I don't trust new dogs in my house and let me tell you why...
I want to make sure that if you're getting a new dog that you don't fall into the trap many dog owners do because of rose colored glasses and they honeymoon phase that owners and dogs experience.
I want to explain you WHY we trainers always say you have to start training immediately and not wait until a couple months after you feel "the dog has settled in". And by training we’re not referring just to obedience.
How often do I hear from people after they just got a dog how mellow and well behaved the dog is.
And then 3 months later I get contacted and told how all of a sudden their new dog is showing all those issues that they didn't see coming (I did, I did 3 months ago after talking to them).
See when you're a dog, our world looks a little different than it does to us.
When you bring a new dog into your home, you have to understand how they are acting of survival instinct.
The first 3 months with your dog are crucial to create the loyal companion you’re hoping for
So I want to explain you the rule of 3 to help you set your dog up for success
3 Decompression Days
When your dog arrives at his new home (even temporary home) it takes 3 days to decompress.
Bringing a dog into a new place can be extremely stressful for them. No wonder they are mellow and well behaved. They don’t know you, they don’t know their surroundings and they are simply trying to put their best paw forward to not cause any conflict.
It’s the same as if you were taken out of your comfort zone and dumped in a new country, with strange people that you don’t speak the language of. You’ll likely just smile and nod hoping everything will be okay.
And the first few days you’d be totally overwhelmed.
So is your dog!
And we can help your dog decompress by keeping environmental stimulation as low as possible.
That means, not meeting new people outside of your household members, not meeting any of the animals in your household, no free roaming at all in the house or yard, no walks.
Pretty much just nap times, hanging out with you on leash around your house and yard and that’s it.
3 Weeks To Adjust To A New Routine
It takes a dog 3 weeks to adjust to a new routine.
That’s when hey test the waters on what this new life with you is all about. They start to notice whether you’re consistent with your expectations or not.
They start noticing your patterns of a daily routine.
And they start noticing how you react to different behavioural reactions they may give you.
This is the time you MUST start training to get the best, quickest and most consistent results from the get go.
This is the time to start shaping your life with your dog to create a foundation.
If you miss out on this crucial window, there’s a good chance that you’ll have to repair some things down the road. Whether that’s your own patterns that the dog is too used to, or patterns that the dog has developed because he saw the opportunity to do so.
3 Month To Have Consistent Picture Of The Dog (they start being comfortable)
I do not trust any dog in any household on who they really are, until after a minimum of 3 months.
If in the time before hand you started training and shaping how your life should look like with your dog, you have created a great foundation moving forwards. You can really get to know a dog within the first 3 months and it’s your best opportunity to start reacting to what your dog presents to build that foundation of what you expect.
But if you haven’t done this, there’s a good chance that now is the time behaviour issues start to pop up. Whether that’s pushy behaviour, reactivity etc.
After 3 months is when dogs have figured things out usually about their new life. They start feeling comfortable. That’s when you can see the real personality. This is when I start trusting them about “who they are” whether it’s good or bad.
This could be an initially shy dog either becoming sweet as pie or the opposite. Or a pushy dog becoming a loyal companion or a dick. It goes either way depending on what you’ve built. . . . So knowing this, I hope you don’t wait to reach out and pursue good training (not “I want just the basics” style, but GOOD training) until after you feel the dog has settled in but see that first initial time as an opportunity to build an incredible life with your dog without having major road blocks in-between.
And for anybody that is just getting a new dog, I’ve collaborated with rescues to create a free mini video series to help you integrate your new dog as easy as possible.
Simone Krebser - CPDT: Owner and head dog trainer of K9 Possible Dog Training serving the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia from Osoyoos to Penticton and Kelowna. Certified dog trainer, certified pet first aid instructor, member of the IACP, dog crazy and chocolate/cheese addict. “My life revolves around dog’s day in and out and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is my goal to help enhance the lives of all the adventurous and outdoorsy dog owners that crave no limits”