Understanding the 3-3-3 Rule

Transitioning a shelter dog from life in the shelter into its new home can be both exciting and unpredictable. For some dogs, this transition is seamless and they are thrilled to begin their new life with you. For others, this transition can be very stressful. During this transitional time, we refer adopters to the 3-3-3 rule. This rule acts as a general guideline for the phases your shelter dog may experience after they are brought to their new home. Check out these tips from our friends at RescueDogs101 for what you can expect when adopting a rescue pup. 

1. Three Days: In the first three days, your new family member will likely feel very overwhelmed by their new surroundings. It is very common that they act timid around you or do not want to eat or drink. Some animals may be so stressed out that they want to hide completely. This is normal, so try not to get discouraged!

2. Three Weeks: This phase is when your new pet starts to become more comfortable with you and their new surroundings. They begin to build trust with you and let their guard down more. This is also the time when your four-legged friends begin adjusting to your routine. However, this is also the time when you may begin to see behavior issues show up. This is when you have to be a strong owner and help your animal learn right from wrong. 

3. Three Months: At three months, your pet's true personality will finally shine through. They should be completely comfortable in their new home, and they should completely trust you as an owner. They have adjusted to your routine and adapted it as their own. They're part of your family now!

Remember, shelter animals often have a backstory that we humans are unaware of. We don't know what kind of trauma they have been through, and we don't always know what they want. It is your responsibility as a new pet parent to be patient and allow your new friend to adjust in their own time. We promise it'll be worth it in the end!

For more information and resources, please visit the RescueDogs101 website

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