September 21, 2023

The 3-3-3 rule – your guide to a successful dog adoption

This is Stella Rose, a sweet three-year-old Anatolian Shepherd that came into Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region (HSPPR) as a stray earlier this summer. Despite our best efforts at finding her family, nobody came forward for her, and she was ready to find a new home.

Stella Rose was adopted and returned to HSPPR on three separate occasions, never spending more than a month in her new home. Even though she loved meeting new people, her desire for constant attention was an overwhelming experience for both her new owner and this sweetheart. Stella Rose eventually found the perfect fit, a family that would be patient as she adjusted and settled into her new home.

October is the month every year when we turn our hearts toward the hopeful dogs waiting to find new homes during Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. This month-long campaign serves as a reminder that local animal shelters are diligently working to find each dog a loving and stable new home. If now is the right time for your household, October is a great time of year to adopt a new furry friend into your family!

The 3-3-3 Rule

At HSPPR, we understand that welcoming a new dog into your life can be an exciting and fulfilling experience. However, we are also aware that this transition can be overwhelming and stressful for both the dog and the new owner. This is why we recommend following the 3-3-3 rule when introducing your new dog to your home.

Most dogs will need time to adjust to their new surroundings, just like us. The goal of the 3-3-3 rule is to help your new dog adjust to their new environment and build a strong foundation to settle in at home. The 3-3-3 rule is significant because it emphasizes the need for patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement during this transitional period. Dogs thrive on routines and familiarity and need time to adjust to new environments and build trust with their new family. 

  • The First Three Days
    • Dogs need the first three days to decompress from all the recent changes in their life. It’s important to give them plenty of space and time to acclimate to their new surroundings. They might be confused, nervous, or scared at first as they experience new sights, smells, and sounds. Your new dog might be more on the shy side during this time, so you can limit their exposure to other pets and family members to help keep them from becoming overwhelmed.
  • The First Three Weeks
    • The next three weeks is when your new furry family member begins to learn your routine. After the initial three days, you can begin to introduce your dog to other pets and family members. It’s important to remember to keep their routine consistent and give them positive reinforcement to reward good behavior. This can be done by praising them in a soft voice or offering tasty treats! Now that the first three weeks have gone by, your new dog should start to settle in and feel more comfortable.
  • The First Three Months
    • During the next three months, continue to reinforce good behavior and gradually their exposure to new experiences. This could be a good time to work on a routine for training, exercise, and playtime to help develop good habits and build confidence. Every dog is different, so remember to stay patient with their progress! By the end of the first three months, your new dog should be fully adjusted to their new home and routine and set up for success in their new home.