Understanding the 3-3-3 Rule for Bringing Home a Rescue Dog

Posted on June 26, 2023 by Pinnacle Vet Clinic

The 3-3-3 rule is a guideline recommended for introducing an adopted rescue dog to your home and helping them adjust to their new environment. It provides a structured approach to give the dog time to acclimate and gradually settle into their new surroundings. Here’s an overview of the 3-3-3 rule.

The First 3 Days

During the first three days, you should aim to create a calm and secure environment for your new dog. Your rescue dog will likely experience some amount of anxiety and may be scared, unwilling to eat or drink, and prefer solitary time in a private space, such as a crate. Keep interactions minimal and give them space to explore their new surroundings at their own pace. Avoid overwhelming the dog with too much attention, introductions to numerous people or pets, or exposing them to noisy or busy environments. Provide a comfortable and designated space for them to retreat to when they feel overwhelmed.

Next 3 Weeks

The next phase of the 3-3-3 rule focuses on building a routine and gradually increasing the dog’s exposure to their new life. Your new best friend will start to feel more comfortable with their new environment. They will begin to show more personality, and it’s likely that they will exhibit some undesirable behaviors. Establish a consistent daily schedule for feeding, exercise, and rest. Begin introducing the dog to various areas of your home and gradually increase their exploration beyond their initial safe space. Start working on basic obedience training, using positive reinforcement methods to establish boundaries and reinforce good behavior. During this time, gradually introduce the dog to new people, pets, and environments, always monitoring their comfort level and providing positive experiences.

Full 3 Months

In the final phase of the 3-3-3 rule, you can begin expanding your dog’s experiences and socialization. Continue with their training, exposing them to different environments, people, and animals. By the end of the three months, your rescue dog should feel completely comfortable and secure in your home, and form a permanent bond with you, and other family members. This period is crucial for developing a strong bond between you and your dog. Monitor their progress, address any behavior issues promptly, and continue to provide a stable and loving home environment.

Final Notes About the 3-3-3 Rule

Remember, the 3-3-3 rule is a general guideline, and each dog’s adjustment process may vary. Some dogs may need more time to acclimate, while others may adapt more quickly. Always observe your dog’s behavior and adjust the pace of their introduction accordingly, ensuring their well-being and comfort throughout the process. Consulting with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist can provide additional guidance tailored to your specific dog’s needs.

Is It Time for a Veterinary Check-Up?

Keeping your dog up to date on all vaccinations and testing is essential to the well-being of your furry friend. If it’s time to get your dog in for a check-up, we invite you to reach out to us to schedule a visit.

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