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I'm adopting a shelter dog tomorrow. The shelter has named him "Noah," and I like the name, but since I know nothing about the dog, what his habits are, whether he's housetrained, etc., I kind of expect I'll need to use the word "No!" on occasion until he settles in. If I'm using the word "No!" to stop/distract/scold him when he behaves undesirably. won't his name "Noah" also sound like a reprimand to him?

Should I give him another name?
 

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First off, congratulations on your new, upcoming addition.

As far as having to tell him "No" as he settles into your house & routine, you might want to consider that it's generally better to tell a dog what you *want* them to do, rather than just try to stop or correct him after he's already doing something you don't want him to be doing. Management of the environment comes first. Constant supervision, just like if he was a tiny puppy at first, so you can guide him & help him learn appropriate behavior (he can't chew your shoes if you're right there to redirect his attention to a nice chew toy) When you have to leave him unsupervised, make sure it's in a totally dog-proofed area via gates, or in a secure crate (if he's crate trained) so he can't 'get into trouble' when you're not there.

If he does start to make a mistake (perhaps starts sniffing into the garbage can) rather than say "No", tell him what he IS supposed to be doing (call him to you, offer a treat for coming away from temptation, make a mental note to start teaching the "leave it" cue, as well as stash the garbage can securely under the sink where he can't get at it) I'd suggest signing up for a good, positive-reinforcement based basic obedience class. It is a great way to bond & get your relationship with your new pup off to a great start.

In any case, whether or not you change his name is completely up to you. Dogs don't have the same emotional connection with their name that humans do. It's just a particular 'sound' that people make in order to get their attention.
 

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"No" has no meaning until you teach them that it does. And even then, you need to make it mean something specific ("get out of the trash" for example, or "stop bothering the cat") and not treat it as a catch-all "I don't want you to do that" I don't think I've even taught "no" to the two I have now. They know what "quit" means, as well as "leave it", and a host of other things, but not "no".

As already said, teaching him what you DO want him to do is going to be better in the long run for everyone.
 

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Thanks folks. I appreciate your points of view and it sounds like a positive-reinforcement methodology might have real value, but since the new dog came home today, I kinda gotta go for what I know for the time being. His new name is "Miles."
 

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---- it sounds like a positive-reinforcement methodology might have real value---
Works for everything from basic pet manners to high level obedience competition. :)
 

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I do not use the word "No" with my dog.

I use "Pass", or "Drop it", for the situations you describe.

If he is getting curious about some object, then I will supervise the investigation with "Shadow" (his name). This is enough to interrupt his probing which allows me a moment to determine my actions and sort out his inquiry.
 

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Thanks folks. I appreciate your points of view and it sounds like a positive-reinforcement methodology might have real value, but since the new dog came home today, I kinda gotta go for what I know for the time being. His new name is "Miles."
It has a ton of value. It's all I use with my dogs. And a new dog is a perfect time to switch to using such methods. Maybe see if there are classes around? Or if you want a good book with some good basic information, Pat Miller's The Power of Positive Training outlines some basic obedience things using positive reinforcement.
 
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