Do you remember the first day your dog came home? Of course, you do! The first toy they picked up. How they peed on the floor cushions. Their first game of fetch. Sometimes they fit right in, making you feel how did you even live without them so far? But sometimes they take a little time to adjust, especially if they have had a rough past. Most humans who have fostered and adopted dogs have experienced the challenging yet rewarding process of letting their furry friends take time to adjust in a new environment. That’s what the 3-3-3 rule of dog adoption is all about.
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Decoding the 3-3-3 rule
The 3-3-3 rule outlines the three major stages of adjustment that adopted dogs are likely to go through. However, a word of caution. While the 3-3-3 rule is a general guideline, some dogs take longer to adjust. So, give them as much time as they need to trust you and feel confident.
From what we know the first three days are often overwhelming for the dog and the humans, more for rescued dogs. They might be stressed, refuse food, even refuse to step out to relieve themselves and get startled by even the slightest of noise/movement. At the same time, some dogs might even feel explorative about their new environment.
Within three weeks of their arrival your dog will start feeling more settled in their new environment. They will start adjusting to their routine around mealtime, walk time, play time, nap time and more. Often by this time they may even start display their true personality. You can expect anything from goofy and take-me-anywhere to protective and not-so-sociable to guarding and reactive. If you notice any major behavioural issues in your dog, this is the time to consider positive reinforcement-oriented training.
After three months, most dogs adjust in their home. Along with a routine, they start trusting and bonding with humans. But like we said before, some dogs will take more time to adjust than others so give them time, love and patience to go through the process of adjusting and settling in their new home.