parker.
We knew very little about his past. We knew that he'd been a stray and so his real name is not known. He was more than 10 years old when he was found and brought to a shelter. What had he been called for 10 years before? No one knew. At some point a rescue group gave him the name Parker. Whether they used that name or spoke to him often was unclear, also. After being in rescue for about a year, a rescue group near us took him and put him up for adoption. We adopted him shortly after he arrived.

So the question became, should we change his name?

We didn't really have anything against Parker, but it didn't mean anything to us either.
At first we considered names that rhymed with Parker, or sounded similar. Walker? Bob Barker?
But after trying out his old name multiple times, it didn't seem as if he responded to it in any way. He responded just as well to Ralph, Edgar, Big Boy and Hey You. So, we decided that it was okay to give him a brand new name.  A new start, a new name.

Mike loves baseball, and he loves history of the area, and one name that made us both smile was Brooks--after baseball legend Brooks Robinson, and a local historical Dutch name of ten Broeck (pronounced Brook). Not to mention the pleasant image of a rural babbling brook. Brooks also is the name of a character in a favorite movie, The Shawshank Redemption. And it doesn't hurt that it is also the name of a favorite chicken barbeque restaurant in New York. Last but not least, there was an old bakery in Albany called Brooks Donuts.

That is how Parker became Brooks.

Tips on Renaming Your Adult Dog
* Petfinder says that it's easy for adult dogs to get used to a new name. Just give him a treat every time you say his new name and he'll soon respond!

* It may be best to change an adopted dog's name, especially in cases where the dog has been abused. He may associate bad things happening with his original name.

* Several people commented on Dogster blog about how they changed their adult dog's name. The commenters said it was easy and caused no confusion.

* One reader suggested starting off by calling the dog both the old name and the new name together, and then gradually dropping the old name.  Ex: "Spot"to  "Spot Sam" to "Sam"
 I'm not sure that's necessary. Brooks is responding to Brooks, and seems perfectly content.
Good boy, Brooks!

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