If you step in dog poo with your left foot in France, you’ll have good luck. And if you meet a Dalmatian on the way to a business meeting, you’ll seal the deal!
On the other hand, if a dog walks between you and your significant other, it might reveal a breakup is imminent. If a dog enters your home, it means you’ll have a new friend soon.
These – and many other – doggy superstitions are common. After all, who doesn’t want to believe their friendly pooch leads a secret life of warding off evil spirits? I sure do! Does a dog howling signify death?
I sure hope not! But one superstition remains completely unanswered: is it bad luck to change a dog’s name?
It isn’t bad luck to change a dog’s name at all. In fact, if a dog has been abused or neglected, giving it a new name can encourage healing and happiness for your dog.
Also, since dogs can learn to answer to many different names and nicknames, it doesn’t hurt to change your dog’s name to something positive or more appropriate. It simply isn’t bad luck to change your dog’s name.
Is It Unlucky to Change Your Dog’s Name?
If you are sincerely wondering if it’s bad luck to change your dog’s name, you can take a deep breath and relax. It isn’t bad luck to change your dog’s name at all! And while there are plenty of obvious superstitions about dogs and our other beloved pets, this one just doesn’t apply.
Some cultures believe that changing a horse’s name is bad luck or at least bad form, and other cultures believe that changing a boat’s name brings bad luck, too. But changing a dog’s name doesn’t have any associated omens at all.
In fact, dogs in general can be a symbol of good fortune, at least according to the experts at Petcarerx.com. Their website states that some people from China will put dog statues near the front door to represent good luck. And, of course, we all know how loyal and protective our pups are, which makes us lucky to have them!
So while bad luck might be associated with some dog’s actions, like when they howl outside the window of a person who is ill, it really isn’t associated with changing their name. In fact, you probably have already given your pup plenty of names!
Your Dog Probably Has a Few Lucky Names Already.
I am notorious for nicknaming my pets. Sometimes cute, sometimes silly, and sometimes they reflect my pet’s most recent activity. Like when I say, “Oh, Mousebreath! What lovely little gift did you bring me today?”
You’ve probably given your pup plenty of nicknames, and it probably answers to all of them! Dogs are intelligent, and they love positive attention. So if you’re talking sweetly to your pooch, you can bet he’s listening and learning and feeling lucky that he’s so loved. And if you call your pup a number of names associated with positive attention, treats, or that particular high-pitched, dog-mom tone of voice, he’ll learn to respond to more than one!
Giving our dogs nicknames is natural, but it reflects the idea that it is okay to change your dog’s name.
When Is It a Good Time to Change a Dog’s Name?
There may be times when changing a dog’s name is a positive and important thing to do. A friend told me a story of a family member that adopted the dog. Unfortunately, the rescued doggo had the same name as their daughter! You can just imagine the confusion when they called Susan on the phone, and the dog thought they were talking to her!
You might want to change your dog’s name if their original name was inappropriate, doesn’t fit the dog’s personality, or if you just don’t like it. However, occasionally, a dog will learn to ignore their name. In this case, it might be time for an exciting new name to bring your dog running!
Silliness aside, of course, there is a really important time to change their dog’s name.
Helping a Dog Recover From Abuse by Changing Their Name
When a dog has been rescued from an abusive situation, it can be an essential part of the healing process to change its name.
Dogs that have been abused may associate their old name with abuse, fear, and injury. When you bring an abused dog into your life, you want to give them every chance at recovering from their past. Changing their name might help make a clean break from their old life to their new, happier life with you!
Rather than being bad luck, in this case, changing your dog’s name would represent the great fortune they have received at starting a new life.
How do you go about changing your dog’s name?
Changing your dog’s name is a pretty simple process. You’ll need to have a little patience, though, plenty of treats, and a few good tips.
1. Choose a good name. A good dog name will reflect their personality, where you live, how you chose them, or any other number of lucky ideas. Typically, shorter names are better, so try to keep your dog’s name to two syllables or less.
2. Make a commitment to use the new name consistently. If you want your dog to learn their new name, you must use it consistently. Otherwise, they’ll get confused or forget if you don’t use it every day.
3. Say the old name and new name together until your dog gets used to hearing it. For example, if your doggie’s old, unlucky name is Frankie and their new name is Jo, call your dog Frankie Jo for a while. Make sure she is coming at the sound of their name combined name.
4. Drop the old name. Once you are sure your dog is responding to the combined name, you can go ahead and drop the old one and see what happens. If your dog doesn’t understand, go back to using the combined name for a while longer.
5. Say the new name in a way that is exciting and fun. Use a melodic voice with a higher pitch similar to baby talk. Dogs love this!
6. Offer lots of rewards! When you call your dog’s new name, reward her for responding. Give your dog lots of praise, belly rubs, and treats for responding to their new name.
7. Be patient! Some dogs pick up their new names quickly. Others require more practice. Don’t worry; they’ll get it! Just be patient and keep at it.
Signs Your Dog Knows Their New Name
There are a few ways to tell if your dog has learned or is adjusting to its new name. When you say their name, they may:
- Perk up their ears when they hear their name in conversation
- Look at you and tilt their head when you say their name
- Wag their tail when you call them by their new name
- Run to you
- Bark in response
- If your dog does not respond to their name at all, you might need to start the process over from the beginning. But, don’t despair, just keep at it!
- Don’t start thinking it was a wrong choice or that it’s bad luck to change your dog’s name. They probably just need a little more time to practice with the new name.
What are the best dog names?
The best dog names are usually short; they typically are two syllables or less. A good dog name ends in a vowel. It should be distinct from the other people and pets in your household so that your pet doesn’t get confused when you call on one of your children! According to dogtime.com, so of the best and most popular dog names are:
Then again, if you want something a little more unique, check out the list on thelabrodorsite.com, which includes:
With so many excellent options, though, are there any names you shouldn’t choose?
What dog names should you avoid?
You should avoid calling your dog derogatory names. While the dog may not know the meaning of the names, people will, and they may treat your dog according to its name.
You should also avoid calling your dog the name of someone else – either pet or person – that resides in your household. That could be confusing!
Don’t use a name that resembles commands you might now or in the future teach your dog, such as heel, stay, bark, or run.
Don’t pick a name that is long or hard to pronounce because it might become difficult to call your dog on command.
Just remember, it really isn’t bad luck at all to change a dog’s name. In fact, for the dog, it might symbolize good luck because it means they have a new home, a new life, and a new family to love them. And if you are fortunate enough to have a dog to love, you are very lucky indeed.