Arts & Leisure

Dear Homeward Bound: The Rule of Three

Dear Homeward Bound,

My family just adopted a dog from a humane society. The dog had been there a long time and seemed really happy and easy-going when we visited him there. But since we brought him home this week he has been a totally different dog and seems scared and shut-down. My mom and dad are disappointed and have started talking about him not being the right “fit” for our family and that he might have to go back.

I really like having a dog and I don’t want them to do this. Is there anything I can do to get them to stop thinking about taking him back?

Curious (and worried)


Dear Curious (and worried),

I’m not worried at all and I think your family won’t be either once you tell them about the “Rule of Three.” The “Rule of Three” is a way to look at the time it takes a dog, or any new pet, to adjust and settle into a new home. The process goes in stages: Three days is the amount of time it takes for the animal to decompress from the transition to your home and forget about his or her old routines; three weeks is the amount of time it takes for an animal to learn and remember new routines; and three months is the time it takes for an animal to truly feel that he or she is home and in a safe place.

It sounds to me like you are barely past the “Three Days” stage and it is understandable why your new dog is shut down; he doesn’t know what happened to everything he was familiar with. Tell your parents about the “The Rule of Three” and I bet that by Halloween you’ll feel like your house was never without a dog.

In the meantime, be kind and easy with your dog and enjoy summer!


Jessica Danyow

Homeward Bound 

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