Adopting a rescue dog brings excitement, stress, and worry all at the same time. You may be wondering what the phases of a rescue dog are… how long does it take a rescue dog to adjust to your home? What can you do to help them through the transition of coming home with you? What is the 3-3-3 rule of dogs?

The list of questions can go on forever. Lucky for you, you are in the right place. Rescue Dogs 101 has everything you need in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog.

scared rescue dog with ears back, standing outside on a leash

BEFORE You Bring Home Your Rescue Dog

If you haven’t brought your new rescue dog home yet, here are 4 things you should do before bringing any new dog home:

  1. Dog/puppy proof your house and make sure no electrical wires are hanging on the floor, pick up small items a dog may find enticing to chew, gate off areas of the home you don’t want the puppy to have access to.
  2. Walkthrough your yard and make sure the fence is in good shape with no areas the dog may squeeze or dig under the fence. Check the gates to make sure they are closed and latched.
  3. Purchase a crate and set it up in a quiet place, such as your bedroom. A crate will give your dog a safe place to decompress.
  4. Purchase necessities such as food, food/water bowls, collar, leash, and ID tag. Of course, a few toys and a bone would be nice too.

Most of our dog food, toys, and supplies I buy online at Chewy.com and Amazon. Here is my Amazon shopping list for my recommendation dog products.

happy dog looking at a treat

Bringing Home a Rescue Dog Advice

We have adopted seven dogs and fostered many more over the years, so to say I’ve gone through this phase many times is an understatement.

These steps work and will make your life easier and your dogs transition into your home much smoother.

1. Outside before inside

When you first get home, introduce your new dog to the outside of your house before bringing him inside. Let him take in all the new smells. Show him where he will go potty and make sure to read our post on how to potty train your puppy fast. Then take him for a walk to burn off any extra energy.

2. Bringing a new dog home to another dog

If you have another dog at home, introduce them outside before bringing him inside. Even if they’ve already met at the shelter or foster home.

Take them for a walk together or put the resident dog in the backyard, bring the new dog to the outside of the fence to let them smell each other.

It is important not to let the new dog “invade” your resident dog’s territory. Take this step very slowly.

As hard as it may feel, you should wait 24-48 hours before fully introducing the new dog into your pack. Keep them in separate areas of the house for the first day to let everyone decompress.

IMPORTANT: Please read The Best Way to Introduce a Second Dog Into Your Pack. Take the time to read this because it is so important to do introductions the right way.

3. Introducing your new dog to the inside of your home

Enter and introduce your dog to your house slowly. Restrict his access to one area of the home. He is going to be stressed for the first few days (read the 3-3-3 rule of dogs below), so the smaller the new area is, the more comfortable he will be.

Keep him on a leash for at least the first day, preferably the first 3 days. You don’t always have to hold on to the leash, he can drag the leash around with him, but this gives you quick access to him if needed.

I do this with each of our foster dogs. It helps the dog not get overwhelmed and helps me limit potty accidents.

4. Keep the first few days quiet and low-key

Don’t overwhelm him with visitors coming to see how cute he is. Don’t take him to the dog park. Avoid overwhelming situations altogether.

Wait until he has a chance to get to know you and his new home first. Give him plenty of quiet time to settle in.

Give your new rescue dog a safe area to decompress, this will help him feel more comfortable. An open crate is a great tool to create a comforting den-like area.

5. Create a routine starting day one

Creating a routine will also help your dog feel more comfortable. Schedule his feeding, walks, sleep and playtime.

The sooner you establish a routine, the better you both will feel. A feeding schedule will help with potty training.

6. Training

Research dog training classes. Training is just as much for you the owner, as it is for the dog. Training your dog is so important, please don’t skip this part of being a responsible dog owner.

We have a lot of training resources on our website, take advantage of them. Be proactive, don’t wait until you see the bad behavior.

7. Kids and Dogs

Don’t leave kids alone with your new dog. For the first few weeks, your dog is going to be stressed from moving to a new home he is not familiar with… add a child that just wants to hug and kiss the dog, and it’s a recipe for disaster (i.e. dog bite). Even the nicest dog can bite out of fear and protection.

Recommended reading:

What is the 3-3-3 rule when adopting a dog?

The 3-3-3 rule represents the phases of a rescue dog or common milestones your new dog or puppy will go through.

The 3-3-3 rule is the first 3 days, 3 weeks, and 3 months after bringing your dog home from the shelter.

If you’ve ever started a new job or moved to a new school, you know this feeling. The feeling of being in an unfamiliar place, new surroundings, new people, new rules.

3-3-3 Rule for Rescue Dogs
Download this 3-3-3 rule poster along with other great adoption resources in our Rescue Dogs 101 From Rescue to Home – Your Survival Checklist.

The 3 Days, 3 Weeks, 3 Month Rule (3-3-3 Rule)

How long does it take a rescue dog to adjust? The honest answer is, it depends. Every dog and situation is unique and will adjust differently. Some will follow the 3-3-3 rule to a tee, others will take 6 months or a full year to feel completely comfortable.

The 3-3-3 dog rule is a general guideline of when a rescue dog will adjust to his new home.

Give your dog space and allow him to go at his own pace. You will look back someday and be amazed at the transformation.

In the first 3 days,

your new dog will be overwhelmed with his new surroundings. He will not be comfortable enough to be himself. Don’t be alarmed if he doesn’t want to eat for the first couple of days, many dogs don’t eat when they are stressed. He may shut down and want to curl up in his crate or under the table. He may be scared and unsure of what is going on. Or he may be the opposite and test you to see what he can get away with, kind of like a teenager.

  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Maybe scared and unsure of what is going on
  • Not comfortable enough to be “himself”
  • May not want to eat or drink
  • Shut down and want to curl up in his crate or hide under a table
  • Testing the boundaries

After 3 weeks,

he’s starting to settle in, feeling more comfortable, and realizing this may be his forever home. He has figured out his environment and getting into the routine that you have set. He lets his guard down and may start showing his real personality. Behavior issues may start showing, this is your time to be a strong pack leader and show him what is right and wrong.

  • Starting to settle in
  • Feeling more comfortable
  • Realizing this could possibly be his forever home
  • Figured out his environment
  • Getting into a routine
  • Lets his guard down and may start showing his true personality
  • Behavior issues may start showing up

After 3 months,

your dog is now completely comfortable in his home. You have built trust and a true bond with your dog, which gives him a complete sense of security with you. He is set in his routine and will come to expect his dinner at his usual time.

  • Finally completely comfortable in his home.
  • Building trust and a true bond
  • Gained a complete sense of security with his new family
  • Set in a routine

In conclusion

Enjoy your new rescue dog, he will be your best friend!

The first thing most people want to do is show off their new puppy. Just take it slow, I know you are excited but keep in mind how your dog is feeling. He has been through a lot, he may have lost his family, abandoned in a shelter… it’s all very stressful. He needs time, so give it to him.

Remember the 3-3-3 dog rule is a general guideline. Your dog will go at his/her own pace, it could take 4, 5 or maybe even 6 months. Each dog is unique. Just be there for them, comfort them when they need it and create a positive safe environment and you will be on your way of creating your perfect dog.

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About the Author

Debi McKee is a mom of three kids, three dogs and the creator of Rescue Dogs 101... where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She also volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society.

  1. This was very helpful! I do have a question. I'm adopting a rescue female dog and her first day in her forever home is the same day as her spay. Should I sign an agreement to spay her after 30 days so she can adapt to her home?

    1. I personally feel that having the spay the same day is okay. She will need rest and decompression on her first few days home anyway. This way you get past it and move forward right away.

  2. Last Tuesday, the 27the, we brought home a Shih Tzu mix from the SPCA. She is about 5 years old and the only annoying thing is she sneezes. I suppose its the breed our other dog who is 9 is a maltese mix and he does it too but not as often. The other thing she does is lick a lot. She was found in the street with half a haircut. The pound took her to SPCA since she was so small, got an infection from the cut too short and was on antibiotics before we got her.I took her to our groomer yesterday. Melissa had no problem with her, she was a bit snappy at the toenail part but I know a lot of dogs have that problem. Otherwise she thought it was a sweet dog and Grady has a new friend, its not like they hang out with one another. Actually she let's him sleep in his bed and she loves her kennel with blanket going to introduce toys today. She adapted really quickly I just don't understand how dogs can get out and nobody looks for them. Our other dog we have had 5 years, he was 4 when we got him from a rescue, He had a sweet temperament from the beginning yet ended up in a pound too. I just wonder if people just don't think before they get a puppy, and then when things get a bit rough the dog is out the door;-/

  3. Hi,
    I just adopted a dog about 2wks ago, she has been adopted and returned 3 times and has had many health issues, namely hypothyroidism. The first week I brought her home she seemed really happy, she would play with her toys got excited for her food. She wasn't happy with me having to leave for work, and would get a little mischievous/adventurous. However this week shes mopey and withdrawn, only happy when I get back from work, the mornings are especially hard for her. She doesnt interact as much with her dog walker either.
    I have been trying to figure out if she was just initially excited and is now going through decompression or if she needs her thyroid medication adjusted or is depressed? She had just gotten her bloodwork done noy too long before I got her so the vet didnt repeat it at our visit.
    Any thoughts? Im worried about my new best bud.
    Mari

  4. Hi Debi,

    Ok so we did ever wrong! We got adopted our rescue from a Foster home. We took pur other 2 girls with us to meet him and it was very late when we got home so we basically brought him home spent about an hour with him and went to bed! We did not keep them separated. We did get him on the same schedule as the girls right away and have tried to stick to that. We had our grandkids over a few days later, they are older and he did great with them. So far we have had very few issues except for he marks in the house and tends to get a little aggressive with play. He is approximately 1 year old Shih-tzu mix. We have a 12 year old Shih-tzu and a 2 year old Shih-tzu poodle mix. She is very submissive and our older one is definitely the Alpha, the little guy learned that quick and respects her. My fear is, since we really kind of did everything wrong introducing all of them, he may become more aggressive as he settles in. His foster mom said he had snapped at other dogs suddenly, so far he hasn’t done that, but I am sure his true personality is under there somewhere and when he gets more comfortable it could happen. He has been with us almost 5 days, is there anything I should be doing now, or watching for? Is the marking a sign of dominant behavior? What is the best way to work with him on that? I just want the home to stay peaceful and relaxed! 😊

    1. It’s not too late to take a few steps back. I would recommend separating them, allowing downtime for everyone involved. Since they’ve already been together, you don’t have to do a full 24 hours, but several hours a day. Marking can be a dominate behavior, depends on the dog and situation. I would limit his freedom until the marking stops. You can also use belly bands, we’ve had to use them for our young dog. Read
      How to stop your dog marking in the house

  5. Hi Debi – I adopted a 2 year old cur hound/lab mix in April. At first Ivy was very very shy and shut down, as she had just been rescued from the streets of MS and shipped up to CT. All very stressful for her – I would have to say however, she followed the 3-3-3 guidelines as if she read it for herself. She has done very well with most things and has really adapted very well. Sadly her medical problems were very extensive & expensive. She had every parasitic worm & giardia – all taken care of with Simparica trio, plus she had to have 8 teeth pulled. Now, even though she tested negative when rescued, she's been diagnosed with heartworm. We have an amazing vet and are dealing with her treatments – luckily her demeanor is very very mellow and not hyper at all. My situation is that I have 2 cats, that want nothing to do with Ivy. I know Ivy is not aggressive to cats as she can be with my neighbors cats, even touch noses, because the cat doesn't have a reaction to the dog Ivy doesn't react to the cat. My cats, hiss and run. Which makes Ivy chase – pretty much the only running she does. My real question – while Ivy is going through the most traumatic part of her treatment, she will be crated and sedated most of the time – should I try and put my cats in the same room with Ivy while she is crated and can't chase- so they learn she is not a threat? thanks so much.

  6. I have read the article, but we did not introduce the dogs like that because we did not know. We have never had an issue with any other dog who comes into our house, so we were just thinking it was going to be the same way. Right now we have her on a leash letting her roam the house. It is working, they can be in the same room together without being aggressive. It’s mainly when the new dog gets too playful with our other husky and she gets annoyed and growls, then that makes the new dog instantly retaliate. Same with our other older dog, as soon as she growls or shows her teeth, even if she isn’t going to be aggressive (just a warning) the new dog thinks she has to attack.

  7. Hi!

    I adopted a rescue female Husky almost 3 weeks ago. She was found abandoned in a trailer and in a crate with another dog with no food or water. I have 2 other female dogs and they are still not adapting to her very well. Things have gotten better, but not completely normal yet. There have been several fights that we have had to break up because the new dog does not understand personal space or boundaries, and our dogs do not like it. I hate seeing my dogs getting hurt because of bringing a new dog into the mix. Do you have any recommendations? Do you think this will get better? Or will we always have the issue of them fighting? I don’t want my dogs to feel uncomfortable in their own home. Thanks!

  8. I adopted a 4 month or possibly 5 month beagle
    Mix on Saturday. It has been a mad house since with accidents everywhere. Now I can see where I where the made the mistake of not having a crate the day she came home. But we did have everything else. First night I allowed to go to every room to smell and check things out. Now on day 6 while we wait for our crate and playpen to arrive she is allowed out for time to walk around and interaction and then back into my daughters bedroom. My daughter is 11 and so far very good with her. Potty training is a mess. She might 2 our 5 times go on the pee pads I even bought the natures miracles attractant spray I think she hates it she will smell it and go somewhere else. She sometimes will go on the pads and others she won’t . When she doesn’t I immediately put her on a pad and say “go potty”. She also when can’t get her way like on the bed or couch with I will call air bite lol not sure the technical term or she will try and nibble on my head. But I have noticed now two times while playing she gets overly excited and can be a bit aggressive in play and I am not sure what triggers it. Once I see it I say no firmly and walk away but she will follow trying “bite” and I say this loosely because as first time dog owner I am not sure it’s she’s biting or playing but her mood does change like she won’t trying till I raise my voice a bit. Of course I have so many questions for her vet and I’ve signed up for training that begins Monday. Any suggestions recommendations? Also I was told not to bring her outside till she got her vaccines so she “walks” in the hallway of my building we do it twice a day

    1. I’m not a fan of pee pads. Especially for a 4-5 month old puppy. She is old enough to hold it to get outside. Pee pads are okay for very young puppies that can’t hold it. Start from scratch, read https://www.rescuedogs101.com/potty-train-puppy-fast/.

      And she can and should go outside, just keep her away from other dogs until she completes the vaccinations… which she should have already at this age.

      For the biting, read https://www.rescuedogs101.com/how-to-puppy-stop-nipping-biting/

  9. Good advice! We adopted a beagle mix three weeks ago today. She's a totally different dog, in a good way, than she was then. Today she initiated play, progress! She's a beagle, stubborn and headstrong but a sweetheart, too. She finally seems happy here. We're working on our outdoor manners. Every walk is an adventure! We adopted her from our local humane society but she came here from another state. We don't know much of her past but she has a few scars that make me think she had a tough life. They said she was 5 but her vet said she's younger, 2-3, with beautiful teeth. Still time to learn!! ( Both of us!)

  10. Hi Debi, great site. I just got a 2 year old rescue poodle that had a troubled past 2 days ago. She was abandoned, abused by former owners, and traveled in crates to multiple locations until we found her. The foster mom noted that she likes females, but gets defensive to males. I noticed that too on our first meet and greet. When we brought her into our home, she was very warm and social to us both plus our existing dog, but I noticed she would randomly get into defense mode and start barking at me. Just walking into the room, its like she forgot who I was. Today, she started barking at me again, but actually reached over and bit onto my shorts. Not good. Based on your 3-3-3 rule, I think she is still adjusting, but I hope that this random barking and attacking to males is not some of her true colors and defense behaviors learned from her previous owners. Any advice on how to positively reinforce trust? Not giving up on her.

  11. I don’t know if I just got lucky with this dog or if it was fate for us to meet. We lost our son almost 7 weeks ago, so I wanted/needed a buddy for myself when my s/o is at work. Sancho has been great so far. He was surrendered from the previous owner who says she got him from a rescue in the area. We got him Saturday and it seems like he adjusted well right away almost. He doesn’t bark or growl, only the first 10 minutes of meeting, but now he stays by my side. So far from your list, I’m surprised I’m doing everything right. The only thing I worry about now is his stool. The first time was great color and consistency. But yesterday and this morning, it’s been more diarrhea like. I feed him a half cup 3x a day and he had plenty of water available. He does eat grass which I try to stop him from doing. Should I be worried? I do want to take him for a checkup anyway just for reassurance for myself that he has his shots and is chipped.

    1. So sorry for your loss of your son. And congrats on your new puppy. You’ve had him for 2 days, so it’s all very new for both of you. Continue to give him the time and space he needs. New behaviors (not necessarily good or bad) will start to emerge as he becomes more and more comfortable. I wouldn’t be too concerned about the loose stool unless he is not eating or is lethargic. Of course, I am NOT a vet, so consult yours if you are concerned. If you changed foods from what he was eating before he came to you, that could cause some issues. If it doesn’t get better soon, then for sure get him into your vet.

  12. Hi Debi, we rescued an roughly 6 y/o Aussie mix last September, Lulu. I am just now finding this article and we didn't follow any of these rules when introducing her to our home with our 16 y/o mutt Molly whose sister had just passed a week earlier. But nevertheless she has adapted and doing fine. However, we brought home a new puppy in April (blue heeler) for her to play with when she gets bigger; now new puppy is 5 months old and 30 pounds and they play some. Lulu nor Gracie have known me to leave the house for very long, as I work from home and do school online since 2020. The problem I'm having is lately when I leave the house for a couple of hours at a time, Lulu is peeing in the floor again. She is potty trained and is let out right before I leave. Gracie is fine b/c I leave her in the crate and close the door while I'm gone. I am starting to return to work some and will be gone 3 days a week starting August. Any suggestions on things I can do to help prevent Lulu from having accidents? I don't think anything is medically wrong with her, I truly believe she has anxiety when I leave. I know every situation is unique, just wondering if you had any thoughts on the matter. Thanks.

  13. Hi, I got a rescue dog 2.5 weeks ago. He is very loving inside the home with me and my partner and he lets us pet him and touch him anywhere. Outside he is a disaster. He is scared of people and dogs, and anything that is loud or has quick movements. He is 11 months old and all we know is that he is a stray. He has growled and barked at people sometimes, especially if they are near me. I think he is being overly protective of me and this is concerning, especially since there are many kids in our close family. I feel like I don't have confidence that he may not bite someone. When he is outside he doesn't take treats, probably because he is so anxious and scared. I have also tried slowly introducing him to a family member but he is still on very high alert and can still growl. The dog is a pointer mix and seems to have a very protective nature. I am worried we won't be able to to have any people over or go anywhere with him to others houses. Please let me know if you think this is something that can be changed or may take a long time. He may not fit with our lifestyle.

    1. Yes it can be changed. Yes it can take a long time. Every dog is different so I can’t give you an exact timeline. But I can tell you it will take time and training and patience.

  14. Hi Debi,

    I adopted a dog five days ago, she's three and was a rescued stray. So far she is actually very well-behaved in terms of general commands, not chewing things she shouldn't and walking on a leash, but she is incredibly afraid of my stairs. She will go up, but not down. I added treads so she wouldn't slip on them, but she's still afraid. How do I remedy this?

    Also, I can't get her to poop outside. She pees sometimes outside, but never poops, and only poops inside when I'm not around for a bit either because of work or just showering.

    1. Congrats on your new adoption! For the stairs, have you tried putting treats on each tread? Use a treat she can’t resist. Another option would be to find a friend with a dog that does well with stairs to show your dog that it’s okay. Dogs learn quickest by watching other dogs behaviors. For the pooping outside, you will need to limit her freedom inside until she gets the idea of potty outside only. Use a playpen or a crate. She obviously still isn’t comfortable enough to poop in front of you, so be patient and try taking longer walks outside. Go back to the basics of potty training. Read https://www.rescuedogs101.com/potty-train-puppy-fast/

  15. Hi Debi, I've adopted a stray dog 5 days back. She used to live in front of our house and had a couple of friends there. I brought her home because she has always been friendly and affectionate towards me and my family. Before, she used to spend the day at our house and leave at night.
    But ever since I brought her home she has been very restless, especially at night. She also has to be forced to be brought back in after walks. It has been only 5 days but my family members are already frustrated because of her whining and crying at night, they also tend to feel bad for her and says that I'm holding her captive.
    Will this ever resolve? will she adjust to our home? How long it could take her to settle with us and bond with me, if she ever does?

    1. 5 days is such a short time. She has lived on the streets for her entire life. Can it get better? Yes. But it will take months, maybe even years… it all depends on the dog.

  16. I've rehomed a jack Russell she is about 4yrs old. From what I've found out the old owner fed her only on cat food so I'm finding it tough to get her to eat. I've now had her 3 weeks and worried she's nit eating enough, I've given her chicken and she eats that fine. Any ideas would be great, thank you x

    1. You can mix in chicken broth, wet dog food, warm water, freeze dried meal toppers, olive oil, eggs, sweet potatoes, tuna, salmon oil, etc.
      Or you could even try using his food as a form of treats throughout the day rather than set feeding times.

  17. My 8 month old German Shepherd is very sweet and playful with me but not with others. How can I fix this?

    1. Not others? People or dogs? GSD’s are known to be loyal to one person so it doesn’t surprise me he doesn’t want to play with other people. And if he doesn’t want to play with other dogs, there could be many reasons, lack of confidence or simply his personality.

  18. Hi Debi,

    Just curious. Would you consider the 3-3-3 rule strictly?

    Wouldn't there be some dogs that take far longer to come out of their shell and show their personalities etc?

    And if that's the case, would you rather just go with the gut feeling instead?

    But thank you for your content, it certainly is informative!

    I had a rescue Chihuahua (has passed on, sadly) who took several months to trust us before becoming the best dog I could ever have. This article reminded me of him and the good times we had.

    1. All dogs are unique and yes of course the 3-3-3 rule is fluid and I state several times that this is a GENERAL rule only. Some dogs take less time while others could take a year. Every situation and dog is different.

  19. I rescued a 7 month old beagle mix 1 month ago. She is sweet and I was told that she likes to chew things but she is destroying things in record pace. She doesn't destroy furniture or things but any toys or crate beds that are given to her are torn apart pretty quickly. I have her in training and she has had 1 session so far. I was told to distract her when she does this but that doesn't work. Is this something that she could outgrow? I don't

    1. Most puppies will outgrow the chewing phase. But at 7 months she should be reaching the end of that phase. I would use a play pen when you can not supervise 100% and even a long leash while you are around the house to prevent any issues.

  20. Hello!

    We have had our rescue dog for 2 months now. She has bonded more quickly with myself but not as much with my husband, although she has gotten better. She gets excited when he gets home from work but shies away from him. Will this get better? She is still not 100 percent with me elither. At the vet last week I believe she was really scared and Nipped at the vet . She is a very gentle dog and does not display aggresive behavior. Is that normal?

    Thank you,

    1. It’s all very normal. Remain patient. Have your husband feed her one of her meals and take her for walks. As for the vet, it’s most likely it was all out of fear. Vets office visits are stressful for most dogs. Your vet should be willing to take it slow with her, understanding that she is still transitioning to her new home.

  21. Question, we got a rescue recently, she was over friendly, jumping in my husband’s lap while in his chair, my husband was getting out of chair, a recliner, the dog may have twisted his leg, now he won’t go near my husband and cowards away from him . Do you think he will get past this?

  22. I have had my rescue for 2 weeks now (husky/shepherd mix) and she’s really testing her boundaries so this is a useful guide. It’s clear she’s also never been in a home before and was a street dog, so it’s been difficult dealing with her pent up energy since she’s still afraid of the leash. She is extremely loving though and a kind soul. She’s really bonded with me and always wants me to play, which is a bit difficult now that I’m dealing with that attention seeking!

    A new situation came up though and my sister in law was rescuing a dog but she suffered a recent trauma that means she won’t be able to care for it for a bit as she is hospitalized. The dog is already being transported and was scheduled to arrive soon. The dog is male and is said to be friendly with other dogs. Could I take this dog (separating the dogs at first) or does this spell extreme trouble?

  23. So appreciate the above information. Inherited Daisy: a lab mix, 35 pounds, 3 years old , from a foster parent. Been with me for only 3 days: a true challenge. Yet your insight gives makes me more comfortable to see what Daisy is doing and her behavior is normal. Thank you

  24. Hi! Thanks for this info. I’m planning on sending my new dog to day care a couple times per week. How long should I wait before I send him? Right now, he’s a little unsure and is testing boundaries.

    He’s a year old and was fostered with another dog (only for two weeks.. before that he was a stray). His foster said they wrestled basically all the time unless they were crated. I want to make sure I’m giving him an appropriate outlet for his puppy energy, but not overwhelming him.

    Thanks for your help!

  25. Thanks for your response, the yorkie has definitely bonded with me and let’s me do anything with her regards physio, grooming, applying protective footwear etc. and she follows me everywhere. I have sought advice and had mixed reactions but many have said some dogs just don’t like others for no obvious reasons (just like people). My main concerns are in no particular order:-
    1) The effect this is having on our resident dog, she is so sweet & patient with everything and I don’t want her personality to change. Realistically it could mean she will no longer be able to have her doggy friends in any more due to this little ones reactions.
    2) The little yorkie although has been through a lot and has medication she is doing brilliantly. She is with us 24/7 and is great at grasping routine and making her needs known. I continually communicate with vet nurse who fostered her from day she was found. We have talked long before and since we took her on so I know everything she did with her and her great progress is confirmed.
    3) I do not want her to bond further if realistically it is not going to improve.
    4) My husbands diagnosis has come as a shock. I have big family and I will need to help with my husband as his condition deteriorates. The road ahead with him will not be easy so it may be unfair for this little dog to have to cope with everyone coming and going if she has a jealous streak.
    5) She is amazing and so loving but would she be better as an only dog lavished with 1:1 attention she wants and deserves? She is so tiny maybe she would be better with another yorkie as she is too delicate to mix with bigger dogs even on walks due to her injury?
    6) I am fearful the yorkie will bite a child &/or maybe my older dogs patience will break.
    7) I know I will be riddled with guilt whatever I do. When or what is a decider? I want what’s best for all.

    1. I hate to say it, but it sounds to me that you know the answer in your heart. You have a rocky road ahead with your husband, I can’t image how heartbreaking that is for you all. Have you talked to the vet nurse for her opinion?

  26. Hi Debi, my husband and I are both retired, home all day and have had dogs all our lives including rescue. We currently have an active 10 yr old west/toy poodle spayed female owned from pup who is very sociable and biddable and welcomes all dogs people and children to our house without exception, she is not demanding of attention at all but loves to politely say hello to everyone. 4 weeks ago we took in a 3-5 yr old (estimated) tiny stray yorkie who is recovering from a spinal op after being found paralysed from waist down, 3 months post op she is able to walk albeit very wobbly and is slowly regaining control of her bodily functions. She is adorable, very loving, bold and determined but despite careful introduction and our dogs gentle nature she is very snappy to our dog if she seeks any form of attention from anyone. Our dog never reacts and just moves away. I have resolved this with us by being alpha, giving them equal attention and using a firm no and withdrawing attention when the yorkie snaps, only allowing her back into interaction when she stops and accepts the other dog being petted. However we have introduced the yorkie very slowly to new things and she is fine but still terrible when we meet people or family visit and our dog wants to say hello to anyone. The yorkie is fine with our dog indoors, eating together, walking together on and off lead all of which is great for encouraging the yorkies mobility but our dog is becoming very sad and depressed at being unable to say hello to anyone. The yorkie has snapped at two people who stroked our dog and I am worried about my grandchildren when lockdown eases. Now added to this my husband has been diagnosed with early stages of Alzheimer’s/vascular dementia mixed. I love this little yorkie and don’t want to let her down but i have to do what’s best for both dogs. Please advise x

    1. It sounds like the yorkies behavior is fear or maybe even pain based? 4 weeks is still pretty early in her adjustment period. Hard to say for sure, but I’d guess she’d gain confidence and trust in you over the next couple months or so. I agree your family and what is best for dogs is priority. Is it possible to talk to an experienced dog behaviorist? They may be able to offer some insight.

  27. Debi-
    My husband and I (we are both retired) are in the process of adopting an almost 2 year old Shih Tzu from our local Humane Society. He has already lived in 2 different homes. We are experienced pet owners, but always with larger dogs, we are kind of nervous about having this little guy. If it were just us and our GSP, who stays outside in a kennel, I wouldn’t be so uncertain. My “problem” is our daughter and her 90lb, 4 year old Weim! They have been coming to our house every weekend since Covid began. He is a good boy, but he is Alpha in their little family and she has taught him nothing about obedience (nor let us)!
    I have read your 3-3-3 article and I saw a few more articles I plan to read.
    My daughter is absolutely awesome!! She is divorced, no kids, and a social worker. She is all about research and is who found the article I just read. So…my question is, how do I attempt to get our little guy and our big guy together without he big one eating our little?
    We love our daughter very much & I don’t want a new dog to hurt our relationship!
    Any advice?
    Thank you!!
    New Shih Tzu mom

  28. Hi Debi, I have adopted a 3 yo rescue dog for 5 months now. He was fine in the first 2 months but started showing fearful behavioural issues after that. We were not informed of his anxieties prior to that. We decided to work on it anyway and engaged a behaviourist for 4 months now. He is also on meds for his anxieties. But the thunder phobia is severe and it doesn’t help that we have to be out for work and he has recently developed separation anxiety. Not sure what else to do.

  29. Hi,
    I’ve adopted a beautiful boy, podenco x greyhound. He loves my other two dogs and is very playful. We’ve only had him 5 days, and he seems to be suffering with separation anxiety, especially where I am concerned. I am trying to extend the amount of time I leave him with my other two, who seem very relaxed around him, even when barking when I leave the room. He is especially bad at night, we have a routine with our other two dogs (3 yrs female and 11 yrs female). He barks within 5 mins of leaving him at night, so I come down, try to settle then leave him again. I do allow home to bark or whine for about 10 mins before re-entering the room.
    I have had to then sleep downstairs after about the third occasion, as we are attached to our neighbours.
    My husband thinks he should be settled immediately and gets frustrated at me for Arlo now settling into a night routine, sleeping with his two fur sisters. I have tried to tell him it can take a good couple of weeks to become settled. Please help me. He came from a home with three children under 11yrs. But did like a crate.
    Many thanks

  30. We adopted a rescue 5 weeks ago. He does ok, but is very quite anxious especially in the evenings. Pacing and panting, can’t settle down. He has also nipped my husband and brother in law. I believe was situational too close to his food bowl and drying wet paws. Also, hand feeding him and petting at the same time it happened again. He also snarled at my 11 year old neice unprovoked. What do we do? We are getting to the point we almost want to return him. It is very stressful.

  31. Hi! I just adopted what we believe to be a 2yr boxer. It’s day 3 and he’s actually been really good. He’s house broken and does pretty well in the crate, only whines a bit before settling down. He likes being around both me and my bf. The shelter told us he’s good with people, kids and dogs and his foster vouched for this after having him 2 weeks. He mainly needs work on basic manners. He doesn’t seem to know any common commands and could get a little jumpy when he’s excited to see us.We haven’t ventured out with him and we have a backyard so I was going to wait a week until we start taking him on walks. I have two questions:

    1) Is it possible this is too good to be true?
    2)How soon is too soon to take him out to public places where there may be dogs and people? Or is it a good time to start testing his behavior in public? At this point he’s only interacted with my and my BF in our home. (Other than his experience with his foster)

    -V

  32. hi debi, just a short note, as you know i adopted my Loki about 3 weeks ago. he has settled in so nicely and so has mom and dad. he does have separation anxiety realy bad, so we are working on that. we are signing him up for training in a few weeks, which we be beneficial to him and us. he got away from us a few days ago and we had a realy hard time catching him. he didnt hear any of my callings, he just wanted to run. he ran for an hour before we could get him. that wont happen again,hopefully

  33. This is very helpful and I wish I had found it sooner. We’ve had our new family member just over a week. Given my words on introducing her to her home and our other dog she has adjusted amazingly well. She is not good aggressive but I just found out that it’s recommended to place their food in separate rooms until they are very secure in their own food bowls and schedule. We have scheduled morning and evening feed times and it has made it easier on her system to adjust to bathroom breaks as well. The first few days we found poop in the house but not the last 6 days. She was confused on which feeding spot was hers and today we were advised to use different rooms. I feel strongly that she will adjust well. My only question would be when introducing a rescue dog to another rescue that is used to being the only dog….. how can you let both know they’re loved without the first dog feeling replaced?

  34. I just rescued an Australian shepherd/pointer mix, about 16 months old. He lived with 3 other dogs in his foster home, and was deemed dog-friendly. He is my only dog in the house. When we go on walks he wags his tail at other dogs and wants to go meet them, after a few seconds of sniffing, a switch happens and he starts growling at them. I had a friend bring over her puppy, and he would get aggressive when he sniffed the puppy, the puppy was interested in his toys or when I held the other puppy. What is causing him to be aggressive and is this normal to happen during a transition phase? What can I do to help make him more comfortable? We are on day 4.

  35. We’ve had our rescue husky, Luna, for about 2 weeks now. I feel she’s definitely acclimated with my husband and I and our 6 month old. She is slowly letting us in and she does well with our other dog, buttercup who even went into her crate and luna was fine. However, luna still does a little growl and a bark at my mother in law but only really when she tries to call her over. I don’t know if it’s because she doesn’t see her all day, we stay at home all day with her, or if she’s just not comfortable yet. But I just want to know how to fix it, give her more time or it’s a behavior I need to worry about

    1. It sounds to me that it’s out of fear not agression. Try and have your MIL feed Luna treats, maybe sit on the floor and allow Luna to approach her without forcing it. 2 weeks is still very new. Give her time and she will learn to trust more and more every day.

  36. Hello. I adopted a dog from a rescue. She came from a hoarding situation, and that is all I know about her past. She is extremely fearful of everything, and only wants to stay in her bed. I cannot get her to get up out of the bed on her own, and I have tried everything. I have tried waiting for her to have to go to the bathroom bad enough,, but I was concerned that she might create a health problem by holding it in for too long. She is a Golden Retriever mix, and she is so heavy. It is difficult for me to try to make her get up to go outside to potty. She did go out on her own a few times without a leash, but that ended up with her hiding in the corner of my backyard behind some rose bushes. I have Parkinson’s, and I was not able to get her out. My sister had to come over and do it. This morning I thought I would try seeing if she would get out of her bed and come with me into the living room (where she has been staying for the past week). She heard me pouring her food, and it looked very promising…. she stood up in her bed and started wagging her tail! She even got out of her bed when I said “let’s go Maggie.” She was still wagging her tail. But when she got to the doorway, she retreated back to her bed, and she hasn’t gotten back up again. Advice would be greatly appreciated!

  37. Hello! My husband and I rescued a dog almost three weeks ago and we have been having issues with her escaping our fenced in yard. We have reenforced our fence in every way imaginable and have tethered her as well. We are keeping a close eye on her any time she is in the yard now, even though she is tethered and are worried about her teaching our other dog how to escape. We are wondering if this is something that is typical of rescue dogs and hopefully will go away once she becomes more settled?

  38. Your website is so informative and has put my mind at rest. I foster dogs and for the first time EVER I have such a nervous timid dog, who won’t go out and pee which really concerns me. But having read your advice and replies to other peoples’ concerns, I’m just going to give it time and not worry too much about not peeing. It’s only been a couple of days, so fingers crossed it will all come good. Thnk you Debi.

  39. Me my mum and dad recently adopted 2 rescue dogs. Both female, both very very scared. Ones better than the other and loves to play and bounce around but the other is so shy and wees quite a lot in the house because of how scared she is all the time. She wants to be on her own doing her own thing she doesn’t want to be with anyone else. They’re both rescued dogs from the streets of Greece and both don’t like men. They aren’t bonding with my dad and we’re really struggling to get them bonding properly, to the point where we’re looking at sending them back to their shelter. We really don’t want to send them back, but we can’t think of any other option. It’s been 8 weeks now and not much has improved, please help 🙁

    1. These dogs had no home life before adopting them. They need a lot of time to learn and adjust. 8 weeks seems like forever for you, but for them it’s still all so new. Even for a well adjusted dog that has lived in a home previously, it could take upward of 3 months. Your dogs have not had any benefit of living with people in a home until now. It could take many more months, maybe even a year. It all depends on the dog. I understand the frustration but if you can hang in there I’m sure you will slowly see improvements. Maybe if your family could hire a behaviorist trainer they could help you.

  40. I rescued a shihtzu x about a month and a half ago.She started off scared, than went to loving, now she’s acting aggressive. Is this normal?

  41. Hi, It was so lovely to read your website. I have rescued 9 dogs over the years. I have now adopted a 17 month old German Shepherd X from Dogs Trust 6 days ago. She is so nervous and needs training which I was aware of , but over the years I have had dogs I never had a dog that has had diarrhoea since the day he/she came in my home. Have had some Pro kolin from the vets but she is still very runny at times. She is settling in well and I am aware with fireworks this could also not help. Dont want to go to vets again unless I have to but was thinking of giving her Chappie with her dry food instead of boiled chicken and rice. She is loving and comes when I call her. Any information would be most appreciated. Thankyou. Suzanne

  42. I am fostering to adopt a dog from a shelter….she is excellently trained and sweet….but she appears extremely depressed and cries non stop to go outside and cries outside sniffing the air and looking around…she has no interest in toys, bones, play etc…I have had her for about a month and she was in a shelter for about 6-7 weeks… it is difficult to bond as she appears indifferent and only seems to want to get outside to sniff the air and look around…she cries to go outside but only potties on about her 4th time outside..otherwise she just sniffs the air and cries…
    Help!

  43. Thanks for this, I’m glad to know that it is “normal” for our new rescue dog (9 month old border collie) to be mostly just sleeping and not wanting to go out for walks! This surprised us because I expected a border collie to need and want lots of exercise. The main thing now is that our young child (7yo) is very active and loud, and this keeps scaring the dog even when the noise and activity is not near him, but very dramatically when it is. Will the dog grow out of this, or is this a situation where it is not a good fit? How will we know and when? (We are on day 4 now so pretty early.) Also, the dog is not showing any interest in treats, so our training efforts are stymied. Any advice? Thank you!

    1. My biggest advice is TIME. Border collies are very sensitive to their environment and people. Try to give her a quiet space away from the action of the house. All her to come out as she feels comfortable. As for treats, totally normal for the first few days/weeks. If she turns out to not be food motivated, then try toys and affection… but not yet. Wait and give her time to decompress.

  44. We adopted our Black and Tan coonhound 9 days ago. He came to us as quite the jumper! Within 48 hours with lots of praise and treats he learned to sit and to wait and stopped jumping on us and our counters/tables. On his 3rd night he barked and snapped at me when I went to close his crate door for the night. He did the same thing the next night when my husband touched the blanket he was sleeping on outside of the crate. We read up on crate/bed guarding and aggression and worked on treating him through the crate. We also replaced his blanket (blanket was new to our home, he didn’t come with it) with just a cushy mat. Now it seems like I have a situation where 95% of the time he is perfectly happy to let us around his crate but I cannot predict when he will jump and snap if he is approached in his crate. Since he also did this one time out of the crate, I can’t say if this is a crate, blanket, or sleeping issue. I really want this adoption to work but I am losing trust in him, not gaining. I am heartbroken because we love him already but I worry he might bite if startled or disturbed just one time in just the wrong way. Any suggestions?

    1. I sympathize with you, I really do. 9 days is very early on in the transition period, so I would normally suggest giving him more time. But on the other hand I can totally understand your feelings. Read Our Heartbreaking, Gut Wrenching Adoption Story. I am sure with time and training the dog can become a well adjusted family member. It just depends on whether you want or have the ability to give him what he needs. Also read Is it Ever Okay to Rehome a Dog?. Only you can make the decision, do what is best for you and the dog.

      1. Hey! Just checking in to see how your doggie us doing. We just adopted a Treeing Walker Coonhound on September 26th, 2020 and she is just beginning to settle in. She’s extremely active though!! I hope yours is doing better!

  45. We have had our rescue dog since Nov. Not friendly towards other dogs and takes out things and chews them up for attention
    Can we start over and do what s called the 2 week shut down?

    1. You’ve had the dog for 10 months now. Starting over may not be the right phrase. But you can start to implement strategies to help your pup. If he is chewing for attention, that means he is not getting enough physical and mental exercise. Take him for walks every day, do simple training sessions, play games, etc. There are many resources on the blog. As for not being friendly with other dogs, that could be a result of his boredom or a variety of other issues. I’d recommend seeking out a dog behavior trainer for help.

  46. Our 1 year old newly adopted dog sleeps constantly. When I try to take her out to potty, she resists going out the door, tries to get back in, and the just lays down in the grass and won’t get up. Some time before we got her; she’s been punished for going indoors and doesn’t want to go at all when people are near.

  47. Hi I have just rescued a dog that had been used for breeding. She is 5 and a lovely waggy dog but she does growl and snap at my other dogs when in her bed or sleeping – any advice please? Should I crate her at night? Thank you

  48. Hello, we just adopted the sweetest German Shepard mix. She is around 2, and still very puppy like! She came to us from her 3rd shelter TERRIFIED of cars. Unfortunately, the shelter didn’t tell us this and we do live on a relatively busy road. We’ve had her for about a week and a half, but potty breaks keep getting more and more difficult as she is exposed to more traffic noises:( she does fine on walks in the woods and with trails, but it’s a no go on our walking trails and sidewalks

    We love her so much already but do you have any tips on working through this? She just cowers and lays down facing home if she sees or hears a car/plane/recycling bin being dragged. It seems like blind panic and she won’t take treats or respond to us in that state

    1. Poor girl. You need to be patient and work on desensitizing her to the traffic noise. There are a lot of details, but basically you need to take her outside as close to the traffic without her showing any fear and then take one step closer, treat her, do some basic training and keep praising her. Each day take one step closer. Some days you will need to take a step back when she shows any signs of fear. Eventually you will get to the point where she is no longer afraid. This takes time and patience, but it does work.

  49. I just took in a two year old shih tzu mix…she has been having a very difficult time adjusting. She is afraid of everything and everyone. As soon as she hears someone or sees someone she goes under the bed and hides. Only comes out when no one is near and when it’s quiet. When she does come out she does eat and does potty. I am giving her her own space and not going under the bed and taking her out of there. Should I be trying to do anything To encourage her to come out from under the bed or just continue to give her her space and let her be?

    1. For now let her be. No sure how long you’ve had her but you mention you just took her in, so that leads me to believe it’s been a short time. Give her time and she will start to open up and not hide so quickly.

  50. Hi. We just rescued a 6 year old Maltese/Shitzu male. He’s been with us for 7 days. All going ok ex dog for some odd behaviour from him – on 4 occasions he’d chase his tail and barks/growls. Can This be anxiety related? It’s quite confronting to see and we are a little lost.

  51. Hi! This is very helpful! We just rescued a 6 month old boxer with a not so nice past. We’ve had her 2 weeks now and it’s been a process for sure! She doesn’t trust humans yet (hid under our bed, only ate when we aren’t around, was shaking constantly). But now we have seen progress little by little and it’s so rewarding! I definitely believe the 3-3-3 rule as her personality is starting to come out a little. She’s not 100% trusting of us yet for sure, but we’re getting there with baby steps. I look forward to learning new ways to help our baby girl through your Facebook community group!

  52. Hi, we just taken on a 3yr gsd female. She was a show dog. The breeder says she can be left in the kennel so thought she was ideal as I work part time. We ve tried to leave her in the kennel but she goes berserk, jump off the sides and chasing her tail. How long should we leave her to try again. We’ve only had her from 9 th July.
    Thanks

  53. THANK YOU! Your advice has proven true in our new adventure!
    We made good choices to have time available to be fully present with Mac before the chaos of school starts in the fall. I look forward to more visits to your site. Thanks to my sweet friend Amy Babson for sharing this site with me!!

  54. We are on our 4th week with Melvyn. He has some very good traits.
    Comfortable in crate, regular eating schedule, was potty trained on arrival.
    He is a Terrier Poodle mix….so a bit more fiesta in personality.
    He loves his walks, and learning to sit on command.
    No for socializing!

  55. We brought home a rescue on Mother’s Day. Our first dig – my 14 year old daughter and I. She had been fostered for a month – saved from a kill shelter in Texas. The Foster mom said she was initially shy and a little scared but came around after a few days, like cats, other rugs, and being outside.

    When we picked her up off the truck ( she was transported in a van). she was shaking uncontrollably. The folks who brought her up here said they’d never seen a dog come off a Transport like that. In years of adopting out rescues.

    She has calmed down a bit but will not leave her safe spot – except where we are in another part of the house. I have to carry her to get her outside – she is a 50 lb beagle, lab, retriever mix – so it is not easy. She shakes the whole time and runs inside as soon as she can. We have tried to comfort her with gentle affirmation, a little gentle brushing – which she really needed, and she has let us rub her belly. But she does not move from her spot, has shown no interest in us, or anything else. The foster mom said she loved to go outside. She has shown no interest. And she will only eat when we are in another part of the house per and poop on training pads at night. She seems to be a sweet intelligent girl and I am distraught because I don’t know what to do.

    1. Hi Maxine,
      Give her some time.
      I adopted a lab/German Shepard mix. For the first week she was incredibly scared/shy. She would shake and cower in a corner. I had to pick her up to go outside. It was awful. I would spend hours sitting next to her. While I did that, I would leave treats near me. Any time I approached her, I would bring her little pieces of kibble of freeze dried liver. At first, she wouldn’t eat from my hand, but now she’s learned that I provide tasty things. I also learned that she really liked long walks. She hated being in the yard.
      After about three weeks, I introduced her to other dogs. In their presence she gained confidence.
      I also suggest calling a trainer. They will have tips on how to help both of you.
      I really understand your distress and wish you the best of luck!

    2. Hi, How is your furbaby doing? I had the same with my Payton, it took him 6 months to come around, each day was a struggle yet I did not give up ever. I had a crate with a cover over it on the 3 sides and he sat there most of the time, put food and water down each day and had potty pads just outside the crate which he did use…..believe me, it was a hard time for him to trust me, yet he did finally and boy what a delight he is. He is now 14, (got him at 6 yrs old from a horrible home) and has medical issues. I will do everything in my power to keep him safe and free from pain and pay the price as he is my family. Yep, he is now spoiled and deserves to be spoiled for he loves me like no one else can, very loyal and sweet and fierce when he wants to protect me, so take lots of time and hand feed him if necessary just to develop that level of trust. Hope to hear how things are going…dogs suffer all feelings like us 2 legged creatures do.

  56. I really enjoy your website! Most recently, I read about the 3-3-3 rule & it reminded me of the 4 dogs we have rescued over the years. One of them took much longer to adjust, but she had been abandoned rather traumatically, so I’m sure that contributed. An animal behaviorist we called in said she showed signs of not being socialized with people or other dogs, but with training she overcame much of that challenge. Fortunately, she’s just an awesome, happy dog now. Our newest rescue from 6 months ago never had a big settling in period. He just moved in & figured it out right away, much like our very first rescue from 20 years ago. Apparently we are this latest dog’s 2nd or 3rd home, so I would think that affected his evolution. He, too is just a wonderful animal & we have no idea how anyone could have let him go. So many variables at play with their behaviors but rescued dogs are the best dogs in my book. Thank you for sharing your expertise & inspiration with all of us dog lovers!

  57. We have just adopted a 18 month old , short haired GSD. We are only on day 6 and he can be quite dominating but we are being consistent and firm with him. The rescue center mentioned your 3 3 3 rule and it gives me reassurance that eventually it will be ok .

  58. I’m so very sorry to see you refer to being “a strong pack leader.” That myth has long been debunked by research into the dynamics of dog societal groups as well as canine cognition and learning theory. The researcher who introduced the concept after studying unrelated captive wolves in captivity has even retracted his initial extrapolations to companion dogs. In fact, he says they don’t even apply to wolves in the wild. Please consider removing that phrase from your materials.

  59. My wife and I just brought home our rescue! He is awesome! You are spot on with your advice! It’s only been three days but he has settled in nicely and is pretty much setting in. A real lap lover which we both wanted. Can’t wait to see the next three weeks, months years! Thanks!

    1. Hi Kurt,
      Can I ask how your dog is doing now? I was reading about “honeymoon phases” and was quite worried as we just adopted our rescue 3 days back!

  60. Hi there – we have now had out pup for 3 weeks and your 3-3-3 has really put our mind at ease! She’s still pretty scared around us but will explore when we are out of the room. She won’t yet come out of her crate without us removing her (she’s an almost 2 year old whoodle) and won’t walk on a leash yet (we carry her outside to use the restroom). Any suggestions?

    1. So we are not the only ones. We brought a rescue home on Sunday who won’t leave her “spot” even to eat until we are in another part of the house. We have to carry her outside but she is terrified when we do and rubs back in as soon as she can’t. She’s peeing and pooping on training pads at night. She is not a small dog so I’m feeling totally overwhelmed. This is our first dog

      1. Hi Maxine,
        We did lots of dog sitting for friends after our own dog had passed. Once we got a beautiful senior black shepherd lady. She was very sad for a few days and missed her owners. She did not leave her spot by the window. We stayed close enough for her to know she was not alone, but we did give her time to come out when she felt ok to do so. After a few days she was par of the family. I feel the best thing we did was to not overwhelm her and wait. Be patient 🙂 Good luck.
        Mariela

  61. We just adopted a 9 year old Chi/Terrier mix. He does have a lot of down time but barks at people that walk in front of our house, at other dogs, pulls when we walk him. When he starts barking he gets really worked up and it takes sometime for him to calm down. He also is going through some anxiety issues. I really want to help this little guy. We found out the hard way he definitely does not like anything going over his head. So I am waiting on the open collar harness. We do have another dog. They seem to respect each other and we have not had any issues on that end. I just know when the new dog gets anxious I feel myself getting anxious. Not sure how to handle this little guy.

    1. Maria, we just rescued a 7 yr old Chi mix our first dog and she snipped at my sons face and I was taken aback. I think it was just overwhelming as we only had her a few hours. How is yours doing? She is very attached to me and I don’t want my son to be worried she will bite him.

  62. We rescued a pug- well technically a jug and she’s 4. She’s only been here a few days and she is peeing all over the room we have her in (sunporch) . She goes out every 15 mins because I thought she has to go she squats about five times and pees outside then comes in a pees some more – right in front of me! I don’t yell but re direct her back outside but I’m at my wits end. She was at the vet the day we got her so waiting on test results. Also our resident dog is afraid to come into the house, they haven’t met yet but she knows she’s here. Ugh I’m feeling as though I made a big mistake

    1. Time and patiences my friend. I know it seems hard right now, but look at it through from dogs perspective. She has been through so much and thrown into a new family and has no idea what is going on. Give her time and you will be amazed at the transformation. Constrict her freedom until the potty training is successful. Try a crate instead of an entire room. If you aren’t part of our Facebook community, I recommend joining. It’s full of others in your exact situation.

  63. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I have been searching for tips on helping our rescue pup to stop barking at my husband. We have had her for 3 months now and have tried everything. She runs from my husband and barks at him constantly. He has done nothing wrong and we have another dog who loves him to death. This has caused a stressful environment in our home, because he wants to get rid of the dog. He has given up and tired of her barking at him. I get it, I’m tired of it too, but I love her and so do the kids and our other dog. I’m desperate for help. We had planned to get her a trainer but they are closed because of Covid -19. Do you have any tips?
    Thank you

    1. Dana I feel for you and your husband. I recommend joining our Facebook community and asking this question there. Many others have been in the similar situations. Has your husband taken her for a walk? Does he feed her, spend any quality time with her? Some does are afraid of men simply because they are louder and bigger. Facial hair and hats all can seem intimidating. Have your husband spend some quiet time on the floor with her, take her for walks, etc. And hopefully in time they will start to bond and she will stop barking.

      1. Thank you. Yes he has tried to take her for a walk, etc. but she won’t move. She just tries to get away from him. He takes off his hat as soon as he comes through the door. I’ll join the community and ask. Thank you

    2. Omg! Dana! I’m reading your comment, and it’s like I’ve written it myself. We have exactly the same situation. 5 weeks ago adopted a 6 months pup. He has settled in nicely with myself and my 2 daughters but with the husband there’s no progress- the dog is so afraid of him, always tries to run away, and barks at him. I was hoping that in time this will change…

  64. We rescued a 7 year old Whippet mix, Doberman and Chihuahua. We have had him for about two in half weeks now. He’s been to the Veterinery, had a full checkup, had to have four teeth pulled. He’s a great dog, the only problem is, we live on the water and he barks at boats, JetSki, Paddleboard, and kayaks. He does not understand what they are, if he is outside, he wants to run after them. He is uncontrollable, he found a little ledge on the wall, put his front paw on it and was gone. Thank God he could not get out of the next yard, after a lot of barking he came back the same way he left. I’m so afraid he will jump the Four foot fence and land on the rocks below. How do I help him? He gets so upset in the house running from glass door to glass door.
    Toni

    1. Oh boy, Thank God he came back! You need to work on Counter conditioning and desensitization. I don’t have an article on this blog but if you google it you will find lots of resources. It will take time and a lot of patiences but it will be well worth the effort. Good luck!

  65. The tips you gave were amazing! My partner and I just adopted a beautiful 10 month old labradoodle and he is being a little stubborn, anxious and docile . We are currently on day 5 and we were stressing out because he sleeps all day and doesn’t walk on the lead but your 3-3-3 has made us more relaxed, especially because neither of us have had a rescue before.
    Thank you so much

  66. We just rescued an 8 month old Saint Bernard/Coomhound mix. He is a gentle giant and loves my two other dogs, but he is hard to get his attention when he sets his nose and eyes to something out in the yard. I’ve had dogs all my life and he is my second hound mix. I haven’t ever used electronic collars, but was wondering your thoughts on those types of collars for specific dogs.

    1. If used correctly the e-collars can be a great training tool. The problem is that most people slap the collar on and think it’s a magic tool. It takes a lot of patients and pre-training before the e-collar can be used properly.

  67. I just adopted a 1 year old GSD and today is day 2. He seems to be settling down some but is still stressed. I’m limiting him to one room right now until his kennel arrives. He’s my second shepherd and I’m looking forward to fun times ahead!

  68. I am bringing home a rescue to foster straight from a backyard breeder. I am concerned about parasites or other illness infecting my at home dog. Do you have any suggestions on what is okay and what’s not until he gets to the vet?

    1. I would keep the dogs separated until he gets to the vet. Pick up the foster dogs poop and dispose of it immediately. I’ve had several fosters with worms and parasites, and thankfully never had an issue. But taking all precautions possible is a smart move.

  69. Great info on the 3-3-3 rule. I have had a few dogs in my lifetime and went through a lot of potty training, etc. It was not great fun a few times. The last couple I remember were much better since I had previous training. Really looking forward to getting my new companion.

  70. We adopted a 9-year old rescue dog on January 21. She became familiar with our daily routine fairly quickly (I work outside the home, as does my husband, so we leave her alone all day and have a dog walker come in mid-day to give her a break and a fresh air walk). Now with this COVID-19 disaster, both my husband and I are at home all day and will be until it’s over. So I worry how Fawn (that’s her name) will react when we resume our forme routine. Any thoughts or tips?

    1. Yes I do have a few tips. Try and keep her routine the same. I realize this is easier said than done. But if she’s usually in her crate while you are at work, then still crate her (in a separate room) while you are working at home. Take walks at the same time the dog walker would have. Feed her at the same times. You get the idea… nothing else should change, other than you are home.

  71. Hi! I’ve just recently rescued a pitbull from my local shelter. She is a very sweet but scared girl. I have been giving her plenty of space as I know that she needs the time to decompress and adjust to all the new site sounds and smells! The only problem that I’m having at the moment… Is the leash. She does not like it, when we go outside she refuses to walk at all….When she does it’s only to make her way in between My legs… She has yet to use the potty while on the leash, which is resulting in accidents in the house. I do not have a fenced in yard so the leash is a must! I don’t want to push her too much at first… I have no idea what she’s been through in the past (The shelter couldn’t provide much of a backstory on her) But she is 2 1/2 years old… And I don’t want going inside to become the normal for her. Are there any tips or suggestions that you may have to best handle this?

    1. Try letting her drag the leash around inside to get her use to it being attached to her collar. Don’t leave her unattended with it on, just in case, but I would work on some fun things inside using the leash.

  72. I adopted a 3-year-old terrier/shih tzu mix female dog two months ago. She and I bonded immediately and after a few accidents in the house, she learned to do her business outside. Everything has been good although a few weeks ago, she has begun biting anyone who comes in the house. She’ll allow them in but if, for example, they’re sitting on the sofa next to her and get up, she’ll jump off the sofa and bite them. One time, I was holding her and when the person reached out to shake my hand, she tried to bite him, getting me instead. I’m moving in two weeks to a 55+ active senior community and their policy is if there are more than three negative incidents involving the dog, they can kick me out. Normally, they let you know about scheduled maintenance issues ahead of time but I’m worried about emergency situations where they would need to enter the apartment when I’m not home. How can I curtail this unwanted, dangerous behavior?

    1. I suggest finding a balanced trainer to help you. It sounds like she is insecure and needs some help learning she does not need to protect you or herself. I also recommend crate training her while you are not home. The apartment know you have a dog, so they should always let you know ahead of time before entering.

  73. I have done so much research, and still I found it wasn’t enough! I knew his personality wouldn’t really come out until after a few weeks, but didn’t realize it was SPOT ON 3 weeks to the day.
    He came from an abusive household and is very shy and skittish. This is week 3 and now he is scared to go outside, has peed on the carpet every morning this week (except today, yay!). I now have to carry him to the elevator as he does not want to go outside. Once we are on the first floor to go outside he cannot wait to go! Then he does his business and shuts down and wants to go inside immediately. I have no idea why all of a sudden he doesn’t want to go outside. Nothing has changed. He sits, folds his ears back, and stares at me. He is perfect inside and runs around and wants to play but shuts down when we go outside. Thoughts? 🙁

      1. I went to the vet yesterday and they said he was perfectly fine and that he just needed time to open up. He is 6 years old. Now I just carry him to the elevator and then he is fine. There is construction going on so maybe the noises are scaring him. Thank you Debi

        1. That’s great that he is healthy. The construction noise could absolutely be a trigger. We are currently renovating our home and your one dog is terrified to go inside because of the noise.

  74. Hi Debi,
    We’ve had our rescue dog (a 5 year old ex breeding Australian Terrier) for 5 months now. She’s a beautiful dog yet still very scared & nervous. She spends most of the day in the same place on the sofa watching the goings on although she will follow me around our garden and loves her walks when my partner doesn’t come! My reason for contacting you is that we adopted her to be a friend to our 7 year old female Yorkie as we had lost our 16 year old cocker spaniel a few months previously. We had great hopes that we could not only help a rescue but give our Yorkie comfort too, the only thing is the rescue dog is not interested in our Yorkie at all. She ignores her & turns away most of the time if she goes near to her. It’s quite sad as she loves to meet and greet other dogs when we’re out walking and she’ll run around and play with them whilst our little Yorkie looks on. There was an incident a few months ago when the rescue dog jumped on the Yorkie and got hold of her on the back of her neck to get her to release a ball she was playing with. In fact they had both been playing with balls and she went & his hers and then went for the Yorkies. I’ve since removed toys & balls as it did shock me. The Yorkie seems to have forgotten the incident & she seems to want attention it’s just not forthcoming. It’s sad as the rescue dog has a great bond with me and only has eyes for me. So our dog is feeling left out & seems to be fed up about it. Our rescue is also terrified of my partner and even 5 months on I can’t go out and leave her with him for long as if he lets her out for the toilet she will not come back in. I also can’t go out & leave them alone as she has terrible separation aniexty (which I’ve seen on a video recording) she paces furiously around the kitchen and we’ve come back after 45 mins to find the Yorkie cowering under a chair as she was obviously frightened by it. Also if we all go walking together as we have been doing regularly for the 5 months she goes behind him or will skittishly run around us and doesn’t relax and enjoy the walk so it’s easier if he doesn’t come now. I am really wondering if this will change and if I should let her be rehomed without a man around and possibly with a pack of larger dogs rather than one little dog who she’s not interested in. Maybe she just doesn’t like her. I’m also wondering if I’m being unfair on the Yorkie who seems fed up with the situation. I would appreciate any advice you could give me as I’m trying to work out what’s best for all of us. Thank you.

    1. HI Sarah, There are a lot of moving pieces here. First thing, I know we all want our dogs to be best friends, but the fact is, you can’t force a bond. You don’t like or are friends with everyone you meet are you? It’s okay for the two dogs to just coexist and not be best friends. The ball incident may have been the start of avoidance. As for your partner, I would recommend he take the dog for walks by himself. He needs to start bonding with the dog without you. There are a few articles I’d like you to read that should help answer all your questions in more detail:

      The Best Way to Introduce a Second Dog Into Your Pack

      How to Bond with Your Dog (and Why It Matters)

      Rescue Dog Separation Anxiety Solutions

      1. Hi Debi, Thanks very much for your response. I wish I had come across your website BEFORE I adopted our rescue dog! Here in the UK I was told very little about the correct way to introduce our dog to the rescue and they met the first time we went to see the rescue in a room full of other dogs! We then took her home the next day & she was just put in the back of the car by the fosterer next to our dog! Hence she snapped momentarily. Maybe all of this is where the problem stems from. I’ve also been enlightened as to what our rescue is feeling from reading your details on dog behaviour and now realised that the yawning she often does when our Yorkie approaches wanting to befriend her, is done out of stress. It’s quite strange though as the Yorkie seems submissive as she will roll onto her side in front of her and then our rescue yawns so she must be very wary as the Yorkie is just wanting to play. I’ve also now learnt that the panting when I come in after a short while is connected with separation anxiety which I hadn’t appreciated and I just thought she was pleased to see me and had been running around.
        I do feel concerned that due to this completely wrong introduction things might never be as they could have although I’m going to try and put your advice into practice for the next month and see how it goes. It will be a shame if they are only ever going to coexist as our dog would like so much more and it maybe like living in a bad relationship for her! Oh well I’ll keep you posted and thank you very much again. Sarah

  75. Hi,
    Thanks for the encouragement. I had heard the 3-3-3 before but thanks for the additional info. Our sweet Rico was rescued from Puerto Rico in October and transferred to a shelter in FL. He had some parasites so he was treated for those and available for adoption at the beginning of January. We adopted him then. He has been so sweet to our kids, my husband, and me. I don’t know what trauma he went through but he is sometimes very fearful. I took him to the vet today and he was so nervous. The staff there would extend a hand and give him a treat. Initially, he’s lick them and wag his tail but then he’d suddenly growl or even try to bite. It was very surprising. They highly encouraged me to find puppy training class for him and I will but it was all so discouraging. Any tips?

    1. Hi Stephanie, congrats on your new puppy. You didn’t mention how old he is. I’m curious because if it is still a young puppy then the growl/bite would be more surprising to me. I recommend reading through some more of our resources. There are articles about fear that I think would help you. You’ve only had him for a few weeks, so be patient. I do think finding a good training program will be beneficial.

  76. New rescue dog, 3 yrs old, poodle. He is very gentle and will sit in my lap.. I think he is depressed and would prefer to be alone. He loves walks but that is the only time he seems happy. He is now on couch,curled up and will not interact with me. We have just begun this journey and I want to do the right thing to help his depressed state any suggeztions

    1. Heidi, it’s going to take time for your poodle to adjust. Be patient and give him the space he wants and needs. Not all dogs are cuddlers. Our dog Ginger, much prefers to be by herself, in fact she will seek her crate anytime she wants to be left alone.

  77. I brought a pitbull home from our local shelter in Calgary Ab. It’s amazing to see the progress he has made even in a few days. He’s eager to learn the rules and to check in with me for reassurance he is doing the good thing. I can’t wait to see what the following days-weeks and months will be as he settles in and feels confident that he is in his forever home!

  78. We have adopted a 6 year bishon/poodle mix, we have had him 2 weeks, he has adjusted so well, we have two other dogs, one is 13months and the other 9months.
    All has been well, the puppy is a territorial.
    Dexter the adopted dog has started growling and last night bit my husband. After the incident my husband picked him up and sat with him, To show who is in charge.
    Today he has been fine.

    We need advice, please we love him and have no idea what made him do this!! His bottom teeth is missing not sure why.

    1. Grace, I recommend you seek a local balanced, behaviorist dog trainer to help you understand how to handle your new pup. Picking the dog up and sitting with him isn’t going to change his behavior. Learn his body language so you understand what he is telling you. The growling is usually not the first sign of a dog bite. Read through our blog, there are many resources to help you in your journey.

  79. I brought home a 3 and a half year old rescue dog from Kuwait today. I dont know if it’s normal but she was happy and quiet the whole ride home. She seems to have made herself at home already. She bonded with my 16yr daughter right from the start. First night and already she’s sleeping on my daughter’s bed.
    The only issue I have is that she likes to jump up on people when saying hi to them.
    What’s the best way to train her not to do that??
    Also, how do I train her not to pull on the leach when I take her outside??
    This is all new to me seeing how I’ve only ever had cats
    Thank you so much for any advice.

  80. I adopted a 6 yo Yorkie/schnauzer mix about three months ago. He is truly a sweetheart and very smart. He is very quiet for a little dog which I appreciate!

    I am very consistent with our schedule….and you are right, he knows exactly when mealtime is! I devote time just for him every evening for training and playtime. We are signed up for a good manner class this month, mostly for the socialization.

    I think he is adjusting well. Best thing I could have done was adopting him! He just melts my heart! We are on our way to being best friends!

  81. I adopted my dog from South Korea 8.5 months ago and it was definitely challenging. More so than most dogs as my dog came from a dog meat farm and had no true human interaction. Regardless though, he’s been thriving here since the first week we brought him home. But I do have to say, my dog is still not 100% where I’d like him to be as he is still becoming more comfortable with human contact and affection. He went through a regretion 3-4 months in. Didn’t like anyone coming in our house and oddly didn’t like other dogs. It was completely out of no where. He seemed to be a bit lost. But as the weeks passed, he changed and becamr more and more confident, happy and sure of himself. As of now, he’s really content and I know as the months go by, we’ll be cuddling on the couch in no time.

  82. I have recently adopted a rescue 8 year old dauchund that was rescued from a puppy mill after she could no longer breed. She and I have really bonded, but she is so very protective of me nd our home that she barks, growls and carries on when my children and grandchildren come to visit. How can I get her to calm down and be pleasant to visitors. I really need you help as I don’t want to have to return her to the rescue group. I’ m certain she hasn’t had a great “dog’s life”, but I need to be able to be with family without her growling and barking, and I certainly don’t want anyone bitten.
    Thank you.

  83. HI
    We jus really brought home a week ago a rescued 8 month old lab . SHe is very sweet and behaved when she is calm . But when she gets the puppy crazies ( who’s is a few times a day) she does not listen to me at all. She play bites too hard and sometimes does not release. SHE also constantly tried to play tug of war with her leash . We have her signed up for classes but they don’t start until December 7th. Help !!

    1. It sounds like she needs more physical and mental exercise. Labs are great dogs, in fact my favorite breed. But the misconception is that they are laid back, easy dogs… which they can be as long as you provide them with the exercise they need. Take long walks, play fetch, and try puzzle games. If you come home from a walk and she still gets the “crazies”, then take a longer walk.

  84. Hi, we adopted a 6 year old pomaranion. She was delivered to us in a crate. She so wants outside but will not allow touch so we can’t put a lead on and definitely no harness. Is it just a matter of trust and time.

    1. Without knowing the entire situation the dog has been in before coming to you, I can’t say for sure, but yes trust and time are a big factor. And it’s not going to be easy. It will most likely take weeks, months, maybe even more in severe situations.

  85. Last Sunday I brought home my rescue Chica. She is going on her pee pad now but she hates to be picked up. Runs from me and don’t know what to do. She will eat but not every day I am beside myself. Will follow me but feels more comfortable in her bed in my room. Need help

    1. Candince, it’s only been a few days. Don’t panic, give Chica some space and time. Follow the 3-3-3 rule and she will come around. Look at the situation in her perspective and you will have a better understanding on how she is feeling.

  86. I rescued a black labrador 7 weeks ago to be a companion for my disabled adult son. He was very depressed after losing his old poodle that had been his friend for 16 years. The lab is the sweetest dog. She is gentle, obedient and loves children, other dogs and people. Our heartbreak is that she is terrified of my son. He has a deep monotone voice and walks with a walker. He is so gentle with the lab and speaks softly to her. At home the lab is still very fearful. She listens for every noise my son makes and will not go near him. I take her into my sons lounge on a leash and she will lay next to my feet while I watch tv with my son but she is always facing the door. As soon as I stand up she sees that as the signal to leave and she bolts for the door. It is breaking my heart. She is happy and settled in every other environment including the beach, the park, my daughter’s house but she hates our home. She does not take treats or play with toys which only leaves me verbal and physical praise when training her. She will focus on me in every other environment but is too scared and hypervigilent at home to look at me.
    I wonder if she will ever bond with my son. I also wonder if I am doing the right thing for this dog. I can see how happy she is with young families. I would really appreciate some advice.

    1. I highly recommend seeking a local dog behaviorist. The dog needs help with the fear and I’m not going to lie, it’s going to take a lot of patience and time. I’m sure she could become a great dog with the right training.

  87. Hello, we rescued a 2 month old lab/pitbull mix a month ago. We have a Shar Pei mix who is now 10 months old. Is it normal for them to play fight all the time? We always have to separate them because the puppy has sharp teeth and sometimes draws blood from our older puppy. How long until we can expect them to not play 24/7 and just be able to coexist?

  88. We have a 8.5 year old husky and 9 year old beagle. We just rescued an 8 year old french bulldog. We have a separate room for her with crate, we had dogs meet at shelter, slow intro at home , separate feeding , socializing on leash each day but otherwise keeping separate due to husky biting new dog. How do we introduce them to cohabitate, under supervision, without me being an anxious wreck? Husky is not growling/barking as often when she passes new digs gated room. How long do we keep them separate? We are on day 7. Thank you.

  89. Hello rescued a chi mix two months ago and she has been wonderful except now she has started urinating in living room not sure what to do? Any advice would be helpful. Brought to vet and no infections.
    Thanks, Stefania

    1. If all medical issues have been ruled out, and we are sure it’s a behavioral issue… then start by not allowing the dog any freedom in the house. Keep in a crate while you aren’t able to watch her, and keep her on a long leash while in the house to keep her near you. Take her out often, praise when she potty’s outside. Read How to Potty Train a Puppy Fast & Easy, the techniques work for any aged dog.

  90. Hello, We have just adopted a rescue from our local shelter 3 days ago and have been having a tough time. We do have a yellow lab who is over a year old who rough houses with our new rescue but other than that its not much affection being shown. We do not know much of our rescue besides the fact that hes about months old and hes some sort of beagle mix who came from Texas. I am pretty sure that he has separation anxiety and some resource aggression. He is very sweet and seems to get attached very quickly because he follows us around all time and is always sitting/laying next to us, but he HATES his crate and will howl and whine constantly when he is in there. I’ve noticed at night for bedtime it will only be for a few minutes but in the mornings after his potty break he will not stop. Not only is the barking an issue but he goes absolutely crazy in his crate jumping, scratching the door and the bottom of it. I’ve tried to calm him down before taking him out but to no avail. Hes also terrified of stairs and doorways, are there any ways I can try to correct these behaviors? I thought having my Lab in the same room as him in his own crate would help the little one but he doesnt seem to follow by example. Thank you in advance for any advice you may have!

    1. “Correcting” the behaviors isn’t really what you’re after. You need to work on the emotional context and the fear that is behind those behaviors. Many, many dogs simply cannot tolerate being crated. For these dogs, baby gates can be a workable alternative. Confine the puppy (with water) to an area that is easy to clean and separated from other areas by baby gates. Also, I wouldn’t be so quick to assume he has “resource aggression.” Protecting high valuable resources is a very natural thing in the canine world….and it’s even more understandable when a young dog has undergone the stress and trauma this little guy has no doubt experienced. Keep the dogs separated and reward them both for looking at each other. You want to create the association of the other dog with good things. “Oh, look! There’s Fido. That means I’m gonna get some chicken!! Let’s spend more time around Fido!!” Finally, remember that 3 days is basically a nano-second when considering what a dog has to go through to acclimate to a new world. Give him time!!

  91. Hi there. We rescued a 6 month old husky mix 4 days ago and it’s been a very rewarding experience, up until this evening. I have 3 young boys – ages 3, 6, and 9 and they’ve already fallen in love with our new dog, as have I. He’s extremely laid back and easy going, but tonight he growled and snapped at our 3 year old. I didn’t witness the incident but I heard it from the other room. My 3 year old simply got in the dog bed with him while he was trying to rest, which he’s done every day since we got him. I told my son not to bother him while he’s sleeping and hoped it wouldn’t happen again. Well, after putting the kids to bed tonight, my husband and I were petting the pup and he growled at both of us. I haven’t witnessed this behavior in our new dog at all since bringing him home, and the rescue even told us how good he was with children and how easy going he is. I’m honestly not sure what to make of his behavior or how to handle it. I can understand him being upset with my 3 year old for getting in his space while he was sleeping, but the incident with my husband and I happened after we’d walked him outside to go potty. He wasn’t asleep or in his bed, so it felt quite unprovoked. I’m having a lot of anxiety thinking about how to handle this behavior. I’d greatly appreciate any advice. Thank you.

    1. Andrea, I sympathize with you more than you can imagine. And with three young kids, you need to think of their safety first and foremost. I pray your boy is okay. I have a few thoughts to start with, but I recommend not allowing your kids to be with the dog unsupervised for now. First, four days is very new. The dog may be stressed beyond what you thought and is now picking up on your stress after the incident, making the behavior worse. He could have some resource guarding issues, I don’t know without being able to visually evaluate the dog. I recommend finding some help from a behaviorist dog trainer. Not just any trainer, they must specialize in dog behavior. You may also consider talking to the rescue to see if they have any resources for you and maybe even return the dog to them.

      If you are on Facebook, I suggest joining our free group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/690535831406635/. I created the group to have a safe space to talk about topics like this. You may find comfort in knowing you aren’t alone.

  92. We just adopted a sweet girl from animal services. We named her Eleanor Rigby. She was a stray that had been in the shelter for 3 months. She was definitely running out of time. She was labeled a pit bull cross which was not helping her get adopted due to the stigma associated with the breed and several breed bans in the surrounding communities. I live in a community with no ban so here we are! She is precious! She is doing well with my 4 and a half year old Newfie (also a rescue of sorts…he was returned to the breeder at 6 months old and I adopted him). They are giving each other space but becoming more interested and playful with each other. We are spending a lot of time at home working on bonding, potty training, and basic commands. She was spayed the day she came home so we are just starting to take walks. Basically, I am taking it one day at a time but at the end of the first few days, I feel like this is the best decision ever!

  93. We just adopted a beautiful girl named Lucy, she is about 2 years old, hound mix. I’m a bit concerned that she seems too comfortable too fast. Shes been with us for only six days. But she snuggles with us, doesn’t react when my 3-year-old barrels through the house, doesn’t bark when my husband, myself, or our children enter the house (barks at anyone else) just all around a sweet girl. No potty issues, no eating issues. She does follow me around a lot. When my daughter tried to walk her, she wouldn’t move, but then when I got up, she followed me closely. If I sat back down, she would too. Ever heard of this happening? She doesn’t seem to follow anyone else’s lead. She knows simple commands, but only listens when I say them. “Sit, lay down, etc” I’m home right now until the end of the summer, but I begin teaching again when the new school year begins, how can I encourage her to at least listen to my oldest daughter, as she will always be the first one home from school, and will be the one walking her.

    1. Sounds like Lucy is a great dog so far. I find that dogs that seem to get attached quickly to one human may be creating a recipe for separation anxiety. Especially since you are home now, but will be going to back to working next month. Make sure Lucy gets plenty of alone time, even if you are home. Use a crate or a baby gate to keep her separated from you. She needs to learn to be independent now, not later. Read Rescue Dog Separation Anxiety Solutions

      Then also read How to Bond with Your Dog. Make sure you and your daughter are feeding, walking, playing with Lucy.

      Good luck and I’m sure Lucy will become a great addition to your family. Make sure to join our community Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/rescuedogs101community/

  94. Hi! I’m so happy to have found this site! We just brought home a rescue on Friday and we knew that it would be some work. We have a 10 year old rescue who is a momma’s boy but we saw the value of having 2 canines in the house when my mother in law was living with us the last year. We have been wanted to adopt another dog for awhile and this was great timing since my MIL moved back to her home and I would be at home full time for the remainder of the summer. The new doggie had been rescued from the mountains of LA and had to defend herself from predators – she was badly attacked by another dog and I believe she was abused by a previous owner. Our initial meeting at the rescue showed that she was tentative with people and other dogs. She nipped at my teenage son and our other dog but we saw how nervous she was.
    The previous fosters advised that she was a doll and got along with other dogs and kids of all ages so my kids and husband agreed that we would give her a chance. The rescue has had her since December 2018 and was just about to send her off to Oregon to their sister rescue that specializes in more difficult dogs who have been at the rescue for awhile. Before coming home with us she was at a trainer for 2 months and whom I’ve spoken to at length with any insight she had on the new dogs behavior. She was surprised that the rescue didn’t mention that this dog has had a history of “nipping”. I was clear with the rescue that we would be patient and they remarked on how good our family seemed for this new dog. We have adopted challenging dogs before but this time I was clear to say that were looking for a dog who would be good for our young teen kids and our other dog. Perhaps it was foolish of me to bring her home when she showed signs of agression and possessiveness with the rescue owner on our initial meeting. This new doggie has already bonded with me since I’ve taken the most time with her. She barked and growled at my husband this morning while sitting with me and our other dog on the couch sending him into a tizzy on the mistake it was (not a good morning!) and she nips at our other dog everytime I hold him and then lunges at him when I put him down. I’ve kept her on a lead so I’ve been using it as a tool to help correct her behavior especially when I have our other dog – will tug in it and give a forceful warning if she lunges. I understand this will take time but I’m the only one willing to put in the time it seems, so of course she is going to bond with me. She’s a dream other than the agressive behavior and possessiveness. Our other dog is possessive of me however not aggressive which is a big difference. We have the new dog on a 2 week trail period. I’m afraid that wont be enough time for us to work on her issues and my heart is broken this morning thinking about potentially sending her back. We’ve never given up on any animal we’ve adopted and I don’t want this decision to be the cause of strife within our family since we’ve had enough of that elsewhere lately. We have been consumed with caretaking my mother in law for the past year due to an illness and it was a challenging time with our lives on hold. So I may need a therapist as well as some advice for this sweet girl who has had a rough go. So I’ll call my therapist, but leave this here for any expert dog advice. Haha! Thanks and have a super duper day! 🐾🙏🏼

  95. I just brought her home today. She is so overwhelmed. She hasnt eaten or drank much. She has been all over the yard and is asleep out there now. I have a frate in a bedroom. Ill bring her in there for the night. She did take a nap on my lap this afternoon. I just want her to know she’s safe. She breaks my heart.

  96. I just adopted a 6yr old Shiz. She had lived her whole life as a mama dog at a puppy mill that got shut down . I have had her 1 week. She is scared all the time when in the house. When I let her(Bonnie) and our 8yr Shiz(Dexter) out side she does real good,but continues to be nervous to come up to my husband or me. Inside the house she has her own kennel,we leave the door open. She will go and lay in there at times otherwise she will sit in the corner of the front room. We pick her up frequently and put her on the couch with us
    And just calmly pet her. She wags her tail when we call her but will not come. I have more questions but this is enough for now. She is real passive and so is our other rescue. We love her but can’t figure out how to get her to come out of her shell? Please help

    1. One week is very early in your relationship. She is going to need a lot of time… it could be months before she’s ready to completely trust you. Keep doing what you’re doing, give her space and time. Let her come to you on her terms, not yours. She will eventually learn you are safe. You can try to play with her, use treats by tossing it in her direction to get her to come closer to you… but always in her own time. Do not push it.

  97. We just adopted a terrier mix a month ago! i was feeling a little discouraged at first because he’s still shy around us at times. He loves to run & play outside but will randomly hide. I read your 3-3-3 rule and it completely put me at ease! His personality is definitely shining through!!

  98. Hi there. We just rescued a coonhound and she is showing signs of aggression on a leash to our other coonhound in our house. We also let them both off leash in an open neutral area outside and they seemed to do fine then, but the second we bring them into the house she will go after him. I know it’s only been a day, but it makes me nervous and uneasy. What’s the best way to go about this? The other hound in the household is very submissive when this happens and just walks away. Any advise?

  99. 9 weeks ago I adopted a 2 y/o yorkie mix. She is an absolute doll baby. It has been a wild ride as she has a horrible Yeast infection which I am trying to eradicate. For the first 2 weeks she screamed when I would put her in the crate to go to bed, finally after being so tired I couldn’t function I brought her to bed with me, VOILA! Now the thing is at bedtime she has this problem with CONSTANT “licking the air” which I’m thinking is psychological. I have started her on a duet to control the yeast. She’s getting better with wanting to chase cars when we’re walking and some better with strange dogs. She does have some people she likes and others she won’t let near us. If only we can beat the yeast I will see the beautiful baby she is as I know she feels miserable. She was potty trained and knows how to sit. I love her to the moon and back !

  100. Just adopted my first very own dog and she is absolutely perfect. We’ve named her Lucy. She’s a sweet mama dog who was a stray and is brand new to being in a home. I can’t believe I won the dog lottery, she’s done so well just leaving my cat alone to sulk , she’s not interested in him yet. He’s not too thrilled but is actually doing ok considering.

  101. We just brought our first rescue home yesterday. He seemed great on the car ride home and ate his dinner without issue. I do notice that he does not like having a collar on and it’s a struggle to get him to go outside to potty. I suspect he always had a fenced in yard as he was a rehome and the woman could no longer keep him due to her own health issues. Is a harness a better alternative for him? I am trying to give him his space as I understand he needs time to adjust. Any suggestions?

    1. He should always have a collar on so you can have his ID on it. If he’s never worn one, then it may take time for him to get used to it. I think a harness would be more restricting for him then a standard collar… but you can always give it a try if you want. One day is such a short time frame, just give him time and I’m sure he’ll come around.

    2. Most trainers and behaviorists will tell you that a harness is a tool for walking ONLY. They shouldn’t be left on all the time or used in place of a flat collar. In this situation, some time spent conditioning the dog to the collar is probably all that’s necessary. Show the collar, give a treat. Slowly work up to gently touching the collar then giving the treat. Let the dog dictate the pace of the conditioning. If he shows the least resistance to what you’re doing, then you’re moving too fast. Step back and take it slower. I was able to get an extremely body-sensitive shelter dog I worked with to wear a collar within about 3 short 5-minute sessions, spread out over a week. Believe me, time invested now is well worth it!!

  102. Hi! My husband and family of 3 kids (10,8, and 4) just adopted a 1 year old German Shepherd named Ranger on Saturday. We are wrapping up day 3 today and from what we can tell in these three days, he is an absolute peach. He seems to have already bonded with our whole family. He is crate trained, as well as knows basic commands like heel, sit, and down. We have an acre fenced in and we let him run the acre during the day while supervised. There is, plenty of shade and plenty of water and we are out a LOT. We have started a routine of 3’thirty minute walks a day and then some mental stimulation like a long or treat puzzle once a day and then one or two training sessions a day. He seems very content. We also take him in the car frequently. The past two nights we have crated him in the garage with no problems at all. However, I have felt this overwhelming sense that we need to bring him in our home and crate him inside at night. He still is a little curious so I wouldn’t feel comfortable with him out but I feel like inside the house, he feels more a part of our family, like this is his home, his space, his people. My husband is worried about the house smelling like dog or the hair getting every where but I just told him that this is something I feel deep down we need to do for the bond of this dog to our family So that the dog feels at home. We aren’t going to let him have free range of our home. He will be supervised and engaged outside during the day and come in straight to the crate at bedtime. I have read SO many articles that say having a shepherd inside with you is crucial to helping prevent depression, anxiety, or even aggression in these types of dogs. My husband thinks I am a bit wackadoo, in a loving, respectful way, but he’s like it’s a dog. He doesn’t care. But I think he does and I think all the more investment and bonding and training and love we pour into him, the more this dog will give us of himself. I have NEVER felt this way about an animal in my life and this baby has just stolen my heart. So, I want to be the strong leader that he needs but also give him the respect and care and bonding he deserves. Thoughts? And before I click post, my husband completely was against brining him in but once he saw how passionate I was about this decision he agreed to let me bring him in so it’s not like he’s totally against it. He just wants to make sure we do this right as well.

    1. Well, I may be a bit biased to you wanting to bring Ranger inside, as I believe ALL dogs should be inside with their family. I know different parts of the world feel differently, but I would never allow my dogs to sleep outside. They are pack animals, they want to be with their people. As for your house smelling like dog, there are steps to prevent this. Like keeping the dog clean and keeping his bedding clean. German Shepherds do shed, so you will have hair in your house, but use a shedding control shampoo when you bath him, feed him a healthy diet and probiotics, and brush him daily outside and it will limit the shedding. Good luck and I pray you can convince your husband the dog belongs inside with you 🙂

  103. Just brought home a new rescue. I share a dog with my old college roommates (it’s been about 5 years like this) and wanted a new full-time baby. He’s a surrender, came home yesterday and ate and drank nothing. I’m hoping we can bond because he’s a sweet one year old but he has yet to wag his tail. It’s been down so I know he’s nervous. How do you suggest bonding and getting him to use the restroom? I’m being impatient so I appreciate the article about 3-3-3. It’s been so long with my first girl – I almost forgot what its like.

  104. Hi

    We recently rescued our 2nd dog. She is an oldie, 11 years old and was about to be killed (inhumanely as she was in Romania)
    Anyway, we have had her 6 weeks now and she is still terrified. She won’t go outside at all, so she poos and pees on training pads. She doesn’t want to be in the same room as us if she can help it and spends most of her time in her bed, alone. She has no interest in anything except food and the occasional scratch behind her ears.
    I understand that she has probably spent at least 7 years in the horrific public shelter and she honestly has no idea how to be a dog. I just want her last years to be filled with love and a little bit of a life for her.
    I do wonder if there is just too much damage been done to her and if she will ever be comfortable with a life outside a shelter.
    We place no demands on her, we know she needs time, but we also have a 10 year old son and I hate the thought of her having to do her business inside for much longer!!
    I love her to bits and I just want to help her, but don’t know how. She trusts me a little, but will not go near my husband.
    Have I made a mistake? Or will she get better over time?

    1. Hi Laura, in 6 weeks you would normally start seeing some improvement. But if she’s been in a shelter for most of her life or living in the streets of Romania, then it would take a lot for her to adjust living in a home. All I can recommend is being patient with her. And the best way to control the potty accidents, is to never give her free roam. Always have her next to you, use a leash if needed. And when you can’t watch her she should sleep in a crate. Start a feeding schedule and get to know her timing. Take her out after feeding time and don’t come in until she has gone potty. Good luck!

  105. Hello, I’ve got a shelter dog on trial. She’s only about 10 months old, staffy mix and she is so chilled. She’s friendly and respectful of my old boy. Is she likely to stay like this or can she turn into a crazy lady? I will be training. My last rescue dog was about the same age and absolutely nuts for about 6 weeks ! Sorry just feeling a bit anxious. Thank you

    1. It’s important to realize every dog has their own unique personality. Just like people, no two dogs are the same. So what you experienced with your last dog, will most likely be very different with this new puppy. It’s hard to say how your new puppy will be. If you’ve only had her for a few days, it’s going to take time for her to relax and show her true personality.

  106. Thanks so much for this article. We are fostering a beautiful girl from Qatar named Gemma. She was chemically burned on her snout☹️ She will be undergoing medical care soon. She is our first foster, along with having 2 other dogs. I am researching to make sure we are doing our best by her. This article FL was fantastic. We are Gemma’s Journey on Facebook

  107. Hi! We adopted a rescue dog two months ago. She is a rez dog and was found roaming on a road. So sad! Very scared, skinny and blind of one eye. But SO SWEET with humans. I’m just in love with her. The vet says she is around 4 or 5 years old and we don’t know if she was abandoned or if she was just living as a stray at the reservation. She is aggressive with other dogs, especially females. Has separation anxiety and doesn’t like cars trips. Yeah, it’s been challenging. But I won’t give up! She had a hard life and she just needs love. She is getting better every day. Now I can feel she is starting to attach to me. I know is not easy, but I’m sure it worth it! Thanks for the article!

  108. We just rescued our third dog. She has a three-year-old lab. Our other two rescue dogs are six-year-old terrier mix and a 11-year-old beagle Chihuahua mix. So far things are going as expected. The new dog is sweet and we’ve had a few accidents but nothing too crazy. However, our other two dogs are really struggling. There is often a low growl coming from one of our other dogs. The first day we brought the new dog home the only growling we had was at night when the new dog would shake and one of her old dogs would hear her collar rattle. On day three of her being home our oldest dog lunged at our new dog and our new dog pinned her to the ground. No one was hurt and there was no blood. Is this normal behavior? Or is there something we should be doing?

    1. Please read The Best Way to Introduce a Second Dog Into Your Pack. Take a step back and restart the introductions. Your other dogs are unsure if they need to protect their territory. The first day is just a visit, as days pass they may feel more threatened. Especially at 6 and 11 years old, they are set in their ways and bringing in a new dog could throw everything off balanced if not done properly. I hope that article can help. Good luck.

  109. I’ve enjoyed so many articles on this website and I’m hoping you can assist us with our recently adopted rescue dog that we think has separation anxiety. We adopted a 3 year old American bulldog mix from the shelter a few days ago. She was a stray and has been in the shelter only a couple of weeks (and was recovering from both her spay surgery and severe kennel cough during that time), so there is very little information on her past, her temperament, etc. She is a very clingy and affectionate dog, and we’ve been trying to “budget” our affection toward her so that we don’t encourage the clinginess. We had a crate set up for her when she got home and she immediately went in there. We left the door open during the day and she came and went freely the first few days and has slept fine with the crate door closed at night. We take her out on a leash to relieve herself in the backyard, and she definitely seems to be potty trained as she goes on the grass and hasn’t had any accidents inside. (She still has kennel cough pretty badly, so we haven’t been taking her out for walks so as not to infect others.) We were trying to slowly increase our time apart from her since I need to go back to work (about 6 hours) tomorrow. We left for the first time and put her in our insulated garage in a kennel (which we’d introduced her to while we were out in the garage with her and she’d gone in and out of freely). I took her out to go to the bathroom ahead of time, but she defacated and peed while we were gone for 15 mins. It definitely seemed to be stress induced. The next time we decided to try leaving her in her crate since she seems to like it so much. We left for about 20 mins and came home to a dog who had broken out of the crate, definitely been on all the furniture, etc. Since that point, she’s been pretty hesitant to go in her crate. I’ve been treating her in the crate and trying to get her comfortable again, but we’re concerned about trying to adjust her to time alone when her anxiety seems pretty high and we don’t have the time to work up from seconds to minutes to hours, etc. Any recommendations?

    1. Sounds like you are doing everything right. And it does sound like separation anxiety, you should read this: Rescue Dog Separation Anxiety Solutions. Usually I would recommend more exercise to start, but with the recent spay and kennel cough, she needs more rest than activity. Maybe try some mental/training games to wear her out some. Also, make sure you are very calm when leaving her and returning. I have several things you can try that are listed in the Separation anxiety article. I suggest starting there and see if any of that helps. You may need to invest in a heavy-duty crate if she’s an escape artists 🙂 I hope you find something that helps.

  110. Hello! First of all, I’m very glad I found this super helpful website! Thank you for all the detailed answers and great guidance. We adopted a 4-year-old jack russel-papillon mix a week ago. He had been chained in a parking lot all alone by his previous owners. He is a gentle, loving dog, but very reserved and scared of most things. He sleeps a lot, eats very little and doesn’t show interest in treats, toys, training attempts or even simple playtime. He loves cuddling with us, following us around and long walks in the park though.
    I read your article about the 3-3-3 rule, so I’ll be patient and give him some time. My question is, when do you think would be the right time to really commit to teaching him the basic cues? He is slowly responding to his name and is completely housebroken, but he seems confused and nervous when I try to get him to sit, stay, etc. So do you recommend that I keep trying a few times every day, or simply let him be for a few weeks or months before trying to give him the basic training? Thanks again for your help!

    1. It makes me so happy to hear that you adopted and my article has helped you so much! I would start basic training as soon as you notice him being comfortable with you. But don’t hold of on setting rules and boundaries. Those should start immediately. Good luck and congrats on your new pup!

  111. I picked up a 4-5 year old pitbull today from the local county animal shelter. Wasn’t expecting to get a dog after my last dog passed away…but “Tonka” melted my heart. He is a gentle giant who was used for breeding and chained up outside his whole life. Im overwhelmed how comfortable and laid back he is, and even gobbled up all his food for his first feeding from me. He is extremely tired and can’t keep his eyes open, but gets up to follow me when i get up. I am extremely blessed to have found him 🙂

  112. I’m picking up a four month old puppy tonight, she is travelling from Crete to the UK. I’m sure she will feel stressed and scared but I have taken everything you’ve said on board and hopefully she will settle quickly😊

  113. Very helpful article! We are planning to bring home a 2 year old Shepard/setter mix this week and while I am very excited, I’m also nervous about introducing and building trust with him around our 3 and 5 year old kiddos. They are used to our very loving and mellow 10 year old labradoodle, also a rescue, and I hope that over time we will be able to feel as comfortable with our new dog in terms of safety around young children.

    We plan to keep him gated in our kitchen/mudroom area to start and always supervise their interactions. But i hope that eventually he can fit right in and we can feel safe not always having to supervise beacause that’s just not sustainable long term.

    Any tips on keeping these introductions positive and building comfortable and trusting relationships between our rescue dog and small children? We want to keep safety for the dog and the children our highest priority.

    Thanks!

    1. HI Brooke, It sounds like you are prepared to do everything right. I have two articles I recommend you read: Dog Body Language/ and Why Do Family Dogs Bite Kids? Teaching your kids how to read your dogs body language so they understand when he wants to be pet and when he wants to be left alone is going to be a huge step in keeping everything positive. I’m sure everything will be great. Just remember to be patient.

  114. Great article! This is my first time adopting a dog. I am getting a dog via home visit from a rescue/foster family on Sunday. What is your opinion on leaving her alone come Tuesday? I work Tuesday through Saturday 8 hour days and I was planning on coming back to walk her on my lunch break (I work less than a mile from my home) I was thinking about crating her for the time I’m not at home just to be on the safe side. Do you think that’s wise? Also, I was even thinking about taking a few days off this next week to spend time with her and help her get adjusted. How do dogs do by themselves? I worry about leaving her alone, but I know that given that I live by myself and have a 40 hour work week that it’s inevitable. Any suggestions?

    1. I would start by getting as much information from the foster family. Has the dog been left along before? And if so, what did they do when they went to work? I don’t see a problem going back to work Tuesday, like you said you have to work… most people do! I absolutely recommend crating her. Until you know how she will react when left home alone, the crate is the safest place for her to be. There are so many resources for you here on my blog, please take the time to read through some of the adoption articles first: https://www.rescuedogs101.com/adopting/. Then for crate training: https://www.rescuedogs101.com/how-crate-train-dog-puppy-3-easy-steps/

  115. We just adopted a shelter dog and while he is wonderful in many ways he doesn’t come to his name or command. He is 3 yrs old and neutered just in the past year. I personally think we have to give him time but my husband says he’s going back. I don’t know what to do
    Thank you

    1. “Just”… meaning days, a week? If he’s been in a shelter, he has no idea what his name is! He needs time to adjust, get comfortable with you and to learn his name. Training a dog his name is easy, but under the stress of being adopted, you need to be patient with him.

      1. We have had Tito a little over one week and I really love him.
        Last night he attacked my husband as Bob was handing me my cell phone. It was an odd and seemingly random thing. We put Tito in his kennel which we so far had not used. He had been sleeping in the bedroom with us.
        Now this morning when bob got up I asked him “ should I let the dog out and he said sure”. Right now Tito is leaning on bob and getting the whey petted out of him. Was the growling leaping attack a random thing or what.

  116. Hello! Thanks for the good tips in this article. My husband and I just adopted our first dog a week ago. She is a 6 year old pointer mix who has spent the past year in a shelter after being surrendered by a family who got her when she was two. She sleeps a ton and hasn’t smiled since the day we bought her home, just follows us around everywhere and stares at us with sad eyes. We have been trying to give her her space and not overwhelm her, but I don’t know if she is acting like this because she is overwhelmed and adjusting or because she is bored and needs more exercise. As a prey driven dog she wants to sniff everything, pulls like crazy on a leash, and seems to startle easily when we take her outside. In efforts to give her time to calm down and learn to trust that we will protect her and she doesn’t need to be nervous, we have stuck to walking around the same block each day or only running around in our yard. What are your thoughts? Do you have any tips on how to balance her need for exercise with need for a calm, confidence building adjustment to our home?

    1. I think you are doing everything right so far. At one week with you, she is still very very unsure. I don’t think you need to keep your walks to the same block. Exposing her to new surroundings every day should help her confidence. If she’s treat motivated, you can use treats to enforce when she walks by something she is nervous about. Timing is going to be key, don’t enforce the nervous behavior, but the moment she gets past the nervousness. I’m going to guess that a pointer mix will need a lot more than a walk around the block. Take a look at How Often Should I Walk My Dog and Why?. Good luck, stay patient, and thank you for adopting and saving his life!

  117. Hi. Today is day 5 with my new rescue, a 2 yr old border collie cross (although I suspect he’s a full border collie). He came from the local shelter and had been found wandering in a nearby town. He was neutered at the shelter and was there for about a month. He was for the most part untrained, but aside from marking a few times inside does potty outside. I’ve taught him to sit, lay down and stay so far, with reinforcement still needed at times. He’s started bonding and things are going pretty well, but there are two areas of concern. One is my three cats. They have lived with a dog before, who passed several months ago, and they have been around other dogs that have visited. The cats are okay with calm dogs but this dog, Golly, is a bit hyper and fully intent on the cats whenever he sees them. It doesn’t appear that he wants to attack the cats, only be in their face and possibly play. I’ve kept the cats upstairs and Golly downstairs, so interactions are kept to a minimum. One of the cats does keep coming down to face off with Golly. The other two are keeping their distance. I know it’s going to take time, but I was hoping that there might be some suggestions for things I could do to help make the adjustment happen more peacefully. I did work with Golly quite a bit yesterday to have him lay down and stay when that one cat comes downstairs and that made a big difference. Golly already seems very eager to please. I should explain that though the cats are upstairs, they can come down if they want. I have a sliding door at the top of the stairs that I keep open wide enough for them.
    The other issue is that Golly is a runner. This is somewhat distressing for me because I have over 230 acres of land and in the 10 years we’ve lived here I never had to tie my previous dog, a wolf malamute cross (she spent her first 5 years at a previous home). On Golly’s first full day here, he took off twice. The first time we were playing on my long driveway with a jolly ball and as we neared the end, he picked up the ball and carried it out into the road (low traffic, dead end, rural). I called him, but he didn’t know his name then and hadn’t bonded yet, so he looked at the road like a long lost friend and took off. When I called, he looked at me over his shoulder and increased speed. I went and got my truck and drove down the road, found him and easily got him back in the truck. The second time, I had a leash on him and had him in a fenced area between my porch and deck. I wasn’t holding the leash and he was doing okay, but because of the snow he was able to get onto the deck stairs. Several time he did that and I called him and he came right back. The last time he just looked at me with kind of an F.U. look and took off at top speed down the drive to the road. I easily got him back the same as before. It surprises me because with all the land we have he went right for the road. I don’t know if he was possibly thinking he could head back home, wherever that is. At any rate, I now have two tie outs for him, and will change those to runners after the winter if we still need to tie him. I hate to have him tied all the time though, because it means he can’t get the exercise he otherwise could get. I do take him for a good walk every day, as I did with my previous dog, so he will get that exercise. But it seems like a high energy dog would need more. So my question is, how long should I wait, and what methods should I employ, to introduce him to being off leash at home without worrying that he’ll take off? Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    1. First, congrats on your new rescue! Love the name Golly! Five days is still very new. If he’s had no previous training, you can’t expect him to be perfect within a week. It takes a lot of consistency over time. How long will depend on the amount of time you spend training him. But with the 3-3-3 rule, I’d say 3 months will be the amount of time he will need to create a strong bond with you.

      As for the cats, it sounds like you are doing everything right. Keeping the cats separated is a great first step. Giving Golly a “job” to do such as lay down, as you did, is a great way to teach him to stay calm around the cats.

      For running away, training him a solid recall is going to be the key. In his first 2 years of life, he may have felt the need to run away for whatever reason. He will need time to learn that he doesn’t need to run from you. Starting with a short 6 ft leash and then going to a long line, then a rope are the steps we take when training. But this is done over several months. And over time as he bonds with you will help.

      Please be patient. Golly sounds like he has the potential to be a great dog with the right training. Hope this helps you.

  118. Hi. We have just adopted 2 yorkie 8yr old. . They very loving and are settling in well. But the boy dog. Very aggresive towards other dogs . Tried distraction with food. We stay very calm. But nothing is working. And ideas.

  119. I have two rescued lab mixes and my first lab I got 7 months ago had a very hard time adjusting to our house and I learned the hard way by doing things to quickly with her and it backfired I was able to change my ways after doing lots of my own research online about what to do when you bring a rescue pup home. I just adopted our second lab mix last week and now armed with the past experience with our first I am doing much better with our second pup he’s adjusting well and gets along great with our first lab we adopted. It’s helpful for our new lab because he’s learning from her about what happens here we are happy to have rescued such beautiful pups

    1. That is great to hear. We are all only human and we make mistakes, but the important thing is that we learn from them. Thank you so much for adopting two dogs! And you are right, dogs learn from each other way better then from us.

  120. Hi, we just brought home a rescue the other day who was not socialized very much. Poor guy is petrified of everything. He loves his crate and is a smart, well behaved dog. He’s just so scared. One of the hardest things to do is to get him out of his crate to go to the bathroom. Do you have any suggestions that could help? I hate that I have to invade his space and pull him out at times.

    1. Give him time. Make going outside an exciting time, treats, toys, anything that motivates him. I wouldn’t pull him out of the crate, let him come out on his own. He needs to learn to trust you and this takes time.

  121. Hi!! I just adopted a 2 yr old pitbull about two months ago. My boyfriend and I are huge dog lovers and she’s the perfect little girl. We both work regular 9-5 type jobs (except I come home during my lunch hour) but I still feel bad leaving her all alone all the time. We are thinking of getting her a brother but are we crazy?! Should we wait a bit longer? In her previous home she was left alone a lot but she loves meeting other dogs so I’m sure she gets lonely.

    1. Congrats on your newly adopted pup. Every dog is different when it comes to having another dog in the house. Read The Best Way to Introduce a Second Dog Into Your Pack, it may help you decide one way or the other. But since you’ve only had your current dog for 2 months, I’d really suggest letting him settle in a bit longer before adopting another. If it helps you feel any better, dogs sleep most the day away anyway! As long as you are spending quality time with him when you are home, he will be perfectly happy.

  122. You made some very good points in regards to bringing home a puppy for the first time; I enjoyed reading the section on the “3-3-3” rule, I think that you broke it down and explained it perfectly, providing a good timeline on how to properly welcome your new puppy. Reading this post would definitely make it easier for new puppy owners to establish a solid foundation and routine for their new friend!

  123. I just got a 1 year old boxer puppy transported from TX to IL, he’s having lots of accidents in the house. After reading your comments it’s helped nooe that this behavior is normal because he’s probably stressed and scared.

    1. It is normal, but don’t let it slide just because he’s stressed. Keeping him on a leash and in the same room as you are for a few days will help with re-potty training. Congrats on your new puppy!

  124. This was so helpful! I’ve had my new baby home for 3 days and have been really sad and worried because he’s been in his bed and in his playpen almost the whole time. He doesn’t come if I call and didn’t eat the second day home. This article is helping put my anxiety (and his) at ease because I now know he’s just stressed and needs time. This is my first time owning my own dog so thank you so much for providing such a great resource!

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