Rescue dog 101: helping your rehomed dog settle in

In this post I'm going to look at a super important topic - helping your rescue or rehomed dog settle into their new home.


Whether you’ve just brought home a rescue dog or adopted a dog from a previous owner, I've got you covered with tips and tricks to make this transition as smooth and stress-free as possible.

The '3:3:3 rule'

The 3:3:3 rule is a guideline for helping rehomed dogs adjust to their new homes. It breaks down the adjustment period into three stages:

  • 3 Days: The initial stage
  • 3 Weeks: The adjustment stage
  • 3 Months: The settling in stage

In this short video I'm going to walk you through each stage including what to expect and top tips for helping you and your dog navigate each stage successfully. 

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3 Days Initial stage:

In the first three days, dogs are often overwhelmed by their new environment. They may be scared, anxious, or unsure of what is happening.
  • Behaviours: They might not eat much, have toileting accidents, hide, or appear to 'test boundaries'.
  • Tips: Give them a safe space, limit visitors, and keep interactions calm and gentle and avoid overwhelming your dog. 

3 Weeks Adjustment stage:

After about three weeks, dogs start to settle in and feel more comfortable and start building bond with household members.
  • Behaviours: You might see their true personality start to emerge. They will begin to understand the routine and may start to show more of their behavioural traits.
  • Tips: Establish basic routines, provide easy enrichment, take sniffy walks in familiar places, begin basic reward based training, continue careful socialisation, and provide consistency.

3 Months Settling in stage:

By three months, dogs should feel at home and be fully integrated into the household.
  • Behaviours: They are likely to better understand the household dynamics, and have built trust with their new family.
  • Tips: Continue fun dog training, reinforce good behaviours and provide ongoing love and support.

By following the 3:3:3 Rule, you can help your rescue or rehomed dog transition smoothly into their new home, creating a strong foundation for a happy and healthy life together

Consult a qualified dog trainer or canine behaviourist if you need support or have any concerns. Take a look at the dog training support I offer both in person and virtually.

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