Good things come in 3s
While there is no specific secret formula to helping a new dog adjust after adoption, there are a few guidelines and timelines that are helpful to keep in mind.
The Rule of Three is a quick way to think of the different stages of a dogs’ transition in their new home. It takes:
3 days for a dog to decompress
3 weeks for a dog to get into a routine
3 months for a dog to feel at home
What else can you do to make your new dog feel at home? OHS Training and Behavior Manager, Tanya Roberts offers the following advice.
Top 3 things every new dog owner should do.
- Allow your new dog to adjust to you, your home and your routine slowly and calmly. Walk them into your yard on leash, show them the potty area, be very calm and neutral at first. Give them their own space and confine them when they can’t be supervised. Set them up for success.
- Find out what your new dog likes to do and see if they will do these things with you in their new environment. Offer a treat for a sit, or play with a toy. Don’t worry if they don’t seem interested at first. Keep offering the treats and toys over the first few weeks. Your new dog slowly start to engage more and more, showing you that they are relaxing and adjusting.
- Take your dog on short “sniff” walks around your yard or in a quiet area of your neighborhood. Sniffing is very calming and enjoyable for dogs. Allowing your new dog to sniff in one area for as long as they wish is very therapeutic. Keep to a short walk, so you can allow the time it will take for your dog to sniff and relax. Remember to reward calm, relaxed behavior with praise and a small tasty food treat.
Top 3 mistakes new dog owners make.
- Doing too much, too soon. It’s exciting to bring a new dog home, but give them time to adjust. Avoid taking your new dog to meet family and friends, attend events or giving them too much freedom during the first few weeks. Proceed in small, controllable, calms steps so your new pup isn’t overwhelmed.
- Too much training, too soon. Don’t put pressure on your new dog by having an immediate training session, expecting them to sit and down and stay for you. Start by looking for behaviors you like, and rewarding those things with treats or praise.
- Visiting the dog park. Not all dogs either like or do well at a dog park. Even if your new dog’s previous information says they are good at a dog park, you should still wait until you have developed a bond and done some fun training with your new dog and know that they will listen to you.
Every dog will benefit from a training class or one-on-one training suitable for their age and needs. OHS offers a variety of in-person and virtual options. Visit oregonhumane.org/training for more information.