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Just like for humans, moving to a new environment can be overwhelming for dogs. The 3 3 3 rule is a well-known technique for ensuring a smoother transition for dogs when they enter a new environment. This guideline aims to help dogs adjust comfortably to a new home or family by respecting their inherent fear and anxiety during this time. The rule suggests that it takes approximately three days for a dog to adjust to a new environment, another three weeks to begin feeling comfortable, and three months before the animal feels completely settled in.

Fearful dog hiding

The first 3 days – 3 3 3 rule

In the first three days in a new home, a dog is likely feeling overwhelmed and scared. He might be unsure of what is going on and not yet comfortable enough to show his true self. His new home may have caused him to lose his appetite, feeling too scared to eat or drink. As a result of feeling so uncertain, he may try to shut down and seek the safety of his crate or even try to hide underneath a table. He is still testing the boundaries of his new home and trying to understand the new family dynamic he is a part of.

Introduce them slowly to their new surroundings, allowing them to explore one room at a time. Provide a comfortable and safe space for them to relax, such as a crate or designated bed.

The first 3 weeks – 3 3 3 rule

Limit your dog’s exposure to new things and people and keep them on a leash

Dog secure in crate

or in a crate when you cannot supervise them. It is also important to set up a routine for feeding, walking and playtime to give your dog some structure, which can help reduce stress and anxiety. Additionally, start training your dog with basic commands, such as sit, stay and come, to establish a positive rapport and to help them learn the rules of their new home. In weeks 1 to 3, it is crucial to provide a sense of stability and consistency to help your adopted dog adjust to their new home.

The First 3 months – 3 3 3 rule

After a period of approximately three weeks, your newly adopted shelter dog is likely to have found his footing in his new home. Your dog may display a stronger attachment to you. This is due to a process known as bonding, where the dog forms a strong emotional connection with their primary caregiver. During this period, it is important to continue established routines and provide consistent care and attention to your furry companion. This helps to build trust and reinforces the bond between you and your dog. Giving your pet positive reinforcement through training and playtime can further strengthen your relationship.

Happy do in the yardThe 3 3 3 rule can be a helpful guide for pet parents who have recently adopted or rescued a dog. It’s important to understand that every dog is unique and may require more or less time to adjust to their new home. By implementing the 3 3 3 rule, pet parents can help their furry friend feel safe, secure, and comfortable, and build a strong foundation for a happy and healthy relationship. Remember, patience, consistency, and lots of love are key when it comes to helping your furry friend adjust to their new home.




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