3-3-3 Dog Adjustment Period
If you haven't heard of the 3-3-3 rule, this may help you understand what pets, and mainly dogs, go through upon being adopted. We also use this rule during petsits to better understand what the dogs may go through and not push them too hard when they are feeling stressed about new situations.
The 3-3-3 rule refers to the amount of time an individual pet needs to adjust in their new home. It will vary for each pet, but the 3-3-3 rule helps give an approximate timeline of what to expect when you bring your new pet home (Or when they are with a new petsitter!). It starts with the first three days, three weeks, then three months.
The first three days: The pet may be very overwhelmed, new surroundings can be scary. Common signs of stress may show as a lack of appetite, hiding, or some may test boundaries and try to push their limits to see what they can get away with right away. Be prepared to pet proof your home before getting a pet. Tips - Stay calm, give them space, start routines immediately, give clear instructions, do not force them to do anything they're not ready for, and stay positive and patient! (This is exactly how we at Feathers To Flowers interact with pets during petsitting. Pushing them when they are uncomfortable may cause more distress)
The first three weeks: Your pet will be settling in now and getting used to your routines. They will start becoming more comfortable with you and their environment. Their personality will start showing more, and behaviour issues may start to become more apparent. Setting boundaries and expectations through PR is important at this time. If you require assistance, there are many great trainers. Ask a lot of questions, figure out what type of training you would like to do*, and seek help if you need it. There's no shame in asking for help! Training should be fun, not stressful or angry. Tips - Be consistent! Work on obedience training, it's fun, relaxing, and helps the dog build trust with you. Sit, Down, Stay, and Leave it (Out) are some of the basics. You can build a strong bond with your pet by keeping sessions short, but consistent.
The first three months: You pet should now be fully acclimated and comfortable with you and their surroundings. You've build a bond, trust, and helped give them confidence and sense of security. They may now know their schedule well, and expect to be fed or to do routines at certain times. Tips - Continue with PR training consistently going forward. You will be bonded and have a beautiful relationship with your pet.
In petsitting, we use the same approximate calendar. It helps us, and the client, to know what their pets may be going through, and to help them adjust comfortably to new changes. As above, the first three days are the biggest adjustment for them. Being at their home may help them adjust a little sooner, but it is still a big adjustment none-the-less. Having a long term petsitter helps build that trust with them so they don't have to continuously go through those stressful periods with new sitters. Some dogs may acclimate just fine with new people, but some may take days, to weeks. We strive to build those relationships with your pet to help them achieve peace sooner, less stress, and more fun. After-all, they deserve a stay-cation while you're on vacation!
*At Feathers To Flowers we use Positive Reinforcement, and Fear/Force Free techniques to build long lasting, trusting relationships. We understand and know that every tool has it's place, and when required may use them as per the client. We will refuse to use any tool that is not used appropriately, properly, is damaged, or broken. We also will not use flexi leashes at any time due to safety and liability issues.