Rescue Dogs. Three Days, Three Weeks, Three Months

There has been a massive surge in dogs being surrendered to shelters and charities in 2022. Luckily though, there are still people adopting dogs.

It is exciting and equally terrifying to bring a rescue dog into your life. You have probably wondered about the amount of time, love and patience required with a rescue dog.

Dogs are sentient beings and we need to look at them in three ways. Firstly as a species, they are dogs and can only behave like dogs. We are able through training to communicate with them, but they will always be animals. Secondly, we need to look at them as a breed. Dogs traditionally had jobs and each different breed was developed to accentuate a particular body feature or behavioural trait in them. Your rescue may be a mixed breed so you may have a couple of breeds to think about. This is an important consideration because those breed traits need to fit your lifestyle. Finally, we need to look at the dog as an individual. They are animals with the mental capacity of a human toddler and their own individual personality.

To help the transitional period of adopting a rescue dog many rescue charities promote the 3-3-3 Rescue Rule. This refers to the first 3 Days, 3 Weeks and 3 Months of your rescue dog’s life with you. Let’s look at the three stages.


3 Days 

Your new companion will probably be scared and unsure of what is going on. They are probably not comfortable ‘being themselves’ and may even be unable to eat or drink. In a worse case scenario, you new dog may even hide under furniture or in their crate.


3 Weeks

Your dog will be  starting to settle in and be more comfortable. They’ve worked out their new environment and daily routines and start to think they have a forever home. Your dog will let their guard down by this stage and start to show their personality. This could also be the time when any behaviour issues may show up.


3 Months

Your rescue will have a sense of security in your home. They will be building trust and a bond with you and will be into a routine. Your new dog will be comfortable in their new home.

While this isn’t a scientifically proven rule, it’s incredibly useful for reassuring and setting the expectations of new rescue dog families. It may take longer than 3-3-3 and that’s OK. Progress is always better than perfection in anything and in those first three months how your dog feels is way more important than what they do. You have years to teach your dog to walk next to you, sit and stay or come back when called.

That bond and relationship between you and your dog is what brings the real joy and fulfilment.

If you are thinking of adopting a rescue dog, we can set you up for success and make sure you have everything you need.  Contact us today to book your rescue dog pre-arrival session.






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