3-3-3 Rule For Dogs New Home
Learn what to expect in the first 3 days, weeks, and months after bringing home your new dog.
The 3-3-3 Rule describes how long it will take your new dog to adjust to being in a new home. It may take a few days to see their personality, and a few weeks to see them relax. Likewise, it may take a few days to see some problem behaviors that need to be addressed with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. But no matter what, be patient and understanding of your new friend. Going to live with a new family can be exciting, but also stressful!
In the first 3 days after bringing home your new dog, they may be very stressed about the new environment. They may not eat, drink or play very much, and may even do some annoying behaviors like whining and barking. This is normal, and you should be very patient with your new friend. This is the most critical time in the transition for them.
Always treat a new puppy or adult dog like a toddler. They can and will get into everything that they shouldn’t, so you should be proactive about making your home dog-safe.
Make sure the first few days for your dog in their new home is quiet and relaxing. Too much excitement before they’ve settled in can just lead to anxiety and negative associations. Play it safe for now and save the parties and friends for a little later.
Potty training is the most urgent goal of most dog owners. And crate training is extremely helpful for good potty training. Good crate training also helps with anxiety, destructive behaviors, and gives your dog their own “room” in their new home!
If you have any other dogs in the home already, they can really help speed up the adjustment process for your new dog. But make sure to introduce them in “neutral” territory, like outside in the yard, or at a park. Have them become friends somewhere neutral so that coming home is like a slumber party, instead of an unknown invader coming into the home.
Within the first three weeks of bringing your new dog home, they will begin to settle into a routine and get more comfortable. This is the time to establish a good routine, boundaries, and communication. You may also begin to see behavioral problems in the first week that your dog was too stressed out to show before – like barking, chewing, reactivity, etc. In other words, their true self will start to show through!
Dogs crave routine and consistency to understand their new home. If possible, begin with walks around the neighborhood, consistent feeding times, and play/relax routines.
Your dog will be in dire need of direction from you. A solid schedule of basic obedience training will really help them settle into the new home, as well as build their trust in you faster. Jump to our lessons on basic training to get started!
Good training will also teach you how to communicate effectively with your dog, so you can “explain” to them what the rules of the house are. Everyone will have different expectations, so learning good communication, through voice and rewards like petting and food, is essential. Our lesson on “how dogs think”, as well as help from an experienced trainer, will go a long way to making sure you’re actually saying what you want to!
By 3 months of your dog coming to their new home, they will be certain that this is their forever home – congratulations! By now a good routine has established some stability and training and communication has led your dog to trust you even more.
The biggest concern at this stage and going forward is to not slide back on the behaviors you have trained. Dogs, especially adolescent dogs (essentially teenagers!), will always be paying attention to any changes in the rules or expectations. Be very consistent with things like jumping on people, furniture rules (decided by you!), counter-surfing, etc.