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Adopt, Adjust, and Thrive with Your New Dog.

Updated: Jul 10


Adopting a dog is more than just bringing a pet into your home; it’s about welcoming a new family member, a loyal companion, and a friend for life. If you’ve ever considered adopting a dog from a rescue or shelter, you’re not alone. Many good people are drawn to the idea of giving a homeless dog a second chance. But what does the adoption process entail, and how can you ensure a smooth transition for your new furry friend? Let’s explore the heartwarming journey of dog adoption, the initial adjustment period known as the 3-3-3 rule, and the importance of building trust and setting boundaries.


Shelters and rescues both play important roles in animal welfare, yet they differ significantly in their structure and operations.


Animal shelters are funded by the local government. They act as temporary homes for animals in immediate need, juggling high intake numbers. On the flip side, rescue organizations often fueled by private donations and run by passionate volunteers. Rescues often rely on foster home networks that allow dogs to receive personalized care and attention until they find their forever families. Shelters are under pressure to make room for new intakes quickly, while rescues have more time to secure the perfect match for each furry friend.


Rescue organizations often help shelter dogs that cannot handle the shelter environment. Foster homes give dogs more time to decompress, enabling foster families to gain a better understanding of the dog's temperament and needs. Many rescue organizations have a foster-to-adopt option to see if the dog fits in your life. This allows additional dogs to be saved. If you are unsure if you are ready for a dog you can foster to see if the decision is right for you. Many dogs are returned due to adopters failing to research the breed or understand the time commitment necessary, fostering allows you to dip your feet in.


Finding Your Perfect Match


The first step in adopting a dog is finding the right fit for your lifestyle and home environment. Be honest with yourself on how much time you have and how active your life is. Is this your first dog? or your first dog in a long time. You can find purebred dogs through rescue, but make sure to fully research the physical, mental and health needs of that breed to ensure the dog will be a good fit. Shelters are filled with dogs of all shapes, sizes, and personalities, each with their own story and unique needs. Spend time visiting shelters, meeting different dogs, and asking about their histories and temperaments. It’s not just about finding a dog; it’s about finding Your dog.


Once you’ve met a few potential matches, the shelter or rescue will guide you through their application and fee process. This ensures that both you and the dog are ready for the commitment ahead. And when you find that special connection, you’ll know it’s time to bring your new friend home.


Adjusting to a New Home and the 3-3-3 Rule


Welcoming a new dog into your home is an exciting time, but it’s also a significant adjustment for your new pet. The 3-3-3 rule helps new dog owners understand the stages of a dog's adaptation process.


The First 3 Days expect your dog to feel overwhelmed and nervous. They might not want to eat or drink much and they may need some space to acclimate to their new surroundings.


By the First 3 Weeks as your dog starts to feel comfortable in their new home and they start to trust you more, you’ll see their personality begin to emerge. They’ll begin to understand your routines and start to settle in.


Around the First 3 Months your dog will feel more at home. They’ll have built a strong bond with you, and will feel secure in their new environment.


Understanding this timeline can help you remain patient and supportive as your dog adjusts to their new life. Some dogs may take longer and that's okay, with patience you'll discover that there is a dog that is grateful to have landed at their fur-ever home. Stay consistent.


Building Trust and Setting Boundaries


Adopting a dog is just the beginning of a journey towards building a trusting relationship, spend quality time with your dog through walks, playtime, and quiet moments together. Consistency and patience are your key in helping your dog feel safe and loved.


Instead of focusing solely on obedience training, consider the importance of boundaries training. This involves setting clear rules about what is and isn’t acceptable behavior in their new home. Teaching your dog where they can go, what they can chew on, and establishing routines for feeding and bathroom breaks are all part of this process.


The Joy of Housebreaking


Housebreaking is a crucial aspect of integrating your new dog into your home. Establish a regular bathroom schedule and take your dog to the same spot each time. Positive reinforcement, such as treats and praise, will help reinforce good behavior and accelerate the housebreaking process.


Handling Behavioral Issues


It's not uncommon for shelter dogs to exhibit fear-based reactivity or other behavioral problems as they adjust to their new environment. These issues can be challenging and may require professional intervention. If you find yourself struggling with your new dog's behavior, remember that you’re not alone. Contact Us to schedule a free consultation with our trainer. We are here to help you and your newly adopted dog work through any problems, ensuring for an all around harmonious and happy transition. Click here to contact us.


A Fun Bonding Game: The Shell Game


One of the best ways to build focus and bond with your new dog is through interactive play. One of our favorite game is the Shell Game, this is a simple yet engaging activity that you and your dog will enjoy, and the best part is you probably have all that you need right now. Let’s play this simple game with your dog.


  1. Gather three cups and a treat.

  2. Show your dog the treat, then place it under one of the cups.

  3. Shuffle the cups around while keeping your dog’s attention.

  4. Encourage your dog to find the treat by pawing or nudging the correct cup.

  5. Celebrate when your dog finds the treat with lots of praise and affection.


Now that was fun! This game not only sharpens your dog’s focus, but also strengthens your bond through fun and interactive play.


Share Your Story


Have you recently adopted a dog or are you thinking about it? We’d love to hear your stories. Share your experiences in the comments below or on our social media pages. If you know someone who’s considering adopting or fostering a dog, please share this article with them. Together, we can create a community of support for these wonderful animals and their new families.


Need assistance in training your newly adopted dog? We are excited to announce the launch of our new Fur-ever Homes 3-3-3 Training Journey a 12 week program designed specifically to help newly adopted dogs settle successfully into their new homes! We understand the unique challenges that newly adopted dogs may face and are here to provide personalized guidance and support. Click on this link  to schedule your initial consultation. Enjoy a $50 sign-on discount when you commit during your initial consultation. This offer is our way of helping you and your newly adopted dog start off on the right paw.


Adopting a dog is a journey filled with love, challenges, and rewards. With patience, understanding, and the right guidance, you and your new furry friend can build a beautiful life together.


HAPPY TRAINING!


ANIMAL HOUSE ACADEMY DOG TRAINING TEAM

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