We have 2 animated rescue greyhounds named Angel and Ares. We adopted Angel from Greyhound Friends of North Carolina. We are in the midst of finalizing the adoption of Ares from Northeast Ohio Greyhound Rescue. When we received both greyhounds from greyhound rescue, they were still using their racetrack names, or a repeat of them anyway. I was bummed out when we were in the middle of adopting Angel years ago to find out that his name was RC Miss Sissy Sue. She couldn’t conceive of someone giving their dog a weird name like that. I had given up on the fact that I had to call her that for the rest of her days.
Happily, I determined that his career name is not set in stone. In fact, she didn’t even pick up on his career name at all. You could have called her “Tiger” or “Leaper Jehoshaphat” or even “Dog” and she would have recognized all of them the same, which was not an answer. Then I realized that she didn’t have her name. I was impressed. I was able to name it whatever I wanted! That’s when I found out that greyhound rescuers don’t understand her racing names. The track or kennel instructors do not usually speak to their greyhounds by her name, which means that she can name her greyhound whatever she wishes.
Your greyhound easily associates rewards for actions as a good thing. This understanding is what will set you up as a catalyst to clone your actions over and over again. You must understand that your new greyhound does not recognize your name in the same way that you and I understand our names. Your greyhound responds to his name as a command, nothing more. When he uses his name repeatedly for a short time at particular times, he seems to acknowledge that his name is a command for his attention. Think of it like a person on the street saying “Hey!” or when someone says “look over here”. That’s basically what your greyhound associates as his name. She perceives her name as a command requesting her attention.
Instructing your new needlenose on its name simply requires repetition and reward. Try the recipe below and you will be amazed at the quick results you will get.
Begin by saying your new name every time you speak directly to your greyhound. Try to speak with emphasis when using your name. Reward her with a tasty treat when she responds by calling her name. Take the time to pet her as a nice reward too. I have never met a greyhound who did not like to be petted. It’s as simple as that. Be understanding. It will take time for your greyhound to make that name association. As soon as a few days later, you’ll discover more answers when you call her by her name.
While teaching your Greyhound his new name, DO NOT yell, yell, raise your voice in a threatening manner or use his name in a negative way. DO NOT bully your greyhound while using her name, or at all. These events will be discovered by your new greyhound as something bad that will set back the training you are trying to carry out.
One aside I would like to acknowledge is that before you start training your new greyhound by name, you need to understand its history. If you’re rescuing a retired broker from a previous home, chances are they already have a name they identify with. While you can use the same ideas above to rename it, it would not be recommended.